“Waking up early, connecting with nature, and having my quiet time are priorities to me, and they are non-negotiable.” – Danette May Share this quote on Twitter

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Danette May

What is your morning routine?

In addition to finding time for myself each day, I have to get two little girls ready for school and manage a full-time business with my husband. I typically wake up around 5:30am. I love being up when everyone is still sleeping, when there is a stillness in our home. My favorite ritual that keeps me grounded every day is watching the sunrise while I sip on warm lemon water.

Once I exit my bedroom, I immediately heat water, pour it into my favorite mug, and squeeze juice from half of a lemon into it. I do this daily because it is one of the healthiest ways to begin your morning. Lemon juice balances your pH levels and guides your body to “healthy” mode. I love this morning routine, and I never start my day without it.

After watching the sunrise, I sit for a minute and read or do soul writing. Once everyone begins to emerge from their beds (around 6:30am), I make myself my delicious Cacao Bliss coffee, which is packed with superfoods and provides the energy I need to take charge of my morning. I then help my girls pack their lunches and send them off to school.

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At around 7:30am I head to the mountains with my one-year-old lab. This is an extraordinary time for me. The crisp mountain air, the smell of fresh pine, and the barren nature trails light my soul on fire. As I walk, I declare my “I am” affirmations, such as “I am love. I am successful. I am happy. I am inspired.”

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

I have been doing this routine for approximately four years. It changes slightly depending on the season. However, 99 percent of the time I get up before everyone else, watch the sunrise, and sip my lemon water.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

My routine has been working for me, so I do not deviate too much from it. I travel a lot for work, so I try to be flexible with my morning routine, but two things remain constant.

  1. Lemon water: If I don’t have access to fresh lemons, I’ll use lemon essential oil.
  2. Getting out in nature. If I’m in New York or Los Angeles for work, I still get up early and walk outside while expressing gratitude to myself and reciting my “I am” affirmations.

What time do you go to sleep?

My body typically starts to wind down around 8:30pm, and that’s when I’m ready to light a few candles, do some stretching, tuck my girls into bed, and relax. By 9:30 or 10:00pm, I’m usually sound asleep.

Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?

As a family, we usually gather in one of the girls’ rooms. We sit around sharing highlights of our day, what is on the agenda for tomorrow, and praying. This is a very sacred time for me. It keeps me grounded with my faith and my family, which I believe fuels all that I do in the world and also prepares me for the next day.

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

I set the alarm on my phone for 5:15am. My husband has gotten mad at me for hitting snooze, as it wakes him up if it goes off twice.

I’ve noticed that my body responds differently to the alarm in the fall and winter versus spring and summer. It is a lot easier for me to get up without hitting snooze during the warmer months as I do not want to miss the rising sun, which appears earlier at this time of year. In the fall and winter months, I turn off the alarm but usually lie in my warm bed, slightly dozing until 5:30am, before starting my day.

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

It is about 8:30am before I eat breakfast. I wait until my kids are out the door and the dog has been walked. I love breakfast, so I rarely skip it. When I am traveling, I go out of my way to wake up earlier or drive somewhere to have a good breakfast. I usually have one of three things.

  1. Eggs with a slice of Ezekiel toast smeared with natural almond butter.
  2. A green smoothie filled with protein, a ton of greens, and a little bit of fruit.
  3. Homemade protein waffles topped with plain Greek yogurt and natural stevia.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

This fluctuates with the seasons. I love to run in the mountains, so in the summer months I hit the trails around 6:00am, as it is already light and I can beat the summer heat. In the winter, I tend to wait until the afternoon to work out. This typically happens before the kids get home from school.

I have no rules when I work out, except that I squeeze my workout in every day wherever I can, depending on my schedule and the time of year.

Do you have a morning meditation routine?

Meditation is essential to me. I usually visualize and do affirmations and quiet time while hiking through the mountains. This typically happens around 7:30am.

I don’t believe in one type of meditation. I feel like life is a constant moving meditation—I consider affirmations, visualization, and deep presence all as forms of meditation. Sometimes I sit and do Japa meditation around 8:30am (only when I am alone, as this is a louder meditation to call in your dreams).

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

I try to resist reading emails until around 10:00am. I have read messages during my sacred time at 6:00am when there has been a product launch or a unique project on the agenda. When I do this, I quickly discover that I am not in full alignment and I need to put my routine and self-care first. I feel it is important to own my day by reserving my mornings for me. When I allow myself to chase after people on my team or my family, I notice my day doesn’t go very smoothly.

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

On film days or days when I style my hair (which isn’t every day—vulnerable truth, right here!), I listen to uplifting YouTube messages. I have also done sleep meditations through YouTube with Jason Stephenson.

How soon do you check your phone in the morning?

Around 7:00am I briefly glance at my phone to see if anyone has contacted me. My messages are typically from family and friends, but at times I get texts on critical work-related items.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

  1. Quiet time with myself and the rising sun.
  2. Drinking lemon water before I eat or drink anything else.
  3. Being available for my family members and ensuring they have what they need to get their day off to a great start.

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

I begin each morning with one cup of warm water and the juice from half of a lemon.

How does your partner fit into your morning routine?

My husband’s routine is very similar to mine. He likes to wake up early, but not as early as me—usually between 6:00-6:30am. He also begins his day with fresh lemon water, although he always adds a couple of teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. Next, he stretches and meditates. We usually do not say anything to each other for about half-an-hour to an hour.

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

I follow the same routine on the weekend, as well. I know this may seem crazy to some people. I won’t deny it—I really love my routine. It is something I look forward to every day.

There are some weekends when I may start my routine a little later, as I sometimes wake up between 6:30-7:00am. I try not to wake up too late on the weekend, as my youngest almost never sleeps past 6:45am, and I like to get my alone time in before she wakes up. When she wakes up, she is like a wind-up toy. She is ready to talk, have breakfast, and go, go, go!

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

Yes! Even when I have long travel days or a full day of filming, meetings, or speaking engagements. Waking up early, connecting with nature, and having my quiet time are priorities to me, and they are non-negotiable.

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

It’s not very often that I don’t follow my routine. However, life happens, which can interfere with my mornings. When this happens, I don’t let it get to me or ruin my day. I just pick right back up the next morning.

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