I used to think of a day as a good day, or a bad day.
I had an all or nothing approach. Contrary to some people – if I went for a run or ate a healthy breakfast, I didn’t want to “sabotage” that day with a treat or a reward. Instead, I would be super “healthy” that day – which really wasn’t that healthy at all. I would over-exercise, under-eat and feed my ego with twisted compliments about my “dedication” to my health.
The truth is, I would be depriving myself and ignoring my bodies messages, purely to fit within the confines of what I believed would deem that day a “good” day.
On the flip side – if I ate too much at breakfast or slept in and didn’t go for that workout, you could pretty much guarantee that the rest of the day was going to be full of grazing, binging, and lethargy.
All or nothing.
Once I became aware of how damaging this was I educated myself on productive health-oriented ways to begin my day. There are a variety of options out there to start your day right, with everyone recommending different tips that work for them. I, the perfectionist I am, decided to combine ALL of the advice and recommendations I had ever heard of into the “perfect” morning routine, which looked a little something like this…
Wake up. 20 deep belly breaths. Drink a warm lemon water with turmeric. Journal – set intentions for the day, focus on a positive affirmation and write out several things I am grateful for. Complete 20 minutes of yoga followed by 10-15 minutes of meditation. 45 minutes of exercise. Drink around 1L water. Have chlorophyll in another glass of water with some aloe vera juice. Dry body brush and shower. Shot 1 tbsp ACV. Prepare and eat breakfast…
To say that it was difficult to complete this excessive list regularly would be an understatement. It was near impossible! And even if I did 9 out of those 15 things I would focus on the 6 I didn’t do. These were intended to be feel-good, relaxing ways to wake up and care for myself, yet here I was making them arduous tasks and chores. They had become a to-do list of how to cope with my to-do list! I was even more exhausted then I was not doing them, and I was no closer to feeling good about myself.
Now, I take a gentler approach. I make sure to start my day on a good note, but if I don’t, I don’t let it define and dictate my day. I do my very best, and acknowledge that that is enough.
Here is what my more relaxed morning routine looks like:
I get up after 8 hours sleep around 6:20am.
I center myself on my yoga mat or on the couch by taking 10-20 deep belly breaths (I find this particularly useful if I wake up anxious, but even if I don’t it just makes me pause before rushing to start my workout)
I then sip on warm lemon water, preferably outdoors for some fresh air. Here, I simply think of things I am grateful for or reiterate a positive thought for the day. If I want to, I will write this down, but 7/10 times I won’t.
Then, I move my body for 30-60 minutes – a strong walk, vinyasa yoga, HIIT, soft sands, or a big stretch using my foam roller.
At 8am I prepare a wholesome breakfast and eat it slowly and mindfully. If I take a snap of it, I will then put my phone away and enjoy my meal, BEFORE I upload to IG 😉
I’m usually at my desk by 9am sharp and the first thing I do is put pen to paper and write a list of “to-do’s”. From that list, I circle the 3 priorities for my day. I also write down one or two SFM’s – “Something For Me’s” – which might be practice yoga, meditation or a 20 minute relax, some reading, a catch up with a friend, a date night or something yummy.
If I didn’t get one or two of these things done, I just do them at 11am, or 4pm, or 8pm. Because I have learned that you can start fresh at any point in the day. And that the time is NOW to make today count- not tomorrow, not next week, not next month.
I hope this helps anyone struggling with waking up anxious or trying to find their own groove with a morning routine. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and it might look different day-to-day. So long as you are enjoying it and are calm, you are doing something right.