The first thing that comes to mind when I think about my morning routine is matcha, but I assure you this post is about much more than a frothy green beverage. Implementing a morning routine in my life while I have been in Lyme treatment has been crucial in me having a somewhat productive day. Though I wake up many days without the energy to do much of anything really, having a solid morning routine at least sets the tone for productivity. When you are constantly sick and fatigued, it is far too easy to get in the habit of getting out of bed only to go straight to the couch for a day of Netflix bingeing. By having a ritual every morning I am able to tune into how I am really feeling, and determine what types of tasks I think I might be able to tackle that day.
Let me paint you a picture. As many of you know I live in Portland, OR. This time a year the air is crisp, the leaves have fallen off the trees, the smell of rain is back, and it’s basically all things hygge. I don’t keep my phone in my room or set an alarm in the morning, so I typically wake up naturally around sunrise. A few months ago, that meant I was waking up at 6:30, but right now the winter mornings have me sleeping in until 7:30 or 8:00. Sleep is crucial in healing, so I’m graciously giving my body that extra hour.
Once I am physically up I like to make my bed because I don’t like to get back into bed at night with tangled sheets and a lopsided duvet. There are studies o’plenty about the benefits of being a “bed maker.” A common belief is that completing that first task of the day will make you more likely to complete another task, and then another. It leaves you with a sense of pride that boosts your confidence and productivity for the day. My bed is a sacred place, and I never crawl back into bed and do work or watch TV there. Getting good quality sleep and at least a solid eight hours is crucial while my body heals, so maintaining optimal sleep hygiene in my bedroom is a priority to me.
Once my bed is made I might make fresh celery juice. I drink 16 oz of celery juice first thing every morning a few days per week because it helps my digestive issues tremendously. Once I’m done drinking celery juice I wait about 30 minutes to let it work its magic, and then I will make matcha. If it’s not a celery juice morning, then I go straight into my matcha routine. During this time I’ll also do any minor chores to tidy up if necessary, like putting dishes away, filling up my Berkey water filter, vacuuming, and things of that nature. Basically I just like to push the reset button on my apartment so it feels like I am having a fresh start everyday. This is a really important part of my morning routine. When I don’t clean my space I feel anxious about it until I do. When I get it out of the way first thing I feel at ease and can focus on other tasks.
I like to alternate what I do while I am drinking my matcha, and it largely depends on what symptoms I am experiencing and what I need to accomplish that day. I will always sit down and make a to-do list for the day because it adds structure to my day and helps me not feel stressed. I keep a weekly to-do list, and once I gage how I am feeling I’ll pick and choose certain tasks from that list to do on a given day. Once my to-do list is set in stone, what I do with the rest of my matcha time varies. Sometimes I will just sit, enjoy the view from my apartment, and listen to the news. Sometimes I will pull a Tarot card and journal. Sometimes my boyfriend and I will talk endlessly about how badly we want a puppy. Sometimes I have emails to write… You get the idea. It varies, but I try to do something that feels right.
Around this time is when I will typically have a bowel movement. Because my digestion is so screwed up, I rarely make early morning plans or appointments anymore because I want to make sure I can get things moving if you know what I mean. Stomach pain, discomfort, bloat, leaky gut, IBS-C, IBS-D, etc. are symptoms I’ve experienced pretty much daily for almost a year and a half now; and after months of having 1-2 bowel movements per week (thanks to parasites & SIBO), it is now a priority of mine every morning. It is almost impossible to work on healing SIBO and candida overgrowth while treating Lyme disease, so I do my best to support my gut as much as possible through this process.
You may have noticed that I have yet to mention anything about breakfast. I never used to understand how people could start their day without breakfast. However, because my gut is in such a sever state of dysbiosis, giving it extra time to rest and digest in the morning instead of eating is helpful in managing my symptoms. You may have heard the term “intermittent fasting” before. This basically means that you eat all of your meals within a certain time window to give your digestive system more time in the evening to process. I usually eat dinner at 6:00 p.m., and don’t reintroduce anything into my system until after 9:00 a.m. I break my fast with celery juice or matcha, but don’t consume any solid foods until about noon. This is just what works for me right now.
Anyways, at this point in the morning I’ll shower, brush my teeth, tongue scrape, and all that fun stuff. If I am really not feeling well and I know for certain I won’t be leaving my apartment because of it, I might forego the shower and run myself a hot bath with epsom salts. Post-shower I moisturize, get dressed, and either get going or get resting.
This simple morning routine keeps my days grounded. It may seem minor to you, and I get that. A year or two ago from today this would all seem like common sense to me. Wake up, get caffeinated, shower, and go! But, as someone battling Lyme disease right now it’s just not always that easy. I am desperate for productivity, structure, a job, a life. I’m not well enough to do a lot of the things I wish I could do right now, but I know for a fact that before I got disciplined about having a morning routine I more often than not wasted my days away on my couch. Granted, that kind of is what I am supposed to be doing with my time right now because healing is my number one priority. But, I am definitely the kind of person that is addicted to “busy”, so not being able to commit to anything is a hard concept for me to grasp.
Morning routines don’t need to be extravagant or super long or crazy rigid in order to be effective. They just need to include whatever it is that helps you feel prepared to take on the day as your absolute best self. In the wellness world I think there is a misconception that in order to have a super beneficial morning routine you need to juice your own celery juice and then do a yoga flow and then drink bulletproof coffee and then jade roll and then meditate and do all of these things that aren’t always realistic. You don’t need to overdo it. You just need to do whatever is best for you to get your day going on the right note.
I urge you to think about your morning routine. Do you have one? If so, what is it? What about your mornings brings you stress? What can you do to change that? What about your mornings brings ease to your day? Can you do more of that?