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.


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.


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! 🙂 

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.

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