How to Become a Morning Person

How To, Wellbeing

How to become a morning person: Easing the transition

When I was younger, I would never have guessed I would become a morning person. I would stay up all night, sleep in until past noon, and feel frustrated with myself for not making better use of my day. I’m still not a full-fledged Morning Person, but I’m working on it. Today I’ll be sharing what’s been helping me get on track.

Why become a Morning Person

When I left my day job, I wanted to spend some time finding focus and clarity in my life. I had several goals in mind when I did so, but mostly I wanted to start maximizing my day by taking back the morning. This was a scary thought because I am very naturally a night owl (read here: A Complete Insomniac). I worried that I would end up hating the whole endeavour and “let myself down”.

The thing about “letting yourself down” is that it isn’t based on anything absolute. When you fall off the wagon, remind yourself that it isn’t a big deal, brush yourself off and hop back on tomorrow.

Becoming an early riser means gaining a special part of the day that few other people have. You’re fed/exercised/washed/ready-to-work and it isn’t even eight o’clock. (I know you’ve been telling yourself you don’t have time to work out. Now you do.) Plus, you get exclusive access to a beautiful sunrise. Early mornings feel quiet and private. They are your opportunity to ease into the day and take some time to yourself.

Making the transition to lark

You might be asking yourself,

“What’s so great about being up at some godforsaken hour? Nobody else is awake. I need enough coffee to feel alive when I’m up at eight. I don’t even want to think about what it’s like to be mobile even a minute earlier.”

And I’m not going to lie, there is definitely a transition phase during which you may feel like garbage.

I know that when I worked a day job, I had to be at work at 7:30 am. I dreaded the thought of going to this job. I would hit my snooze button five or six times before leaping out of bed, skipping breakfast, and chugging a latte on my lunch break. It didn’t help that I would stay up late the night before to savour as much of my free time as possible.

Now that I’m not dreading what is coming to me when I wake up, Erik and I have the alarm set for nice and early (How does 5:30 sound?). I like to wake up slowly before heading out into the kitchen to put the kettle on. The tone of the morning is really set by the things that you do…

The night before

How you spend your evenings has a direct relationship with how your morning is going to go.

Keep a running to-do list

If you’re the kind of person who will lie awake at night worrying about everything you have to do tomorrow, then you aren’t alone. I’m right there with you.

I’ve found that using a to-do list app (like Wanderlist) has been helpful. Whenever a new task comes up, I add it to the list, even if it’s in the middle of the night. That way, you aren’t staring up at your ceiling until four am worrying about what you’ve forgotten.

Have a treat to look forward to

Have an idea of what you’re going to have for breakfast in the morning. Dig up that awesome smoothie recipe you’ve been eyeing or some fancy overnight oats that you’ve been dying to try. Food always lures me out of bed.

If there is anything that you can do the night before to simplify your morning prep time, make it happen. Chop up that fruit, soak those oats, and pick that outfit the night before. Leave yourself less to worry about in the morning!

Have your workout for the morning planned

Have a movement plan for your mornings, like a few rounds of Sun Salutations or a quick stroll around the block. It feels great to get your workout out of the way earlier in the day. Often when it’s left for later, it keeps getting pushed back until suddenly, it’s night time and you’re too lazy to do it.

Early to bed, early to rise

Get to bed early, and make sure that you give yourself time to wind down before you do so. Read, have a cup of tea, take a bath with a couple drops of lavender essential oil and some epsom salts. Feel free do all three of those things at once, and/or whatever else you feel like doing to wind down. Ensure your best quality of sleep by making sure your bedroom is cool and dark.

Morning rituals

Create a routine for yourself that helps signal to your body that it’s time to wake up. Drink some tea, watch the sunrise, do some stretches, eat your yummy breakfast. When you go through your ritual, your body will begin to recognise that bedtime is over and the day has begun.

And a final piece of advice:

Don’t give up. Making new habits for yourself is hard. Often, it requires breaking some old bad habits. Try it for at least 21 days (which is how long it takes to form a new habit), and see if it works for you. And if it doesn’t agree with your body, that’s okay too. Every body is different, but don’t knock it until you try it.

How Your Inner Circle Influences Who You Are


How Your Inner Circle Influences Who You Are: Who are your top five? -
There’s this famous Jim Rohn quote that has stuck with me over the last several years:

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

This means that the people who occupy most of your time have a huge impact on your life. Their influence can impact everything from your self-esteem to your media consumption — even the food you eat.

I’ll give you an example of how the people in your day can affect your personal life:

I used to work at a long-term care centre as a dietary aide which was a labor-intensive and often stressful job. It involved racing around washing dishes, serving food, resolving occasional issues amongst the residents.

Depending on who I worked with, I could have a pleasant and meaningful day working as part of a caring and tight-knit team.

Or I could have an exhausting day working with individuals with a bad attitude and who didn’t know the meaning of team. When I worked with them, I always came home tired and grumpy. I was left feeling hopeless, stressed and anxious about having to return to work with that same group the next day.

When I worked with the first group I mentioned, work went by quickly. I felt appreciated and good about myself. I felt cared for by my co-workers who clearly enjoyed their jobs and did their best to enrich the lives of the centre’s residents. 

Either group could have a real impact on my personal life. I can imagine spending 40 hours a week with either group long-term could eventually impact who I was as a person. 

Long story short, if you have some choice in who you spend your day with, choose wisely. I’ve put together some questions to help you figure out who to keep around:

What kinds of people are in your top five?

If you spend a lot of your time at work, then it’s likely several members of your top five are co-workers. The people you spend time with outside of work, such as your family and friends, fill in any gaps.

What are these people like? For instance, do they tend to be more optimistic or more pessimistic? Are they supportive of your goals and ambitions, or do they more often “bring you back to reality”? What values are important to them? Do they represent the kind of person that you would like to become?

How do you feel when you spend time with them?

When you’re hanging out with your top five, do you feel inspired and uplifted? Or do they leave you feeling drained? Do they challenge you to grow as a person, in your career, or in your relationships? Or do they leave you feeling stuck? Do these relationships support you? Or leave you feeling depleted? 

Do the people in your top five impact you positively?

I’m not saying that you should drop every friend who is going through a difficult time. People can’t help but be people. But if a friend is consistently having a negative impact on your life in a long-term way, is using you as an emotional punching bag to take their problems out on, or is having some other toxic effect on you, then you might want to consider distancing yourself from them.

Making a conscious effort to put your energy into more positive friendships can make a big difference in your life.

What are you learning in these relationships?

Spending time with people who are smarter or more skilled than you can be scary. But challenging yourself to leave your comfort zone and learn from your peers can really help you to grow and develop as a person. You never know what new skills they might teach you.

How would you love to feel around your top five?

To get you started, they are probably good listeners. They make an effort to understand you and empathise with you. They respect your time. They’re probably people who make you want to blossom and grow, to create, to share. They want to challenge you and help you. Stick to these folks like glue because they are pure gold. Never take them for granted.  

To conclude:

Stay away from negativity, people who talk down to you, and people who do you more bad than good.

Spend time with people who lift you up rather than bring you down, and you’ll be well on your way to a better you.

Handlettered hi

I’m Changing

Design, Personal

I’ve found it really challenging to stay active in this space over the last year or so. That isn’t because I don’t care about health and nutrition anymore, because I definitely do. In fact, I’m probably more passionate about my personal food journey at this point in time than I have been since I was actually in nutrition school, and that’s a great feeling. I’ve made some shifts since the warmer weather has started including becoming more actively plant-based since watching Cowspiracy, and embarking on a five-day juice cleanse in the spring which felt amazing.

But I’ve also become pretty invigorated by some other things. For one, I’ve been teaching more yoga classes and have been experiencing some really great shifts as a result including a more regular personal practice, and this really unexpected sense of fulfillment that I haven’t managed to find through any other activity.

But even further away from that, and perhaps even because I’ve been better supporting my personal health is that I’ve begun to feel more creatively inspired, particularly in the realms of design. Over the past year, I’ve been working on learning graphic design through online resources, and books, I’ve been working with an awesome company in North Carolina, and I’ve started putting my portfolio together. 

Anyway, the point of this quick post is just to let you know that as a result of the changes going on in my life, these changes are going to be reflected here on the blog as well. I may still occasionally post about nutrition-related topics, but I’m planning to get more focused on sharing my design learnings and journey. I’m so excited to show you some of the things I’ve been working on. 

More soon! 

Anne xo

a hot mug of immunity elixir and manuka honey

Sweet and Spicy Immunity Elixir


It’s snowing outside right now. And after an oddly warm start to our winter, I still haven’t quite transitioned properly into winter wear. When possible, I can still be found rocking my leather jacket and Chuck Taylor’s. It’s no surprise that sitting at home on this cold afternoon, I have an equally nasty cold. All the usual suspects are there: congestion, a scratchy throat, low energy. I quickly set to work brewing an immune elixir. Don’t you just love the word ‘elixir’? It makes me feel like I’m drinking some kind of magical potion. And with this Sweet and Spicy Immunity Elixir, that might just be the case. If you’re feeling under the weather, the amazing anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties of all this elixir’s ass kicking ingredients will have you back on your feet in no time. And it’ll do a number on any congestion you’ve got going on too. Bam! 

Now, a word of caution about the flavour: It is basically a tonic to ward off vampires. It’s pretty intense. It’s garlicky, and savoury, and the flavours change as the liquid moves along your tongue and down your throat. I like to keep a spoon in my cup so that I can stir the cayenne and oil back in as it separates. 

Sweet and Spicy Immunity Elixir
  1. 1 garlic bulb, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
  2. 2 fingers of turmeric, thinly sliced
  3. 3" long piece of fresh ginger, sliced thinly
  4. 1 organic lemon, thinly sliced
  5. Manuka honey, raw honey, or maple syrup (sweeten to taste)
  6. cayenne (to taste)
  7. coconut oil
  1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and add garlic, turmeric, and ginger. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  2. When the first hour is up, add in the sliced lemon. Cover and simmer for another 30 minutes.
  3. Pour however much you want to drink through a strainer into a cup. All of the strained bits can go back in the pot to continue brewing. You can keep pouring more water over the mixture and simmering away.
  4. Add sweetener (again, optional), a shake or 2 of cayenne pepper to your cup, and a 1/2 tsp of coconut oil per serving. Stir and enjoy!
Annemarie Dixon
a pair of coloured mandalas from my mandala meditation colouring book

Books to Inspire Your Year

Monthly Favourites

Happy Monday! In my 2016 Goal Setting post, I expressed that one of my goals for the new year is to curate my media. And a big chunk of that media is books. I read a LOT, but over the last year, I found that I wasn’t reading a great many things that had some big impact on me or left me feeling inspired. I want to read more books that improve my quality of life.

I want to feel inspired every day, and inspiration doesn’t always come to you; sometimes you have to go to it. 2016 has, thus far, been off to a brilliant start. Erik and I just finished reading Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything (a somewhat sad achievement, because we’ve slowly been working our way through it over the last year and it has become a source of inspiration and comfort during that time) and I’m now beginning to make my way through Guns, Germs, and Steel. If you’re also in the market for some inspirational reading material, here are some books to get you started.

1) Mandala Meditation Coloring Book

While this isn’t technically a book that one reads, I was so excited about it that I just had to share. 

2015 was the year of adult colouring. Nearly every bookstore I visited during the holiday season had giant tables devoted to adult colouring books and a variety of colouring accoutrements. And let me tell you, I drank the Kool-aid. I am now the proud owner of three colouring books, but this Mandala Meditation one quickly became my favourite.

I’ve always loved mandalas. Just to look at one is a peaceful experience, as your eyes trace the intricate patterns. Traditionally, they’ve been used as a tool for spiritual guidance, to help the viewer find a sacred or meditative state. And, super cool, they represent the cosmos, symbolizing a “microcosm of the universe” (Wiki’s words, not mine). But even if you aren’t thinking about all of these things while you’re colouring, it’s easy to get lost in the act of systematically colouring each component of the mandala.

I like to pick a colour scheme by choosing a few markers or pencil crayons that I want to use, and then work from the inside out, choosing one component of the mandala to colour, and working my way around the circle before moving to next outer ring. Let me know if you end up trying it out!

2) The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project is Gretchen Rubin’s story of how she planned a year of becoming a happier person. For each month of the year, she chose an aspect of her life that she wanted to improve, and then set specific attainable goals to tackle that month that she felt would help facilitate this improvement. 

This book has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years. I bought when I was feeling particularly down, during a time in my life when my depression was at its worst. Oddly, during that time, I couldn’t bring myself to read it, and since then, I’ve been saving it in case another such time crops up and I feel like I truly need it. However, I’ve been hearing about it with odd frequency lately, from a few friends and family members. So, while I’m not feeling too shabby at the moment, it still feels like an appropriate time to read it. I love a good action plan. I love structure. And I love seeing somebody create a sweet ass plan and carry it out. I’m excited to read this. 

3) A Short History of Nearly Everything

I am a big fan of origin stories. The beginnings of an adventure always seem to be the most exciting for me. And there doesn’t seem to be an adventure more epic than the evolution of the universe. 

Bill Bryson’s writing style is so charming and funny. He discusses a broad range of subjects including the origins of the universe, scientific history, physics, and other subjects that might be considered dry or difficult, in a simplified, easy-to-understand, and entertaining way. There have been many moments where I’ve laughed out loud and had to whip out a highlighter for the funniest or most mindblowing bits. 

4) The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

This is one of the books that I’m currently reading. In my 2016 Goals post, I also mentioned that I wanted to declutter my life a little bit. I can be a bit of a collector at times, and I hope this book will help me learn to more easily let go of things that are no longer serving me. I’ve heard lots of great things about this book, and I’m excited to see the impact it has on how I tidy. I’ve already culled my bookshelves, organized my socks and underwear drawers, and accumulated 3 garbage bags of things to take to my next clothing swap! 

5) Guns, Germs, and Steel

Look! Another origin story! While “A Short History of Nearly Everything” covers the more scientific aspects of history, “Guns, Germs, and Steel” tackles the more human side of our history, beginning with our origins in Africa, to where we are today. This book has been on my radar for years, and Erik has been recommending it to me for nearly as long; now that I’m finally reading it, I’m thinking, “Man, why didn’t I get to this sooner?” 

6) Brave Enough

Brave Enough is a book of quotes from Cheryl Strayed’s other books. Strayed explains in the introduction to the book that she’s always been somebody who collected quotes and this collection has been an important part of her life. So she compiled this book of her own quotes, most of which I found really inspiring and awesome. Cheryl Strayed seems to have a very cool, unique world-view, and Brave Enough has made me excited to read some of her other non-fiction works, specifically, “Wild” and “Tiny Beautiful Things”. 

I hope the you’ll find something to inspire and uplift you here. And if you have any suggestions for inspirational reading material, I would love your recommendations. More soon! xxoo