17: Daily Life | My Current Morning Routine

I am doing NaBloPoMo this month. 30 blog posts in 30 days. Come join me. #nablopomo2022

photo credit: @susan_wilkinson via Unsplash

Before I get started with today’s post, I wanted to remind everyone that today is the LAST DAY to sign up for this year’s Secret Santa (Mug) Swap. If you – or someone you know – are interested in participating in a little bit of holiday fun, I am still accepting participants from the US, Canada, and Germany. I’ll close the sign-up form tonight at midnight PST.

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Now that this important announcement is out of the way, let’s talk a little bit about morning routines. Do you have one? I mean, I am pretty sure everyone has one, but I guess the questions I have are: is it working for you, or how would you like to change it?

My morning routine has changed quite a bit since the start of the pandemic, my transition to working from home, and the acquisition of the Peloton. I have a lot more flexibility, now that I don’t have to leave the house super-early to drive to the gym AND make it to work (all by 7:30 am).

Here’s what most (workday) mornings look like for me.

Get up around 6.

I get up around the same time every day— except for the weekends. I know, I know, it’s supposedly better for you, if you stick to the same bedtime and wake-up time, but a) who really wants to get up at 6 am if they don’t have to? and b) I am convinced (or under the illusion – you pick!) that my body knows when it is a workday and when I can sleep in a little longer. Proof? I usually wake up 5 minutes before my alarm goes off during the week, but I have no problem sleeping in a little bit longer on the weekends. 

Start with some yoga.

Ok, this is a new habit (I am doing a 30-day yoga challenge in November), but I hope it’s one that will stick. It makes me feel really good in the morning. I consider myself a morning person, but I am not a cheery morning person (if you know what I mean). Gently moving and stretching my body and having some time for my brain to wake up is really, really nice.

Some days, I jump on the Peloton first (because I am working out with (a) friend(s)) and then do the yoga after, but regardless, I have been doing yoga (from at least 10-minute up to 45-minute sessions) every morning for the last 2.5 weeks and I really like it.

(Dang it, I just realized I dropped the morning meditation that I was doing for a while. I have been doing meditation here and there, but not consistently. I’ll have to see where to fit this again. But it reminds me of something that Kae talked about recently about ADDING a habit or SUBTRACTING a habit. I think it’s impossible to do everything all the time, so rotating and focusing on a specific habit for a certain amount of time sounds much more achievable.)

Complete a one-hour workout. 

My workout routine is probably around an hour right now every morning – give or take. It depends on what is on my “workout schedule”, but it’s usually a mixed stack of yoga, cycling or running, strength, and stretching, with some “harder” workout days and some “lighter” recovery days. 

I didn’t use to be a fan of stacking multiple shorter workouts, but I’ve come to really appreciate being able to get a variety of targeted movements in with shorter classes. (And friends, don’t underestimate the effectiveness of 10-minute workouts. Just sayin’.) 

Afterward, I shower.

Have my coffee (with soymilk). 

Yes. That deserves its own bullet point. It’s my post-workout reward, my comfort drink, my getting-ready-for-the-day-ritual. I try to really savor this first cup. During the summer months, I would often step outside on the back stoop and enjoy the first rays of sunshine on my face while taking my first sips. Now that it’s darker and cooler in the morning, I try to sit down on the couch for a minute with my blanket. It’s my poor man’s version of people on social media who are sitting all snuggled up in front of their fireplaces with their coffees. Haha. Well, this moment of Zen is something I am still working on in my morning routine, because more often than not I end up going straight to my desk. 

Read (and respond) to emails. 

I’ll do the “easy” stuff for a half hour to an hour: reading and responding to emails, and making a list of priorities for my work day. These are things that don’t take much active brainpower, but it helps to get organized before diving into the actual “work” part of my day.

I used to have a standing meeting at 8:30 am on Monday mornings for a while (what kind of person schedules that?) and let’s just say that was not the ideal way to start off my work week. I am glad that this recurring meeting is no longer on my calendar. 

Eat breakfast.

After getting organized, I usually get my second cup of coffee and some breakfast. I usually rotate through a few breakfast options: plain yogurt with granola, rye bread with jam (or cheese), and I am probably going to start making overnight oats again really soon. We’ve been having cooler overnight temperatures (yes, even here in California) and I do enjoy a warmed-up bowl of oats with berries in the morning.

Start my workday

After all of the above, it’s time to start tackling my work day. Sometimes, I have a string of meetings, sometimes, it’s a day of just plugging away on project tasks (I try to limit it to “two projects” per day, not more). Yes, I realize, I am lucky that my mornings are all mine. No wrangling of kids and – except for Wednesdays – I don’t even have to leave the house. I’ve really found a groove with that work-from-home situation and I’ll admit, it’s quite nice.

What does your early morning routine look like? Is it very different from mine?

  1. My morning routine is similar to yours, but also different. I also work from home, and my daughter is an adult, so I don’t really have to be anywhere. I get up, have a cup of tea, do wordle and the NYT mini crossword. I have another cup of tea, and look at blogs. I was doing yoga every morning for awhile, and I think I need to get back into that.

    Then I go for a walk, 45 minutes or so, with my dog. I start work at 8am, and I ease in. One thing I intend to do but seldom do, is sneak in a little strength training during my work day. I do better with that if I put it on my to do list, so I will do that today. I’ve already blown having time to do a yoga video, but I could easily do a 5 or 10 minute stretch routine during my work day, and also do some pushups, crunches, etc. I like checking things off of a list, so maybe I will list them all separately..

    At some point, I have breakfast, and I take a shower and get dressed. On my lunch hour, I go to the grocery store. I go to the store almost every day. I don’t like having to plan meals, and I do like getting out and seeing people, so this works for me.

    I truly do love working from home and the extra flexibility that gives me! I’ve been doing it since 2006, so it’s not new for me at all.

    1. I love the flexibility of your workday, J, and of course you have a built-in workout by having to get out with your dog. It sounds very European of you that you go to the store daily. :)

  2. My morning routine is more Zen than yours. I get up, wander downstairs in the semi-darkness, and make a pot of coffee. I drink my first mug of coffee while speaking to no one. Then I pop online to catch-up on the comments left on my blog, followed by what I’m doing now which is reading, then commenting on, blog posts written by bloggy friends. When I’m done with that I get dressed and my day starts in the real world. I exercise & meditate later in the day.

    1. I really like your Zen-morning routine, Ally. I think I would very much like to start my day with coffee in the semi-darkness while catching up on blogs, too. I know a lot of people for whom working out later in the day works better… I used to be a later exerciser, but since my workdays are long, I am always afraid that I will be too tired to get it done at the end of the day and it really gives me a boost of energy in the morning.

  3. So fun to read this. Mine looks a bit different. No exercise. I am still trying to convince myself I need to build a habit here. Wake up, make coffee, step outside balcony for a couple deep breath, snuggle on sofa, read a book (or blogposts as of November). panic that it is close to nine. bathroom routine while making a pot of tea, 9 am desk…

    1. Stepping outside on the balkony with your coffee in the morning sounds glorious… but I am impressed that you get reading done before work. It sounds like a very calm routine.

  4. I also get up at 6am and also have a coffee – not after exercise though. I get up and join my daughter in the kitchen to get breakfasts and coffee (!) ready. I make lunches for everyone (except my daughter’s who takes care of her own). She leaves the house usually before 7pm. I take a shower (to help me wake up because I am NOT a morning person) and I read the New York Times newsletter and make my way through the news from there. This month I started to read the Nablopomo posts, too ;). I keep nagging my son to get ready (he is not a morning person either) and by 8:05am we are all out the house heading to work drop off at school in the process. In an ideal world I would like to exercise in the morning but I postpone that until the kids are a little more self sufficient.

    1. I love that so many people have a routine of reading news/blogs in the morning. I didn’t mention that in my routine, but some of that does happen in that first hour when I catch up on email and organize my day.

  5. Ha ha ha! My morning routines looks nothing like yours. You get so MUCH DONE in a morning.

    I wake up at 6 and use my SAD lamp for 20-30 minutes. Then I walk the dog. We’re out for anywhere from five to thirty minutes. Once I get inside, my husband and I clean the cat’s chin (this is a two-person job) and I brush the cat’s teeth. Then I train the dog (2-10 minutes), feed the dog, and brush the dog’s teeth. Then I eat breakfast. Then I shower.

    Then I power up my laptop and get started working.

    I DO NOT exercise in the morning because there’s nothing worse. I am so envious or morning exercisers because it must feel wonderful to just have it all done with so early in the day!

    1. I’ve heard people use the SAD lamps – does that really make a huge difference? Do you physically feel it? Of course, you have to get out with Hannah – dog owners definitely have a walking routine build into their mornings! :)

  6. My kids have to be up earlier than previous years (they have to start getting ready between 6:30-6:45 or so), so this sadly cuts into “my” golden morning window. I usually get up by 5:30, but I preferably am up by 5:15. I often lay in bed and check my email and read a couple blogs for 10 minutes or so. Then it takes me 10 minutes or so to get dressed, put contacts in, brush and floss teeth, make my face “presentable” (lol), etc. Then I go downstairs to basement, make a cup of tea and sit at my desk. I spend from ~5:45-6:45 doing some combination of the following: checking work email, reading some news headlines, updating my journal/ habit tracker, sometimes reading for 10-15 minutes and typically writing a blog post. I do not usually work out first thing in the morning anymore. I used to!! But now I kind of can’t stomach the thought. I just prefer that low key morning time, versus heading straight to the gym. I could do a home workout without TOO much trouble early probably, but I usually don’t. Then by around 6:45, I head upstairs to chat with boys/ oversee breakfast time. We head out by 7:10, they get on the bus by 7:20, and many day I am at the gym by 7:25. I work out, am ideally home by 8:30, shower quickly and try to get to my desk by 9 am (usually with breakfast in tow). Some days, if I have a lot to do, I swap out that early hour of “my time” and will actually do an hour of work early. It depends. On Fridays I have a standing 8:30 meeting, so I usually do not go the gym those days and instead will do a quick 20-30 minute workout at home after the boys get off to school (so like 7:30-7:50ish), then a quick shower, then meeting at 8:30. And then finally, some days if I really just need to get going on work in the morning, I will skip a.m. gym and then will try to fit in an afternoon gym break around 2 pm or so, then back to work to finish my day.

    1. I love that you have a routine of reading and writing in the morning. In a parallel universe I would like that very much – I just don’t now where I would fit in exercise if I did that. My work days are so long that I wouldn’t really get this done til later in the evening and I really don’t want to do that.

  7. I almost never set an alarm (a handful of times a year). I am NOT a morning person. My ideal wake-time would be 7:30 am every morning. This is what I did all through university and it felt amazing, but it is simply not possible in this stage of life! I don’t want to sleep in late, either. 7:30 is just the perfect timing for me.
    So I wake up when I wake up; ideally before the kids (they wake up…whenever…but they’re only allowed to knock on our door at 7 am on school days; 8 am on weekends).
    I should get up and get dressed/do yoga, but most days, if we’re both awake, John and I just snuggle until 7 am. Cheesy? Yes. But also lovely. This does mean I tend to scramble after, though…
    We make kid lunchboxes the night before. We’re all up by 7 am and do breakfast, pack bookbags, brush teeth, get dressed (the kids are expected to be dressed – WITH SOCKS, so help me why is the sock thing so hard for kids to remember – and are out the door before 7:50 am. We walk the kids to school, and do a longer route home. We get home about 8:50 am. I put on water for tea, putter around the house doing chores (dishes, run the robovac) for about 30 minutes and then head to the office or set up at the dining room table to start work by 9:30 am.

    1. Wow, you never set an alarm. That’s impressive. I often wake up before my alarm, but I wouldn’t rely on it alone and always have an alarm set as a back up and if I am tired I’d easily sleep through my wake up time.

      I love that you said that the kids are not allowed to come in before 7/8am and that you snuggle with John if you’re both awake. That sounds like the perfect start into any morning ;)

  8. My routine is similar, but a bit earlier! I wake up between 4-4:45, drink coffee, read a bit, maybe write a bit, do yoga, do my cardio workout, and then have a smoothie. After that, it’s variable. Usually I drive my son to school and then walk, then shower. Sometimes I have a morning class or errand or appointment, and in that case I shower first, then walk later in the day.

    1. You’re such an earlier riser, Nicole. Wow…. and then you do yoga before you teach yoga! Such discipline! It sounds like you’re otherwise pretty flexible with your schedule, which is nice.

  9. My routine is similar in that it starts with a workout and then shower and coffee but very different because that’s all I have time for! I usually only have 10-20 minutes between the first sip of coffee and work.

    1. Yeah, I don’t have more than 15 minutes before my first sip of coffee and work either… although I wish I’d leave myself a bit more time, but that would mean getting up earlier, too.

  10. Your routine is very disciplined. I feel like because I set my hours and have very different days, I’m having trouble getting a morning routine to stick. I’m not a morning person. I can run in the morning as it doesn’t take much coordination, but I tried going to pilates classes with my husband at 7:00 am (he’s a real morning person), and it was not good.

    1. It sounds like your days look very different, so I can see how your morning routine also fluctuates. But hey, if that works for you, there’s nothing wrong with that. I kinda like sticking to a plan most days though.

  11. Your morning sounds lovely and intentional and restorative! Maybe once my kiddo is more independent, my mornings will look like this, but for now, most of my mornings are spent wrangling her out of bed and out the door to school. I love that you count coffee as a treat. My morning cup of tea is one of my favorite parts of my day. So comforting!

    1. I can definitely see how mornings with kids look a lot different…. but I am glad you can enjoy your first cup of tea in the morning. A warm beverage is indeed very comforting in the morning.

  12. My morning routine revolves around my daughter’s schedule. I almost always exercise in the morning, but ii also have to get her up, breakfast made, lunch made, and get her to school. Middle schools starts late, so I’ve been living it up the last couple years. Next year she starts high school which will be very, very painful- we’ll have to be out of the house by 7, EEEEEK! Still not sure how- but I’ll work it out.
    I enjoyed reading about everyone’s mornings!

    1. I can see how for parents things revolve around kids in the morning… I don’t envy you that you’ll have to be out of the house at 7 am next year when your daughter starts high school. But I am sure you’ll figur eit out ;)

  13. I definitely have a morning routine but it is not very enjoyable or relaxing. On days I go into the office, I get up at 5:45 or 6 depending on whether I have to blow dry my hair. I can get up around 6:05-6:10 when I don’t go into the office. We ideally leave the house around 6:45 so there isn’t much margin in our schedule but I can’t bear to get up any earlier than that! I try to work out after Phil leaves for the boys on mornings that I work from home, though. Your morning routine sounds so wonderful! I remember how early you had to get up to fit workouts in before logging into work! Glad you don’t have to do that 5 days/week anymore!

    1. Your morning definitely sounds more rushed, esp. because you have the boys and yourself to get ready. I don’t think I’d be able to sacrifice extra sleep if I was in your situation either so I understand that you’re currently just “getting through it”… I do hope that you’ll have a more relaxed morning routine in the future.

  14. I love your morning routine! I really want to make an effort to have a more structured morning routine because mine is just not where I want it to be right now. Usually, I wake up, get breakfast, eat breakfast while playing games on my phone (bad, I know), and then IDEALLY I would do my skincare routine, make my bed, and maybe slip in 20 or so minutes of reading, but I’m usually hopping on the computer to start my workday.

  15. I posted recently about my priorities, and part of that is related to my mornings. I get up ridiculously early (you seriously don’t want to know… as I’ve said multiple times…), I work out immediately, then stretch, foam roll, shower (washing my hair *every day*, unlike apparently most every other woman on the planet. Then, most mornings, I get to work right around 6. Different days are Thursdays and Saturdays. Thursdays – cleaning + grocery shopping then work (still at my desk by 7:45), and Saturdays – meal prep for the week (thanks to that grocery shopping on Thursday). But for the most part, that’s how it goes. When I go on campus, I hop in the car at 6, vs. sitting down at my desk, but the overall premise is the same, just slightly delayed by my exceptionally short commute.

    I really like how you’ve made coffee into a ritual – something to be enjoyed BEFORE the work day begins. I do need to figure out how to get more reflection and time for journaling into my morning. I could probably stand to cut back on my workouts, which would land me in my chair a bit earlier (even 15 minutes would help!). I’ll have to ponder this, given how appealing your routine is. I have a feeling I could learn a lot from you… :) Maybe you and others in our little group could tutor me on enjoying the moment…

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