How you start your morning is how you run your day, and how you live your day is how you frame your week. Your weeks become your months become your years become your LIFE. So we’re asking the Experts — how do you start your day?
“I used to be that person who didn’t ‘have time for routine.’ I would roll out of bed and hit the ground running. And I’d run ’til my tank was empty. By 3 p.m., I was toast.” – Tammi Leader Fuller, our Chief Empowerment Officer
CP Crew: What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
TLF: These days, before I even brush my teeth, or look at my phone, I meditate. And then I breathe. And then I stretch.
CP Crew: Philosophically, how do you feel about hitting snooze? You cool with it or anti or somewhere in between?
TLF: Most days, I don’t even need an alarm. My body wakes me right up, craving this new way of kicking off my day.
Now, when I wake, with my head still on my pillow, I reach for my phone, and go right to the Notes section, or my new favorite 10-minute guided meditation. Been doing the same one every single day for the past 11 months, and though I know every word by heart, each day I welcome the temporary escape from the mind-chatter…like it’s the very first time I’m hearing it.
CP Crew: How do you take your coffee (or tea!)?
TLF: Coffee, dark, with hazelnut Coffee Mate…the stuff that remains on my tongue till I scrape it off. Pretty gross, but I’m addicted. Only two cups o’ joe a day, and it’s gotta be piping hot (embarrassed to say I nuke my lukewarm coffee at least three times a day).
Living on Pacific time, with my office (and 3 employees) on the East Coast, I’m already a few hours behind. The moment I opened my eyes, I used to check in to make sure nothing was on fire. I would deal with whatever was, and then go for a coffee or two, to get me up and moving into my day. Not anymore.
CP Crew: What’s one thing you do each morning that sets your day up for success?
TLF: My guided meditation takes me mentally through my body, and it always ends the same way. The calm voice of the lady I found on YouTube speaks to me, profoundly about how everything that has happened in my life up to this very moment has prepared me for the ME I am on my way to becoming. “Let whatever it is you’re holding onto just roll off you, like water off the back of a duckling,” she says softly, and some days, I imagine that droplet bouncing right off a duck’s shiny feathers. Is reminds me to let s’more sh*t go. There’s just so much. It helps me to have this kind of visual to reflect on, especially on days that don’t go down quite as planned (ever have one of those?).
CP Crew: If there’s time, do you get any workouts in? Physical or mental…
TLF: After meditating, I do breathwork…it’s a series of deep inhales and exhales, as part of my work to help me release tension from my vocal cords. I listen to my teacher Bonnie Swencionis’s recorded instructions and begin these intense breathing exercises, pushing air out of my lungs even when it feels like the accordion has been squished to the max. “Nature abhors a vacuum,” Bonnie tells me, so the goal is to create one. It is exhausting and takes my full concentration, and though it’s only seven minutes, once it’s done, things shift in my throat and throughout my whole system. I can actually feel this work jump starting my parasympathetic nervous system, the part that relaxes the body, which has the exact opposite effect of the fight or flight response. It’s pretty wild.
When the breathing exercises are done, I hit the floor for ten minutes. With a series of slow yoga moves, I stretch. My hips and my back, and my glutes and my shoulders. But mostly my hips (that’s where I store most of my tension). I’ve read that women hold emotional garbage in their hips and sometimes, mine feel packed with sludge. But after a few minutes in these deep poses, I can feel my body release. And then I hang out there for a few more.
CP Crew: Anything else you want to tell us or our community about how you start your day on the right side of the bunk bed?
TLF: Some early mornings, when I can swing it, I take this whole ritual to the beach, which is only 3 minutes away. I put my feet in the ocean and scan my body with a full mental once-over, from my head to my toes. And then I release whatever’s traveled through me into the ocean through my big toe. And I send it all out into the ocean. You have no idea what a day can look like when it begins like this. My beach days are my best days, when creative ideas come from seemingly nowhere.
CP Crew: Anything else you want to tell us or our community about how your morning routine affects your approach to your time, your work or your life at-large?
TLF: I have learned that in order to create habits, you need to have discipline and a strong belief that you WILL succeed, from the get-go. Figure out what you want or need to infuse into your life, and start doing it every morning, whatever it is. Commit to it for a week. The first couple days are always easy. The hard part comes by day 3-4, when it starts to feel like a chore and the reality of your morning time-crunch gets in your way. We are so used to instant gratification, but it doesn’t come at the beginning of a process that’s designed to change things up in your life.
Don’t punish yourself if you skip a day or two and then give yourself permission to abandon the process. That’s where the discipline needs to come in, and get you more grounded in your resolve to make these changes stick.
I just started drinking cold pressed celery and apple juice every day, in an attempt to purify my liver, but it’s expensive and requires a short drive to the juice place. The first few days I was really into it. Today, not so much, especially because I skipped yesterday. But I’m forcing myself to turn this into a habit and add it to my morning routine, because I know it’s good for me. This morning, I while allow myself to take a beach walk (and get all the other windfalls of taking my morning routine to the ocean) ’til I’ve got my green juice in hand. Over and out.