“She is her morning routine, her morning routine is her”
How you start your day is how you live your LIFE.
Without my morning routine, I am nothing.
Think I’m exaggerating?
It wasn’t until late this summer that I realized how important a morning routine is. I was having some serious post-travel-change-of-season digestive issues and was wondering WTF was wrong with my body.
I began prioritizing my morning routine as the most important part of my day, and making choices that reflected that priority. I feel okay sacrificing certain things to keep up this aspect of my self care, because I know how important it is for my mental and physical health.
Every person’s morning routine is going to look a bit different. There is no “right” way to have one. It depends on your life choices, DNA, and current life circumstances. But know wherever you’re at, you are worthy of a morning routine, and it is totally possible to implement one, no matter what.
Whether you are starting your own company, have kids, work the night shift, love a good 4am CrossFit class with a Bulletproof coffee in hand or need to be at your desk job by 7am, all morning routines are sacred, part of you, and RIGHT, because they are yours.
What matters most is that your morning routine makes you feel good and is realistic for your particular lifestyle.
I know a morning routine can seem like a huge amount of dedication and use of time, but it’s all about how you prioritize it.
A morning routine helps preserve our mental energy
Routines help us become happier, make better life decisions, and up our productivity levels. I, for one, know the realness of decision fatigue. Decision fatigue is the notion that we only have a certain amount of energy to expel each day. This amount of energy given to us is based on our diet, DNA, biology, environment, and various lifestyle choices. If all that energy gets used up in the morning by hitting snooze, figuring out what workout class we are going to take, or what’s on the breakfast docket for the day, we’re adding unnecessary stress to our lives and tiring our brains out with choices. It’s the same reason Jenna Lyons ate the same thing every day while she was CEO at J. Crew.
Having a morning routine sets the stage so all that is decided for you. It’s a routine. You do it without thinking and it becomes part of you.
Personally, my routine is the foundation of my mental and physical health.
When I do not have my routine, my stress increases, my whole day feels off, and my body reacts immediately. I feel jittery, unsettled, and like I just can’t catch a break. Something just feels OFF.
A morning routine can keep our digestive systems healthy
To be honest, perhaps the most noticeable thing is I can’t poop if I don’t follow my morning routine. My bowel movements are literally in a codependent relationship with my morning routine.
You can imagine the disorder and stress this causes when I have…
A friend staying with me
Travel or spend the night anywhere but home
Go to bed super late, eat a late dinner, and don’t give my body enough time to digest/eliminate properly
Have work, a meeting, or an emergency and need to rush out of the house first thing
Then the pooping window is gone.
If I don’t go within the first 3-4 hours of waking up, I won’t go to the bathroom at all, and chances are more than likely I won’t go to the bathroom again the next day. This is due to the stress of not passing a bowel.
Constipation has a snowballing effect for me. It’s caused by stress, and is made worse by more stress. The longer I go without going, the more uncomfortable and tense I become, and then it gets harder and harder to pass a bowel. If I am not following my routine, it is not uncommon for me to go 3-4 days without pooping. And let me tell you: being backed up is really uncomfortable. It feels like there’s a big heavy bean bag sitting on my gut, cutting into my stomach, and messing with my appetite. I have some tips on the blog for constipation here.
Yes, it’s annoying having a sensitive digestive system. I have to look out for my gut in ways other people don’t. I wish I could be the kind of person who can travel for 7 months and never have IBS issues, or who can stay up all night and eat and then happily crap in the morning. But that just ain’t me. And to be honest, it does get into the way of my life. BUT-I’ve just come to accept that and honor it. I take it as a cue of what I’m supposed to be focusing on. I have to turn down a lot of events, hang outs, and a flexible vibe because of it. I’m in bed by 9 pm every night with a book. Sometimes I’ll treat myself with a TV show, but not every night. And sometimes, it sucks, but at least I know I’m taking really freaking good care of myself, and can show up for my friends, work, and life in a more meaningful and profound way because of it.
A morning routine sets the body on a schedule so it knows when to eat, digest food, and eliminate food properly. Think about it: dogs go to the bathroom every day in the same area of the yard at the same time. It’s like clockwork. We’re animals, too, and our bodies are on a watch, whether we know it or not. Eating, going to bed, and waking up around the same time each day helps the body eliminate properly and can prevent constipation, bloating and gas.
My morning routine started slow
My morning routine is pretty lengthy nowadays (it’s around 2 1/2 hours) but it wasn’t always like that! I’ve had a morning routine on and off for years. First, it started with a no scrolling-through-my-phone-rule the first hour of waking up. Then I added my matcha routine. Then, meditation. Then, tongue scraping. It didn’t all happen at once, and yes, it slips to the wayside when life gets busy.
While diving deeper into Ayurveda this year with this book above, it all came full circle for me. On all the days, weeks, or months when I did not have a steady routine and my life was all over the place (because let’s face it, that happens), it’s not a pretty site and that is when my IBS and stress symptoms would flare up.
Tips for morning routine:
GO TO BED EARLY. I can’t stress this enough. This will help you wake up earlier so that you have time to do all the things you want to do in your routine. If you complain about not having enough time in the morning, I don’t wanna hear it! That just means you’re not going to bed early enough. Sleep is so important. If you don’t get enough of it, you are putting yourself in a position to be more moody, crave sugar, get sick, forget your keys, have trouble concentrating, get high blood pressure, injure yourself in a workout, and lower your libido so your sex life might suffer. The key here is to get an adequate night’s rest so that you wake up feeling refreshed, rested, and ready to tackle the day. To make sure you’re getting adequate sleep, come up with your ideal wakeup time, then count backwards 7-8 hours. That’s when you should be in my bed ASLEEP by.
No phone, computer, or electronics for at least 2 hours before bedtime.
Wake up at the same time every morning. Use an alarm if you have to. Overtime, you might find you’ll waking up naturally if you’re getting to bed early enough.
Put a big glass cup of water next to your bed before you go to sleep to drink first thing in the morning or throughout the night if you wake up and get thirsty.
Buy lemons for lemon water! And a 50 cent candle for you to light. Small investments make a big difference.
The night before, put your phone on either Airplane mode or Do Not Disturb. In the new iOS update you can customize your settings so your phone goes on Do Not Disturb routinely each night.
Get blackout shades or sleep with an eye mask. I love this one from Saje because it’s superrrrr soft.
Set your clothes out the night before.
Baby steps. If you are a not naturally an early-to-riser, fret not. Start with 10 minute increments at a time. If you currently wake up at 8am every morning, set your alarm for 7:50am for 7 days, then 7:40am for 7 days, then 7:30am, until you reach your desired wakeup time. Just be sure to go bed 10 minutes earlier each night so that you stick to those 7-8 hours.
My morning routine:
5:30am Wake up naturally or with an alarm. Whichever comes first.
Get up immediately, no snooze!
I pee and wash my hands.
Turn on 1 soft light or light a candle- nothing too crazy. I don’t want shock my eyes. I want to slowly wake my body up.
Go straight to the kitchen and turn on a kettle of water.
Cut a lemon wedge, squeeze it into a mug.
(I do all of this half asleep.)
While the water boils, I go to the bathroom, splash some water on my face.
I tongue scrape my tongue 10x.
The kettle is ringing. Add boiling water over the lemon into a mug.
Bring it over, along with 1 liter of tepid Berkey water, to my meditation corner.
Time to meditate. Light a candle, and set my timer for anywhere from 10-30 minutes, whatever I have time for.
I sit in silence or guided meditation for 10-30 minutes as my hot lemon water cools, focusing on just being present for whatever comes up. I connect to my breath. The thoughts still come up, my to-do list, emails I have to send, etc. But because I am still in this dream-like state, I find it much easier to get quiet, focus on my breath, and get centered.
Immediately after meditating, I sip my lemon water slowly and whip out my journal. I write whatever comes forward. I write about my thoughts, feelings, dreams I had, and visions or intuitive messages I received during meditation. Intuitive messages come forward to me usually while meditating. It’s when I do my most clear thinking.
Then I tarot. As I shuffle my tarot deck, I ask a question that I want clarity on. Usually it’s, “please show me what I need to know as I head into this day”, or “show me how you can use me today”. And pull a card. Then I’ll journal some more about the card if I feel called.
By this time, my body is usually read to pass a bowel, if I’m lucky. Hoorah!
Then I’ll get my workout clothes on and either do some yoga at home, head outside for a walk/run, or go to the gym. I love to move my body at least 5-6 days a week and find exercising first thing in the morning best for my body.
I then come home, and continue to hydrate with water as I get ready to shower.
(Have you noticed I have yet to check email, look at texts, or scroll on IG?)
I dry brush (3x a week), shower, then apply oil all over my body. I like to use coconut oil in the spring and summer, and sesame oil in the fall and winter.
Breakfast/tea time! I like to start my day with either a matcha latte, chai, earl grey latte, or another form of gentle caffeine. Sometimes I add adaptogens, nut milks, or coconut butter, depending on my mood.
After I’ve started my tea, it’s time for breakfast. In the spring and summer, it’s usually a smoothie or a bowl of coconut yogurt. In the fall/winter, it’s usually a veggie stir fry or some soaked steel cut oats with almond butter. I love gluten free toast all year round with various seasonal toppings.
After breakfast, it’s time to work. Whether I work from home, or go to my remote office, or even go to meetings, every day is different for me, so it’s really nice to have my morning routine stable and secure.
In all of life’s uncertainties, it’s really nice to have a dependable, structured way to start my day, and I can definitely feel the benefits of my routine- physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Do you have a morning routine? If so, what does it look like? Share below so we can get inspired and give each other ideas on what to incorporate!