The Morning Routine That Stuck from Quarantine

I could write a whole post on the countless ways Quarantine has changed us. And I will. It’s something I’ve been giving a lot of space, and thought to. But this week I had an aha moment that stopped me in my tracks. Mornings are something I deeply, deeply look forward to each day. I haven’t had a “bad” morning in over a month, and I think I’ve figured out why. It all comes down to routine, and keeping promises to yourself. Here’s how I spend the first part of each morning; and before the work day starts, I work on myself:

5:00am. The alarm rings. Only it’s not the traditional bedside clock clanging, it’s our four year-old opening the curtains announcing the sun has risen. I do two things before I let myself acknowledge this start to the day: I thank God for letting me wake up, and I let go of any negativity that is leftover from the night before. I make a promise to myself that I’m going to start fresh, and set my intention for the day.

5:05am. After I’ve snuggled my peeps and pups for a few minutes, I pound an entire glass of water. Here’s where I would usually check my phone, and any emails that came in overnight. No more! It was giving me anxiety and starting my worry cycle too early, so I let that be for a little longer, and start with some self care. I grab a cotton pad, and wipe my face lightly with this. Then I pat on a dark spot serum to let it seep in before I do makeup later on. I’ve been using this for three months and see my melasma lightening (that’s the thanks you get for growing a tiny human, apparently 😆). Lastly, I dab this skin food under my eyes and let them drink it up – this lotion is rich, but not dollars-wise. SO good. Before I leave my last shred of solitude for the day, I take a single minute to read (and sometimes re-read) this daily passage, a treasured gift from my Grandma a few years back.

5:15am. After I make the bed and start a load of laundry, Jon and I meet downstairs and together we cook Grey’s breakfast. Lately he has been on a pancake kick, so we whip up Kodiak cakes with mashed banana, oat milk, and applesauce. For weeks past Easter he was still demanding bunny shapes, but now we’ve made our way to cute little minis. No syrup for this guy – he has enough of a natural sugar high 😉. We pair them with a side of vegetarian bacon, and organic fruit. I can’t work out on a full stomach, so I don’t end up eating breakfast until 9 or so. I’ve tried intermittent fasting and actually love it, but with waking up at 5am, it’s *hard* to wait to eat your first meal until noon.

5:30am. I make a piping hot mug of black coffee, sprinkle a shake or three of Vietnamese cinnamon on top, and finish putting away dishwasher contents and wiping down the counters. A clean kitchen gives me life! Then I meet Grey on the couch for an episode of Super Readers. Once I’ve had at least half a cup of the good stuff, I’ll open my emails and start responding to get them out of the way. I’ve found that if I feel a sense of accomplishment early on (a la taking care of chores and replies), it gives me a boost that I can tackle anything the day may bring.

6:00am. Here’s what’s new – I EXERCISE. I know. This is very likely not a big deal to many of my friends, but it’s a big deal to me. Because in the four years since I had Grey, I had not made any time, nor any commitment to myself. At the start of shelter-in-place, we started taking nightly neighborhood strolls as a family. And while I was grateful to be moving my body, I was craving more.

So it all began with a random family Zumba class one weekend where I sweat like a mad woman, and I haven’t stopped since. It has now become so much a part of my routine that I can’t imagine my day starting without it. I LOVE all things Team Body Project (low impact, but big results if you have knee issues like I do!), and Zumba dance to switch it up. The sheer amount of workout videos you can find on YouTube and Amazon Prime are mind blowing. You can find any level, target any area, and do something for you. I can’t tell you how grateful I feel for this. It has also forced Grey to have some independent play in his room for the 30 minutes I exercise. Sometimes he even joins in and I love that he sees Mom making her health a priority.

6:30am. Shower and get ready for the day. Somehow the amount of effort, products, and makeup feels like way too much post-Covid. One day I did my makeup the way I always had pre-pandemic and it felt like a clown face to me now. Here are the pared-down products, and all said and done, I can be out the door with a neatly parted (albeit still soaking) low pony in twenty minutes.

  • Olaplex Shampoo and Conditioner. Leaves your hair nourished, and silky smooth.
  • On top of the Skin Food I dab on my eyes (mentioned above), I start with this oil, wait two minutes, then use this moisturizer on my whole face (have exclusively used for years!). Last layer is this sunscreen.
  • I love this foundation for summer – clean beauty, incredibly light, and doesn’t clog pores!
  • A little bit of this goes a long way under eyes and over dark spots.
  • I do a light dusting of this powder.
  • And finish with a few sprays of this! So glowy!!

My morning skincare and makeup routine may be scaled back quite a bit, but my nighttime skincare has upped its game. A post for another day, if you’re interested! Leaving you with a few of my favorite morning mantras. I’d love to hear yours – please share with us in the comments below!

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