My Morning Routine

Smile in the mirror. Do that every morning and you’ll start to see a big difference in your life.

Yoko Ono.

My relationship with routine has been, paradoxically, unpredictable.

i-can-relate-totally-me.jpg

But the older I get the more I crave the nourishment that comes along with having a reliable beginning and ending to each day. A good morning routine helps me deal with the stress, depression, moodiness, or boredom that may arise at home, on my commute, or at work.

With inspiration from blogs, articles, and my own intuition, here are the things that I’m trying in order to create a happy, positive morning!

+ 6:30-7:00: Wake up!

Step one: get out of bed, turn on the electric kettle, and head to the bathroom. I get back into bed for some extra cozy time while I wait for my water to boil, drink a glass of water and take a probiotic. I’ve recently committed to writing in my new Five Minute Journal before doing anything too complicated.

+ 7:30: Seated meditation

I make my coffee (lately that is Philz Philharmonic blend w/ Califia toasted coconut almondmilk) and head to the living room for morning meditation. I’ve begun incorporating Metta (also called Lovingkindness) in the final minutes of my usual 20-30 minute concentration practice, which is supposed to cultivate increased empathy and patience but for the moment hasn’t gone past the stage of just feeling a little goofy.

FullSizeRender-1.jpg

+ 8:00: Exercise

This summer I’ve consciously been less regimented about my workouts. Anything from a good old fashioned 6 mile run to a half hour of intuitive, DIY living room yoga works. If I’m feeling especially low-energy or uninspired I might just do 15 minutes of simple, light stretching. I’m working on listening to what my body wants here! Sometimes it’s something more intense, and other times it’s enough to just get the blood moving a bit.

+ 8:45: Shower and breakfast

Almost nothing beats a post-run hot shower (in my opinion it’s like half of the reason to even do a morning run in the first place). To up the self-care ante I’ve been using a few drops of eucalyptus oil and a fun natural scrub (right now I’m using the delicious Fresh Cocoa Body Exfoliant) to give my morning shower a spa-like quality.

For breakfast at home I usually like to make toasted Ezekiel bread with avocado and a fried egg, or some similar version of this. But I have to admit that lately I’ve been grabbing a green juice or smoothie on my way to work (my current fave is a spirulina-spinach thing from Native Juice here in San Francisco) and sipping at my desk throughout the morning.

That’s it! These few small things are actually likely to put me in a better mood, if only temporarily. 🙂 There is so much advice out there on creating a “perfect” morning routine, and while a lot of these tips are helpful and inspiring, there is no one-size-fits-all. The best version of your morning is of course that one that allows you to feel strong and ready to go after the day. And for me, I feel more grounded when I start my day with some meditation, movement, a steamy shower and a little food! I’ve especially learned I need some extra chill time because I get really stressed and out of whack if I leap out of bed and start rushing around. However, I have a good friend who is completely the opposite. His body and brain just doesn’t work right before 10am and he needs way more stimulation to get going. So my morning routine would be totally counterproductive and leave him feeling sluggish for hours!

I’m interested to hear about your own morning routine. What things do you like to do to begin your day? And what about the self-described “non-morning” folks?

 

Advertisements

“Instead of telling the world what you’re eating for breakfast, you can use social networking to do something that’s meaningful.”

Edward Norton. Sorry dude.

Nutrition is hard y’all. Among my weaknesses are cookies, cheese, french baguettes, beer and bourbon (and gin and wine). And I think that I love pizza only slightly less than I love my own flesh and blood, Darwin.

Lighten up, Darwin — I’m just kidding!

Lighten up, Darwin — I’m just kidding!

But one of the things I’ve got going for me is that I like to eat a healthy breakfast just about every day. Er, minus the Himalayan-sized amount of french toast I was served at brunch this weekend.

Really, this was an obscene anomaly.

Really, this was an obscene anomaly.

Normally I have 4 rotating breakfast options and I wake up actually looking forward to making and eating them. Like many folks I was a breakfast refuser for so long, but since getting into the habit a few years back I find it’s not only the full belly that I enjoy, but also the ritual of just sitting down in the morning at the table and spacing out a bit before the day starts.

Breakfast Taco

Sonoma-Organic-Wraps

These corn tortillas by La Tortilla Factory are worth waking up for. Add a scrambled egg, avocado, salsa, and a generous shake of Burn Baby Burn hot sauce (aka the best hot sauce ever), fold it up and munch away.

Date Shake

DSC_0061_03-400x600
I’m koo-koo crazy for dates lately, and I’m happy to have found this simple and flexible recipe from Food Doodles. This is a great basic shake with 3 ingredients — dates, almond milk, and banana — making it easy and fun to add creative extras like ground flax, chia seeds, greens, almond or vanilla extract…

Kefir, cereal, and fruits

2014-02-04 07.46.552014-02-04 07.42.48

2014-02-04 07.49.44

Probiotics! I make my own kefir, which I find has a more pleasing texture than the store-bought stuff.

On long run days I make a loaded oatmeal with peanut butter, chia and flax seeds, banana, and currants.

Toasted Ezekiel Bread Topped w/ Good Goodness.
2014-03-19 09.21.53

Almost always an avocado and hummus, and sometimes a fried or boiled egg or leftovers (like the greens above).

Do you have a breakfast repertoire or do you wing it?

“I only have ‘yes’ men around me. Who needs ‘no’ men?”

Mae West.

Image

It’s climate-change spooky warm here in California, but I can feel the season on me too. Some have the special super power to flip the mental switch from holiday celebration to just another winter, and up and reset their lifestyle and eating habits on January 2.

Are these the Optimists, New Year Resolutionists, Health Evangelists, the Consistenly Inspired? Are they simply very, very strong?

I suppose I need a grace period in the form of 29 days or so. I’m fairly at peace with my fitness regimen for now, but struggle to maintain the concentration necessary for a consistently healthful diet. Because in the darkness of winter, “Nos” and “Shalt nots” feel especially dreary, so it began last Saturday, with a flurry of “Yes.”

Yes! Make healthy eating a priority in February!

Yes! Eat vegetables and berries and apples and fish, and kefir and tempeh and tea.

 Yes! Do my best keep record of my food intake in the form of calories, unprocessed foods, and macronutrient ratios (I endeavor for 50-30-20 Carbs-Fats-Protein.  But historically, when concentrating on healthy eating I usually end up with less carbs and more fat, and don’t really worry about it as long as I’m eating a lot of vegetables and the fats are natural).

Yes! Pay special attention to areas where I tend to fall behind: Iron intake, sugar, and drinking plenty of water.

Yes! Enjoy 3 satisfying meals a day. Intuition and listening to hunger cues informs healthy snacking, rather than boredom/routine/immediate availability of food.

Yes! Feel my body move. For sport and mental well-being. Walk, bike, run, yoga, lift weights.

Yes! Drink wine sometimes, usually with food. Have a cocktail or two on the weekend, sipped luxuriously.

Yes! Calmly and responsibly break a rule when the occasion arises (SF Beer Week, wine tasting with out-of-town family late this month).

I wonder if the secret to good health is openness and brightness and happiness and positivity and yes, and if the secret to all of this is good health in return. Who should care one way or another about well-being if we’re not inspired to love ourselves and feel empathy for others? What masks as narcissism, how do we find truth? Is this hard for everybody, and why is it hard for me? It must be painful to reflect the light of the universe all the time, and everyday people do ghastly unthinkable things.

Is there always yes, really? Does it hover above a dangling piece of curved glass, like a secret orchid, waiting for us to find it?