Once upon a time I was a night owl who would work on ideas, blog posts and interior design projects until all hours of the night (and sometimes into the early morning!) with my laptop resting on my legs and a favorite Grey’s Anatomy episode playing in the background. That was until I had a baby and having a morning routine became more important than ever as I adjusted to a completely different lifestyle. While that routine has changed over the past 6 years depending on what stage Lily was in, with everyone underfoot these days being in quarantine and working from home, I’ve had to readjust to a new way of life yet again to maximize both productivity and personal enjoyment. I’ve learned in life that how we begin our morning is what dictates how the rest of the day will unfold, so the first hour of every single day is critical and it’s essential for self care, yes including weekends.
If I happen to sleep in on the weekend or I don’t shower and/or get dressed during the week until noon, I can’t help but feel sloppy and unproductive. One thing I can thank my sweetie for is re-introducing me to very early mornings. For his profession, he has to be up early before the stock market opens at 6:30am Pacific time, so I began adapting to his schedule and making an earlier bedtime a must. Our last summer vacation to Europe actually had us waking up around 4 or 5am every morning and when we returned home I kind of enjoyed it. The photo above was taken in Tuscany, Italy early in the morning while I was taking time to journal and write down some book ideas. When we returned home, Lily was still away for the summer so we we kept up the routine and I felt like I got so much accomplished. Especially if you are a mom, my best advice to you (as it’s what I’ve personally found to be the key to carving out time for myself) is to get up at least one hour before your kids wake up or an hour before your usual alarm goes off if you live alone or with your partner. Make the first 60-90 minutes count by holding off on opening email or checking social media. I think you’ll find that it’s a very refreshing and positive way to begin each day versus diving into negative news spirals, the demands of your job and the countless other to do’s on your list.
I’m laying out my 10 Steps on How to Create a Better Quarantine Morning Routine. These are meant to inspire you to make those small changes that will ultimately have a big impact overall.
1. Consume a Hot Detox Drink- Starting the day with hot water and the juice of half of a lemon (I use this squeezer) or dandelion detox tea, both are perfect as they immediately help stimulate and flush out the liver and set the stage for digestion after resting all evening. These are both alkalizing options vs. coffee or caffeinated tea which are known to be acidic, so it’s best to consume it first. If you’re like me and practice intermittent fasting, you’re not eating or even drinking juices first thing in the morning, so this is a great way to stay hydrated along with water and feel full until you’re ready to eat.
Time: Approx. 3 mins
2. Green smoothie + Daily Vitamins- If you struggle to remember to take vitamins or swallow a lot of supplements at once, I recommend doing it with a thick smoothie-it goes down much easier and then you won’t forget if you take both together. I opt for a green smoothie that packs in more greens instead of a fruit-based version which contains more sugar. I’m going to share an upcoming post with all of my best go-to recipes that I whip up in my Vitamix, however one of my favorite green smoothie recipe is a Tropical Green Smoothie I created. Recipe: Combine 3 large leaves of green kale, 1/2 cup frozen mango, 1 frozen sliced banana, 1 cup coconut water, 1 cup of spinach blended and 1 tbsp of shredded coconut into your blender. You could also toss in a greens powder if you don’t have the fresh version on hand. I usually thrown in 1 tsp of amla powder for hair, skin and nails along with 1/2 tsp of ashwaganda powder which is great for combating stress, anxiety and insomnia.
Time: Approx. 5 mins
3. Open your Blinds with the Sun-While I typically rise before the sun, I like to experience the sunlight pouring into our home so I make a point of opening up all the blinds and letting natural light in, it helps me wake up and feel ready for the day. If you wake up to clouds and gloom on an overcast day, I recommend turning on lights around your home to signal to the brain that there’s daylight.
Time: Approx. 2 mins
4. Stretch Your Body- You’ve just spent 6-8 hours sleeping, now it’s time to wake your body up and loosen up stiff muscles. I like to put on some yoga pants, jog on the spot for a minute to warm my body up then spend 3-5 minutes stretching on my yoga mat from head-to-toe focusing more on my tightest muscles from sitting at a desk such as my glutes and hips. I find repeating the same stretches three times from side is what gets the kinks out and my muscles always feel more relaxed. It’s one of the best things I do for myself every morning, I also try to do some stretching every evening before bed for a more enjoyable sleep.
Time: Approx. 5 mins
5. Make Your Bed- Nothing else will instantly make a bedroom look put together like making the bed itself. It’s the focal point of the room, so leaving it unmade looks untidy and is the equivalent to staying in sweats all day which can affect your mood. I love to climb into a freshly made bed every night versus a messy pile of tangled sheets and blankets so this is something we do every morning upon waking and takes just a few minutes so there is no excuse. I find having a pretty bedding set along with accent pillows that you really like makes you look forward to seeing it perfectly made and fluffed. If you have an extra minute to spare, neaten up your nightstands while you’re at it.
Time: Approx. 5 mins
6. Pull Yourself Together- If you work from home and don’t need to shower for the day or are immediately dealing with small children, you may only have enough time to brush your teeth, cleanse your face, apply skin cream and pull your hair into a clip, so showering at night may be the better option. For everyone else, I recommend showering in the early morning to feel fresh for the day. Especially right now as we’re all in quarantine, it may seem less necessary but I recommend doing it unless you are beginning your day with a run or intense workout first. Right now I’ve been letting my hair air dry half way while I work or spend time with Lily, then blow dry it and wear very light natural everyday make up, I do this for myself to feel good and polished.
Time: Approx. 17 mins
7. Get Dressed- Although I’m home daily now with our family as we social distance, I still want to look put together and be a role model for my daughter and simultaneously look put together for my sweetie, plus I just personally feel better when I’m wearing real clothes vs. pajamas. My daily quarantine outfits have ranged jeans plus a t-shirt, a zip up sweater with yoga pants and a tank top for a more athleisure look, or making a bigger effort by pulling out a casual dress or black jeans paired with a nice blouse. The days I do wear a dress, I feel more ladylike, feminine and sometimes sexy depending on the style, therefore I find that I carry myself differently. Obviously, this is not always practical such as during a bike ride with my little one or playing on the floor, but when I’m doing work at our dining room table. I’ve found that when I dress and feel my best, that extends to how I carry myself and also perform, as I take myself more seriously.
Time: Approx. 5 mins
8. Get Some Fresh Air & Sunshine- If you live in a home with a porch, balcony or backyard, I recommend drinking your morning hot drink or smoothie outside, if you are living in an apartment or another space without easy outdoor access, look for ways you can incorporate a walk to increase blood circulation and take in some fresh air when fewer people are outside or find a special spot to take in the morning sunlight. I’m grateful that while we don’t have a backyard to call our own, we do have a rooftop deck and we have the option of a park nearby along the water where both of our bedrooms also face. lacing up a pair of sneakers and heading out for daily walks has really helped keep our spirits up while we’ve been mostly indoors these these past few weeks. Even with a mask on, feeling the sunlight hit your face and absorbing that vitamin D will do wonders as you begin your day.
Time: Approx. 10 minutes
9. Prioritize Your TO DO List- When I was younger I used to love making TO DO lists, it somehow made me feel extra productive to cross off a particularly long list of various activities. However, over the years I’ve learned that having a long list doesn’t necessarily make anyone more productive, but do you know what does? Identifying the top 3 must-do’s for my day. For everyone this will look different, but ask yourself if you got nothing else done, which 3 things would move the needle towards your biggest and most important goals? Make these the priority and everything else you get accomplished is just gravy. I find committing it via pen and paper in my planner helps me get more done. Personally, it might be getting one new blog post complete or drafting a new floor plan for an interior design project with a tight deadline or it might be shooting a week’s worth of photography for upcoming content or creating and editing one particular video I’ve committed to as I collaborate with a brand, etc.
Time: Approx. 3 mins
10. Be Still- We all have things to be grateful for and what better time to meditate on positive thoughts than before be start another day! I recommend taking a few minutes daily to close your eyes and either pray, give thanks, recite positive daily affirmations or just be completely quiet and see what you hear and feel. What other time during your day will you have this much uninterrupted solitude without the demands of the day coming at you? This is your time to get centered and if you prefer, you could journal or write in a gratitude journal instead.
Time: Approx. 5 mins
I love learning how others do life and what shifts make them happier and more productive, and I believe you do too. I hope this will inspire and encourage some of you to try something new that will result in a more rewarding and uplifting day.
What key tips are part of your morning routine? Your can share them with us in the comments below.