My Morning Routine
Nat here. Figured if I wanted to get better at writing, I better start practicing :)
We all have a morning routine, even if it doesn't feel like it.
Snoozing the alarm, rushing out of the house, and eating on the go is a pretty common one these days. That feeling of being out of control is what led me to focus on my mornings in the first place.
When I first started working from home, I struggled. I can’t tell you how many days I’d look up from the computer to realize it’s 6pm. I'd feel awful that I hadn’t even made it out of the house yet.
The days just happened, my to-do list never ended, and I felt like life was getting ahead of me.
I wasn't being productive, but I didn’t know what to do about it.
But per advice from Chase Jarvis, I started focusing on my morning routine. At the start of the year I created a list of habits to start the day.
And it's been great!
Getting a handle on a few key tasks first thing changed how my days unfold. My morning routine helps me be more productive throughout the day.
Health in the Morning
This is something I often talk to nutrition clients about, too. The morning is a tough time for a lot of people.
Besides the stress of getting to work, or feeling groggy from lack of sleep, we also have naturally higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This is what wakes you up (unless your alarm clock does first.)
Not only does starting with a positive routine helps us feel in control, it's also takes less effort.
When we follow a pattern each day, eventually it becomes second-nature. That saves brainpower to deal with stress or be productive at work.
Following a routine encourages us, too. Little successes with health in the morning inspire us to stick with healthy choices later in the day.
Routines for Health
I try to include these things everyday:
1. Brush teeth. It seems obvious and trivial, but this is my keystone habit - a habit that gives me momentum to follow through on other tasks.
2. Meditate / Breathe. This is something so many creative and successful people practice. Guided meditations are a great way to start. Two great apps are Calm and Headspace. When I first started I just asked am I doing it, or not? I tried not to worry about how long, even if it was just a few minutes. At first I thought meditating was about being zen or spiritual. The payoff to me is simple: being better able to process stress (a.k.a. everyday life).
3. Movement. I do a few stretches or some yoga, then head out for a walk. Starting my day with some fresh air and exercise has made a huge difference for me. I used to stress wondering how I’m going to fit in exercise? Doing it first thing makes me feel good to have done something that’s important to me, and also makes me feel energized.
4. Breakfast. I try to have breakfast everyday. If I need to be out early, I'll have something quicker like chia pudding. Recently I've focused on including vegetables in my breakfast routine (that inspired today's recipe!). I include fat and protein as well, but having veggies in the morning makes me feel accomplished to be working towards my health. I also have more energy, and fewer cravings throughout the rest of the day.
5. Be Creative / Most Important Tasks. This is really the start of my work day, but I'm including it because this is what my routine allows me to accomplish. Completing simple tasks builds momentum to tackle complex problems with more effort.
Make it your own
Obviously all these things don’t happen every day. If you don't work from home, your morning routine might include a commute or habits to follow at the office.
But a morning routine should be your own. Test things out. Change it up. The goal should be to make you feel like, as Chase puts it,
"my personal life, my emotional life, my professional life - every component is better, the more of these things that I do."
What morning habits help you the most?
Fall Cabbage Apple Kale
Here’s one of our morning veggies dishes we’ve had on rotation recently. There are so many delicious varieties of apples in Sebastopol, we’ve been adding them to everything. It’s a great warm veggie dish for fall, and an interesting mix of flavors.
We have it with eggs, ground meat, or any leftover protein.
Tip: we store our kale prepped in a spinner, so it’s easy to grab a few handfuls. We also store chopped cabbage in an airtight container, so all we have to do is chop the apple.
- 1 apple, chopped
- 3 cups red cabbage, chopped
- 4 cups kale, chopped
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
- 1/4 tsp ginger, zested
- Preheat - Place a skillet over medium heat. Melt the coconut oil.
- Sauté - Add in the veggies and apples. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
- Mix and Serve - Mix in the cinnamon and ginger, and serve.
I'm a Nutrition Consultant, photographer, and business owner helping people create healthy habits for real life.