What is your morning routine?
My morning routine is to get up at 5:30am, meditate with my boyfriend for fifteen minutes, and then, just as the sun begins to rise, we take the dogs for a walk along the beach.
When we get back to the house I do a short 10-15 minute yoga class while my boyfriend makes breakfast. After breakfast, and before diving into anything else, I sit and free write 1,000 words; literally a stream of consciousness without editing for style.
What time do you go to sleep?
Generally, I try to be in bed before 9:00pm, and ideally I’ll be asleep by 9:30pm if I’m to get my eight hours (and I do like my eight hours), but sometimes it slips to as late as 10:00pm (gasp!).
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
Back when I lived in the UK, with my stressful job and two-hour commute to London, I used an alarm every day and I was a prolific snoozer; so much so that my alarm actually went off an hour earlier than when I needed to get up!
When I first left that life behind, jumping on a plane headed to Thailand nearly three years ago now, I gave up using an alarm clock for a long time. But these days, in the name of productivity and so that I can experience the glory of sunrise, I set two alarms; one for 5:15am and the other for 5:30am. I’ve managed to quit the snoozathons in favour of a two-staged wake-up; my body still needs at least one warning!
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
I eat breakfast after I’ve meditated, walked the dogs, and done my yoga, which usually works out at around 6:30am. Typically I’ll have fruit with yoghurt and granola, and/or toast with peanut butter. On Sunday mornings we also indulge in pancakes (with banana and Nutella) as a weekly treat.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
I do at least three workouts a week, but I actually prefer to work out later in the day as it gets me moving after I’ve inevitably spent too many hours in front of the computer.
I guess you could call my morning walk plus a short yoga practice a workout routine, but I tend to think of a workout as being those sessions that leave me dripping in sweat and gasping for breath. Those always take place later in the day.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I tend to check my email first thing, but I read recently that our most productive and creative hours are first thing in the morning, and we miss out on them when we use that energy for things that don’t require creativity or productivity, like checking emails.
I’m aiming to change that this year.
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
The meditation, yoga, and free writing 1,000 words. I feel like this powerful trio helps me to start the day in a mindful way.
The yoga helps me to re-connect with my (often achey) body, the meditation and free writing help me to get my (somewhat over-analytical) brain to chill out a little, and together they make a huge impact on how the rest of the day goes.
Heaven help those around me if I skip out on all three for too many days in a row!
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
In theory yes, there isn’t really any part of my routine that I couldn’t do at a friend’s house or a hotel. But in practice, no. I often end up feeling fragmented and off balance when travelling, and so really I must try harder to stick to my morning routine no matter what.
What do you do if you fail to follow your routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
I never fully recover.
Seriously, if I skip my routine, it’s more than likely that I’m going to have one of “those” days. When nothing really gets done, other than falling down the deep, dark rabbit hole of social media, and I end up going to bed feeling defeated and disappointed in myself.
Photo of Caroline by Greg Goodman.