Behind their successes are little habits and practices that help these women begin their productive day on the right foot.
Mornings are different for everyone. A time when we get a little time to ourselves before we face the day, some take this sacred silence to meditate, work out, list their to-dos, or have breakfast. Creating such habits has an actual impact on how we get through the day. We talk to five women, each accomplished in their respective industries, to share their morning routine. We take inspiration from their habits and hopefully integrate what could best work for our own routines.
As an international lifestyle journalist, Cheryl finds herself overseas from time to time to spotlight people, cultures, and food across the globe. Currently, she has been spending time in Miami, but back in Manila, she used to head to Electric Studio at 6 in the morning for her spin class or to work out with her trainer. Then, she has breakfast before going to work. Now in the US, she wakes up around almost 8 AM and indulges in a mug of coffee with nut-based milk. “Cashew-almond blend is my favorite; I’ve recently discovered Ripple, a milk made from pea-protein,” she elaborates.
Like many other morning people, Cheryl gets fulfillment in waking up early as it gives her more time to accomplish tasks. “It’s like getting a head start,” she says. “Having a little more time to think with fewer distractions, a little more quietness and stillness, being able to complete tasks, before the mad rush of the day.” To do all these, she avoids working out in the evening or reading from a bright screen. “Have a glass or two of red wine; this helps me when I can’t seem to fall asleep,” she adds. She believes that breaking the cycle of bad sleeping habits consists of waking early and heading straight to tasks so the body can retire properly in the evening.
The country manager of Viu Philippines is new to motherhood and so her habit of waking up early comes in handy when taking care of her son, Parker. “Mornings have always been about doing what I enjoy most—being with my baby, laughing with my husband, working out, and eating breakfast,” she says. “Starting your day with calm, loving energy sets the tone for everything that follows.” Such an attitude allows her to be productive throughout the day. “Although we’re working from home, I make sure I get dressed, put on make-up, and do my hair.” She prefers turning on the camera during Zoom calls so she can effectively communicate with her team.
While she admits emulating this routine may be tough for some, she recommends adjusting one’s schedule bit by bit. “If you are finding it is hard to get organized or feel anxious throughout the day, start by sleeping a few minutes earlier and waking a few minutes earlier.” It is all about having the discipline to establish these habits and appreciate the stillness of mornings.
As a Saddle Row instructor, it is no surprise for Monica to be active early in the morning. After all, she comes from a “very active family,” she says, elaborating, “My dad and my brother walk the dogs and play football, my brother Emilio and my mom like to lift weights, and I am an indoor cycling instructor.” However, before all the energy in the house fuses together, Monica starts her day by drinking a glass of water, making her bed, and doing her skincare routine.
With so much energy at the start of the day, she shares, “you realize you have so much more time to do the things you want to do when you get exercise, work, and chores accomplished first.” The head start allows her to face the day, accompanied by scheduling her tasks first. She writes all these down in a planner and prepares her outfit. She says it is something she learned from her mom that once everything is set, “I [should be able to] go through with what I have planned.”
The tireless multi-hyphenate has always been a morning person as her routine years even before becoming a mother. Issa reminisces how she used to have swim training and later on, a morning show that both started as early as 5 in the morning. Now, she gets up a little later at 7 AM to tend to her children’s online school needs. “I do my morning breath sets,” she says, having learned from certified yogi Sara Black. “Some days I do pilates [as] I love starting my day with exercise,” she adds. For her breakfast, her staple includes oatmeal and fruits, not too heavy but enough to power her through until lunch comes around.
What Issa loves the most about waking up early is having this special time for herself. “It’s also when my mind is most clear [and] fresh so I write down things I need to do,” she clarifies. It also comes in handy for her role as a writer as she “[gets] the best ideas, creative ones, first thing in the morning.” To help one achieve this routine, she advises avoiding gadgets use as early as 9 in the evening “so you can power down or slowly condition your body to rest. It’ll take a while but put in the effort,” she firmly says. One can also dive in by simply setting an alarm. Either way, she emphasizes it is all about forming healthy habits.
Before the pandemic, everyone had different routines. The similar goes for the entrepreneur and blogger who admits she wasn’t a morning person as she was accustomed to working late and waking up in a similar fashion. Now, she begins her day at around 8 or 9 in the morning. “I get to do more since I’m not frantically rushing cause of shortened hours,” Nicole explains. Upon waking, she prays and meditates as she shares, “starting the day with prayer always sets the days mood and tone. I’m much more peaceful and aware.” To complete this air of stillness, she takes a cup of green tea or turmeric or a glass of lemon water before heading to the bathroom to freshen up. Doing these has helped her calm herself before navigating the day.
When asked for advice to emulating this routine, she says one has to remain realistic in setting schedules. “Adjust your sleeping time slowly,” she says, adding, “If you wake up early and start to feel sleepy after lunch, fight it like jetlag!” When it is time to sleep, she suggests dimming lights and having tea to help soothe the mind and body. “Some red wine doesn’t hurt either,” she shares with a laugh.