My happy place: Routines

I feel my best when my life has balance and consistency. And for me, routines are a big part of achieving those things. Despite the craziness and busy weeks, to help with my health and wellness (sleep specifically), I've gotten into a bit of a structured pattern of how my mornings and evenings go, or at least how I'd like them to go.


Most of the time I work during the bulk of the day, which is why I love having the early morning and later evening to myself! This isn't a daily thing that I stick to every single day, but I try to do it when I have time/feel motivated.


Morning


7:30 AM: I usually wake up between 7-8. I've always liked getting up on the earlier side because it makes the day feel longer and gives me a good motivating start. I keep the blinds in my bedroom open a tiny bit so that the natural light comes through—the sun rises and hits my bedroom window at the perfect time to wake me up in such a peaceful and pretty way.


Side note: During the first like three months of quarantine, I could not get myself to wake up in the morning. My alarm would go off and I swear I'd snooze it for two hours before I finally got out of bed. Which is very unlike me. I'm honestly still not sure why I was having so much trouble, I think it was a combination of exhaustion from feeling anxious, and a lack of motivation to get up because the shutdown was a bit, you know, mundane, to put it lightly.


So this was one of the reasons I started prioritizing what I was doing at night and in the morning, and being intentional about taking care of my health, and mindful of what might've been interrupting my sleep.


Anyway, after I turn off my alarm I open my phone—but ONLY to my meditation app! No social media, no messages, no email. For one, the blue light in your face right away just cannot be good for you, and on the other hand, scrolling through insta five seconds after I open my eyes for the day just doesn't set a good tone, you know? It's my day, my morning, no offense but I don't need to see how everyone else's highlight reel is looking before I even set my own day straight.


But this was SUPER hard to get used to. Before reading and learning so much about why it's important to go phone-free in the morning, I'd sit on all the social apps for an hour before I left my bed, but I promise once you start you'll totally see the difference it makes and that will encourage you to quit the bad habit.


So back to meditation. I started meditating this past year at school, but in random, inconsistent bursts. After a while I honestly forgot about it, I don't think I ever committed enough to see its effects. But for the last week, I have been meditating every morning, and I love it! I use the app Headspace, which is free on the app store but has a ton of great premium features if you pay for it.


I've been doing the "Basics" course, which is a daily meditation session, and logs how many days you have completed. The options for the meditation in this specific course are three, five, or ten minutes, so it's super manageable for beginners. I haven't fully gotten a chance to explore other things on the app, but I'm really excited to try new courses or sessions out. They even have a whole section for sleep meditation that you can listen to before bed to help fall asleep, might be trying that one next.


This is a screenshot of what the page I've been using looks like on my phone.

Here's an invite link if you're interested in trying out Headspace :)


8 AM: After meditation, it's time to get up. And make my bed, open the shades and let allll the light in. At this point I'm still refraining from using my phone—I even set a "Downtime" session in the ScreenTime section of my settings that shuts down all my apps for an hour, that's how long I like to wait till I check it. (It's a different feature than "App Limits" which I use for social—that one tracks your minutes on the apps and stops you after a certain amount of time, which you set.)


Next up I brush my teeth, wash and tone my face, and sometimes use a serum. My skincare is very minimal in the morning, I like to save more of it for before bed.


And then I get sort-of dressed. Sort-of because I am NOT talking jeans (puke), I'm talking out of the raggedy old XL t-shirt and boxer pajamas and into a cute athletic set or cotton shorts and tank.


Ok so next, I used to be obsessive over working out in the morning, and I do like it for many reasons, but lately, I have really not been feeling the early-morning sweat. On super busy days or when I work in the morning, it does feel nice to get a workout done. But if I'm not in a time crunch, I like to save it for later on (like noon) and enjoy a restful morning.


9 AM: This includes (and concludes with) a biiiig glass of water first thing. It's tempting to reach for the coffee first but I really try for water instead to hydrate right from the get-go. THEN comes the coffee. Sometimes hot, sometimes iced that I prepped in the fridge the night before, but always with my Natural Bliss Vanilla Creamer— it's made from real ingredients, no yucky stuff (still some sugar, but natural sugar lol) and it is SO yum. Been using it forever. It makes my morning coffee such a treat and something I look forward to every morning (is that weird?).


For food in the morning, I wait until I'm hungry. Sometimes that kicks in ten minutes after I get up, and sometimes two hours. Either way, my favorite thing to start with for the day is a bowl of fresh fruit. Lately, that has been my big go-to!


Ok so that just about sums up my morning "routine," it's pretty basic, but something I've been trying to keep consistent lately! The bottom line is I try to be mindful of what I give my energy to in the morning because I'm a big believer that everything that you let into your space first thing in the morning will probably stay there—that goes for the bad and good things!


Evening


Sometimes I get home from work at like midnight and you can catch me showering and collapsing into bed to fall asleep in 4 minutes. But since I feel like you probably don't want to hear that glamorous routine, I'm going to base this one off of a night where I get home around six or seven PM.


6:30 PM: If I'm coming right home from work, dinner is usually the priority. I have been loving salads the last two weeks, but when I say salad I mean like packed full of a ton of things, super colorful, super high nutrition. Last night my mom and I made the most YUMMY and refreshing salad with lemon garlic salmon on top. Quick details:


For the salad- Sweet hearts lettuce and mixed greens base, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, olives, chickpeas.


For the baked salmon on top- Coat top and bottom of salmon filet in olive oil, set in tinfoil, add salt, pepper, and fresh garlic to the top of the salmon. Cut up a fresh lemon and place a thin slice on the filet, and squeeze some of the remaining lemon juice on top. Bake for 15 mins at 375 degrees and broil for 3 min. I tossed my salad in some olive oil, and toasted a big piece of sourdough bread for the side. DELISH.


7 PM: So that's an example of a dinner I've been loving, but it changes every night. Shower is probably next. Then, skincare. I'm going to do an extensive blog post on my skincare routine and how it has changed in the past six months, so I'm not going to get into super details right now but I'll give you an idea! Once a week I go full-blown spa in my room. This includes my facial steamer, my jade rollers, all the works!!! SO fun lol. But that's usually on Sunday. On a normal day, I'd wash my face in the shower, and the next step would be my toner. Then my moisturizer which is where I use my jade roller and Gua sha (the tool that you always see with the jade roller). I promise more details on this are coming in its own post soon, so I don't wanna give too much away! Taking care of my skin is very therapeutic to me, and I love doing it!


8 PM: After that, it's probably time to wind down for the night, and how I do this changes too. On certain days I'll opt for a book over TV, but I've recently become obsessed with Selling Sunset on Netflix so :)))).


I've really been prioritizing spending time with my family, I leave for school soon (yay!) so I always try to squeeze as much as I can in before I go.


9 PM: Oh also! I almost always need a post-dinner sweet, just something to balance out the dinner, you know? My fav is plain dark chocolate—but I just made my own trail mix yesterday that is so yummy (mini deets if you care: gf pretzels, pumpkin flaxseed granola, peanuts, chopped dried dates, dark chocolate chips and pumpkin seeds...yum).


10:30 PM: If I can, I try to get in bed before 11, but some nights I get to sleep really early, and some nights really late. Side note: I was reading the other day that stretching before bed can really improve your sleep quality and I tried it last night. I don't know if it made a huge difference but I'm going to try to do it for like a week straight and see if I notice anything!! If you guys have any other sleep-tips send them my way!!


So. That's a breakdown of my morning and evening routines on the GOOD days. Don't think I don't spend hours on my couch some nights watching reality TV and eating snacks. This is just something I've been trying to pay more attention to because I really do think it impacts my sleep and my mindset in a very positive way!


Let me know if you guys have any staples in your daily routines that you love!

Have a great rest of your week and weekend, and thank you for reading!!


Laur