The Art of Mastering the Morning [Week 1 - Intro]

Happy post-4th of July weekend, everyone! Welcome to my first post of my summer blog series about how to make waking up in the morning not suck as much. 


My prediction:

Just like "eating clean", voluntourism, fit bits, and bottomless brunch, I believe that having an *amazing* morning routine is going to be the next big trend. 

You have a morning every single day of your life whether you like it or not. Whether it's 5am or 2pm, there will always be a beginning to your day. Why not make it amazing?

This summer, I have committed myself to exploring habitual mornings. I have a full-time internship this summer, but I don't go in to work until 10am, so this leaves me plenty of time in the morning to experiment.

The past 2 weeks, I gave myself 4 daily goals and 4 weekly goals. 

4 daily goals:

  • drink lemon water first thing in the morning
  • practice piano scales (more of a soul-goal than a health-goal)
  • ~30 minutes of yoga
  • 10 minute guided meditation

4 goals for the week:

  • no caffeine (except green tea at work)
  • no soda or candy (ok except 80% or more dark chocolate!)
  • record my sleep patterns with SleepCycle app
  • pack my own lunch at least 1 day

Wow, writing those out really makes it look like I have my life together but I promise, I don't.

So how did I do after this week of challenging first world problem adjustments? The first few days, it was hard to not fall off the coffee-wagon. It was difficult to wake up just knowing that I a) wasn't going to get coffee and b) had to work out. But after a couple weeks of getting used to this, I felt naturally energized, calm and happy throughout the entire week. It was weird, I became intentional about my morning routine and immediately lost 40 pounds, made $500,000 dollars and was handed a basket full of corgi puppies at the end of the week. 2/3 of those were a lie. 

Here's more about why I made those my goals:

Drinking LEMON WATER??? Why cut coffee? What's so wrong with coffee?? Coffee is power juice god?????

I have nothing against coffee, but my body just adapts quickly to that much caffeine. 

A month into my summer, I was drinking about 1-2 cups of coffee a day (with no reason, I wasn't even working yet). Two things started to happen: I became immune to the heavy dose of caffeine and I was more prone to have anxiety throughout my day. Coffee can have as much as 4x more caffeine than a can of Red Bull. I decided that was way too much. If I wasn't crawling on the ground, drooling all over my laptop and struggling to keep my eyes open, I didn't need coffee. 

So, about a month ago I replaced coffee with green tea and lemon water and I'm never going back. My general anxiety has decreased dramatically and now, when I do really need a boost, I can have a cup of coffee and be bouncing off the walls.

+ green tea is bae and much better for you in the long run (and still has PLENTY of caffeine in it!)

Yoga!?!? Erin, we didn't know you were a yogi!!! Teach me your ways!!

I've always been a huge fan of yoga. Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Yin - you name it. Except for Bikram... you guys are just a buncha red greasy pretzel people (I'm projecting because I can't handle Bikram and I'm insecure). I've never been trained in yoga and I don't claim to know anything, but my routines are just a mix of what I memorize from years of classes and the occasional Youtube video or Pinterest post. Through this elite method, I've developed my own class of yoga called FAUXGA - aka "fake yoga". It always bugs me when people say they aren't "good at yoga" because there's no such thing at being bad. So what if you can't touch your nose to your knees? Yoga isn't a flexibility contest. As long as your paying attention to your breath and are trying you're best, you're perfect in my book! And that's my new motto for FAUXGA. 

Ok, 10 minutes of guided peaceful meditation? What does that even mean erin i mean come on are you like a monk now or what

I WISH. I actually just noticed a trend with a lot of my role models: meditation. I'm a graduating millennial with big dreams living in the work-hard or die powerhouse that is the United States - that sentence alone gives me anxiety. But guided meditation just asks for 10 minutes of your morning to sit in absolute silence and stillness (ok to be honest I think about dogs like 75% of the time). 

I've been using a wonderful app called Calm that gives you these super soothing noises and videos to listen to as you meditate. Also, a nice Canadian woman guides you through. She makes you feel warm and safe. I want to be her friend. 

I’d say a little over a year ago, I started doing TM [transcendental meditation], and that’s really changed everything. Starting your day off with that and ending with that is pretty powerful. Twenty minutes. You just notice the difference. When I get lazy and don’t get it in, I can feel a difference. I do it first thing when I wake up.
— Jennifer Aniston
Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.
— Steve Jobs
The results have been awesome. Better sleep. Improved relationships with spouses, children, coworkers. Some people who once suffered migraines don’t anymore. Greater productivity and creativity all around.
— Oprah


So I've established a good base routine for my morning, but I still need to get the details down. But I need your help. I have so many questions like when do you brush your teeth? before you eat? in the shower? right before you leave? how long do you lay in bed? do you look at your phone before you go to sleep? Will Jon Snow become King of the North!?

So for next week, here's my goals (new ones in bold):

  • drink 850mL of lemon water (or coconut water) everyday
  • no caffeine (except, in emergencies, green tea)
  • 30-40 minutes of yoga every morning
  • 10 minutes of guided meditation every morning
  • record sleep with SleepCycle every night
  • no screens 10 minutes before bed (netflix, instagram, NOTHIN)
  • read the Skimm first thing, before Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. 
    • If you don't know what the Skimm is, you should really check it out. It's a team of people who skim all the news sources for you and give you the run down in a daily email at 6:30am. It's concise, usually pretty funny and simple and usually pretty unbiased. 
  • name 5 things I'm thankful for every morning
    • sounds super cheesy, but everyone who does it swears by it!

And if everything goes right, I predict I should have the body of Miranda Kerr and the soul of Gandhi by the end of the week.

stay gold! xo erin