morning ritual

Morning Rituals And Why You Should Have One (Especially When You Are Planning A Wedding!)

morning rituals gratitude journal erin condren planner superfood latte

I'm obsessed with having a morning ritual. Ever since I heard Tim Ferriss talk about them on his podcast I have been intrigued with getting mine right. It's a super important part of my day as an entrepreneur who works from home. It helps get my head right and start the day on the right foot. However, the more chaotic your life is, the more you could benefit from a strong morning ritual.  If you start your day off rushing through your shower and running to catch the train- you may need a morning ritual even more! When you are planning a wedding you essentially have taken on a second job. Having a morning ritual adds a bit of peace to your day - it's a win from the very first moments of the day. I think we all need that!

There are so many benefits to having a morning ritual, but of course it varies depending on what you include in it. What I love about my morning ritual is that I know I'm starting my day off doing something to take care of myself before the madness begins!

It is always a work in progress and it has evolved over time. I'm going to give you a couple examples so you can craft your own perf version! One that I used for a while is referred to as the "Miracle 6". It takes 6 minutes of your morning.

  • 1 minute of silence.
  • 1 minute of affirmations. 
  • 1 minute of visualizations
  • 1 minute of scribing (journaling)
  • 1 minute reading
  • 1 minute of exercise 

To break it down: 

The minute of silence is without your phone, eyes open or closed, just sitting for a moment int peace.

The affirmations are just a list of positive things to remind yourself of daily. They help keep your mind positive. Example of one: "Today I am surrounded by love and abundance in my life." I think about what I am struggling with overcoming mentally and then write some out, or google positive affirmations until I find what I need. :)  

The visualization is a form of goal setting, and it may take some time to write before your review it daily. You want to think about what you are hoping to achieve in your life. It could be long term or just a few months away. Think about what you are hoping to see in your life and write it down. Get as descriptive as possible, so when you read it, it evokes emotion and gets you excited! You should really see the vision clearly. 

Scribing is essentially journaling. There are many forms you could do. Some people do morning pages - a practice where you practice writing 3 pages of long form stream of conscious journaling (I tried it, it wasn't my cup of tea - but many, many people swear by it!). It also is hard to do in one minute. I preferred gratitude journalling, where I write 3 unique things I'm thankful for each day. 

I read this when I was practicing the Miracle 6 morning ritual- it was perfect in small snippets. 

I read this when I was practicing the Miracle 6 morning ritual- it was perfect in small snippets. 

Reading- pretty self explanatory. If you are doing the Miracle 6 I think it's best to read something with small insights, like my favorite, Tao Te Ching. Or a personal development book (see right) where you can get something out of just reading a page or two. 

Exercise- again this is just one minute, so something like jumping jacks, crunches or push ups are good to get the blood flowing! Or you could take the yoga approach and do a sun salutation or two!

There were aspects of this routine I really liked, and it worked for me for awhile. But as I evolved, so did the ritual. When I added true meditation into my routine (not just a minute of silence), it changed the dynamic of the morning. I found it really hard to just read for one minute, and it kinda felt cruel to stop at one minute. Then I would read more, and then the routine would last much longer. I've taken some things I really liked from that ritual and incorporated it into my current routine. 

I've included my morning ritual is below. It is not my every day- right now I am at about 3 days/week. And sometimes I don't do all of the components, but if I get one of them done, it is an accomplishment!  

My morning ritual

  • I go downstairs and start the coffee. If I'm feeling really on it, I will use the frother and make a superfood latte (I froth almond milk, cacao powder, and brain octane oil). 
  • I then write in my gratitude journal. I write three things that I am grateful for.
  • Sometimes I will do a visualization and/or affirmations.
  • I pray for a few minutes. 
  • I meditate for 20-30 minutes. 
  • Then I get up, get dressed, and make my bed.
  • Boom! Ready to start the day!

a simple day with my gratitude journal and coffee. 

a simple day with my gratitude journal and coffee. 

This process takes me about 60 - 75 minutes when I do all of the components. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. 

If you have been following along, you probably understand how important coffee is to me. The smell tells me its time to start the day. When I have the superfood latte, I'm starting my day with nutrients that are fueling my body. Just one small step to start the day right. 

I love my gratitude journal because it really helps me cultivate an abundance mindset. I have so much to be grateful for every day.

Praying helps me focus on what truly matters and gives me perspective.  

Meditation deserves its own post. It helps me focus on the present moment. It helps me to be still in my world that is moving so fast. It helps me to just be. I will do a follow up post on meditation soon. 

I used to not make my bed. But now, I realize that making the bed (and keeping my space clean) helps my mind focused and clear. Besides that, it starts my day with accomplishing a task. There are so many things are out of my control, this is one small thing that is definitely within my domain. 

So in sum, having a morning ritual helps me to start the day: 

  • with good nutrition
  • in a positive mindset
  • at peace with what I can and cannot do
  • goal oriented
  • and accomplished

Pretty powerful stuff, right? All of those things are pretty critical during wedding planning! I encourage you to start your own morning ritual! The "miracle 6" is a great place to start.

Do you have a morning ritual already? I would love to hear about how you start your day! Leave me a comment below or on social! If you haven't seen I finally launched the Shed FB page. Go on and give it a like for me! xx, AHS

What happened when I quit coffee for 45 days

The Why

The ultimate irony, writing about giving up coffee whilst drinking this beaut of a latte.

The ultimate irony, writing about giving up coffee whilst drinking this beaut of a latte.

First, let me be 100% clear- I am not anti-coffee. In fact, by the end of this post you will realize I am in love with coffee. Actually, almost all of this post, written over the course of several days, was written under the influence of coffee. 

So why did I quit it? Well, it all started when a friend got confused and thought I was giving up coffee for lent. I had a bit of a severe reaction. It went something like, "H*ll no, I'm never giving up coffee!" And in my head I began the process of rationalizing all of the reasons I did not need to give up coffee: 

  • "But I only have a couple cups a day."
  • "I'm not addicted! Why give it up?"
  • "It's actually healthy in the amount that I drink it! I need the anti-oxidants." 
  • "It will affect my productivity – it's not good for business."

Somewhere around "I'm not addicted," I realized it was something I needed to do. I was too emotionally invested in coffee. 


    The Experience

    To replace coffee I alternated between drinking matcha and black tea. The deets:

    • I used Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen*. Sometimes I made a Bulletproof version, adding Brain Octane Oil and unsweetened almond milk. But most of the time I just added a bit of raw honey to eliminate the bitterness. If you want more information on collagen, I wrote a post about it a few months ago. 
    • I used a variety of brands of black tea depending of where I was. I mostly drank English Breakfast. Sometimes Earl Grey. Sometimes Chai. Always with unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Never any added sugar. 
    To be fair had to show my strong and worthy subs! Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen above

    To be fair had to show my strong and worthy subs! Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen above

    In London, mostly stuck with English Breakfast, for breakfast. :) 

    In London, mostly stuck with English Breakfast, for breakfast. :) 

    I did enjoy the flavor and taste of both options. They were warming, and gave me a dose of caffeine to start my day. It definitely helped with the morning ritual component for sure. 

    Despite having good substitutes on hand, the first day was rough. Physically, I did not have as much energy as usual. Mentally, it was challenging. It was harder getting up in the morning without my morning cuppa to look forward to. 

    After the first day, I didn't notice a difference in my energy levels. This is probably because I was still getting my caffeine, just in lower doses. My body adjusted quickly to the lower amount of caffeine. I also think it's possible that I was not physically addicted to the caffeine, but emotionally. 

    Caffeine Average Per 8oz Serving

    Note: these can vary significantly depending on brew style, length, etc. I took the averages. Also, most people consume more than 8oz. My everyday brew before this experience was drip coffee. I alternated between Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen and Black Tea during this 45 day period.

    What I did notice was that I truly felt like a less happy person. FOR ALMOST THE ENTIRE TIME. It was very noticeable. I didn't quite have the "joie de vivre" that I typically experience in my day to day life. Apparently, I source great amounts of joy from my coffee in the morning. You would think that having a warm cup of tea in the morning would replace the ritual, but for me, it wasn't enough. I proceeded with my life. I did my work. I continued with my social commitments, but I found I did it all without any pep in my step. It was fine, but I missed my upbeat self. 

    This led me to do some research- is there actually a correlation between coffee and mood? Well, some studies say yes! The findings of one study show an association between coffee and mood — researchers know that caffeine works by binding to receptors for brain chemicals associated with mood. This particular study even determined that 2-4 cups of coffee a day lowered risk in women for depression. A good summary article is here if you would like more information.  Bottom line: I was not imagining a decrease in my mood, cuz science. 


    Reincorporating Coffee

    My First Cup... A Cheat Day

    Isn't she a beaut? This was my bday latte. #bliss

    Isn't she a beaut? This was my bday latte. #bliss

    My birthday is always during lent, so I always grant myself dispensation from lenten resolutions on that day. I was staying in a lovely hotel in London, with a fabulous cafe. Every day I smelled the delicious scent of roasted beans, and on the morning of my birthday I was able to enjoy my very own almond milk latte. It was sheer perfection. The coffee was sublime. Have you ever heard of the "point of diminishing return"? It basically is a concept that says after the first bite or sip of something, generally speaking, enjoyment of whatever it is goes down dramatically. I can tell you with 100% confidence that every sip of that latte brought me LIFE. I loved every second of it. But I kept it to one cup for the day and that was perfect. 

    Any side effects? I definitely had a bit of a caffeine high. But no jitters, or tenseness. No anxiety. No stomach troubles. I knew I had a strong constitution for coffee, but I did think I would experience some adverse reaction after being off it for so long (this was day 34). I was pumped there wasn't! 

    Day 45

    I went back on coffee at Easter (Holy Saturday when lent is over actually), and it was in the midst of chaos. I was helping my mom prepare for 30 guests, AND we were cooking (love my large Italian clan!). I ended up drinking A LOT of coffee. I'm not even sure how many cups because we kept pouring into unfinished cups.  I fully admit this was not the best idea after being off it for so long. 

    I could definitely feel the effects. I was tense, a bit on edge, and had a stomach ache. I 100% overdid it. It was good reality check for me. While coffee is wonderful in moderation – that doesn't mean to drink bottomless cups.  After the first day of overdoing it, I have tried to go back to my one cup in the morning, sometimes venturing for a second. I haven't experienced the negative side effects since.  

    Another noticeable difference in myself is that my palate has become more discerning. While before this experiment I was coffee "snobbish," I used to be able to get away with buying a big tub of beans at Trader Joe's. Right now, it is not doing it for me. I'm really into a more robust roast like Intelligentsia or Dark Matter.

    My mood has returned to it's normal sunny disposition. :) For the record, it's fine to not feel happy all of the time, but my normal self is set on default to "upbeat". While I have learned this is definitely partially induced by my coffee consumption, I didn't care for the "new normal" I was experiencing.

    I clearly have not broken my emotional attachment to those lovely beans, but I do know I can exist in a life without coffee. :)


    An unbiased bit of education

    While this post is about my own personal experience, I want to make sure that y'all know about all the awesome benefits coffee can bring, and the drawbacks. There are quite a few reasons to drink coffee, and quite a few reasons not to. Every person is different and can process coffee and caffeine differently. While I often sound like a coffee spokesperson, I really want you to do what feels right for your body. Have a read below to decide if you want caffeine as a part of your routine – and as always, listen to your body! 

    Caffeine Health Benefits coffee elimination
    Caffeine Health Hindrances coffee
    caffeine benefits and negative side effects references

    My Key Takeaways

    I'm happy to be reunited with my first true love. <3

    I'm happy to be reunited with my first true love. <3

    I know relying on any substance for happiness is not healthy. While 45 days without coffee did not seem to break my emotional tie with it, I do know that the world will not end if I ever decide we need some time apart. While I won't be giving up coffee permanently, I will definitely try to change things up every once in a while. I've learned my lesson, 2 cups a day is my limit! And I will definitely will keep my matcha and black tea in the rotation!

    Do you drink coffee? Have you ever tried giving it up? I would love to hear if you had a similar experience. Leave a comment below or tell me on the 'gram! 

    Bottoms Up! 


      *Vital Proteins provided the Matcha Collagen. If you purchase through the links in the post, I will earn a commission at no cost to you. But to be clear, this post was not paid for by Vital Proteins and my opinions are all my own. 

      November Gratitude Challenge


      It's November and that means it's time to talk Thanksgiving. Thanks giving. Time to talk less about the food part of the holiday (that comes later) and time to focus on gratitude. 

      My mom did an amazing job at instilling gratitude in me at a really young age. I have always known just how fortunate I am. And I am a firm believer that everyone has something to be grateful for every day. That being said, even for me, it's really hard to feel grateful all day, every day of life. It's also okay to have highs and lows in your day, you don't have to be grateful every minute- but the more you are in tune with all you have to be thankful for, the more grounded you will be in your life.

      You have to actively choose gratitude. Gratitude is a practice, and an important one at that.  Just like hopping on your yoga mat, or sitting down to meditate, you have to bring focus and presence to your practice. But why should we practice gratitude? Being aware of all the good in your life helps to cultivate a mindset of abundance and helps to keep hardships and daily struggles in perspective. 

      A couple years ago I started a gratitude journal to deepen my practice. I write 3 things I am grateful for on that day.

      Ideally you do not write the same things every day. You don't want to have "family, friends, and a roof over your head" on repeat every day. Specific is better because it helps you notice the little things that you may not have thought about previously. 

      For me, it has turned into a diary of sorts- I end up writing a mix of things I am grateful for interspersed with other relevant quotes from books I may be reading or with daily affirmations. I wish I could say I do it every day, but I average about 3-5x week. This journal has become a part of my morning ritual. Writing out things I am grateful for in the morning sets my attitude up for success. It gets my head clear and focused on what really matters in life (no more waking up on the wrong side of the bed!). Some people like to do gratitudes before sleep.  I think that is great, too! Whatever works for your life. 

      I challenge you to personally try to write down three things you are grateful for daily. If three is too daunting, then make it one. It doesn't have to fit a particular theme. Anything you are grateful for, and make it specific! I would love to hear all that you are grateful for! #gratitudebegetsgratitude

      The challenge goes until Thanksgiving, and I hope you will continue the practice after too! Tag your posts with #shedgratitudechallenge for a chance to be regrammed. 

      Follow along with me on Instagram to keep up with my gratitudes daily! I'll be posting to my feed and stories daily!