What is your morning routine?
On most days, I wake up without an alarm clock, put on my workout gear, and head to the pilates gym down the street for a session with my trainer. He has a background in P90x, CrossFit, and pilates, and I love how he weaves high-intensity training with core work. It kicks my ass and leaves me buzzing with energy.
I then pop by the local grocer for a green juice with lemon, ginger, and cayenne pepper. I grab a stool at their window and dive into morning pages; a stream-of-consciousness writing tool I use for self-connection and accessing inner whispers.
Thirty or so minutes later, I have a writing concept or two in the works, and I’m feeling jazzed. I head home for a green smoothie and dance in the living room. The rest of my day is typically open for writing and making art.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
I’ve had variations of this routine; movement, writing, nourishment, for a few years now.
Last year, my fiancé and I moved into a loft in Dumbo (Brooklyn) where, with my interior designer Mom’s help, we put together a really inspiring creative space. It blends giant post-it walls with separate analog and digital spaces with a solid speaker system and a fridge filled with fresh fruits, almond butter, and kale.
When I wake up and look around, it feels like I could be anywhere in the world which feels grounding in the hustle and bustle of New York. Our indoor palm tree Zoë helps keep that question at bay.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
It’s funny you ask that.
I recently came across a notebook of mine from about three years ago. At that point in my life I was working around the clock and dating a man where I didn’t feel completely safe in our relationship. In giant letters on many pages I wrote: OVERWHELMED. OFF-CENTER. NEED TO PRIORITIZE SELF-CARE. I could barely recognize myself in the journal entries.
For many years, my morning routine was a result of how other people expected me to show up. I was overwhelmed and off-center because I was ignoring the messages my body was sending me.
I thought that to thrive in the world of technology and entrepreneurship (the industries I was working in at the time), I must work around the clock, eat lunch at my desk, and wear my lack of sleep like a badge of honor. There seemed to be a high degree of human doing-ness, and I felt a complete void of human being-ness.
So I paused. I slowed down. I started asking myself what rituals and routines supported my creative flow. I got curious about the environments and interactions that led to my greatest work. What I discovered was a natural rhythm of productivity. Thriving was a matter of aligning with and trusting that flow.
For instance, on most days, I go to sleep by 2:00am and rise by 10:30am. I sleep about an hour more in the winter, and enjoy rising earlier in the spring. I have the most energy for project launches in September, mid-Jan/early-Feb, and May. I love to go off the grid in July, and slow down in December.
As a maker, I thrive with large spaces of creation each day, and tend to avoid meetings, phone calls, and technology for long stretches of time. I work best in sprints so I go all in for days or weeks at a time with pause and recovery in between. My best writing emerges around 11:00pm and ideas tend to flow so long as I’m challenging and inspiring myself.
Initially, stepping into this way of being brought about a sense of guilt. I wondered if I could really take this much ownership of my schedule and I worried what other people would think. What I eventually realized is that we each have a flow that works best for us. What works for me may not work for you. The important thing is to get curious around finding your own unique flow, and then creating the space for those around you to do the same.
What time do you go to sleep?
Typically by 2:00am, unless I’m falling asleep with words whispering in my ears. If that’s the case, I’ll grab pen and paper, and roll with it.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
I’m a big proponent of giving my body the amount of sleep it naturally needs to function optimally, so I rarely use alarm clocks.
I (almost) never schedule meetings before noon, and with workouts at 10:30am, that’s about the earliest I leave the house. This allows for a solid 8-9 hours of shuteye.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
I drink green juice on an empty stomach (for optimal absorption of nutrients) within 75 minutes of waking up. I then make a smoothie within 30 minutes of that. I’ve been sipping smoothies almost every morning now for a year and I look forward to the mega boost of energy every morning.
Do you have a morning meditation routine?
I see meditation as any activity that either a) quiets the mind, or b) allows you to access source.
For example, when my fiancé cooks, he is in total meditation non-thinker mode. When I write, I’m in full-on channeling mode. I don’t think we need to be cross-legged on a pillow to meditate. I have to say though, I’ve really been digging the Headspace app for a daily dose of calm.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
It depends. Sometimes I’m so excited about what’s happening with The Daily Clue project and its members that I hop on email and our private group to tune into the conversations and reflections right away. It feels like a shot of morning espresso.
Since I can get sucked into the internet hole if I’m not mindful, lately I’ve been challenging myself to turn my phone and computer off at night and turn it back on the next day once my workout, breakfast, and writing is complete. Creating this space gives me that much more presence and focus when I do dive in.
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
As copy and pasted from the “Morning Ritual” event description on my calendar from 10:00am to 12:30pm each day:
- warm water, lemon, turmeric, and raw honey
- green juice
- morning pages
- make fucking magic
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
Within about fifteen minutes of waking, I drink warm water and lemon with either cayenne pepper or turmeric and a bit of raw, unfiltered, organic honey. It’s really hydrating and kickstarts the digestive process.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
When I’m on the go, I aim to follow this formula: move, express, nourish. So long as I move my body, express through writing, and nourish my body with delicious food, I’m good to go.
When I travel, I step even more deeply into the open, spontaneous, and flexible version of myself - where I’m attuned to the sacred treasures and wisdom abound. I sometimes miss the smoothies, though I LOVE food and enjoy immersing myself in local cultures.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
I forgive myself. If I’m not kind and loving with myself, I can always find ways to be disappointed. By having compassion, I can easily jump back in.
I will say, though, since I absolutely love my routine and look forward to it each morning, it’s rare for me not to follow it. Once I let go of the routine other’s expected of me and instead designed my own, all else fell into place.
Our recommended book this week is The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. We only recommend three things a week that we believe will be of interest to our readers. Please take a moment to check it out.