“Giving myself time, care, and attention in the morning has been crucial to significantly reducing my stress levels and consistently increasing my capacity to perform, have clarity, and take action.” – Aiste Gazdar Share this quote on Twitter

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Aiste Gazdar

What is your morning routine?

I get up between 4-6:00am in the morning, usually around 5:00am.

I use an alarm clock as an aid and a backup but I usually get up just before the alarm rings and spend 10-15 minutes resting and preparing to get up until the alarm goes off. The moments before fully getting up and jumping out of bed are really important to me. I say to myself ‘I am awake’ - and that goes to all levels of my being, not just the physical, but mental, emotional, and spiritual as well. I become aware of myself, stretch my body from head to toes, massage myself, take a deep breath, and then get out of bed.

In the bathroom I use cold water to make sure that all my senses are fully awake and in-tune. I wash my face, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hands, and make sure some cold water gets to the feet as well to stimulate my nervous system.

Then I start my exercise routine with something called Mayan yoga, an ancient style of native South American exercises designed to consciously stretch, move, and stimulate the heart and mind, to make sure that the energy moves harmoniously. It is a combination of gentle stretches and some vigorous movement followed by a relaxation. After Mayan yoga, which takes about forty minutes, I do a series of sun salutations finishing with a meditation and prayer.

If I am not in a rush to leave and go somewhere that day, I will use the time ‘til 8 or 9:00 in the morning for studying business-unrelated things. Subjects that really interest me, but I would otherwise never find the time to learn. I use that time to learn to play instruments, read non-fiction books, study astrology, or go for a walk in nature.

If I’m in a rush to leave somewhere, yoga and my personal studies move to a later part of the day.

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

It took a long time for me to gather the courage, discipline, and commitment to follow a routine like that, but I find it to be such a game changer.

I used to struggle to get up in the mornings, mostly because my mind associated early-rising with duty, school, obligation, conveyer-belt careers, and all the things that didn’t excite me the slightest. I purposely engineered my life so that I didn’t have any obligation to get up early - and I loved it, until I got a strong message to change a few months ago. I did and I never looked back.

I realised that waking up early in the morning sends out a very important message to myself and, without sounding too wacko, to the universe: “Hey, here I am, awake, aware, sharp, and ready with the first morning light”. I find that being conscious and awake early in the morning gives enormous power, strength, clarity, vitality, centered-awareness, and focus that evening time just cannot provide.

The more I’ve been doing this routine the more I realise that the renaissance of early mornings is not just an accident. It is a social phenomenon that brings forth within it a new age of individual self-expression. Let me explain: Socially, people used to do things they love in the evenings and at night, because most of us had conveyer-belt day-jobs and duties in the mornings that were obligatory and just had to be done.

It is pretty obvious that at least here, in the West, with the help of the technological developments and the rise of entrepreneurship, we are coming away from the industrial and post-industrial era where people’s individual dreams were crushed, oppressed, and pushed into the dark hours of the nighttime. Most of us now have full freedom and the capability to express our individual purpose, be creative, and embody our dreams into being. How lucky!

We no longer need nighttime to come out of our closets and be ourselves, we have a freedom and an enormous power of mornings to do what we love and make a statement to ourselves and the world. What a powerful transformation it is!

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

I pretty much went from HAVING to get up early for school or work, to NOT HAVING to get up early when working for myself, to LOVING getting up early and doing what I love. It sums it up pretty well.

In terms of other rituals, I went from being less conscious about the mornings (starting the day by checking emails, getting stressed out, rushing, and not leaving any time for myself), to consciously allowing myself to prepare for the day, protecting myself from stress or unexpected calls or emails until I am fully able to handle them.

Giving myself time, care, and attention in the morning has been crucial to significantly reducing my stress levels and consistently increasing my capacity to perform, have clarity, and take action.

What time do you go to sleep?

Oh this one is a good one and an absolutely essential part to a successful morning routine.

I do my absolute best to wrap up all work stuff by 8:00pm. Between 8:00pm and 9:00pm I wind down by either reading a book, meditating, or taking a bath. I then spend a few minutes giving thanks for the day and setting an intention for the following day.

Between 9:00pm and 10:00pm I am most likely in bed and asleep. It is important for me to get enough sleep, so I make sure I have at least 6-8 hours before I have to get up. Otherwise, the routine becomes unsustainable. I do find, however, that the earlier I go to bed (say, 9:00pm) the less sleep I need to feel amazing, vital, and rested.

Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?

The snooze button used to be a really bad habit of mine. I curbed it by putting the phone with alarm just outside my bedroom door, which means that I have to actually get up to switch it off. This method works, most of the time. What works even better is setting a clear conscious intention to get up each morning.

How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?

I usually have green tea with fresh mint around 7:00am, but I don’t eat until about 9-10:00am. Sometimes I skip breakfast altogether and eat around 11-12:00pm.

Typical breakfast is a nutrient-packed plant-based smoothie made by either me or my husband, or oats porridge in winter, or just a handful of pine nuts and bee pollen. Very simple stuff, I don’t really like fussing about breakfast much, as I’m too excited about getting on with my day.

How about morning meditation?

My morning meditation is probably the most important aspect of each day. I see it as ‘making your bed’ for the day - whatever external or internal struggles I might have, meditation is the opportunity to iron things out from the other side of conscious awareness. Without any thinking or doing - just by becoming super aware of the vastness, depth, and richness of my being. Once in that state, everything falls in the right place, even if I don’t yet know what those things are.

Honestly, I could really do with more meditation. Currently I do about 15-20 minutes in the morning, and the same in the evening.

Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?

Checking email first thing is the morning is one of the worst things I can think of. It can affect my energy for the whole day.

I only turn my email on when I’m fully ready to face anything, and I’m ready for action. Usually this is between 9-10:00am in the morning. I don’t like leaving it until the afternoon as the energy of the afternoon is different and not the most conducive to addressing the important stuff.

Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?

No! I use as few apps as possible, and I do my best to keep not just my bedroom, but my whole morning space technology free. I use Basecamp to manage my projects with my team and sharable calendars to make sure my schedule is available to everyone.

How soon do you check your phone in the morning?

Aside from turning my alarm off, the first things I check on my phone, around 8-9:00am, is various social media updates for Wild Food Cafe. I am just way too curious and excited about the communications coming from our community on different social media platforms; photos, videos, press, or articles that have been published about us; so I do that.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Doing my morning practices, yoga, and meditation. Creating a clear schedule for the day, syncing it with my husband and business partner, and making sure that I am well prepared for the day, whatever I might be doing. My days vary a lot, so it very much keeps me on my toes.

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

Water. I drink around a litre of water first thing in the morning, followed by that green tea with fresh mint after exercise.

Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?

I don’t really have clearly defined weekends (I often work on weekends), which means I have to carve out ‘weekends’ in my week, whenever I can.

I try my best to make sure I take regular breaks and have at least two days off each week. The days off often happen to be after a late night out, either working or socialising, so I tend to get up a bit later, at around 8 or 9:00am. I find that a few relaxed mornings a week are so nourishing. On those days the routine is different. I tend to avoid email and social media altogether and have at least one day a week technology-free. Needless to say that doesn’t always happen! I tend to have a more relaxed breakfast, a long walk in nature, or just get busy with tidying our home.

On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?

On the days I’m not at home I tend to get up very early and spend some time meditating and setting an intention for the day. I might skip the exercise routine, depending on the environment I am in.

What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?

I just roll with it! I forgive myself, be nice and loving to myself, and do better the next day.

If I fail to follow my morning routine I do my best to catch up with my me-time and meditation in a yoga class, or go to a sauna or for a walk for some chill time. In extreme situations I’ll go for a coffee or massage.


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