Our series Before 9 explores the early morning routines of inspiring women, in their own words. Follow along for the hacks, habits, and tidbits that set them up for success during the rest of the day.
- As the hosts of highly popular podcast That's So Retrograde, Elizabeth Kott and Stephanie Simbari have interviewed an extensive roster of wellness experts—which means that they've gotten a lot of firsthand insight into making the most of their morning routines.
- "For me, the biggest thing I’ve accumulated is that it’s okay to not have a strict daily ritual," says Kott—a sentiment both friends share. "It’s alright to just feel the flow."
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If the incessant rise of the wellness industry seems more overwhelming than ever these days, imagine sifting through it all when you've made a career out of guinea-pigging your way through the neverending laundry list of dietary techniques, niche workouts, and varying modes of spiritual enlightenment that have shaped the LA scene over the past half-decade or so. Since their podcast, That's So Retrograde, launched in 2015, Elizabeth Kott and Stephanie Simbari have explored it all—from reiki and food therapy to nootropics and tantric numerology.
So it might be a little surprising—and on second thought, quite understandable—to learn that even after interviewing an endless roster of incredibly fascinating wellness experts, Kott and Simbari's own routines are relatively pared down. Think about it: When you're faced with an endless buffet of wellness options as part of your day-job, it makes perfect sense that after the novelty wears off, you really just want to drink a damn smoothie and call it a day. (That said, the key thing to note is that this smoothie is probably as thoughtful and nutritious as it gets.)
In Simbari's case, the smoothie isn't just proverbial, but quite literal—and that seems like the perfect segué into the co-hosts' decidedly minimalist (but still highly insightful) morning rituals. Wake up with them below.
"I feel like it's the only time of day you have with yourself that's truly fresh and uninfluenced."
Stephanie Simbari: You kind of have it at night, but at night you're really tired. So I really like to use [the earliest hours of the morning] just for me. Journaling, meditating, exercising… those things are all little gifts for yourself and I feel like that’s what the morning is really useful for. I used to not do anything in the morning—I would just jump out of bed and go about my day—and I feel like I always had a low grade of stress because I wasn’t checking into myself.