When I worked in tech I was completely addicted to my phone. I'd respond to coworkers before my eyes could fully open, and manage to become a complete stressed-spaz before walking out the door. Everything felt so urgent. Somehow, now, waking up at 5 AM and being out the door by 5:30 AM I have managed to bring calm to the start of my day, and it has totally changed my mental state. The quickness of my current routine has forced me to be both efficient and distraction-free, so I can arrive to clients focused. My tips on curating your morning routine:
Fine, use your phone as an alarm. But don't you dare check emails, texts, or waste 15 minutes scrolling through facebook before getting out of bed. Immediately after you turn off the alarm, place your phone in your purse/workbag/pile of stuff waiting to leave the house with you. My phone stays in airplane mode until I'm at my car and need it for directions. A rule I like to give my clients is that they have to drink 20 ounces of water before they're allowed to look at anything on their phone. It's a good way to start a hydration habit and quit a phone habit.
Choose what to wear the night before
Fashion minimalism, or even going as far as choosing a daily "uniform" is one way to remove unnecessary stress from your mornings. Fashion minimalists have more time to think about important things, and their days start off calmer without the added decision of what to wear each morning. If you're not ready to go full Steve Jobs in the fashion department, think about a capsule wardrobe as another (less boring) route to minimalism. I admittedly have not yet committed to a uniform or a capsule, but I do choose my outfit the night before, always. This is a rule my mama gave me when I was in the fourth grade and just entering public school (aka leaving the uniform world). Now, I absolutely never have to run around searching for what I need, it's neatly folded and ready to go, even on my sleepiest mornings.
Meditate and find gratitude
Nope, I am not asking you to add thirty minutes to your already hectic morning. Ha! You've probably heard somewhere that adding 20 minutes of meditation per day or writing in a gratitude journal will change your life. It probably will, but there is absolutely no way that two thirds of my *get the fuck out of the house as fast as possible* morning routine is going to be spent on focused breathing or journaling. Instead, choose one activity - brushing your teeth, making your coffee, washing your face (anything you do every single morning), and dedicate it to gratitude or deep breathing. How does this work? While you wash your face, go through a list of people and things you're grateful for that day. Then, while your water heats for your coffee, do a breathing exercise (studies have shown that just 16 seconds of focused breathing is enough to make you calmer, happier, and improve digestion). Here's a simple breathing exercise I do daily:
close your eyes and stand or sit comfortably
Inhale for 4 seconds
hold the air in your lungs for 4 seconds
exhale for 6 seconds
repeat a few times, and return anytime you're feeling overwhelmed.
Choose products that make you feel pampered
Life is busy, and the moments you spend washing your face or sipping tea might be the only relaxing moments in your day. It's worth spending a little extra on products that feel luxurious and calming, and more importantly products that are good for you and free of chemicals. Some of my favorite brands are Beauty Counter, Dermaplus, and Mario Badescu. I love candles from Candle Bougie and Diptyque. I buy my matcha from Panatea and definitely believe in investing in a big, cozy mug or to-go container that you love holding.
Fuel your body
You might be like me and have zero appetite or time for real food first thing in the morning. That doesn't mean you can't get important nutrients into your system. Every morning, without fail I make myself a matcha tea (this ritual is the only reason I get out of bed some mornings). I don't really want food at 5 AM, so instead I amp up my matcha by adding almond milk, collagen protein, and coconut oil for a strong dose of antioxidants, satiating fats, and protein that has seriously changed my skin. Whether it's amping up your morning coffee or sitting down to a leisurely breakfast, do find a way to fuel your body in a way that it deserves each morning. I love smoothies and egg muffins for quick breakfasts (you can even have Daily Harvest do the prep for you)