From the exhausting, sleep-deprived teen years to the most recent stretch of challenging life transitions, mornings have always been a great struggle and not much of a great joy for me.
“I am not at my best self right now.”
Simply recognizing this was the first step to reconciling the morning struggle. The second step: building into this realization a sense of self-acceptance. For me, this was learning (through trial and error) an AM routine that is both gentle and soothing, yet encourages just enough pluck to make it out the door with an acceptable attitude (notice I say “acceptable” here. Some mornings that’s all we can hope for).
Anne Lamott said that as we’re moving through life, we should try go “slowly, and majestically.” I try to remind myself when I can, when the iPhone alarm goes off 3-7 times and my eyes begin to open. Go slowly, go majestically. Also, these things help:
Start with self-care: coffee and puttering.
These are the non-negotiables. Coffee with a splash of almond milk, and built-in time to shuffle about and get my bearings.
A moment to yourself.
Many wise, calm people I respect have a “no technology in bed” rule. This simply does not work for me. Mornings are made better with a glance at my Google calendar, my email, the Weather Channel app, and a quick swipe-swipe-swipe through Instagram.
I don’t typically have time for a full-on yoga practice, but a few breaths set aside to stretch shoulders, hamstrings and back (even while waiting for the coffee to brew) is enough to give a little energetic boost.
Make the bed.
I live and work in New York City, and chaos awaits from the moment the front door swings open. Just through its simplicity and solitude, making the bed brings routine and a sense of order to your world.
Green smoothies in the summer…
Summer’s longer days make it easier to rise with the sun more naturally, as well as gravitate towards the fresh, local produce that’s in season. A green smoothie—like the Triple Green Superfood—is utter perfection in its balance of spinach, pear and lime. (In fact, Aloha is chalk full of great, healthy recipes: nice-looking smoothies, snacks and breakies. Sweet food photography, too).
…and miso soup in the winter.
I feel like I don’t shut up about miso. In the traditional Japanese breakfast, fermented foods like miso are revered for aiding digestion, preventing illness and keeping intestinal flora healthy. I like that it’s a major AM accomplishment: I made some soup today. It’s 7am.
Add a finishing touch, and own it.
Right before stepping out into the world and into your day, add a signature accent: a slick of red lipstick, a floraly, spicy spritz, a pair of obnoxiously oversized sunglasses. This final gesture of self-care—no matter how modest—can set the tone for the rest of the day.
Then, go: majestically, of course.