I am a firm believer that how you start each morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. I am not the type of person to hit the snooze button 5 times, in fact, I don’t really need an alarm clock to wake up! I actually prefer to wake up naturally because truthfully the sound of an alarm clock annoys me and I would rather that NOT be the first thing I hear when I wake up each morning. Granted if I have to wake up at 4 AM for some reason, then yes an alarm clock is needed, but most mornings my body naturally wakes up around 5:30-7 AM. I can not sleep in for the life of me…
Each morning may be different depending on how my day is looking. Since I do not have to head into an office or necessarily be somewhere most days by 9 AM, I still like to get up each day around the same time and have a routine because even though I am working from home, I am still working! I think that it is even more important that I establish a schedule now that I work from home because it allows me to wake up, focus, get dressed, be more productive since I am my own boss, and begin my day without wasting time.
Since my days are pretty out of the ordinary and different week by week and honestly some days I don’t even know what I have going on that day, I like to start (and end too!) my days the same; relaxed, calm, slow.
Many of you might not be able to do this because you have a small window of opportunity to get up, get dressed, work out, get ready for work, eat breakfast, pack lunch, look halfway decent, catch the train, drive to work, and maybe you have kids or a dog thrown in the mix and all of this has to be done before 9 AM. Minus the kids & the dog part, I get it! I used to have a 9-5 so I know what it is like. SO, I want to share what I do now vs. what I did before and how different I feel; both mentally and physically.
When I worked a 9-5 job, I would wake up every day for an early morning workout class (started at 6 AM) and only give myself about 15 minutes to get there because I figured that the longer I gave myself time to think about canceling the more likely I would cancel. This would cause me to rush, be flustered, and sometimes late to class. If that was the case, in class, then I would still feel that stressed out, anxious feeling because it would take me twice as long to calm down, check in, and refocus my energy. Once class was over I knew I only had a certain amount of time to shower, eat, pack my things, and walk to work and that stressed me out! I would get home throw my workout bag, shove food down my throat or not even eat, throw the dishes in the sink, get dressed, and rush out the door. Really just be loud and probably annoying to everyone around me. I would beeline for coffee, sit down at work, get right to it, then crash towards the afternoon because I didn’t take any breaks, then walk home after work, eat dinner in front of the TV and instead of relaxing I was watching TV, on the internet or blogging since at the time I was working full time and blogging full time too! I honestly felt as if I could never actually fall asleep because I was on such a high from my entire day that I was almost so overtired that my body couldn’t even chill out and that is all it needed to do- slow down, breath, and take just 5 minutes to sit!
It was actually becoming a huge problem for me and I wasn’t sleeping at all, I was crashing during the day, my migraines were unreal, my digestive system was so poor (constantly bloated, IBS-D or IBS-C; the worst!!!, painful to eat, craved junked food or wasn’t hungry). I needed to change things around in my schedule and establish somewhat of a routine in order to find a bit more balance in my days. I find that routines can be tough to stick to and I am not one to preach them all the time because I understand that life can be difficult especially if you travel, get sick, work a lot, have kids, but what I have learned is that the more I incorporate a few of the habits every day the more I stick to them, the more I enjoy them, and the better that I feel. I also don’t even like someone to feel bad about themselves if they struggle to establish one, it is always baby steps. I always just want to inspire and never feel that I am forcing, because trust me, I don’t always have it all together. But day after day, weeks become months, it actually becomes less routine and something that the body craves in order to function at its best. Having these routines also allows me to leave wiggle room for weekends, when I am traveling, when I feel depressed, going through a break up, a transition in life, or those days when things come up out of control!
When I was working 9-5 in an office, I changed the time that I worked out. Instead of working out every single morning at 6 AM I cut back and allowed my body to relax a few mornings, lay in bed, wake up slowly, eat, walk to work without rushing. Granted, I wasn't laying in bed for 3 hours, I just gave myself an extra few minutes. On those days, I noticed a huge difference. I was in a better mood, less bloated, I was more patient, my body was more regular, and I was less tired. I would then either go to an evening yoga class, take a walk in the afternoon, swim at the pool, or it would be a complete rest day for me. During this time, I also realized that my body responds much better to workouts that are not explosive, HITT, or extremely intense on the body. Those, actually cause my body to become inflamed, stress me out, super bloated, become over tired, constipated, and I couldn’t sleep at night. I think when I gave my body the break that it needed and was craving I found out what worked for me and what didn’t- yoga, swimming, walking works. I felt that before, the more I did, the more days I worked out, the more damage I was actually causing to my body. I left no recovery time; mentally and physically. During this time, I also began to develop more routines and habits that I am about to share that really helped changed the way my day goes, shifted my attitude, and keeps me sane! Then, once I established these routines, I found that I was able to balance morning work outs if I wanted to but know that I didn't need to rush to get to them, because my body did just fine with out it!
In the mornings….
- First things first: I drink a large, LARGE, glass of warm water with 1 lemon, 1-2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar, a scoop of collagen peptides and sometimes I add in mint leaves or a little ginger. My favorite brand of collagen is Vital proteins and I use the marine collagen or their beauty water in my morning drinks! It has helped with my digestion, skin, the growth of my hair, and you can see so many recipes throughout my blog in how I've incorporated it into my diet; such as in this blueberry lavender stress relief smoothie, sweet potato salad, or these no bake peanut butter bars! I really feel that it has made a significance in my overall gut health and I do feel extremely better most days when I add it into my daily routine! Back to the drink; I do this before I can barely open my eyes, before I eat, and definitely before I look at my phone. I usually drink this in bed! This helps clear my skin, wake up my system (trust me, drink this religiously everyday and you will be more regular), get my digestive track going, and hydrate my body. It is really good for you and one thing I hate skipping!
- Next, if I am taking an early morning walk, I will do a quick email check to see if anything pressing has come up. If not, I take a walk for about an hour; outside. I try to aim for 10k steps a day whether I do it first thing in the morning before breakfast or in the evening before or after dinner. It clears my mind and it is a form of meditation for me. I can just be alone with my thoughts and once again on another note; it gets my digestive system going! My mornings feel less rushed, the fresh air feels good, and I feel more grounded when I walk outside first thing. Sometimes I also schedule calls around this time too, or I call friends or family to catch up. When I was working an office job, I started to walk to work (40 minutes) instead of taking public transportation. I still felt the same affects; less rushed, getting in movement first thing, and felt more present with my day. If you can’t walk to work, maybe you can take 5, 10 minute breaks during the day - that alone can make a huge difference.
- If I take a yoga class in the morning it is usually at 8:30 or 9:30, so I will then drink the warm lemon water drink before, go over my to do list for the day, check a few emails, and head to class. I will be sharing this next week, but part of my night time routine is to write my organize my to do list the night before. Then, in the morning I will glance it over and make any adjustments and be flexible! I will wait and eat after class is over, unless it is a small snack (energy bite or handful of nuts etc) Ideally, I really just want to move my body in the morning. Doing this makes for more of a positive day, I find that I make better choices, I am happier, I feel better physically, more energetic, more productive.
- After my morning walk or morning yoga class, I get ready for the day as if I am heading into an office! Shower, get dressed, clean up my work space, get organized. It doesn’t take me too long to get ready for the mornings, quick shower, face serum, and I lay out what I am going to wear before I leave for my walk or yoga so I am quick to dress. When I had to head into an office each day, to save time every morning I would pack my lunch + snacks for the day, pick out my outfit, and have my work bag ready to go the NIGHT before, and sometimes I would make breakfast ahead of time too. I swear this saved me 30-45 minutes and made me less mental!
- Once I am organized for the day; I will admit I am not the best breakfast eater and am more of a morning snacker. I also prefer to have warm things in the morning, so I heat a turmeric milk but will add in a little cacao powder over the stove and have a few of my energy bites OR I will make a smoothie! (My smoothies usually consist of almond milk, spinach, 1/2 frozen banana, almond milk, cacao powder, cacao nibs, ground flaxseed, cinnamon, collagen, almond butter, & protein powder).
- While I have breakfast (smoothie or a hot turmeric milk) I like to have it without doing work, emails, writing, or distractions. It isn’t always possible but my digestive system responds better when I focus on my eating, it signals to my body that I am actually eating or drinking something, and I can just chill out one last time before I get going. During this time, I usually think about what I have going on during the day, the month, whether I am having a bad day, good day or check in to see how I am feeling. I try and put things in perspective during this time and those morning walks or yoga classes really help me stay more positive, feel more appreciative, and grateful especially when I am feeling super down or anxious. This is also when I do my first post for IG or blog post too! So, usually my thoughts that I am posting about on IG are what I am truly thinking in the moment and what I am going through in life. I try and be as transparent as I can. It is almost like a form of journaling for me, but I just keep it all in my head or in my notes on my phone or notepad, little thoughts every single morning.
- Once that is done, I put my phone away and conquer the most important things of the day. I schedule in when I am going to do emails, work on projects, do recipes, photos, write articles etc! I focus on one at a time. I swear you will be more productive if your phone isn’t buzzing next to you all day long.
I feel that my morning routine is actually pretty boring and simple. Wake up, hydrate, move my body, get ready for the day, start with something warm (better for you!), be mindful when you are eating (actually chew your food), then start my day. Except the difference between now and when I had to head into an office is one, obviously time plays a huge factor, but it is the way that I go about my movements. It is also a little more planned and I am doing things that I actually want to do!
To me, I would rather wake up slowly, think about what I have going on for the day, and spend a few extra minutes in peace and quiet vs. rushing in traffic to get to the gym, blacking out in a workout class I hated, rushing to get home, being late for work, forgetting my lunch, getting a migraine, feeling bloating, not going to the bathroom- something as dumb as that but everyone that suffers from digestive problems knows that, that can totally make or break your whole day! Granted every morning I can’t take the time to relax and trust me, I get up around 5:30! I start my days very early, I walk early, and make the time for it all. Now, I focus less of going going going and more on getting my mind and body right. I tune in with how I feel, what I need and go with that instead of setting an alarm clock for 5 AM because I HAVE to get to that workout class at6 AM and then I have to eat this for breakfast every single day. I would even force myself to on days I didn’t even want to go; which caused major burn outs. Now, I hardly ever feel that way and if I do, I know exactly what I need to do to re-group.
My biggest take aways now are:
- I feel more present, grateful, appreciative, and find that I can be more flexible with my days
- Starting off more relaxed and calm is a good indicator of how the rest of my day is going to go regardless of what is planned and if it starts to get hectic, I know how to bring myself back to that calm environment that was established in the morning
- Movement for mental reasons. I workout to move my body but to also find a peace of mind, get the day going, clear my head, feel good vs. something that should be forced and that needs to be done because it is part of a checklist.
- Be organized and schedule your day yet allow room for flexibility. I am more aware of what I need to do and when I need to accomplish certain tasks/emails/projects.
- I feel less guilty about not working out in the morning because I am more focused on what my body needs at the time and know that I can take classes in the evening or that I have 6 days left in the week for a class.
If you do have to go to an office every single morning and you do not have much time in the morning and maybe after work you like to meet friends for dinner/drinks or you are simply tired and hungry and want to head home…what I used to do was:
1. plan evening work outs with friends; sign up the day before then get dinner after
2. instead of always getting dinner/drinks; go for a hike, walk etc
3. pack everything the night before; breakfast, lunch, snacks, pick out your outfit, workout clothes etc. Saves SO much time! Unreal. This is when meal prepping comes in so handy! Just set aside a some time on the weekend to cook a few things up.
4. Walk to work and home from work if you can!
5. If you don’t work out in the mornings, try waking up a few minutes early to enjoy your breakfast, coffee, or whatever in total quite mode! No phone, no tv; just you, your dogs, or your significant other!
6. If you don’t have to, don’t check your emails at home, save them for when you get into the office when you show up.
7. meditate in the morning or do light stretches first thing if you can’t work out; only takes 10 minutes. Some mornings while I am waiting for breakfast or my hot drinks I just roll out my yoga mat or just use the floor and move until its ready.
8. If you do workout in the mornings; pack everything the night before, make the lemon drink at night so its ready for the morning and prepare your breakfast! (take it with you or save it for after).
9. If you live near a friend or work with a friend; often times to change up meal prepping, a friend and I used to meal prep for each other sometimes. So, I would make a few salads and she would do the same and then we would exchange the next day at work to change things up! You could also do this for breakfast. It isn’t necessary a morning routine, but it is a good way to switch things up in your diet/routine and make things less boring! I find that when I am stuck in a rut that is when I burn out fast!
10. Walk with someone at work during lunch breaks!
Hopefully these ideas will inspire you to establish a routine of your own! Obviously the times of when I do certain of my little routine things changes daily, but more often than not I need to have somewhat of a plan for the morning in order to feel my best, especially when traveling! Knowing a few things that make me feel great both mentally and physically is key because I can use these techniques when I am away from home or feeling burnt out - such as morning walks! I am sure you have routines that you like to stick to in the morning that make you feel your best. I think the most important thing for me is to always make sure that I feel grounded, connected, calm and a little organized before I begin my day versus anxious and stressed out. Plus, you do not need to have a million things that you need to establish in the morning; realistically there are 3 things that I need to do every single morning to start off my day and those 3 things that I've discovered I can take anywhere!