I'm no role model when it comes to creating a rigid routine.
Thanks to being homeschooled as a child, and now, as an adult, being self-employed in a creative field where no two days are alike, schedules and routines aren't something that come naturally to me. And, while I generally like it that way, I have found, over the years, that I thrive best when I implement some sort of structure into my life. Whether it's structure in having certain tasks that I complete on a weekly basis, specific actions on set days (i.e. always doing laundry on Tuesdays), or routines for times that I know will always be consistent (i.e. my mornings), I found it really helps me to stay on track during all the other unstructured parts of my life. The glue that truly holds my day together is found in the 9 things I do before 9am every day. It wakes me up, sets the mood and tone, energizes me, centers me and allows me get myself right before having to get everything else right for everyone else. It's also helped me become a morning person, which is nothing short of a miracle.
Because I am self-employed, and my longest commute is from upstairs down to my office, I choose to spend a bit more time on my morning routine. But really this is just a guideline that you can take and adjust for your own schedule. In fact, back when I worked in a corporate environment, I still had this routine. It was just shorter, quicker and probably would have been titled something more like 9 things I do before 7am every day. All this to say, take this routine and make it work for you to help you set your day up for success no matter where you live, what time you wake up, what your schedule is, what you do, or where you work.
Photos from our stay at Acre Baja in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
What are parts of your morning routine are non-negotiable?
Pray + Meditate //
Nothing gets my head right like this step and it's the one thing I make sure to never skip (even if I'm super short on time and have to cut everything else in my routine). Depending on the day and my schedule, I'll spend anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes on this, so its a super flexible step. For meditation, I use an app. For prayers, I use a variety of things, daily devotional emails that I receive, a prayer book I have from childhood, some of my favorite prayers that I have memorized, or just my own thoughts and words.
Gratitude Journaling //
Outside of prayer + meditation, gratitude journaling is another thing I really try to never skip, as I notice such a big difference in my mental well-being when I do. While you can buy specific gratitude journals, you really just need a blank notebook. From there it's up to you. In the past, I would just list out things I was grateful for, but now I write out an inspirational quote, 3 things I'm grateful for, 3 things that I believe will make my day great and a positive affirmation. Then, I circle back and finish out the page in the evening with some additional things.
Drink 32-ounces of Water //
I bring a giant cup of water up to bed with me the night before, so as soon as I open my eyes, I have it right there to chug. Then, later on, before I workout, I make a giant electrolyte water and drink that, as well.
Avoid Technology //
This one has become harder now that I'm LA-based, because if I wait until after 9am to check things, it's already well into the afternoon back east (aka where many of my clients are located). So, I usually do a quick check on the important things, address anything that is an absolute emergency (very rare) and send a quick text to my husband, then put my phone away for the rest of my routine.
Wake Up Skin //
I splash cool water on my face to wake it up, then pat it dry. I follow that with some witch hazel (I just soak a cotton pad, then rub it over my face.), and some sort of facial massage, either with my hands, my jade roller or ice-roller (depending on temperature and how I'm feeling).
Make the Bed //
It sounds silly, but seeing the bed made makes me feel so accomplished right off the bat. I then feel like I'm able to build off that small accomplishment throughout the day to accomplish even more. Plus, anytime I feel like things aren't getting done, I can always remind myself that I did at least accomplish making the bed. It's an all-around great mental booster.
Move It //
The quickest way to wake yourself up and get going is to get moving. I always do a few stretches, then jump into my workout of the day. I typically like to do my heavy workouts first thing in the morning as I haven't eaten (and I'm not usually hungry until at least 9:30am) and save walks for breaks throughout the day or for the evening walk that Mr. RC and I take almost every night (Gotta get those 10,000 steps in!), but, if I'm really not feeling a workout, or don't have a ton of time, I'll do a quick ab workout, a set of push-ups and/or take a quick walk around the neighborhood.
Get Some Fresh Air //
Another great wake up call. Like I mentioned above, I don't typically do walks first thing in the morning, but I still make sure to get some fresh air by stepping into our outdoor space. Sometimes I do my prayers/mediation/gratitude journaling out here. Sometimes I do some stretches. Sometimes I savor my cup of coffee, post-workout. Sometimes I just check on the plants. However short or long my outdoor time is, I always appreciate filling my lungs with fresh air first thing in the morning.
Make Coffee //
I've always been a breakfast person, but as of late, for some odd, unexplainable reason, I'm hardly ever hungry before 9:30/10am. So while I may no longer be an early morning breakfast person, I am 100% still a coffee person. As soon as I finish my workout, I go get my coffee started, then usually head off to the rest of my morning routine, while the coffee is brewing. Depending on my schedule, after 9am could be everything from mapping out my day (although I prefer to do this the night before) to my morning skincare routine, to showering to getting dressed, to phone calls to emails, to making breakfast to reading a business book, to heading out the door for meetings or errands. The order in which I do these, or if I do these at all, really just depends on my day.