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Only a few months ago, I was waking up feeling like I was already behind. I’d jump into the shower while brushing my teeth, throw on the cleanest smelling t-shirt and run out the door to start the day. I started my mornings in a total rush and carried that frenetic energy through the rest of my day.
As I’ve worked to establish balance in my life, I’ve slowly started to build a morning routine that works me. This set of daily actions makes me feel energized, optimistic, and ready to conquer the day.
Skip the Social Media and give thanks.
I used to rush to my phone scanning my social media and email the second I woke up. In this half daze, I would plan out the things I needed to accomplish for the day.
To better start my day and ensure that I don’t read an upsetting article about our 45th president, I spend the first moments of the morning giving thanks for waking up and the opportunity to walk in my purpose.
Find Your Daily Mantra.
After the moment of praise I read my morning mantra. I discovered this during a dark moment in business when I was having trouble with a difficult client. This Abundance prayer, helped to reframe my mindset and shape my attitude to encourage opportunity, instead of focusing on lack.
From The Light of God that I Am.
From The Love of God that I Am.
From The Power of God that I Am.
From The Heart of God that I Am.
I Decree–I dwell in the midst of Infinite Abundance. The Abundance of God is my Infinite Source. The River of Life never stops flowing. It flows through me into lavish expression. Good comes to me through unexpected avenues and God works in a myriad of ways to bless me. I now open my mind to receive my good. Nothing is too good to be true. Nothing is too wonderful to have happen. With God as my Source, nothing amazes me. I Am not burdened by thoughts of past or future. One is gone. The other is yet to come. By the power of my belief, coupled with my purposeful fearless actions and my deep rapport with God, my future is created and my abundance made manifest. I ask and accept that I am lifted in this and every moment into Higher Truth. My mind is quiet. From this day forward I give freely and fearlessly into life and Life gives back to me with magnificent increase. Blessings come in expected and unexpected ways. God provides for me in wondrous ways. I AM indeed grateful. And I let it be so.
Note: While I do consider myself a Christian, I totally encourage you to adjust the mantra to suit your individual needs. Here are some non-denominational options to check out.
Set the Intention with a Morning Podcast.
After showering and brushing my teeth, I listen to “How I Built This” while getting dressed. This NPR podcast follows the stories of interesting business owners and their personal process of starting their multibillion dollar companies. I enjoy it because it’s a daily reminder that even the largest companies all started somewhere.
If podcasts aren’t your thing, I recommend finding a song that can be your morning anthem–something that makes you feel hype, encouraged, and ready to kick some ass.
Eat a simple, healthy breakfast.
I’m usually not hungry in the mornings, but I’ve started eating breakfast because it leads me to making better food decisions throughout the day (primarily because I’m not starving by lunchtime.) I normally add fresh avocado to a couple pieces of toast or eat a fried egg with an apple.
Add pinch of Cinnamon to your Coffee.
My other morning trick is making cold brew coffee at home with a pinch of cinnamon instead of cream and sugar. Not only does it save a few bucks every day, it ensures that I am fully caffeinated by the time I get to work. It also saves a few calories and has some unverified, but potentially meaningful benefits. According to Greatist it:
- Reduces blood sugar levels
- Softens sugar spikes and reduces cravings
- Relieves congestion
- Reduces stiffness in joints and muscles
- Increases brain function
With my coffee in hand, I take the short walk to work.
In total my morning routine is right under an hour and helps me to feel ready to create and conquer. Most importantly, it has set my mind on being positive, reaching for the big goals, and having a productive, meaningful day.
Added Bonus: I recently let go of the alarm clock.
From an article in Forbes, I learned that Pharrell Williams doesn’t use an alarm clock. I quickly decided that I would try this technique and after months of sleep training, my body naturally wakes up around 6:45am every single morning. Letting go of the alarm clock was a truly liberating experience. Being shaken awake by the stressful buzz of my cellphone has been replaced by a natural connection with my personal rhythm and my connection to the universe.
Let’s be real though: There are a few times I do use an alarm clock. If I have a meeting before 9am, I will set the alarm just in case. Also Daylight Savings Time almost always is an incredibly difficult adjustment for up to a month.
Since childhood, reading has been a fundamental part of my relaxation. I remember spending full days during the summer flipping between novels and illustrating scenes from the books.
Like most people, after college, I stopped reading for a bit. I had my fill of textbooks (and learning for that matter) and needed some time to totally let go. It was short lived–I soon realized that the best way to wind down before bed is to read a chapter or two from a good book.
Now, it’s time for a little confession. As much as I want to be an erudite cycling through the New York Times Bestsellers, I’m more basic bruh when it comes to my reading selection. I prefer to get immersed in a vivid, imaginary world and fall asleep thinking about magic. So my list of books runs the gamut of young adult fiction, sci-fi, humor, and incredibly cheesy romance. Here’s a list of every fiction book I’ve purchased from my iPad.
I’m embarrassed already.
Young Adult Fiction that runs the gamut of falling in love to battling Egyptian gods
- Passenger (series) – Alexandra Bracken
- The Kane Chronicles (series) – Rick Riordan and Katherine Kellgren
- Matched – Ally Conois
- Divergent (series) – Veronica Roth
- Mirror in the Sky – Aditi Khorana
- The Darkest Part of the Forest – Holly Black
- Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
- Sidekicked – John David Anderson
- Carry On – Rainbow Rowell
- Dumplin – Julie Murphy
- The Iron Trial – Cassandra Clare and Holly Black
- Minion – John David Anderson
- The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians (series) – Rick Riordan
- The Casquette Girls – Alys Arden
Science Fiction, Witches, and Magic, but intended for actual adults
- Off to Be the Wizard (series) – Scott Meyer
- The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell
- The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August – Catherine Webb
- All the Birds in the Sky – Charlie Jane Anders
- Welcome to Border Town – Edited by Holly Black
- Witches of East End (series) – Melissa de la Cruz
- Landline – Rainbow Rowell
- The Ex Boyfriend’s Handbook – Matt Dunn
- How to Be Single – Liz Tuccillo
- Attachments – Rainbow Rowell
- The Hopefuls – Jennifer Close
- The Knockoff – Jo Piazza and Lucy Sykes
- The Assistants – Camille Perri
- A Day at the Office – Matt Dunn
I’m not sure how to categorize these, but they’re good
- Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan
- Modern Lovers – Emma Straub
- Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin
- The Interestings – Meg Wolitzer
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote
- I am not Sidney Portier – Percival Everett
- The Family Fang – Kevin Wilson
- Nefertiti: A Novel – Michelle Moran
Have you read any of the books on this list? Do you have any recommendations? Send me a tweet to let me know.
Shonda, stop trying to make liv and fitz a thing
This week was my mother’s birthday and I wanted to highlight 5 things I learned from the most important woman in my life.
1. Guard your light. Mom has always been a proponent of reading self help books and practicing spirituality as a way to fill yourself with joy. I’ve worked really hard over the past few years to build my own spiritual practice that fits the life I want to build.
2. Be kind even when it’s hard. One of the qualities that I inherited from my mom is to try your best to consistently treat people right even when they don’t deserve it. She would always remind me that the things people do rarely have anything to do with us.
3. Talk to strangers. There has never been a time in my life where my mom didn’t strike up a random conversation with someone in the grocery store. I’m not nearly as extroverted as she, but I learned that some of your best friends can come from putting yourself out there.
4. Show up every single day. There are very few times I can remember my mom missing work, church or choir rehearsal. She continually teaches me the importance of honoring your commitments.
5. Life is so much more than money. Being a light in the world has nothing to do with financial compensation. Happiness is defined by the hard work you do, the people you love, and the experiences you have.
There are so many things competing for our attention these days and it seems like everyone is a little more irritable, a little more exhausted, a little more emotionally fatigued.
Given a limited amount of energy, we have to be careful where we direct our focus.
And recently I’ve found my face 8 inches from this magical device that houses all the information in the universe. More often than not, it’s primary purpose in my life is endlessly scrolling through photos and text and funny videos of little children saying ridiculous things.
When I decided that I wanted to start creating more, I knew the first step was to quiet the noise and focus on producing my own content.
What are you want to create today?
Make it something simple.
Then set a timer for 25 minutes and see how far you get it.
When the timer goes off you’re done.
If you’re in the groove and want to keep going, reset the timer for another 25 minutes.
Do this every day for a month.
In the beginning, podcasts were beyond boring, but years later they have become one of the most interesting ways to learn, laugh, and connect with your internet famous friends. Here’s a list of my 5 personal favorites.
Missing Richard Simmons – A 6 part story that investigates why America’s favorite fitness guru totally disappeared from the public in 2014.
The Read – 2 queer commentators throw shade and spill tea about black celebrity gossip. No star is safe, except Beyonce and Blue Ivy.
How I Built This – Learn the startup stories of some of the biggest innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists.
Reply All – A weekly podcast about kooky internet culture. Episodes have included trained rats, time travel, celebrity dogs, and lovelorn phone scammers.
Call Your Girlfriend – A podcast where long distance besties talk pop culture, politics, and menstrual cycles.
I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness. More specifically, the pursuit of happiness and how it can be this all-encompassing marker of success.
Being human is complex.
And so often we can feel so many feelings at the same time.
I’m happy that I reached this goal.
But I’m a little annoyed because I haven’t eaten in a few hours
And I feel a few pangs of guilt for having to flake on meeting with my friends
Lately, I’ve been trying to embrace all of those feelings. Instead of projecting this image of always having it together, I’d prefer to be the living embodiment of all of these little nuances.
8 months of indecision are maybe over soon. Leaning into the impermanence of my existence.