It’s early. 6:47 AM. I’m yawning, sleepy. I desperately want a coffee without having to get out of my warm bed. I also need to go to the bathroom. Up we get.
My mornings are precious. My partner sleeps in later than I do, so those soft sunrise hours are quiet and stunning, chilly and unmoving. It always feels as though time has paused while the entire world sleeps. I turn up the heat on my way to the bathroom, and hear the comforting roar of the furnace in our little house’s cellar coming to life.
First, I start the kettle for coffee.
Listen to the kettle filling with water, the sound of it changing as the water level nears the top. The satisfying click as you turn the kettle on. The gentle roar that sings with the furnace as it warms your water. I putter around the kitchen, slowly shuffling clean dishes into cupboards and pouring last night’s late-night cup of tea into the sink.
That first cup of coffee gets me out of bed. It’s frothing and golden and warm. Look at how the coffee swirls in your cup as you move to your chair.
Coffee in hand, I write my morning pages.
I thought, for a long time, that morning pages should be written with the intention of throwing them away. There’s less pressure, less burden of “who will read what I’ve left behind?”
But my morning pages have moved away from the three-page stream-of-consciousness writing session described by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. They’re journal-like, if less demanding, and they are short and sweet and guiding. They go into a small notebook – I’ve just switched into a new one now that my old one is full – and they range from ten pages to just one.
Who are the thoughts keeping company together in my mind this morning? Which are the keepers, the golden orbs that should stay present at the surface? Which are the overwhelmed, the anxious, the trains of thought that try only to muddy the waters? We tuck those muddying ebbs away, thanking them for what they try to teach us, and then focus on the gold, the warmth, the sunlight streaming through the mind even as it begins to stream through the windows. It is a revisiting of values, of dreams, of imagining what I want this fresh day to hold.
I lounge, to disconnect and take it slow.
I put down my phone, leave my computer alone, and pick up a book, or a crossword, or an embroidery project, or the sweater I’m currently crocheting. I listen to coffee shop music or an audiobook. I sink deeply into my chair by the window, blanket across my lap and coffee by my side, and I live slowly, in this world or another, properly waking as the sun wakes, too.
Soft clothes and yoga mark the beginning of activity.
To move gently from creating and making and reading, I hold the silence in a usually-short morning stretch – sometimes guided, often not. “Doing yoga” feels like a to-do list item some days, and when that’s the case I will easily go months ignoring the YouTube yoga videos I love in favour of a simple stretch of the arms, legs, wrists, and ankles.
When the mood hits, however, sun salutations and morning yoga sessions feel so painfully good. “We do not spend enough time stretching our hamstrings,” my legs tell me as I shift into downward-facing dog. “We should probably strengthen our core,” my feet inform me as they work double to keep me upright in warrior. “We can still touch our toes!” my shoulders, ribs, and hamstrings chorus in surprise as I fall into a forward fold. Incredible what the body can do (and say).
I shower, drink water, and proceed to love my skin and face and teeth.
I enjoy the steamy warmth of a morning shower, especially while the early hours are still so cold. Our shower has a window, and it’s the first window in the house that the dawn hits; by the time I get in, I’m showering in both water and sunlight.
I always forget about water until after my first coffee. Post-shower, I make coffee no. 2 and fill a glass with water, too. While the coffee cools, I turn on a coffee shop music playlist (lyrics are too much in the morning), drink water, and continue to love my physical body: I take care of my skin (moisturizing and appreciating every muscle and curve and hardworking surface – shoutout to our feet), then my face (hydrating, soothing, and admiring the way my life is reflected in eyes and brows and mouth), and finally my teeth (a process which consists largely of holding my breath, attempting to distract myself, and aching for it be over – I hate teeth, as anyone in my life who has had to brush their teeth with the door closed will tell you).
I dress for the day (& for the mood, for the season).
I love getting dressed in the morning. It’s even better, lately, because I’m working with a capsule, but it’s always been something I’ve enjoyed. What’s the mood for the day? Are we feeling romantic and fresh? Masculine and classic? Feminine and simple? Are we in a season of experimentation, or tried-and-true outfit formulas? I do a loose form of outfit-planning at the beginning of every week, but how closely I follow it varies from day to day. I embrace the act of choosing.
If I’m wearing makeup that day (usually the days I have work or social commitments), I put it on post-clothing, and match a pink lipgloss to a graphic tee or a liquid eyeliner to an Audrey-Hepburn-inspired outfit.
I fill my stomach & soul with food.
Food is so gods-damned good. I eat something that I love, something that makes me want to make an inappropriate noise it’s so delicious, because otherwise I have a tendency to forget about eating until mid-afternoon. (Coffee, why do you always try to convince me I’m not hungry?)
I love healthy food, and thank goodness for that. Fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, oatmeal loaded with nuts and berries give me the double satisfaction of feeding both my body and my soul, and reminding me to appreciate what it is my body and mind do for me on a daily basis. They deserve good energy sources. Some favourites:
- a green smoothie (banana, spinach, cucumber, plain greek yogurt, frozen mango, any other fruit lying around, milk)
- avocado toast
- banana nut oatmeal (plain oatmeal topped with sliced banana, walnuts or a trail mix, cinnamon, and a drizzle of maple syrup)
- hard-boiled eggs with avocado, tomato, green onion, and lots of salt & pepper
And with that, I get to work.
If I have a scheduled shift, I’m off to work – pre-packed lunch in hand and accidentally slamming the side door as I go. If it’s a day off from my full-time job, I sit down at my desk with (hopefully a re-filled) glass of water, my coffee (usually coffee no. 3), and turn on a coffee shop music playlist, with added ambient noise if I want to feel more social than usual.
Reading about, watching, and creating morning routines can be one of my favourite ways to reset or resettle when things are feeling confused or complicated; sharing this felt particularly apt today, a way to contribute without bombarding. Wishing you all only the softest and best of mornings.