I love a routine. Maybe it’s my securely type-A disposition that revels in completing an auto-pilot task list before I’ve even had coffee, but I like to convince myself it’s really more about the fact that I’m setting myself up for a good day. Or at least as good as it can be before I open my Inbox or my neighbor runs over my plants again.
If you read about the morning routines of “successful” people, they often have a cultivation of habits that eliminate decision making. The more decisions that need to be made in a day, the more your energy and willpower are depleted. Eventually, your willpower is all used up and the decisions that still need to be made suffer. It helps explain why at 5 PM you absolutely do not care that you planned to make a chicken roast with treasure trove of vegetables for dinner and why instead, you stop at an easy drive-through on the way home. In fact, Cornell researchers (Wansink and Sobal, 2007) found that we make around 221 decisions about food each day alone! And to me, those are the fun decisions! A routine helps save willpower for other choices that don’t come naturally and can eventually bring you closer to a fill-in-the-blank-life. So why not start one right when you wake up?
For me, I work from home with my husband/business partner, Chris. After Chris left his job that required an hour and half traffic riddled commute each way, we realized we should take advantage of our lack of commute and actually enjoy the mornings. As a dietitian this means my food motivation takes over and I can make anything I want for breakfast (croissants included-we keep our freezer stocked with pastry and super greens so don’t @ me).
Waking Up the House
I wake up without an alarm around 6 or 6:30 and head downstairs to ‘wake up the house’. I can’t remember where I first read that term but I loved it. It’s walking around to pull up the shades and let as much light in as possible (it’s great for your circadian rhythm for a better sleep/wake cycle). And also so the cats can jump in the window sills and watch the neighborhood. I’ll do any quick tidy-ups (wipe the counter, put a rogue fork in the dishwasher, water plants) as I see them so we have a clean slate for the day.
Next it’s coffee. We are latte lovers and a few holidays ago we bought ourselves a De’Longhi Nespresso Lattissima Plus with an attached milk frother. It was one of our best decisions ever. It’s sleek and compact on our counter and we use it multiple times a day. Nespresso also has a recycle and composting program for the pods, so we know the waste we are producing is being dealt with responsibly.
Over the first coffee I like to read a little. And to be honest, it was to help me break my habit of checking my Inbox first thing (I’m working on it). I’ll sit outside or on the couch and read for about 30 minutes on my Kindle Paperwhite (it’s more like real pages vs a digital screen). It’s part of how I’m able to go through over 200 books each year.
We have a few breakfasts we like to rotate between: a good avocado toast, overnight oats with nut butter, egg wraps, yogurt and smoothies. Or if we are just living the dream life, a croissant from the freezer. One of my kitchen essentials is a powerful Vitamix which is crucial if you’re a smoothie lover (although it does way more than blend smoothies). We’ve been Vitamix lovers for about 10 years now and our very first model still works perfectly.
As I clean up breakfast I’ll take a few supplements which I keep in the same cabinet as our coffee supplies in the kitchen (so I’ll actually take them). My favorites right now are adaptogens (ashwagandha or cordyceps) for stress reduction and immune improvement and a probiotic (digestion and immunity). I’m the kind of person who is only into supplements if I can prove they work/feel the difference myself which is also nice because it keeps our cabinets uncluttered.
Even though I work from home, I feel better if I look a little put together (but comfortable-I’m not insane) but also because we constantly have neighbors drop in and I’ll jump on Instagram Live or Stories to film. I 100% buy multiples of tops or pants I love in different color ways.
Makeup and Skincare
I’ll also wash my face or use a micellar water and finish with a SPF (This has been drilled into my head since before I could drive). I’m also a natural makeup/skincare user and will generally just do a little mascara with a tinted moisturizer. Sometimes concealer. Because: under-eye circles.
Once I’m ready to go to our home office, I’ll pull out my paper agenda and look at my must-do vs ‘to-do’ list. My current agenda is by Golden Coil and you can make it super personalized to start/end at any date and to include a grocery list and meal write in. If I have any meetings I’ll add an alarm reminder to my phone so I don’t get sucked in the zone and forget.
I’d love to know what makes the cut in your personal morning routine and if you have an efficiency hack to make the AM run more smoothly I demand your secrets. I’ll barter with a homemade freezer croissant. Let us know in the comments or share you morning routine on Instagram with #theINSPIREDhome.