How to Create an Ideal Morning Routine

How to Create an Ideal Morning Routine

A good morning routine can set you up for the entire day. It can help you feel accomplished, productive, and energized and tackle the things on your to-do list. I believe that a morning routine starts the night before with a night routine, which I will post later on, but for now let’s dive into some kick-ass ways to bump up your MR! 

Inspiring Practices

Every morning before you start doing things for other people, you want to make sure you are taking care of yourself. This can be physically, mentally, or spiritually. To calm your mind, I recommend meditating for at least 5 minutes. This will calm the nervous system, because we focus on the breath and not the thoughts rolling around in our head. Meditating has become essential for starting my day off right. It sets me up for difficulties that come up in my day because I have given me that time to be with myself and change my perspective on my energy. I have also been inspired by lots of guided meditations that focus on topics such as letting go of difficult emotions, or gaining confidence. My favorite FREE apps for meditating are Meditation Studio and Simple Habit.

Another way I like to bring more joy into my morning is journaling. After reading the book The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron, I started doing her method of morning pages. Upon waking, you would groggily write out 3 full pages of whatever is on your mind. If you have nothing to write, just write, “blah, blah, blah..,” until you think of something. You can write about your day, something your struggling with, the dream you just had, something exciting in your life…I also like to add in 1-3 things I’m grateful for just at the top to keep my mind grounded in the present. When we focus on what we are grateful for, we tend to be more content with our current reality. For perfectionists, this is especially important because we are always yearning to be better or more for our lives. This is also a great activity if you’re looking for ways to be more creative. By practicing this every day, we can then access our voice easier for writing, speaking, or creative projects. 
 
Lastly, if you feel closer to God in the morning, taking some time for prayer or reading the Bible can also be inspiring. I have recently added this into my morning routine. Sundays, I will watch my church online called The Meeting House, and I started to feel like I didn’t know much about the stories that they are sharing, so I took up reading the bible from the beginning. Being not as religious, this was difficult as first. This pushed me to see someone else’s words as an inspiring way of looking at my own life and also the relationship I have with God and other people. 
 
Some other ways to incorporate inspiring practices would be to read motivating or enlightening quotes as well as stating a mantra for the day. My favorite right now is: “I know enough, I have enough, I am enough.” 
Mindful Movement
Another way I get ready for my day is through moving my body. This can mean strenuous exercises or just warming up the body and getting a little blood flowing. Lately, I’ve been loving a simple yoga routine in the morning. I’ll put on a YouTube video and do a morning flow to wake my body up and stretch from a long night of resting. My favorite channels are, Yoga with Kassandra and Sarah Beth Yoga. My mornings are my time to relax before a busy day, so my strenuous work tends to be outside of my home whether I’m going to a Barre class, Yoga class, or 9 Round class. 
 
When I wasn’t working for lululemon and didn’t have the benefit of taking local community classes, I was an advocate for FREE workouts. Sometimes now if I cannot make a class schedule, I will just search the unlimited amounts of free, no equipment, 20 minute workouts on YouTube and just do it on my mat in my living room. Moving your body doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated, just move until your heart rate increases or you sweat. 

Getting outside is also a beautiful way to get in movement to your day. Because some of my nights are late, I prioritize sleep over waking up too early. By the time I’m awake it’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside here in Orlando, FL and the thought of walking or running outside does not appeal to me. When the weather cools down, absolutely. Half-hour swift walks in your neighborhood are perfect for calming the body, breathing fresh air, getting blood moving, and being closer to nature. 

Home Care
This could be so different for everyone because we all live such different lives. We have different needs, different animals, some have kids, some live abroad, and so on. How I like to take care of my home in the morning is with simple chores. I start with making my bed, then opening up the shades to let in natural light. 
 
This is also my time to do the mindless tasks that don’t require much thought such as unloading the dishwasher and  the dryer. When I have accomplished those things I can feel good about having a clean environment around me to start my day. Sometimes I even do it before meditating because it will stay on my mind during the session if I don’t. 
 
My morning routine is also my time to take care of my plants and fur baby. I will water my herbs and my palm tree out on my balcony. I will also, feed my kitty, put new water in her dish and clean out her litter box. I know, not the most glamorous, but I feel like I can finally relax when I know they are taken care of. 

Before I get out of bed sometimes I will take some time to cuddle my cat. This is a newly added activity in my routine and I love it. All our animals (and children) want is love and cuddles. The morning and evening are great times to spend with your furry besties and give them the love the so yearn from you all day. It’s become a habit that I look forward to when I know I don’t have to think about anything else except loving her. Try this with your animals and your kids. Give them some family time and love to start their day and most of all your day. 

Self Care
The early hours of the day are perfect times for self-care. First things first, I rehydrate my body after 6-8 hours of no water with a big 1 liter mason jar. I will also take my probiotic. To properly eliminate throughout the day, starting off with water is vital. It wakes up the digestive system, and gets your organs moving. Sometimes I will intermittent fast with just water and coffee, but most mornings I will have food only after I’ve had a BM (bowel movement). Sorry for the graphics, but this is super important for your health that you are regular and H2O is beneficial for that. 
 
After my mindful movement, I will dry-brush then hop in the shower. Dry-brushing is incredible for waking up the circulation in the skin, lymphatic drainage, proper elimination of toxins, and minimizes skin blemishes and cellulite. Since all of your dead skin cells will be floating around on the surface after this exercise, hop in the bath or shower to cleanse them off. 
I will also go through my skincare routine for the morning after my shower. This consists of a cleanser, toner, serum, and a face cream with SPF. Then I slather on some lotion on my body and slip on my satin (pink of course) robe to wear while I make some food. I have a very simple skincare/haircare routine comparable to most. I do not blow dry my hair or put on makeup anymore, so my routine is much shorter. If you need time for these things, make sure to plan accordingly so that you can not feel rushed when trying to relax. 
 
Lastly, I will make myself some wholesome breakfast with a cup of decaf coffee. My go-to meals have been oats with berries and nut butter, as well as avocado toast with eggs. I sometimes have my breakfasts already meal prepped if I am short for time. I will also buy my favorite protein bars to keep on hand, just in case I’m not feeling very hungry that morning. 
Prioritize & Plan
As my lotion is drying and I’m sipping the last bits of my coffee, I will sit down to plan my day. I will layout my Erin Condren planner and look at what my day and week looks like and write out my personal and professional to-do list (if not already written). I will also update my google calendar if I need to. 
 
This is also a great time to check my finances and update my budget from the day before. My husband and I are on a tight budget trying to pay off the wedding right now and the Dave Ramsey Every Dollar app (Free) helps us with keeping track. I’ve also learning the hard way over the years, that checking your account everyday and coming face to face with your reality is incredibly important for your emotional wellbeing and personal responsibility. I have definitely avoided looking at my bank accounts on many occasions for fear of what my spending habits did to my funds. But just like many things in life, avoiding your problems will not solve anything. I recommend everyone get a budget and know where your money is going. 
 
Now that my day is planned, I will get dressed, pack my bag and head out the door! Easy breezy jus like that. Now, just a disclaimer, this is an ideal morning routine. Every day is a little bit different and I can’t get to everything on my list. I’m not perfect (no one is), so this is just a structure I strive for when I want to have a great morning to set me up for my day. 
I hope you found this guide helpful and you can start incorporating these habits into your morning routine. Comment below with your favorite part of your morning routine or something you want to start incorporating today. 
 
Wanna know how to keep track of your morning routine? I’ve created a FREE downloadable worksheet and tracker to keep you productive and striving for your best. Click the link below to get the goods!

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How to Food Prep for a Hurricane

How to Food Prep for a Hurricane

I may not have had power or water, but by damned I was going to have good food. As most of you know, we just recently had a hurricane threaten most of Florida, Dorian. Bless the Bahamas and everything they endured. Orlandoans (people from Orlando) were so very lucky to have just a few rolling storms and average wind. 
 
This was going to be my very first experience of a hurricane while living in my own residence. Before this, I had been onboard a ship or so far away that it didn’t concern me or my safety. This storm was slow-moving, which made the anticipation even more grueling while we waited to see if we needed to evacuate or if/when the hurricane was even going to affect us. 
 
My husband lives away at sea and I now have a fur baby to take care of, which raised the stakes (not gunna lie). I made sure that I was uber prepared for whatever came my way. I spent money from our Emergency Fund, thank God for that, and gathered up supplies like candles, lamps, flashlights, extra gas, trash bags and towels, betteries, and little tid bits I still needed for the apartment. I also cleared everything off my balcony and filled up my gas tank. I WAS PREPARED for ANYTHING. 
 
When it came to my kitchen, I was stocked. Listed below is everything I bought and prepared to get me ready for Hurricane Dorian. I hope you find this list helpful for any emergency that requires no power. This is also a great way to avoid heavy snacking and get in some wholesome meals with nutritional value while experiencing something not so pleasant. 
Non-Perishables
These foods are items with a much longer shelf life that don’t require refrigeration. Typically, nonperishable foods include canned goods, dry goods and dehydrated foods. I chose a variety of these because I didn’t know how long the power would be out. Also, since the hurricane didn’t hit, I have a pantry stocked of things for the next time. 
Canned Veggies and Beans
These are great for throwing together because they are already cooked. I purchased canned peas and corn as well as lentils, chickpeas, and white beans. The corn was mainly for sweetness and it went with most of the other things that I bought, but the others were great sources of plant protein. When people think of good protein sources for vegetarians they think of the typical tofu, nuts, seeds, and beans. However, peas have a high amount of protein in them as well. 

Some recipes that I could’ve made with these would’ve been a cold pasta salad or a bean salad with cut up tomatoes, herbs, and onions. I might have dipped my tortilla chips or corn chips in like a salsa. If I really wanted to be savage, I would’ve eaten these straight out of the can. With the beans and chickpeas, I could’ve mashed it with a fork and spread it on some whole grain bread for a hearty vegetarian sandwich. Top that with veggies of choice and you’re good to go. 

Canned Soups and Sauces

I thought about not getting these, but they are classic items to have in a pantry during rough weather. Soups are perfect for rainy days, but when you have no power, they can’t give you that warm and fuzzy feeling you crave with the dish. I knew that I would probably be eating this cold, so I made sure to purchase cans with that in mind. Hearty soups like chicken noodle, vegetable, and chicken and rice, work best because they act as a meal. 

Diced tomatoes and tomato sauce are two staples that should be in your pantry at all times if possible. During this time, I thought I would be using them as a quick add-in for my pre-made dishes. I had pre-cooked some pasta so that I could just open up the can of tomatoes, throw in some spices and mix them together. An instant cold pasta dish with no added sugars that you would get from regular pasta sauces.  The diced tomatoes I could’ve added to my bean salad as a make-shift salsa to be enjoyed many different ways. 

Milks and Broths

Next, I purchased these other staples. I got some non-refrigerated boxed veggie stocks and almond milk. The almond milk would be amazing for cold coffee, cereal, or drank on its own for a protein rich beverage. The stocks I would’ve drank on their own or added them to the tomato sauce to thin it out. Bone broth would’ve been a good choice as well for the added collagen and bone nutrients. Because I would’ve had no water to thin our creamy dishes or soups, the broth would’ve been helpful for this as well as add flavor. 

Canned Protein

These items are typical for a power-outage. Not only did I get my regular round of tuna and salmon cans, but I got some chicken, just in case my prepared meats went bad. Because I didn’t eat them, I have them ready for the next storm. For these I would have eaten them plain, mixed them with avocado for a salad-like consistency without the mayo, or mixed in to my cold pasta with some raw veggies. Let’s be real, my go-to meal is usually tuna salad (with the avocado) spread on toast with tomatoes and greens, red onion, and herbs. Yum yum. 

 Ready Made Entrees

I didn’t get too many of these because, darn it, they are expensive. I did splurge on one packaged Veggie Korma dish. Most people when they prepare for a hurricane they tend to buy a lot of processed foods that are loaded with added sugars and tons of sodium. The problem with this is that sugar causes our blood sugar to spike and then crash and we are hungry not too long after we’ve just eaten. Not good when you’re trying to sustain your food. When it’s loaded with sodium or salt, you get very thirsty. When you’re trying to conserve your water supply, this is not an ideal situation.

When stocking up for these types of situations, buy these ready-made meals sparingly. Yes, they are super convenient, but when you are trying to stay healthy, try not to use this storm as an excuse to indulge. 

Protein Snacks

These are my favorite things to buy. They are quick and nutrient dense. Here I chose little protein balls that have minimal ingredients. I also picked up some Epic meat jerkies and my favorite protein bars, Go Macro. I only had two jerky sticks because they are quite processed with high levels of sodium, but I knew they would be a great choice for protein. 

Sometimes when I’m feeling not as hungry, I’ll have some sort of a protein ball or bar. These are absolutely perfect for when the power goes out. They have a long shelf life, fill you up nutritionally, and sometimes act as a meal replacement. These would be my #1 go-to. 

Pleasure Snacks

Obviously, I’m not opposed to snacks. I love me some dark chocolate, popcorn, corn chips…you name it. I chose some gluten-free seed crackers, above 70% dark chocolate and popcorn with minimal ingredients. Honestly, I don’t really snack too much during the day. Usually my meals will fill me up. Sometimes I will have crackers and hummus for a meal if I’m feeling lightly peckish. I knew that I was going to probably be bored and snacking was inevitable. Having dark chocolate above 70% cocoa is the best for you. Anything lower then that would be supplemented with more dairy and more sugar. The taste is stronger at first, but like anything your tastebuds will adjust. Popcorn is my absolute favorite snack and this brand does it very well. Beautiful ingredients like pink Himalayan sea salt and coconut oil make this snack not too shabby. 

Carbohydrates 

For some easy carbs, I choose to go for a healthy yet filling cereal, some whole grain bread, and some chickpea pasta. The cereal is a great choice for an easy breakfast or quick little sweet snack. I just pour in the almond milk and good to go. The bread is clearly a staple during this time. Sandwiches that I would make may include hummus and roasted vegetable, avocado toast with fresh herbs, chickpea, egg, tuna/salmon, or chicken salad, a PLT (Protein, lettuce & tomato) with my jerky or already prepared proteins, and toast with nut butter or ghee. 

Nuts (Butter) and Dried Fruit
Lastly, for my non-perishables I chose to purchase a couple of freshly ground nut butters and some dates. Dates and nut butter are such a delicious sweet treat without any added sugar or processed chemicals. I also prefer picking up freshly ground in their containers from Lucky’s or Whole Foods because you know it’s more fresh than the ones on the shelf, they have no added chemicals, and it’s most of the time a whole lot cheaper. They weren’t organic, but I pick my battles wisely. I got a chocolate peanut butter and almond butter one. 
 
When choosing dried fruits, be very careful and look at the ingredient lists. A lot of them have unnecessary sugar sprinkled throughout. The best thing to do is buy dried fruits with just the fruit in them or make your own in the oven or dehydrator. 
Counter Fruit & Veggies
I didn’t choose too many counter fruits because I didn’t want to keep them on the counter unless absolutely necessary. So, when the power went out, I would then bring my tomatoes and carrots and lemons out or in a cooler with ice. Luckily, nothing happened so I was just left with my very ripe avocados and bananas. I like to get a variety of avocados regularly so that I can have them fresh all the time. I pick up half that are very ripe and half that are ready to be eaten within the next few days. I lay my ripe ones on the counter, wait for them to get soft then pop them in the fridge to slow down their natural process. 
 
When I get bananas, it’s usually to just go in smoothies. I thought by getting them for the hurricane I could snack on them with some nut butter or put overtop of my cereal. I made sure to purchase very green ones so that they could last.  
Refrigerated and Prepared Foods 

I tried to be very intentional with what I had in my fridge and what would be going bad the quickest when the power goes out. I also looked for simple foods that way I could pair with many other items. Most of these items are foods that I can eat warmed up or cold if there is no way to reheat it. 

Raw Fruits and Veggies
Purchasing anything that has a shorter shelf life is tricky when preparing for bad weather, so I made sure to not get too much. I will usually get a few different types of greens to whip up some easy salads. I got cucumber, carrots and tomatoes for salads and hummus dipping, some fruit for snacks, and some herbs and lemons/limes for flavoring other dishes. 
 
To keep my herbs and greens fresh I like to wrap them in a damp linen napkin to keep them from drying out. I will also stand them up in a glass of water. I didn’t chop my carrots or cucumber until I had to. That way they could stay as fresh as possible. 
Dips and Toppings
Like I have discussed in other sections, I purchased some hummus for the hurricane, but I will usually get some every week. This staple is usually in my fridge already for topping over nourish bowls and using it as a dip for veggies or seed crackers. If the power went out, I would either eat it as a meal as soon as possible or put it over ice in my cooler to help it last as long as possible. The Hope brand is my current favorite and I got two completely different flavors to keep things interesting.
 
I also decided on a few veggie toppings. Kimchi is a beautiful source of probiotics. This one had fermenting cabbage and beets. The artichokes are marinating in an olive oil and water substance. They have lots of flavor, but not too many chemicals. I would top both of these on my nourish bowls, avocado toast or eat as a side dish to my meals. 
Prepared Veggies
Roasting veggies is my weekly to-do. Most of the time it will be sweet potatoes, carrots, asparagus, or zucchini. Sweet potatoes are a great source of healthy carbohydrates and can be used as a base for a healthy dish. I eat mine as a base for my nourish bowls, as a side dish with my salmon, or underneath a few scrambled eggs. 
 
Since the freezer would potentially turn off, I made sure to thoroughly weed out everything that would go bad the quickest. When I chop my veggies for recipes, I will stick the food scraps into a bag in the freezer. Once this is full, I will then dump it into my crock pot, cover it with water, add some spices and let simmer overnight or while I’m at work. Once completed, I am left with a beautiful veggie stock, which is what is in the mason jars. Just like the boxed ones, they are fantastic for adding flavor to a dish or thinning out a sauce. 
Prepared Carbohydrates 
Who’s knows if the power would’ve gone out, but you bet your bottom dollar, I had some carbs prepared. I cooked a batch of brown rice and a few servings or chickpea pasta. With the rice, I could’ve made a burrito bowl, paired it as a side dish or eaten the rice in a porridge version topped with almond milk and fresh fruit. 
 
The chickpea pasta could be mixed with any protein source with the tomato sauce cans, the tuna/salmon cans for a pasta salad, or even paired with the beans and avocado. 
Prepared Proteins
I had bought 3 sources of protein for the storm. It just so happened, there was a frozen chicken breast in the freezer that I needed to cook. It may look like a lot of food (because it is), but it is very difficult to buy smaller portions of food when you’re cooking for one and also when you’re trying to use up everything in your fridge and not waste it. 
 
I fried the chicken and ground turkey in the frying pan each with some avocado oil, onions, garlic, and some spices. I attempted to soft boil some eggs, but that didn’t go too well (which is why they are hiding in the back). Still edible, but not the prettiest. I got a block of tempeh to shift from the heavier protein to a more plant-based. I split the block in half and did a lighter marinade on one half and a balsamic marinade on the other. I then, fried those off in some avocado oil and stored everything in airtight containers 
 
All of these protein sources are very versatile and I could’ve had endless options for them: Pastas, nourish bowls, on their own, topped with some hummus, and made as a sandwich. 
Freezer

I didn’t take a photo of my freezer because it wasn’t very interesting. I had left only frozen fruits and ice in there. Everything that could’ve made a stench, if left to thaw, I made sure to cook and store in the fridge, or eat it up before the storm came. Once the power went out, I would’ve taken the ice and put it in my cooler to store only the necessary things that need refrigeration. 

Liquids

I was deeply concerned for my ability to have a fresh coffee in the morning if the power were to not exist. My Nespresso machine gives me life. To be honest, the coffee doesn’t do anything for my ability to stay awake, but I just love the flavor and the smell. If I wasn’t going to be able to make a foam topped Decaf black coffee during this rainy, boring time of no power, I don’t know what I was going to do. I know…Cold Brew! 

Coffee
I purchased a bag of Starbucks Fall Blend coffee from Target and decided to make some Cold Brew in my French Press. When attempting this recipe, you want to make a ratio of 1:7 to achieve a nice rich flavor. I put ½ cup of grounds in the bottom of my Press with 3.5 cups of filtered water. I then placed the top on without pushing the filter down. I left this brewing in the fridge for at least 12 hours. 
 
My French Press I also purchased from Target and held about a liter of coffee, so I was able to do this 3 days before the storm was scheduled to hit for 3 full liters of Cold Brew. I paired this with some almond milk or drank it straight. Delish! 
Water

Lastly, I made sure to purchase enough water for 3-4 days with the assumption of a 1 gallon consumption every day. I ended up fighting (just kidding) for 2 cases of water and filled up all of the spare water bottles/containers I had in the pantry. I was set. For all those little things like flushing the toilet and bathing, I made sure to also fill up the bathtub for those things. I did not drink that water though. I like to keep my water as clean and filtered as possible if I’m going to be drinking it. 

I hope that you got some great ideas for the next time you have to prepare for a Hurricane or some great food prepping ideas in general. Its a shame that nothing happened and that I couldn’t have shared what worked and what didn’t work. However, I am blessed that nothing did happen to me and my community. If Dorian did hit Orlando, I would’ve been well-fed and very content. 
 
Let me know in the comments below what your favorite food prepping idea was. I would also love to know what is something you like to make to prepare yourself for a power outage? If you have any questions feel free to leave them below!  

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