My Weekday Morning Routine

I’m a night owl through and through but after years of rude awakenings, I’m finally changing the habit of a lifetime swapping my late nights for early mornings. The effect has been far more transformative than I could have imagined and so I thought I'd share my new morning routine that has become something I treasure at the start of every day.

Riding the early bird wave
For ever, my mornings have consisted of five or six shrill alarms failing to rouse me from the comfort of my bed, until a shove from the husband or a wrench back of the duvet startled me awake. The 10 or 20 minute dash to wash, dress and leave on time became a super toxic and stressful start to the day - not a pretty state to find yourself in when you haven’t even been awake for an hour of the day.

So, it was time to make some adjustments. Firstly, blue night is now banned from the bedroom. Mr A took a while to recover from his Family Guy addiction but that theme tune is not one I miss for a millisecond! The problem arose from having an oversized TV for the size of our bedroom so light and sound just blares around the four walls contributing to a restless (him) and wound-up (me) state-of-mind. Phones now live outside the bedroom to charge overnight, the TV has been unplugged, Alexa is programmed for my husband's alarm (lucky for him, he gets an extra 90 minutes in bed) and mine is a soothing lullaby using the iPhone bedtime feature. Given the divide in our morning routines, my 6.30am alarm going off in the living room forces me to get up and out of my bed to silence it. With that extra hour of the day, here's what I do next...

Go Gently
Inspired by Ayurvedic practise and a podcast I listened to on Madeleine Shaw's Get the Glow (episode 22), I’m being gentle to myself first thing in the morning. I find I’m tuned into hearing my delicate alarm from the other room (no foghorns here) and promptly wrap myself up in my super-soft fleece dressing gown. A flick of the kettle on the way to the bathroom so it can boil whilst I cleanse my eyes with warm water soaked into cotton pads. It is unbelievably soothing and such a kind first touch.

Hot Things
Especially on autumnal or wintry mornings, getting out of bed into a cold home is less than inviting, hence the duvet-style dressing gown and slippers. After I've cleansed my eyes, I run a muslin cloth under the warm water and double cleanse my face and neck. Before I used to splash my face with cold water and frantically rub face wash into my cheeks when I was in a rush for work so this change of pace feels super indulgent. After the usual, tone, serum, moisturiser, I pop back to the kitchen to fill a mug with hot water. I've recently given up caffeine altogether which is contributing to me dropping off to sleep as soon as my head touches the pillow around 10.30pm. I do still enjoy a decaf coffee when I get to the office, I think there's something symbolic about it signifying work-mode!

Oil Pulling
I remember first hearing a friend had started 'oil pulling' years ago as a means of teeth whitening. The other benefit of swilling coconut or sesame oil, according to Ayurvedic principles, is its antioxidant action, extracting toxins from your body. I'm not going to lie, this has been the least natural part of my new morning routine and psychologically it's really weird putting a tablespoon of solid coconut oil into your mouth at 6.35am! So far I've managed a teaspoon worth and for maybe five minutes max. The most success I've found is doing it whilst I shower, to busy myself from the fact I'm tasting a Pina Colada this early in the day! The goal is 20 minutes but that seems a way off *gags at the thought* 

Time for some Headspace
I have daydreamed for months about having these super healthy, restorative early mornings in which I would free-journal and meditate. So, the free-writing is still yet to manifest but I have become super diligent with my ten minutes of meditating to Andy Puddicombe's hypnotic voice every morning. Taking time to breathe is such a luxury and after my ten-day trial, I'm now a convert and have signed up for a year!

Eggs in the morning
I admit I'm slightly odd in my capability to eat eggs on their own, especially as I always eat them standing up. I frylite two eggs in a frying pan and eat with nothing but a knife and fork. It takes little than four minutes to make and less than that to eat so plenty of time to fit into my mornings. From working in the haircare industry, I hear almost daily how beneficial a protein-rich breakfast is for your hair, and eggs really are the best source from which to start the day. Another by-product of these early mornings is less sugary foods first thing. I was always guilting of grabbing a croissant on the go or accepting whatever sweet-laden treat is circulating the office that day.

Spare time
Normally I wouldn't have a spare moment to think as I'm rushing around, grabbing my make-up bag to do on the train and forgetting my breakfast sat in the fridge. Instead, I'm now finding I have at least a ten minute window to get something ticked off my to-do list that is for me - this certainly isn't a work related task. The other day, I fake-tanned from head to toe. Another day, I plucked my eyebrows. Another day, I lasered my legs giving me time back in the evening. This is so important to your mentality for the day if you've already done something for you before you step out the door.

This new morning routine has literally been a game-changer for me and I'm so proud of myself for finally making some small but significant changes. I now start every day feeling positive and make an effort to be kind to myself before I leave the comfort of my front door and embrace the London Underground. I'm not perfect and yes, I have been tempted back into bed as soon as I silence my alarm. Having fallen down at this hurdle twice in the last month, I could feel how much I slipped back into a more stressed version of myself. Whilst I thought I needed those extra minutes of sleep, it had a knock-on effect during the day; namely my fuse being shorter, my afternoon slumps being greater and generally feeling frustrated with myself. After I experienced that, I honestly knew my days as a night owl were up.


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