After feeling like we're supposed to do so much in the mornings, we've actually learned to take a step back.
Elizabeth Kott: For me, the biggest thing I’ve accumulated [after interviewing so many experts] is that it’s okay to not have a strict daily ritual. It’s alright to just feel the flow. Sometimes I wake up at 6:30 in the morning and I make a 7am yoga class and that’s amazing, because I know that sets me up for the day. But other days I stay in bed until 9am. The most valuable thing I’ve learned is that all of that is okay.
A lot of the feedback we get from our listeners is that they feel like they’re supposed to be doing something. They should be doing something. If they’re not doing one thing then they’re doing something wrong. I really want to be a champion of the idea that there’s no wrong way to do your morning, but it is really important to give yourself space in the morning—as Steph said, to use those crucial moments at the start of your day to really check into yourself and just see what you may need. Whether it’s taking some time for quiet or meditation or just making yourself a cup of coffee, whatever inspires you to take the time to check in with yourself, that’s the important piece of it. Everything else is really based off of preference.
SS: I feel like both Elizabeth and I, on this whole “this is my morning routine” journey, have experienced this phenomenon where when we’re trying to do all the healthy things, we end up creating more stress. When you’re trying to do this and trying to do that, you start to be really hard on yourself and feel like you’re not taking care of yourself. But as Elizabeth said, the listening is really more important than the doing.
Simplicity is at the core of our morning routines.
EK: For me, it's just sitting outside. I just got a new place and I have this little outdoor area. I’m not always going to meditate first thing but what I’ve been finding is really lovely and really serving my Taurean soul is just going outside and looking up at the chipmunks and the birds and just tuning into that. Even if it’s just 10 minutes of sitting there with my tea—there’s no screen in front of me—it’s been getting my brain moving in a very back-to-basics way.
I also like doing a really menial task like loading the dishwasher—something that’s really task-driven but low-stake. I have a “happy light” in the corner of my kitchen, so I’ll do that chore while that happy light is on, and it kind of wakes my brain up in a more leveled way. I also like to read articles on my phone in the morning. I tried to tell myself I wasn’t going to use my phone in the morning because it’s “bad,” but you know what? I really like it. It makes me happy. I like tuning into what’s happening into the world from the comfort of my bed. It’s like the modern version of sitting at the breakfast table with a newspaper.
SS: I totally agree with the menial task thing. Something that’s really critical to me is making my coffee, making my smoothie, washing the dishes in my sink and walking my dog. Those are all things that have only to do with me and my space and nothing with the outside world. I walk my dog on one loop around the block, and I have that same experience that she was describing of just taking in stimulation of the world outside productivity. I also feel like because I’m walking my dog I’m servicing him, and that makes me feel happy because I know that makes him happy.
Usually I’ll do either a journal or a meditation as soon as I wake up—I always have a rush of thought or feeling when I wake up in the morning—but I’m not strict which one of those things I choose. I just pay attention to whichever feels more important.
But first, breakfast.
EK: I like to batch-roast vegetables and my boyfriend makes scrambled eggs so I get on board with that. But if I’m feeling really fancy I’ll do a cassava tortilla wrap with avocado stashed in it and Everything Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s, some fresh herbs, and maybe some of those roasted veggies and I’m really pleased.
SS: I’m a smoothie girl all the way. I double-fist a smoothie and coffee. The first thing I do when I wake up is chug a giant glass of water (and take my Ritual, of course). My smoothie is usually two handfuls of greens, a handful of berries, a protein powder, fiber, and water. I used to put everything into my smoothie—herbs, dusts whatever—but I’m kind of getting back into this balance of less is more.