Morning Rituals

How To, Personal, Wellbeing

Morning Rituals: Or, How to feel less like a zombie at 6AM

A couple of posts ago, I shared what I’ve been doing to become a Morning Person. In today’s post, I’ll be going into more detail around my morning rituals. I’m finally getting to the point where I don’t feel like a miserable mess when my alarm goes off, so I’ll try to share what’s been helping me.

Optimize your alarm clock

I don’t have one of those nifty dawn-simulating alarm clocks (though it is definitely on my wishlist), but my phone has two sweet settings that seem to be helping wake me up in the morning:

1) A smart alarm: Three minutes before my set wake-up time is mean to go off, a soft and gentle wake-up warning will start to sound. Sometimes, this is all I need to wake me up in the morning, often without waking up Erik. I have the option to snooze my smart alarm, and wait for the actual one to go off three minutes later.

2) Bright lights: When my proper alarm goes off (currently set to 6:30 am), it is accompanied by the flashlight on my phone turning on and off. It’s a little thing, but that bright light in my room has really been helping me get awake and oriented in the mornings, especially during these dark winter months.

Rev up your metabolism with Cayenne Lemonade

I went into detail about my beloved Cayenne Lemonade in last week’s post, so I won’t go into too much detail here. All you’ll need for this morning elixir is a mug of warm water, the juice of half a lemon, and a couple shakes of cayenne pepper (I recommend starting small if you are not a fan of spice). This Morning Elixir will help get your digestive tract moving by encouraging the secretion of stomach acid in preparation for breakfast, but it will probably also make you poop, so be prepared for that.

Have a protein-packed breakfast

Indulging in a protein-rich breakfast first thing in the morning will help keep your blood sugar balanced for the day ahead. That means that you’ll be more focused and satiated for longer than if you’d had a more carb-centric breakfast. My favourite protein-packed brekkies often include a plant-based protein shake, a bowl of quinoa porridge, or a few scrambled eggs.

Work standing up

I know that while sitting in a comfy chair first thing in the morning, I’m more likely to fall asleep than get to work. So I try to do some work standing up.

If you’ve got a standing desk, then lucky you, feel free to use that. Since I do not have a standing desk, I’ve found that a kitchen counter or island does the trick. Disclaimer: This may only work if you’re a short little lady like me. If you are not a shortie, maybe try adding a stack of books to your counter and see if that does the trick.

Matcha it up

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this on the blog, but last summer, I was finally able to kick my coffee habit. On the very rare occasion when I’ve let my desire get the best of me and have a cup, I’m very quickly reminded of why I stopped (it makes me feel like complete garbage). However, I am also somebody who really enjoys the ritual and camaraderie of visiting my local independent coffee shop, so I’ve taken up with another significantly more healthy vice: Matcha Lattes.

Matcha is an antioxidant rich green tea powder, with a fresh, grassy, and bitter flavour. I’ve heard that it can be an acquired taste, but that was not my experience at all. I loved matcha lattes the moment my first sip crossed my lips. My local cafe makes them with almond milk and a squeeze of honey, and they are to die for, IMO. I’ve also heard that they’re quite high in caffeine, but they don’t affect me in at all the same way that a cup of coffee or espresso-based beverage does. For me, they provide more focused, calm energy, which is a vast improvement from jittery, sleep-deprived me of yesteryear.

Bonus Tip: Pop a melatonin 20 minutes before bed.

Most nights before bed, I take a Melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone in your body responsible for sleep. In its supplement form, it can help you fall asleep and stay asleep. It has been a bit of a godsend for me because I often have a restless mind when I’m lying in bed at night. And even once I’ve fallen asleep, that anxiety can sometimes leave me tossing and turning throughout the night. It doesn’t work every night, but when it does, I am very grateful to sleep peacefully through the night. And I feel a lot more well-rested the following morning.

How to Have A Lovely Day

How To, Personal, Wellbeing

How to Have a Lovely Day

The idea for a How to Have a Lovely Day post comes from Sara Du Jour’s post by the same name. When I read it, I was immediately inspired to write a how-to from my own perspective.

So, without further ado: I had a day off and decided to Have a Lovely Day. Your idea of a Lovely Day may look different from mine, but if you also happen to have the day off of work, feel free to follow along.

Start the day off with a cup of cayenne lemonade.

Squeeze half a lemon into a cup of warm water. Add a couple shakes of cayenne (make it as spicy as you can realistically handle). You’re ready, Freddy. Sip away. Drink it all up before you have anything else to eat or drink. This stuff is like a magic elixir for flushing out your digestive tract (By this, I mean that it will make you poop. Have fun.), supporting liver detoxification, and giving your metabolism a spicy kick in the pants. Unf.

Enter: Bed Yoga.

Take your cayenne lemonade back to bed with you so you can work on stretching out that beautiful bod in the comfort of your bed. If you aren’t sure what to do to wake up your body, throw on a YouTube video (Yoga With Adrienne is one of my favourites) or grab an issue of Yoga Journal. YJ always has a section of awesome little sequences you can do whether you have ten, twenty, or thirty minutes to spare.

Is your cayenne lemonade gone? Good, because…

It’s time for a healthy breakfast.

On this particular day, I opted for a quinoa berry bowl. I made a big pot of quinoa on Sunday which makes it really easy to put together breakfast bowls or to bulk up a salad. You know what they say, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Get lost on the internet.

Like many other people I have surveyed — in a super official way, of course — my getting lost on the internet is a daily occurrence. I try to use this time to watch videos and read articles and blog posts that will inspire my focus for the rest of the day.

Spend time on your passions.

Do things that make you happy. Engaging in creative pursuits and having an outlet for your thoughts and ideas is life changing. I use this time to work on my Thousand-Words-A-Day Project, attend a life drawing class, or make something fun in the kitchen. Sometimes, I’m also passionate about binge watching Orange is the New Black or controlling various lives in The Sims (because I’m coo’ like that…), and that’s okay too. It’s your day off. Enjoy yourself.

Snack mindfully.

Make sure whatever you’re snacking on includes a healthy protein or fat source. You don’t want to be eating foods that are going to leave you with hypoglycemic and ravenous half an hour later. If you’re going to have a piece of fruit, slather it in nut butter or have it with a side of trail mix. I had leftover turkey burgers in the fridge, so when I found myself feeling a bit peckish, I had one of those with a giant scoop of hemp seed guacamole. Later on, I smeared organic peanut butter on apple slices and sprinkled them with cinnamon and dulse. (Dulse, if I haven’t mentioned it before, is a kind of seaweed. Sea veggies are a total superfood. They’re a great source of trace minerals, particularly iodine. I may do a sea vegetable-specific blog post in the near future. And show you my seaweed collection!)

But also, clean something.

I know what you’re thinking: Eff no, I am not cleaning on my day off. And if that’s your outlook, that’s totally fine. For me, cleaning something is cleansing, whether it’s purging my closet or sweeping the kitchen floor. It feels good to take care of my space, and keep it feeling safe. Like, I’m not afraid to lean on a counter top and come away with a sticky elbow. By keeping my space neat, I feel more focused and feel less lingering anxiety.

Exercise.

My workout routine changes frequently, especially during the warmer months (RE: When it isn’t winter.) when a hike or a lakeside walk isn’t too far out of reach. Lately, I’ve been alternating between yoga days and rock climbing days, which complement each other wonderfully. Bring some movement into your day by doing exercise that is fun and feels good for your body. Tune in to what your body needs on a given day, and go for it!

Get some Vitamin G.

While we’re on the topic of hiking and lakeside walking, spending some time in nature is mega important for having a lovely day. My day doesn’t feel quite right without breathing in fresh air, or taking in the sight of magnificent Mother Nature.

Dinner.

I try to taper my meals off toward the end of the day, eating much less for dinner than I would for breakfast so that my body can focus on things while I sleep that night. Important things like resting and repairing itself.

Bed time rituals.

I often have some trouble getting to sleep at night, so I aim to start winding down right after dinner. This ritual always typically requires having a book in one hand and a hot beverage in the other. And snuggly blankets, because why not.

For the rest of the evening, I’ll curl up on the couch and read or watch a movie with Erik.

And then it’s off to bed with me.

How do you make your days lovely? Leave a comment and let me know! 🙂 

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

pile of wellness, design, and technology books to read in 2016

2016 Goal Setting

Holidays, Personal, Wellbeing

Happy New Year, my lovelies! I hope your 2016 is off to a wonderful start. To kick off a new year of blogging, sharing, and community, here is a breakdown of some goals and projects that I want to tackle in the upcoming year.

Declutter

My intention around decluttering is to minimize the distractions in my life that come from feeling disorganized and messy. I already try to do this regularly, whether it’s donating books that I’m no longer interested in, or culling ill-fitting dress pants from my closet. But there have been some things that are harder to get rid of than others. For example, I have a pretty extensive t-shirt collection. Many of these t-shirts have a special meaning connected to them because I picked them up at a really great concert, or they were given to me by somebody I love. The truth about me and t-shirts though is that I have way too many of them. And worse, they don’t usually make me feel like my most confident self; the ones that I have don’t fit quite how I’d like them to, and don’t feel like quite my style any more. But all of the memories! I have other plans for them though, and I won’t let them die in vain.

Blog regularly

I’ve totally mentioned this before — blogging came a lot more easily to me when my sweet world travelling bestie, Saar, was still in Ontario. I could bounce ideas off of her, and we would go on cool healthy outings to restaurants and festivals. In her absence, I’ve kind of been slacking off a bit. Okay, a lot.

The odd thing is that I have a backlog of blogs that just need to be edited and photographed, so I really have no excuses. Nose to the grindstone, Anne. Nose to the grindstone.

Practice positive self-talk

Self-confidence has been a big issue for me my whole life. I’ve had a weird relationship with myself for as long as I can remember, which tends to make itself seen in many other areas of my life. My sense of humour, for instance: Self-deprecating AF. Thus, a very important goal for me this year is to practice self-love, self-care, and self-kindness, and to tackle life with these three principles in mind.

One exciting thing that has happened over the last year to help change this is that I started teaching yoga classes. This has been a huge life change for me. You can read a bit about my first class here. But to summaraize, teaching has really helped me become more comfortable with myself. I’m learning to be more okay with my mistakes; sure I’ll feel horribly embarrassed for a moment, but it passes and I’m able to move on with teaching the rest of my class.

I also want to try to take more pictures of people, whether or not I’m in them. Erik and I went to a concert together last month, and he pointed out that the bulk of the photos I take are of food, with very few photos of us in between. When we look back on them, I’m sure I’ll remember the yummy food I ate, but what about the people eating the food? This, I feel, is also confidence related. I’ve trained myself to focus on inanimate objects, and I want to start connecting more with life. To people.

Reset my sleep schedule

Ever since I left my day job, I’m annoyed to report that I’ve become a total night owl. And I definitely experience a massive dip in energy during the winter months, which isn’t helped by being wide awake at odd hours of the night. I’m slowly developing a bedtime routine for myself that I hope will help me feel more restful at night, leaving me more energized during the day! 

Curate my media

This goes along with the first goal I listed, to declutter, but rather than decluttering my physical space, I want to declutter (my digital one) the media I consume. Going over the books that I’ve read in the last year, and the movies or shows that I’ve watched, I found that a lot of the media I was consuming felt meaningless and empty. They hadn’t made me a better person, or improved my quality of life.

For 2016, I put together a list of books that I want to prioritize reading. A lot of it is non-fiction. I want to focus on learning and growing. And while fiction is a hugely important part of my life, I think it’s time to branch out a bit more.

That’s all for now. Wish me luck!

What are some of your goals for the upcoming year? Please share in the comments below! If you missed it the first time around, here is a link to more New Year’s inspiration!

Badakonasana/ cobbler pose

A Challenging Month

30 Day Blogging Challenge, Personal

Hihi, internet. It’s been a while, but I wanted to leave a little update. You know, stay in touch and stuff. Here are some fun things I’m hoping to spend some time on this month! 

Goal #1: Let go of perfectionism.

I’ve had a lot of trouble in the last few months finding focus and so here I am trying to find it. I’m always concerned with trying to find something “worth” writing about, and making sure I have workable photos, et cetera. In the interest of letting go of this stifling perfectionism, I decided to join a 30-day blog challenge to help keep me accountable and to hopefully become a better writer. And with that kind of pressure hanging over my shoulders, I can’t imagine there being enough time to obsess over putting together a perfect post by which I mean that I want to feel less self-conscious about what I’m putting out. If I stick to it, I can only imagine you’ll be hearing a lot more from me. I should probably also note that there is absolutely nothing wrong with putting your all into something and making it as good as it can be. But I specifically want to practice being more consistent which is why I’m allowing myself this flexibility. 

Goal #2: Become a better writer.

I’m also trying to do this thing where I write a thousand words a day, which was inspired by this article. They can be about anything that I feel like, but I have to do it regardless of how I feel. I’m already kind of feeling the strain of the “regardless of how I feel” caveat because I started one of these sessions while I was in bed yesterday morning and ended up falling back to sleep after 200 words (don’t worry, I finished the other 800 later). But other times, it feels great. The words just come pouring out of me, easy peasey. I’ve found, so far, that it’s much easier to do stream-of-consciousness writing than writing with a purpose. Again, it’s an exercise in accepting imperfection, because there truly is a lot of garbage with maybe a single good line or two sprinkled in. And learning to take the bad with the good. Discipline and overall writing ability are two areas that I’m really passionate about focusing right now. 

Goal #3: Find peace through structure.

Okay. So I’m doing yet ANOTHER challenge. On Instagram. Kino MacGregor and her cohorts are hosting a detox yoga challenge for the month of April, and, thus far, I’ve been pretty dilligent about making sure I’m posting my daily posture photo. It’s a lot to remember to do everyday, but I’ve always been the kind of person who thrives in a structured environment. I love checklists and schedules and calendars and probably most other things you can think of along that vein. And, you know, homework. And school. And school supplies. Paper. New notebooks. Unf.