Who knew I would have a morning routine, much less love and need it?! (Is this what adulting feels like?) I’ve always been someone who wakes up on the earlier side, but just because I was awake early didn’t mean I was productive. I probably spent the last 10 years of my life opening my eyes, rolling over, grabbing my phone, and staring at my screen for a bit before eventually hopping out of bed and rushing to start my day.
A silver lining of being stuck at home for the last few months is that I finally feel like I have settled into a sleep schedule and have been able to get into a regular morning routine. I’ve read books from biohackers, listened to podcasts from wellness experts, and experimented each week with various things I wanted to try, and feel like I’ve found the right balance for my lifestyle.
The point of having a solid morning and nighttime routine is to bookend my day. They give me a consistent start and end that makes me feel ready to take on the day in the morning and wind down to get a good night’s sleep. I have taken this year to really prioritize self-care and have a better work/life balance. Some days I complete the entire routine, some days I don’t get to any of it and have to rush out of bed to hop on my computer. But I try my best, and on the days I manage it all, here is my current morning routine.
Wake Up Without An Alarm
Yes, you read that right — I don’t set an alarm. I naturally wake up early, so I am never worried about sleeping in too late. If I do happen to have something early like a phone call or Zoom meeting, I’ll set an alarm just in case.
The reason I don’t set an alarm is because I want my body to wake up naturally when I have gotten enough sleep and follow my natural sleep-wake cycles. I try to go to bed within the same one-hour time frame every night, because being consistent with wake and sleep time helps regulate your circadian rhythm.
I tried to track my sleep with my iPhone and Apple Watch, but I didn’t like having either of them in bed with me. I wear my ring all day and all night: It tracks my activity and steps, and monitors my heart rate, too. But what I love the most is how it tracks the quality of my sleep. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is open the app to check my sleep score. 85 or above is an excellent score — that means I got enough REM and deep sleep, I went to sleep at a time that is optimal for me, and I got enough overall sleep time. After I’ve woken up, I try to make my bed. It doesn’t happen every day, but most of the days I do it.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you about the benefits of drinking water. I used to wake up and walk right over to the Nespresso machine and make myself a coffee, but now I have 8 to 16 ounces of water before fueling up on caffeine.
If you have a hard time drinking water, use an app to track how much you drink a day or add water drops to give it a little taste. You can also try leaving a glass next to your nightstand to drink first thing in the morning.
Go for a Walk
This is new to my morning routine — I’ve only been doing this for a few weeks, but so far, so good. Since quarantine and work from home life began, my steps and activity for the day are way down, even if I worked out a few times a week. I just haven’t been moving my body as much as I used to, so I try to get in some extra movement in any way I can.
I also realized that I really crave being outside — I need sun, air, nature. Something about being outside first thing in the morning really helps me start my day. But if you’re like me and you live in a building or apartment, this can be hard to do. I don’t have a backyard or a balcony, so taking walks has become my only option.
I strap on my Apple Watch, put on my APL shoes, grab a water, put in my Airpods, and take a 25 to 30 minute stroll. While I am on my walk, I start my day by getting a little Vitamin D while listening to a podcast or a book. If you want to be extra, you can try grounding or earthing.
Shower + Cold Rinse
If you watched Goop Lab with Wim Hof, you probably know the benefits of cold therapy. After I watched this episode, I felt like I couldn’t listen to a podcast or read a book without hearing about the benefits of a cold shower, so I had to try it. Well, I tried and I hated it. I was like nope, not for me. Give me a hot shower and I’m good.
It wasn’t for a few months later when I was experimenting with different air dried hair methods that I tried it again. I kept getting suggestions that a cool rinse was great for your hair to air-dry less frizzy, so I gave it a shot for the love of beauty! But I found that when I did it this time, it wasn’t so awful — and it really did help my hair, in case you were wondering.
Now when I come back from my morning walk, I’m warm from the exercise and a cold shower actually feels so refreshing. I like to take a warm shower then turn to a cold rinse at the end.
Whoa — I can’t believe I do all that before I grab my first cup of coffee of the day. I have come a long way from needing caffeine to start my day. I can’t remember if I heard this in an audiobook or on a podcast, but they recommended to wait at least an hour and a half after waking up to have your first sip of caffeine. Why on earth would I do that to myself?!
Well, I guess if you have coffee when you first wake up it messes with your body’s ability to regulate cortisol levels, a hormone that helps your body feel more alert and awake. If you have coffee when your cortisol levels are high, you can get a caffeine intolerance, so it is better to wait. Source
I have no more than two cups of coffee (or a coffee and a matcha) a day. My go-to coffee at home is a Nespresso coffee pod with a few drops of sweetleaf vanilla cream stevia. My Starbucks order is a grande cold brew with one pack of monkfruit or stevia.
Take AM supplements
I have been working with a functional medicine doctor to see what supplements I should be taking daily. Health has been a huge priority for me this year, but I was flying blind for a bit and didn’t know exactly what I should be taking. Now, I have a combination of things I take each day. I won’t share what they are since each person’s needs are different, but I suggest asking your doctor for any labs or tests to see what recommendations they have.
Morning Skincare Routine
Of course, I can’t skip my morning skincare routine. I usually wash my face in the shower then apply the rest of the products after.
Here is the order and what products I use:
- Summer Fridays Super Amino Gel Cleanser
- Summer Fridays CC Me Serum
- Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask — I wear this as a moisturizer and eye cream
Other things I tried —
- Reading one chapter of a book
- Journaling or writing
- Working Out
I’m not sure if I’ll keep this up once I am back to my normal travel and work schedule (whenever that may be) but for now, it’s working.
Head here to see my evening routine.