Full Lives and Morning Routines
Okay, gang. So, this past weekend a friend of mine asked me if I had a morning routine, and if yes, would I be willing to shed some light..
This got me really thinking about what it means to have any kind of routine in your life and the benefits that go along with it. I thought that this would be an opportune time to open up this topic for discussion, now that we're well on our way into a new year, where so many of us already use this time for reflection and a fresh start to a healthier life!
Disclaimer: This is an example of a small glimpse into my life, but please remember that just like any of my work, I believe that everyBODY is different and to live out your fullest expression of life, it takes time, patience and experiments to figure out what works best for YOU!
So, morning routines are a funny thing. As a young twenty-something our weekly schedules can often differ day-to-day. Some of us work a part time job, working funny hours, and having a day or two off during the work week, some of us work seasonally, and some of us work a more traditional 9-5 schedule throughout the work week. This can make developing a morning routine a little tricky, but I encourage you to stick with me through this article and perhaps you'll be able to take away a few bullet points.
For me, as I begin to start my career as a full-time Holistic Health Coach, (slowly, but surely, gaining traction!) I also am working as a barista at a local Juice Bar, as well as a full time student. So as you can imagine, and probably relate, I've got a boat load on my plate. Luckily, I've learned to embrace the fullness in my life, and I'll tell you why!
Firstly, I certainly believe you can be too busy. And I also believe that in today's society we hold ourselves to this silly standard where being busy is a badge of honor. If you've been following my journey on Instagram you know that around this time last year, I was struggling with being spread much too thin (like off the charts, busy!) and was diagnosed with a severe case of shingles that took me months to shake, not to mention a lifestyle facelift and some soul searching to get me back on track and back into my groove.
2016 was my busiest year to date and my biggest take away from my experiences was to fill my life, but not to be busy.
You're probably like, "Wait, Molly what? I thought you said you've learned to embrace it?! So confusing!"
Well you're right, I did say that. But personally I believe there to be a clear distinction with living out a full and fulfilling life... and a busy one! To live a busy life, you are constantly talking, almost bragging, about how busy you are (which I did, all of the damn time), your stress levels rise and maintain a heightened level most of the week with occasional drops if you decide you have the time to show yourself some #selflove, and the worst part? You are consistently canceling on the good eggs in your life, letting them roll away right under your nose.
But living a full life, which I believe I finally started to intentionally shift into last Spring, means to live a life where you are working every morning to fill your own cup first before you depart out into the world to fill others throughout your day. And I'm not just talking coffee cups, here, folks!
So! Short story long, morning routines have nestled into a soft spot in my heart because I have found that if I follow (even loosely) a routine that I have found makes me feel good in the AM, well then I feel like a mother f*ckin' super star, BA mammajamma, ain't nothin' gonna break my stride!
So let's get into it, shall we?
1. Wake Up. For me this time is 7:15a.
When my alarm goes off in the morning, I always allow myself one snooze. This gives my mind time to wake up, a couple of minutes to stretch my body and prepare myself for the day ahead. After my alarm sounds the second time, my dog is usually waiting for me at the foot of the bed. I feed her, head to the bathroom, splash some water on my face, and repeat the mantra that's laying against the mirror: "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten" to myself, as I brush my teeth.
Open the blinds and let some natty light in!
Next, I head to the kitchen to get the water going for coffee. I fill a pint glass full of water and try to finish it before I start on coffee. This part of my day almost always stays the same and is V ritualistic. I love grinding fresh coffee beans in the morning. I make a single cup for myself, using the pour over method, nice and slowly as I begin to get stuff ready for a full hearty breakfast that will last me through the typically "full" morning.
Breakfasts usually include one of four menu items:
- 2 eggs and whole wheat toast, with hot sauce or salsa (and sometimes veggies and spinach when I'm feelin' fancy, or feel like I have the time)
- 1/2 cup of rolled or steel cut oats, topped with nuts, seeds, maple syrup and butter
- green smoothie
- protein pancakes using Kodiak Cakes Whole Wheat and Honey Oat mix (disclaimer: the serving says 1/3 cup, but my heart always tells me 1!), topped with applesauce and cinnamon
I'm all about those lists. I'm always writing notes to myself, and crossing tasks off in my calendar. After breakfast, with coffee in hand is a great time for me to study the day or week ahead and bullet a few key tasks or errands that I need to accomplish that day. It's that perfect quiet time in the morning where I am able to focus on the bigger picture. I have found that this little 20 minute window is a key component for me, in setting up a successful day. (And a sweat sesh always makes it's way onto this list, also!)
5. Fresh Air
Next, I make myself a second cup of coffee (I'm usually a two cup kinda gal), and get ready to take my pup for a walk around the park. This time of year, that means putting on about five more layers! I don't listen to any headphones, here. I just try to stay in the moment, inhale some of that fresh mountain air, and get my blood pumping!
6. Get Dressed
While this may seem like the obvious, I'm a firm believer that getting dressed in the morning (even when you work from home) is an important element to success. If I stayed in my sweats all day, I know that I wouldn't get nearly as much done. Sometimes if I know that I'm going to be working out later that morning or afternoon, I'll throw my workout clothes on instead, as a sneaky way of making myself commit, no matter what comes up later in the day.
When I get back home from our walk is when I really start to get my game face on. I sit down and reply to emails and texts, listen to the news, try to read an inspiring article, or two, and then start hammering away at whatever is on my list!
So that's my morning routine. I try to keep it as simple as possible and do what works for me!
I hope this helps those of you who are still trying to figure out a routine for your AMs. My best advice is not to overthink it. As long as you're well fueled, hydrated, (caffeinated!), and have let your body move, then I think you've set yourself up for a pretty damn successful day!
In health and happiness,
All photos courtesy of Tom Attwater Media