Everyone has some sort of routine, even if it’s as simple as brushing your teeth, grabbing breakfast, getting dressed, and heading out the door.
For a long time, I didn’t have an intentionally set routine, and often didn’t know what I’d be doing or eating first thing in the morning (if I actually ate breakfast at all). In fact, I would move through the day without giving a whole lot of thought of what I was doing, other than my regular self-care & personal hygiene, and the obligatory checkmarks on both my work and personal to-do lists.
After struggling with digestive issues for YEARS (still working through them), I’ve slowly developed not just a morning routine, but a cultivation of daily moments that help me to fuel and nourish my body, ease my mind, and calm my nervous system, even on the most stressful of days. Learning about the ancient health system of Ayurveda and its recommended practices for vitality and health in mind, body, and spirit has helped me immensely, especially during a particularly difficult beginning to 2019.
The best part is, I allow my routine to change based on how I feel and what I need on any given day. I have a few non-negotiables, but even those sometimes become fluid, as I’ve learned that rigidity (in any form, really) does not work all that well for me. Let’s face it: everything in life is always changing and evolving - our bodies, our relationships, even our thoughts and beliefs - so our habits can and should change as well to accommodate what is needed in the present moment.
My routine has evolved over time, but I do find that batching habits has made them more likely to stick (at least for me). For instance, after reading about Ayurvedic morning practices in January, I set a daily reminder in my phone and for the last few months I have been brushing my teeth, tongue scraping, and oil pulling first thing every morning without issue.
Here’s a rundown of what my day tends to look like:
Wake between 6am and 7am. Phone is plugged in across the room and on Airplane mode so I have to get up to turn off the alarm (sometimes I'll wake up before it) and so I don't start opening apps/scrolling.
While still in bed or standing up for a stretch, I say a quiet (or silent) prayer of gratitude for being alive, for my body, for a new day, etc. >> This is new and I feel it helps set the tone for my day. Sometimes I wake up already tense/annoyed by something, so it helps to course-correct first thing and practice some gratitude.
Get up, pee, wash hands & look in the bathroom mirror and say an affirmation to myself (I love and respect you, I approve of myself, I am beautiful, etc.)
While oil pulling, go into the kitchen and boil water for lemon "tea" (fresh lemon juice + 1 scoop of Sunfiber; sometimes I add fresh ginger).
Cook buckwheat cereal in almond milk. Top with ghee, protein powder, chia seeds, berries, hemp seeds, etc. (basically whatever I'm feeling that day or have on hand)
Sometimes I switch it up and make a warm chia seed pudding, or if I'm feeling super lazy/pressed for time, Trader Joe's hash browns with ghee, nutritional yeast, coconut aminos, and fresh spinach.
Light yoga & meditation (approx 10 mins each). >> When I wake up later than I intended, sometimes I skip yoga and just sit in meditation for a few minutes. I’m trying to make each of these more of a daily non-negotiable.
Some mornings if I have the time/energy, I'll pull a Tarot card, journal/do morning pages, or work on some personal finance stuff, but I usually like to keep it really light & easy first thing. I also try my best not to be on my phone, or check emails (either work or personal) before 9am if I can help it.
Eliminate (some days easier said than done!)
Shower, dry off, give myself a massage using Vata-balancing oil (plain sesame oil also works great. Sesame is more warming, whereas coconut oil is more cooling. In the summer, I plan to experiment with coconut oil when it's super hot/when I'm feeling more Pitta).
Then give myself a lil belly massage in a clockwise motion with either sesame or Vata oil plus an essential oil known for aiding digestion like peppermint, lemon, ginger, etc. to help get the blood/Qi moving.
Floss and rinse with water.
THROUGHOUT THE DAY
Drink lots of water. I aim to drink at least 60 oz during daylight hours.
Make lunch the biggest meal of the day. Usually ends up being leftovers, and something warming and easy to digest (i.e. no raw salads or cold smoothies for me). I try to walk or move after lunch to aid in digestion and increase my circulation, and usually I head to the gardens near my office so I can do a little forest bathing.
Try to finish dinner before 7pm, so my body can digest for at least 2-3 hours before bed (which is usually around 10pm).
Drink warm herbal tea or moon mylk after dinner, or just room temp water.
Watch a TV show with the hubs, maybe do some computer/phone work before 9pm (like writing this article right now). Try to eliminate all tech/devices 1 hour before bed.
Light yoga or stretching. Or a hot bath & a book.
Brush teeth, rinse face.
Sometimes another quick oil massage, maybe just on my shoulders and neck.
Take evening supplements: Magnesium citrate, Triphala, Probiotic (per my doctor’s recommendations)
Put phone on Airplane mode and away from the bed.
Read until I fall asleep.
That was a lot of information for sure, but I love learning about what other people’s routines and daily habits look like, so hopefully you do too :)
I’d love to know what some of your non-negotiables are, or how you structure your day (or not!)