Simple Steps to Being Your Best Self on Your Next Date
It’s the New Year, a time to refresh and start anew. You have a date planned. What happens next? Dating can conger up all sorts of feelings; excitement, joy, frustration, anxiety and more. If you get nervous, calm down and breathe. I’ve got an easy prep plan that will help you chill, feel good, and show up to your date with your best self.
Before the Date
The night before your date, plan to get to bed early. I always suggest bed by 10pm. The quality of sleep we get in the hours before midnight affect overall health. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, after 10pm is when certain energy comes on line to restore, regenerate and rejuvenate you. There are studies to back this up. In his article What’s the Best Time to Sleep? You Asked, Dr. Matt Walker, head of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, says that non-REM sleep, the deeper and more restorative sleep, happens in the early part of your slumber cycle.
As the clocks ticks toward the wee AM hours, the lighter, dream-filled REM sleep kicks in. Both types of sleep are important. So, if you’re getting to bed in the early hours of the morning, you are missing out on the non-REM cycles. Good sleep in the early hours of the night lead to less groggy feeling and more alertness. Both are essential for a good date experience.
Think about what you eat and drink a day or two before your date. Foods that are high in sugar, salt, dairy, or carbs can really tax your system and leave you feeling not quite your perky self. They can have a negative effect on quality sleep too, so that’s a double whammy right there. Many people don’t do well with dairy. It can leave you with an upset tummy, or worse, bowel issues, which is not ideal for dating. Too much salt, sugar and carbs can cause gas, bloating, dark circles under your eyes, or puffy swollen eyes.
I suggest eating very clean, at least a day or more before your date. Stay away from junk food and other processed foods, including the ready-to-eat dishes that can look so tempting in the grocery store. Strive to fill your plate with colorful veggies and a small portion of lean, clean protein that aren’t factory-filled with hormones like deli meats often are.
Day of the Date
Start the day of your date with a short meditation. Take 5 deep, belly breaths. Think about or write out what you are grateful for. Lastly, take a moment to visualize how you want your day and your date to go. Close your eyes, imagine yourself in the midst of what you’re visualizing and take in how you’d like it to feel. Meditation is a good daily practice that can change your life. How could your days be different if you started them this way?
After getting grounded and centered in your body, get up and move it in some way that brings you joy. Morning workouts give you sustained energy throughout the day. If you’re not someone who works out regularly, then ease into it with some stretching or gentle yoga. You don’t need to have a gym membership or take some pricey class. Just check out all the free workout videos on YouTube. Or step outside and treat yourself to a walk around the block.
As date time approaches, you may be feeling a bit anxious. Take the words of advice from one of my favorite coaches, Mel Robbins. “Your brain doesn’t know the difference between anxiety and excitement.” So here is what you do: count down from 5. 5-4-3-2-1. Then tell yourself how excited you are to be going on this date. How excited you are to meet someone new. These are what Mel calls “anchoring statements.” When you count down and then attach excitement to your feelings, your brain thinks, “Oh, she’s excited!” And that’s what you end up feeling. Brain tricks are the best!
If you are meeting for a meal, then have a small protein snack before the date. Wrap a piece of cheese around a slice of hormone-free turkey, munch on a handful of nuts or spread some nut butter on an apple. Whatever healthy snack you choose, it will help ground you and allow you to not show up ravenous. And, if the date starts off with a cocktail or glass of wine, you won’t be drinking on an empty stomach, thereby avoiding some potential disastrous consequences.
During the Date
Be Calm and Eat On
It’s about the conversation, not the food. If you tend to be on the shy side, then be prepared with some opening questions to get the conversation started. Remember to eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly. This will help with digestion and prevent unwanted gas and bloating. Not what you want on a date. I understand that one day you will have to pass gas, judgment free, in front of your partner. It’s part of being human. But first dates are not the testing ground for that. If you’re up for it, share some food with your date. There is science behind how sharing food connects people and enhances attraction on a date.
After the Date
As humans, we often forget to celebrate the small victories and accomplishments. Dating takes energy and attention. Whether there’s potential for a second date or not, take in the joy of the experience. Putting yourself out there to meet new people is something to celebrate. The amazing thing is, your brain doesn’t know the difference between a big celebration and a little one. So, take time to celebrate your dating experience and take in the joy of your life!