Makeover your morning routine

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One thing I've mastered (at least to the point of being proud of myself) this summer is my morning routine.

Is it perfect? NOPE

Is it consistent every single day? NOPE

Do I accomplish everything I want to do for myself before the day begins? NOPE

But that's why I love it -- it's imperfect, inconsistent, but I have been showing up for myself in a way that feels really great.

Here's what it looks like in this season of my life:

M/T/TH/F

5:30: Wake up, put on workout clothes, drink pre-workout mocktail, read personal development until Ben wakes up. He pushes PLAY at about 6:05 so I am forced to work out whether or not I am "ready." (<<this has been key to overcoming my procrastination. GET A BUDDY.)
6:45: Make my post workout recover, post on instagram, check in with my challenge group, shower and get ready, eat breakfast, get on with the day!!
Around 8, after breakfast but before work I will probably journal to organize my thoughts and record where I'm at in my cycle and how my energy/mindset is feeling. Extra credit: do my "write the word" devotional.
I try to be at "work" by 8:30ish in my home office, or get out of the house to a coffee shop.

***To make this happen, I need to be in bed by 9:15 and in a perfect world asleep by 9:30/9:45 to get enough sleep!! This is a work in progress. I also love to read before I sleep, which has been a challenge lately since we are also trying to get preggo (hey just keeping it real) and I also have been obsessed with Game of Thrones which is a horrible bedtime reading selection.***

WEDNESDAY

Rest day! I "sleep in" until 6ish, then spend some time on the deck journaling, reading, reflecting/meditating chilling. If I have lots of energy or motivation I might get outside for a walk/jog/run while listening to a podcast which is one of my favorite ways to pump myself up into a fabulous mood.

SATURDAY

Grab bag! I might go for a jog, meet a friend for yoga, or just sleep in and have a lazy breakfast and spend 5 hours reading Game of Thrones.

SUNDAY

Again, I might get outside for a jog or else sleep in, then do our meal planning and make a grocery list (get my meal planning guide here!), go to church, and hit up Aldi on the way home.

Why is it important to have a morning routine?

I'm sure there are a billion blog posts and articles that will tell you all about the science behind kick starting your day with positive energy, but I'm going to keep it simple.

I love having a morning routine because it makes me feel FREAKING AMAZING, and it's always great to have enough discipline to prove to yourself that you can follow through on your commitments to yourself.

But mostly, I just love feeling good :) Waking up at 5:30 doesn't feel good, but once you get through the first 5 minutes and get moving, it's fine.

Do you want to whip your morning routine into shape? Here is my strategy!

How to makeover your morning routine (and follow through)!

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1. PREP

  • What time do you need to leave the house/get to work?
  • Do you have kids//other responsibilities in the morning?
  • Work backwards: how much extra time do you want to add? Start with 15 or 30 minutes.
  • What time will you need to go to bed to get 7-8 hours of sleep?

*use the Bedtime setting on your phone, or use a regular alarm clock and put it across the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off.

  • What will you have to REMOVE/STOP DOING at night in order to go to bed early? Will you have to sacrifice your Netflix time? Social media scrolling? Set the intention and remind yourself why this is important to you. Your inner little kid might rebel or throw up some resistance. Be an adult and set some boundaries for yourself!

2. CREATE YOUR ROUTINE

I know you're an overachiever, but don't fall into the trap of trying to do allthethings. Set your "baseline" routine first.

For example, you don’t have to go to a one hour yoga or workout, meditate, make a green juice, go for a walk, journal, read, all in the same day. You’ll only set yourself up for failure and fall back into the “all or nothing” trap and end up right where you started.

Instead, pick 1-3 non negotiable activities you want to make the baseline of your routine, small and easy things that are so easy to do it will feel natural like brushing your teeth. Heck, brushing your teeth could be one of them! The goal here is to prove to yourself that you can show up and follow through on the intentions you set for yourself.

It’s ok to start small, once your confidence builds you can add on! It’s like training for a marathon. You don’t set out by running 20 miles. You start with 2-3 miles and grow from there! Trust the process.

You can also create “good/better/best” goals to give yourself some flexibility if you have extra time.

For example:

If your “non negotiable” habit is yoga:

  • GOOD (this is your baseline) = do a few sun salutations.
  • BETTER = do a 30 minute Yoga video from beachbody on demand
  • BEST = go to a 60 min yoga class

Once you have your baseline, make a “self care menu” of other things you could do as a bonus for the days you have more time. This is like offering yourself dessert. Nice to have, but optional.

3. ACCOUNTABILITY

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but as humans we are fickle creatures and almost never follow through with our own best laid plans. Who can you find to hold you accountable? Your spouse/partner/roommate? Get a friend on board and text each other a selfie when you’ve done your routine?

Get other people who are important to you to invest in your intentions too!

If you need a kickass support system, I've gotchu covered girl.

4. FOLLOW THROUGH AND MAKE IT YOUR OWN

Show up! Remember that your routine doesn’t have to be the exact same thing every day.

I also love adjusting my morning routine based on where i’m at in my cycle. During my period, there’s a lot more resting and I give myself permission to be “lazy.” During the early and later parts of my cycle I have a lot of energy so I channel that into workouts, or extra time writing (like right now!) to get all my swirling thoughts out of my head.

Like anytime you're trying to change your habits or behavior, knowing yourself and your weaknesses is power. Let's be honest, self sabotage never takes us by surprise. Think ahead -- where do you know you're going to struggle? How can you set up systems or accountability in those areas? How can you have your own back?

And finally, remember this:

Imperfect but consistent action trumps occasional perfection.

This isn't about having a consistent routine for 21 or 30 days and if you miss a day you have to start back at square one. This is about making small, achievable shifts towards supporting yourself and growing into the person you want to be!

And at the end of the day, feeling freaking amazing.

You've got this.

xo Anna

5 tips for staying healthy on vacation

Ben and I both LOVE traveling and experiencing new places together, especially through food and culture, so I thought I'd share some of my tips on staying relatively "healthy" and balanced on vacation!

staying healthy on vacation - 4 tips to feel amazing and vibrant while traveling

Healthy Travel Tips

1. Make a plan in advance and decide what kind of trip this is going to be. Will you try to adhere to your normal routine? Or are you going to give yourself a little flexibility GUILT FREE to indulge in special treats?

2. Take care of yourself while traveling. If my flight isn't too early and I know I'll be sitting for the rest of the day in a plane or car, I'll wake up and squeeze in a quick workout. I also make sure to pack SNACKS!! Because airport food is $$$$ and limited.

My favorite travel snacks:

+ drink a smoothie on the way to the airport

+ pack an empty water bottle to fill up after security

+ apples

+ snack veggies like carrots and snap peas

+ Shakeo Brownie Bites!! THESE ARE A LIFE SAVER

+ nuts and trailmix

+ healthy bars (BeachBars are going to be a new staple)

On the plane, opt for water to stay hydrated. Anything carbonated (even water) will make you extra bloated with the pressure and altitude changes, so be aware! And yeah, I usually eat the plane snacks. Because I can't say no to free snacks.

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3. Explore your destination by foot. It's easy to rack up the steps while traveling and exploring a new city. Walk, hike, go out for a run, and soak up your new environment! Don't worry too much about fitting in "workouts," if you're staying active that's all your body really needs.

healthy travel tips - enjoy the local food

4. Eat like a local. Eat as may fresh fruits and veggies as you can, but give yourself some flexibility and ENJOY local treats! When we're in Europe, I eat lots of bread and cheese. In Hawaii it was easy to find fresh food everywhere, but I also had delicious local beer, cookies, and ice cream too.

5. Give yourself grace and live in the moment. Traveling is a chance to fully live life to the fullest and make memories that will last a lifetime. Don't waste your energy stressing about gaining weight or falling off the wagon, and don't immediately feel like you need to jump into a "detox" or reset as soon as you get home. Our bodies are resilient, and if you ease back into your normal routine (maybe with extra veggies and water when you get home), your body will respond. 

I know it might sound basic and obvious, but sometimes the best way to stay healthy and stick to your wellness goals is to KEEP IT SIMPLE and stop making everything super complicated.

Healthy is a way of life, not a number on the scale. And health is not an all-or-nothing thing! Give yourself space to enjoy foods and experiences you normally wouldn't have back at home, guilt free.

Have fun!!

 

How to bounce back from a summer weekend

It’s June! Summer has officially arrived, including the whirlwind of weddings, parties, vacations, trips, and nights drinking wine on the patio.

So much to love!

Let's face the facts: it’s incredibly hard to stick to a routine this time of year when our schedules are all over the place.

As someone who thrives on routine, this can throw me off and stress me out, but this summer I’m making it my goal to find a balance between disciplined structure, and go with the flow spontaneous living.

 My husband Ben is a teacher and had this week off before he starts summer school, so we decided to take a little getaway to Galena, IL, an adorable historic town that we’d never visited before. We both love experiencing a new place through exploring its local restaurant scene and so we basically at and drank our way through Galena for 2 days and it was glorious.

In the past, I’d get back from a trip and completely freak out about falling off the wagon. I would probably feel pressured to dive into some really rigid and structured “slim down” to counteract all the indulgences and ward off weight loss, and I would freak out about feeling bloated or heavy and beat myself up for eating unhealthy food and letting myself go.

Luckily I’ve realized that’s not how I want to live! I love food and I love my body, and I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive anymore. Having the perfect body but feeling deprived is not happiness. At the same time, I do want to treat my body with respect and fuel it with healthy food! Is there a way to find a healthy AND happy balance? I think yes.

But there’s no secret formula or program to follow. Balance can only be defined by YOU, based on a combination of how you want to feel, and what foods make your body feel the best.

That being said, here is my general Healthy and Happy Sanity Plan for bouncing back after an indulgent weekend, vacation, or trip!

4 easy ways to bounce back after a summer weekend

  1. Get right back at it!
    I go right back into my “regularly programmed routine” without being too strict. I’ll wake up early to move my body, eat a balanced breakfast, make sure to get my Shakeology (superfoods) in, have an enormous salad for lunch, and a healthy dinner. I’ll make an extra effort to drink as much water as possible, shooting for a gallon. Sometimes I’ll add lemon or cucumber to make my water more fancy and fun to drink.

  2. Avoid the scale.
    I don’t keep a scale anymore, but if you are prone to weighing yourself, AVOID THE SCALE for at least 3 days. I’ve found it takes my body a little while to de-bloat and feel like normal again, especially as I get older. If you are using the scale as a tool to track your health and wellness journey, I recommend weighing yourself on Fridays!

  3. Give yourself space to mentally detox.
    Mondays after a big weekend or trip are rough, and it's easy to get sucked right back into the to-do list and fast pace of life without giving yourself time to breathe, which leads to lots of stress and overwhelm! I try to wake up early to give myself some quiet space to chill, relax, and re-ground myself, because as an introvert, a big and busy weekend or vacation isn’t necessarily rejuvenating for me, and I need time to process the experience and get mentally back on track for the week. Just like my body, it takes my brain 2-3 days to feel like I’m “back on track” when it comes to feeling confident and in my groove with my daily routine and work so I don’t stress if I’m feeling super overwhelmed the first day home.

  4. Practice patience, empathy, and self compassion.
    Release the “all or nothing” mindset around being healthy. This is a big one that my clients and I all struggle with but it's worth practicing! I think it’s human nature to feel like we have to be ALL IN or all out. We’re either bingeing or dieting. But you don’t have to live that way! Practice moderation -- next time you’re on a trip or at an event, choose a glass of water instead of the third glass of wine. Take two seconds to tune into your body before you eat. Do you really want that dessert or extra bite of bread? It’s all about baby steps and awareness. Do you catch yourself scheduling an extra workout to burn off the calories? Do a 30 minute HIIT routine or take a lunch time walk and call it good.

Summer Detox Salad

This is my go-to recipe for the times your body is just craaaaaving some veggies and fresh food! Eat this for lunch the week after an indulgent trip. It's like a juice cleanse ... except you get to actually eat real food.

  • 2-3 cups mixed greens
  • ½ cucumber, sliced
  • 2 T red onion
  • ¼ c cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • ¼ c shredded carrot
  • 1 small apple, chopped
  • ¼ avocado
  • 2 T pumpkin seeds
  • 2 T fresh mint, chopped
  • Cider vinaigrette

Cider Vinaigrette

  • ⅓ c olive oil
  • 1/3  c apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper

Reminders for when you start feeling hard on yourself:

You can’t “undo” progress, go back to square one, or fall off the wagon. The wagon is your life! Your body will remember all the workouts, healthy food, and positive decisions you made for yourself, even if you spend two weeks eating your way through Europe or gain back weight you’ve lost in the past. Keep moving forward, and keep tuning into what feels good. If you start focusing on adding more things that feel good into your life (healthy food, exercise, any mental or emotional rituals like meditation, journaling, therapy), the stuff that makes you feel yucky will get crowded out without any extra effort. 

Focus on ADDING more positive decisions and experiences into your life, instead of trying to remove negatives. If you eat a giant salad, you will be too full for junk food. It’s as simple as that. No need to make a big drama out of will-powering your way through life.

As women, our bodies are constantly retaining water, fluids, and also digesting food. We can't trust the scale. Our weight is constantly going to fluctuate 5-10 pounds over the course of the week. So if you're using the scale to measure your progress (or sense of self worth), proceed with caution and give yourself a "goal range" not just a goal weight.

Since I'm at a healthy happy weight, I decided to trash my scale 2 years ago and it has given me a lot of emotional and mental freedom, but I still don't like it when my pants are tight and I feel bloated.

But I've learned that our bodies are designed to detox and cleanse themselves. We don't have to deprive, punish, or buy into complicated "quick fix" slim down plans.

Focus on the basics!

  • WATER.
  • SLEEP.
  • LIGHT/MODERATE EXERCISE.
  • LOTS OF VEGGIES.

And you'll bounce right back.

Please remember this sanity plan as we head into summer because let's face it -- tis the season for cookouts, cocktails, travel, and living life to the fullest.

xo Anna

Radical Self Care 101

Radical Self Care

It's 5pm and the days are getting longer, but it still feels like winter outside in Chicago.

I'm sitting on my couch under a fuzzy blanket, just home and showered from a mid-afternoon hot yoga class, listening to the rain and feeling deliciously calm and chill. 

A few weeks ago I talked about self care, and how it's so hard yet so important for us as women to put ourselves first.

I'm turning 30 at the end of April and I've officially decided to celebrate by making this my year of all things self: care, empowerment, love, discovery, growth.

I've inhabited my body for almost three decades and I still feel like a complete beginner at all this stuff!

What do you think of when you hear "self care?"

Maybe eating right.
Getting enough sleep.
Meditating.
Taking bubble baths with candles and wine.

All those things that you don't have time for because you're too busy out there living your life, right?

I used to tell myself that self care was for women who were lazy, weak, or less ambitious than me. HA.


My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.
— Lewis Carroll

Up until a couple of years ago I lived like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, constantly sprinting just to stay in one place. My husband nicknamed me the stress bunny (hey, at least bunnies are cute)!

Like most of us, I was raised and educated to believe that the only way to get ahead was to work hard, sacrifice, and put other people's wants and needs ahead of my own.

There's an epidemic of BUSY in our society today, at least here in the United States. We glorify ourselves and each other for the amount of obligations and work we can load into our schedules and onto our plates.

And you know what?

I'm sick and tired of it all. Literally.

In late 2015 I reached a level of anxiety and burn out that was stripping my daily life of joy and giving me heart palpitations. I could never relax or calm down, especially on the weekends when I had hours of unstructured space, and I knew that a state of perpetual fear of falling behind wasn't how I wanted to live my life.

I "had it all" on the outside (my own dream job, a gorgeous apartment, an amazing relationship) so I knew that if I wanted to feel happier and more calm, I couldn't blame my environment. I had to change MYSELF!

So I've spent the last 18 months of my life trying to learn how to slow down and prioritize self care instead of putting my inner health on the back burner.

Self care is about taking care of our own physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.

We live in a world that glorifies physical health, so we're constantly trying to hit our goal weight, feel lean and toned, gain strength or flexibility, eat better, wake up earlier, and live our lives on endorphin fueled turbo speed.

It's easy to tell when we're neglecting our physical health. We feel sluggish, lazy, and blah.

But health and self care isn’t just about having a low BMI, cutting out sugar, or being a workout ninja. It encompasses so much more than that! And even healthy living can turn into an unhealthy obsession.

I love working with women who don’t just want to lose weight, but want to make sustainable lifestyle changes so they can feel good on the inside, look good on the outside, AND be healthy and happy.

One thing I've learned is that there are multiple aspects to ourselves that we have to nurture if we want to feel vibrant, healthy, and happy on a day to day basis, especially to prepare for the times when crazy shit hits the fan and chaos comes to play. And if we do want to lose weight, the pounds will fall off once we STOP obsessing about the number on the scale and regimenting our diet and START doing more stuff that makes us feel good.

I call this "radical self care" because let's face it, it's pretty radical to decide to put ourselves first. We're conditioned to feel selfish and guilty… or make up so many excuses to self sabotage ourselves.

Self care starts with empowering ourselves to TAKE OWNERSHIP of our own health and happiness.

We can't just play victim or live on autopilot, responding to the demands and stress of our day to day lives.

I recently started playing with oracle cards by The Little Sage. They're a fun way to set intentions for your yourself. One of the cards I drew this month was called 4 Bodies, and I loved the description.

Basically, we have four different "bodies" that we need to nurture and take care of.

1. Our PHYSICAL body

This encompasses our nutrition, diet choices, exercise, and rest. It also includes our physical environment. Look around at the people, places, and possessions in your world. Is your environment cluttered and draining, or does it inspire and invigorate you? 

PHYSICAL SELF CARE PRACTICES

  • Regular exercise that fits your level of energy. Instead of following a strict and rigid workout program, why don't you practice tuning into your body every morning and asking it what it needs?
  • Eat nourishing foods. Don't stress about your diet… focus on filling up on the good stuff instead of trying to eliminate the "bad" stuff. Your body is a living science experiment: only YOU can figure out what foods feel best to you. Take guilt out of the equation.
  • Prioritize 7-8 hours of sleep, no matter what.
  • Declutter your work space and home!

2. Our MENTAL body

Having a clear and restful mind, focusing on filling our heads with positive self talk and believing in ourselves.

MENTAL SELF CARE PRACTICES

  • Start paying attention to the voice inside your head. What does it tell you? If it's negative, start intentionally thinking positive thoughts on a regular basis. Positive thoughts are strong and will wipe out that negative chatter!
  • Write positive affirmations on sticky notes and put them on your bathroom mirror or computer. "I am strong" "I deserve to love myself" "I'm becoming the women I'm meant to be"
  • Are you setting yourself up for success in life? Make sure your goals align with your priorities, and that you can achieve (and celebrate) mini wins every single day. This will build your confidence!

3. Our EMOTIONAL body

Releasing old heavy emotions, and allowing ourselves to process ALL emotions as they arise without judgement. Feel the feels and then let them go!

EMOTIONAL SELF CARE PRACTICES

  • Give yourself down time and space to process your feelings every single day, even if they're uncomfortable. Emotions are like clouds -- if we let them pass, they'll drift right through us. If we try to avoid them or numb them with food, alcohol, or destructive patterns, we'll never give ourselves an opportunity to release.
  • Spend time with people you love. Make plans to get together with your girlfriends and hang out with no set agenda.
  • Do a morning "brain dump." Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and write stream of consciousness into a journal to siphon off the mental chatter and dig deeper into what's really going on.

4. Our SPIRITUAL body

Our energy, soul, higher self. Connection to spirituality or faith.

SPIRITUAL SELF CARE PRACTICES

  • Journal to your intuition
  • Meditate ... or just give yourself some downtime to chill.
  • Go to church
  • Explore something "woo" that sounds fun and sparks your curiosity, like yoga, astrology, or crystals.
  • Get acupuncture or an energy healing session!

Take a second to close your eyes and tune into your 4 “bodies.”

What are they telling you?

Which one/s need some extra TLC?

What can you do to start healing and taking care of yourself?

Don't worry about the bigger picture. Just focus on what you can do today, and trust the process!

xo Anna


Do you want some support and accountability to detox your mind, body, and spirit this month?

Join our FREE 5-day Spring Reset Challenge!

Each day I'll share a different topic and a small action item that will prompt you to clear the winter blah's out of your physical and emotional system.

We're going to re-connect with how we want to FEEL, clear the crap out of our eating habits and minds, and bring in some wonderful fresh creative energy for the new season.

WHAT TO EXPECT

  • Daily email and journal prompt
  • Plant-based meal plan
  • Free access to my virtual fitness library and at-home yoga studio
  • A private Facebook group for accountability + daily coaching from Anna