What is your morning routine?
New year, new ritual, amiright? I usually gauge what time I go to bed by what time I need to be up. I value sleep, but I also value getting my work done. As a new entrepreneur, I am fine-tuning that balance every day.
I typically start my morning anywhere between 8:00-9:00am with a meditation. I prefer guided meditations through Insight Timer, but even sitting in silence focusing on your breathing is a great way to clear your mind and set the path you want to take for the day. After meditating, I come upstairs to make my favorite morning coffee using a collagen-and-superfood creamer. Then I take my pup to the park to run it out. I end my morning ritual by journaling and jotting down five things I am grateful for. I think it is incredibly important to have goals and visions of the future we want to build, but we must also give thanks for the amazing things we have built thus far.
My morning routine lasts about forty-five minutes total. I usually aim to finish around 9:30-10:00am, so I can hit the ground running and start the day productively.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
I am always fine-tuning my rituals to accommodate the needs of where I am in my life. I have been going through an incredible amount of changes and adjustments in my life recently, and I found that I needed to calm my mind and refocus on the beauty that surrounds me as opposed to the long list of things that need to get done.
My ritual, like myself, is constantly evolving, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
A couple years ago I made a big change in my life: I cut out cigarettes, sugar, and prescription anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication; and I took my first yoga class in seven years. Since that day I have constantly evolved and changed my routine. I don’t believe one blueprint works for all. I assess what my needs are at the time and how I can accommodate them. I am working to go longer without grabbing my phone the minute I open my eyes, but that is just my anxiety rearing its ugly head!
It’s only been two years since I cut those things out, but it’s always a struggle and a daily practice. Cutting cigarettes was easy, but cutting medication was honestly the hardest thing I’ve ever endured, both mentally and physically. I now feel healthier, stronger, and, for the first time, confident in my perseverance and motivation for change and growth. If you can make it through your hardest battle, you start to realize how strong you really are.
What time do you go to sleep?
I try to get to bed by midnight, but these days it’s inching closer to 1:00am. Sleep means the world to me, but often I go down the rabbit hole and work through dinner and well into the evening. I like to “unwind” from work prior to going to bed, so I usually spend thirty minutes reading or watching mindless TV to take my mind off things and get ready to hit the hay.
Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
Every night before bed I set my clothes out for the next day. I want to make as few decisions as possible in the morning to ensure I am utilizing my time effectively. I also draft up any important emails while I’m sharp and in work mode, so that I can hit the ground running and maximize efficiency.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
I try to eat oatmeal or toast, but I typically enjoy my coffee and eat something around lunch time. I don’t intentionally fast but find that I’m rarely hungry in the mornings, especially when I have a big to-do list!
Do you have a morning workout routine?
I try to work out three or four times a week, but I’m also human and acknowledge that that number ebbs and flows. There are weeks where I’m at a different class every day, meeting with new studio owners and growing Softwear one meeting a time; and then there are weeks where I haven’t punched a bag at all and really feel it!
I try to exercise not only for the physical benefits but for the mental ones as well. There’s nothing more rewarding than getting the aggravation out and seeing things a bit more clearly. If I can make it happen, I will; if I can’t, I acknowledge it and try again tomorrow.
Can you tell us more about your morning meditation routine?
I love guided meditations! I have a very busy mind that loves to drive me insane. I usually do a gratitude meditation that incorporates breathing techniques, muscle activation and relaxation, and mantras to set the day up as stress-free and positively as I can. Our minds are powerful tools, and once you get the hang of it you can truly manifest anything you desire.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
Guilty as charged! I like to be the first in the inbox of whomever I am reaching out to; that way, if a client has an opening or can meet the same day, I am proactive and maximize my results.
Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?
I love Insight Timer. I typically listen to the meditations by my good friend Manoj Dias in the morning, and at night I love to get to sleep with rain and nature noises. Escaping the concrete jungle for a few minutes mentally is what helps me doze off easily.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
I hate to admit it, but I check my phone pretty much immediately. As a business owner, I have to be the one to take charge and solve all problems. I usually check my phone to see if there are any pressing matters; if there is nothing, I’ll snooze for a few minutes before getting my meditation started.
With my anxiety I like to know what is going on and where my attention needs to lie soon after waking up.
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
I love to sleep in on the weekends! My favorite thing is to avoid the alarm, wake up very leisurely, and go to a midday boxing or yoga class. Weekends are the only time I can shut down and try to get some relaxation in. When needed, I put a few hours of work in, but I try to avoid that when possible.
On special occasions I’m up early to babysit my four-year-old nephew, but when he’s not needing his Aunt Sa Sa, I am cuddled in bed pretending the world does not exist for just a few minutes!
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
Failure is part of life. We cannot expect to be perfect all the time, so accepting that about ourselves is the first step. There are days where I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, in a bad mood, or stressed beyond belief. If my morning is thrown off, that’s okay! We can change anything at any moment. I make sure that at some point, even in the shower, I take a moment to repeat to myself, “You are protected, you are on the right path,” to redirect my thoughts and change the trajectory of the day.
Keeping rituals and our morning routines realistic is what matters most. We all want to go overboard and make a million changes, but that’s not a sustainable practice and will only lead to burnout and an even more judgmental inner voice. Start small and be gentle with yourself; give yourself praise when you do stick to your routine, and show compassion to yourself when you don’t. Change is gradual and incremental, so bearing that in mind will help you stick to your new routine and feel good about the changes you do make!
Our recommended book this week is Sleep by Steven W. Lockley, Russell Foster. 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.