Category: My Life

Morning Routine: My Personal Experience

We’ve talked about how to create a perfect morning routine in our last post. Today, let’s talk about my own personal experience.

Artsy Nanay - Personal Morning Routine

It all started when I decided to live a more soulful life this year, after my near-death experience last January. After I gave birth, I suffered from a weird seizure disorder and was in a coma for 10 days. Miraculously, I woke up (though in great pain), and here I am now. I’ll reserve that story in another post. And, as I have mentioned in my previous post, I have pondered for quite some time on how and where to start my “life-changing plan”. I already know the answer now: at the beginning of each and every new day.

Zen Habits

To help me on my journey, I went back to reading one of my favorite blogs of all-time, Zen Habits by Leo Babauta. Back in 2007, I remember reading one article of his: his morning routine. I was a young student back then, and due to my irregular schedule (school and org events would randomly pop-out of nowhere), starting a morning routine like Leo’s was out of the question.

After a few years, I have been going back to this particular post of his, and every time I have a found a reason why starting a morning routine would be inconvenient. But now, I am finally braving the opportunity of my regular 9-6 work schedule to start a healthier morning routine and probably do other improvements in my life. Our baby wakes up around the same time anyway.

So in his post, Leo listed his morning routine:

  1. Wake up at 4:30am
  2. Drink water.
  3. Set 3 Most Important Things (MITs) to accomplish for the day.
  4. Fix lunches for his family and himself.
  5. Eat breakfast while reading.
  6. Exercise or meditate.
  7. Wake his family at 6:30am

Of course, I still have to tweak this routine to fit into mine because one, I don’t have to fix lunches, and two, our family needs are different. I have a husband who goes to work with me, and we have a baby to feed every morning.

Boho Berry

Somewhere else on the internet I have discovered another blog: Kat’s Boho Berry. She presented Hal Elrod’s “Miracle Morning System”: S-A-V-E-R-S.

S – Silence (Meditation, Prayer, Reflection)

A – Affirmations (Positive Mantras for the Self)

V – Visualisation (Creating “visions” or mental pictures of specific behaviors and outcomes you want to occur in your life)

E – Exercise (Any simple physical activity like walking)

R- Reading (Reading a book that encourages soulful living)

S – Scribe (Journaling)

Pretty interesting, right? Aside from these two blogs that I already mentioned, I also researched around the internet for other helpful articles that would help me come up with a plan that would fit my own personal needs. Hence, I was able to come up with the post that I have previously shared with you.

MY MORNING ROUTINE

And now let me present to you that initial “action plan” that I came up with:

  1. Wake up 4:30
  2. Drink water.
  3. Prepare water for shower, and while I’m doing that, I’ll plan for the day already.
  4. Shower and change to comfy clothes.
  5. Meditate / Exercise (and under meditation: Silence, Affirmation, and Visualisation).
  6. Eat breakfast while reading
  7. Get ready for work at 6:00

There were immediately two problems that come up: the plan was completely self-centered, I wasn’t able to make some time for Baby Agie and Justin; and another thing was that I forgot to account for the time involved in preparing for breakfast.

 

Eventually, after a few days of trial and error, I now have a solid morning routine, more-or-less:

  • 4:30 – Wake – up
  • 4:30 – 5:00 Drink Water, Shower
  • 5:00 – 5:15 Prepare Water for Tea and Meditate
  • 5:15 – 5:45 Journal / Read While Having Tea / Crochet
  • 5:45 – 6:00 – Wake-up Justin and Prep for Work
  • 6:00 – 6:30 Feed Baby Agie
  • 6:30 – Leave for work

CHALLENGES ALONG THE WAY

Coming up with this routine, and maintaining it was not easy. There were days that waking up early was unbearable. I just wanted to hug my pillow, and prolong my relationship with my bed. But I knew that this would just be equivalent to throwing my new habit (along with the other goals and habits that I’m planning to attain) right outside my window.

My first few days of meditation were difficult. My mind was cluttered, noisy, and easily distracted. Not to mention that I had to force my back every time because of my lack of having a good posture – which meant that relaxing was almost close to impossible. Well at least it was helping with keeping me awake!

Also there were days that I showered at night so it became a “valid” alibi for me to wake up later – around 5 to 5:30. Of course, that would break the “routine” and mess up my body clock. I could almost hear my body saying: “Make up your mind girl! If it’s 4:30, let’s stick with that. If it’s 5:30, I don’t care as long as it’s routinary.”

However, on the fifteenth day, things started to get better. I was already set on waking up at 4:30. My meditation was literally magical. I was having new visions every morning. And I was able to buy myself a new water bottle to launch my new water intake habit.

CURRENTLY…

Of course, my mornings are still a long way from my ideal morning. I still need to make a lot of adjustments. We’re currently struggling with breakfast. When I didn’t have a morning routine, we would wake up late, rush to work and not have breakfast at all. But now, since we already go to work earlier, we have time to grab breakfast somewhere near our office. Pancakes and sausages from McDonald’s every day though is definitely NOT my idea of a healthy breakfast. Well, at least we have breakfasts now, right? It’s WAY better than not having breakfasts at all.

IN THE FUTURE…

In line with that, I am currently planning and researching on quick breakfast ideas. I also want to incorporate tea drinking to my routine – since we are ultimate tea fans. And finally, I am also rounding up my “Breakfast Book List”.

How about you? Have you started your own Morning Routine already? How’s yours going? I would love to hear about your experiences as well. Feel free to leave that on your comments below. If it’s also a blog post like this one, then leave the link below and I’ll be glad to read it. I just love finding out about other people’s morning habits!

Signature

 

The Complete Guide To The Perfect Morning Routine

I have made a random decision last month to live healthier. Yes, that’s right. I just woke up and told myself: “Virna, it’s high time for you to start living healthy”. Now, what I wanted was a complete overhaul of my current lifestyle. What’s wrong with my current lifestyle? I’ll tell you more about that later. Naturally, I didn’t know where to start. A lot of articles online pointed me to diets, exercises, among many other things, but I know that I need something different. I need something simple that I can commit to. I know myself, I’m only good at starting things, and sustaining stuff is a big issue for me. I also want something that, though small, can still have a big effect on my life; something that would surely motivate me further into my “healthy living” goal. And so, after a few days of pondering, it dawned on me. The perfect way to start something, is to start from the very beginning. I realized that to live healthier, I must first start it on a healthy and positive note as well. And thus begins my journey in finding the perfect morning routine.

Artsy Nanay Morning Routine 1

A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO LESS HECTIC AND MORE SOULFUL MORNINGS

Now I’m not saying that there’s only one morning routine that anyone can follow, because there’s none. What works for me might not work for you. But reading this post might help you towards the right direction of coming up with the routine that fits you perfectly. Let’s go!

MY CURRENT MORNING ROUTINE

STEP ONE: Find Your Drive

The first thing that you need to do if you want to start a morning routine (or whatever habit it is that you want to start in life) is to find your drive. Know what keeps you moving. Why do you need a morning routine? What’s your goal? Is it to be more productive? Is it to have more soulful mornings like me? Write down the reasons why you want to wake up earlier on a small piece of paper and keep it handy. We’ll need that later on.

Here’s mine: I want to have more soulful mornings.

STEP TWO: Determine Your Specific Needs

After finding out what you want, next you need to determine what you need, and what your current situation permits you. Are you a mother? Or a college student? Do you have a really early class? Take note of the things that you ABSOLUTELY NEED to do in the morning – these are your essentials. List them down, prioritize, then start pruning.

Here’s mine:

  • Feed Baby Agie.
  • Shower
  • Wake-up Justin.
  • Prepare for work.
  • Help Justin prepare our things.
  • Maybe a quick breakfast if we’re still early.
  • WE MUST LEAVE HOME BY 6:30

We are new and fairly young working parents, and our baby spends the night with us. This is the only time that we get to bond with him during the week, (not to mention that he’s usually asleep already whenever we get home), so I want to squeeze a few minutes each morning to extend our maternal bonding. Baby Agie’s now in the stage where he can sleep all night but he gets awfully hungry in the morning. So I want to feed him before I hand him over to my parents. This is an absolute priority I can never remove from my list.

Next is taking a quick shower. I can also shower at night (and before starting my morning routine, most of the time, I did), but I have recently discovered the rejuvenating effect of a cold morning shower. After showering, I wake-up Justin and he’ll be the one doing his morning things, while I prep for work. I take a bit of time prepping so I usually finish around the same time Justin does, during which he’ll take over and prep our things (whenever I do it, we always tend to forget something, either our keys or our IDs, haha). Finally we kiss the baby, and head for work.

I’m thinking of pruning down my list and take all the preparations at night. But that’s probably the only thing that I can change. If you want to start with something even more simple then you can do this: choose three priorities + three things that are in line with your goal.

STEP THREE:  Work Backwards and Strategize

After listing my priorities down, as I have stated above, I next list down the three things I want to add to my mornings in line with my goal which is to be more soulful. These are: a cold shower, meditation, and a few minutes to journal. This will determine the time frame that I need to allocate for my new morning routine. Chrissy over at Organise My House had presented a useful technique to do just that: WORKING BACKWARDS.

So according to her article, you need to determine the exact time that you want to leave the house, then how long each activity takes. From this list, you will easily determine what time you should wake up. I already have mine, I want to leave the house at 6:30 a.m. So now my list looks like this:

  • 4:30 – Wake – up
  • 4:30 – 4:45 Meditation
  • 4:45 – 5:00 – Shower
  • 5:00 – 5:30 Journal / Read
  • 5:30 – Wake-up Justin
  • 5:30 – 6:00 – Prep for work
  • 6:00 – 6:30 – Breakfast
  • 6:30 – Leave for work

STEP FOUR: Start Small

Next step is to be realistic. I mean come on, if you used to wake up at let’s say, 6:30 – can you really wake yourself up two hours earlier? Don’t force yourself to do something drastic. Look at the list that you’ve just made and locate the one that happens 15 minutes before you usually wake-up.

For me, I used to wake-up at 5:30, and on some days at 6:00 a.m.That will only mean that on my list, the item that I’ve listed immediately before my wake-up time would be to journal or read. But my priority is to meditate, so I incorporate that first. I have now decided to wake-up 15 minutes earlier to make time for meditation. Doesn’t seem to hard isn’t it? Then after a week, take the next item on the list, and wake-up another 15 minutes earlier, and so on. I also have what I call “Sleep-through Weekends”. These are the days that I specifically intend to oversleep. This is just a small treat to myself though. I found that looking forward to weekends where I don’t need to wake up that early helped me go through the week much easier. Take note though, that there are researches that claim that sleeping in on weekends is bad for the health, and I know that someday I might have to include weekends in my morning routine too – but for now, I am just being realistic that these weekends make my routine easier to cope up with while it’s still fairly new.

STEP FIVE: Time For The Test Drive

Now the fun part starts! Get a small piece of paper and tape it somewhere you’ll easily see the moment you wake-up. Set your alarm as it is and go for a test drive. Try out your new routine. Don’t worry, the first morning is usually the easiest to wake up to because you’re still burning with motivation.

After that, take some time to analyze how your first morning went. How did it feel? Do you think you need to make some adjustments? If there are some things that you would want to tweak, do so now. Any routine is much more enjoyable when you sustain it for a certain period of time. It’s not advisable to change a “routine” every other day or every week, or else it would not be a routine anymore, right?

STEP SIX: Acknowledge That It’s A Habit You Must Commit To

Once you feel comfy that your new routine’s gonna work, then it’s time to commit! Yes, the next step is to acknowledge that developing a habit is something that you need to commit to. They say that it takes 21 days to develop a habit – but I think it’s for as long as you want to commit to it. Let’s say you finish the 21 days, but in the 41st day something totally unexpected came up which made you skip your habit – the next thing you know, you’re back to your same old self. Believe me, it is THAT easy to fall back so even after the 21 days, you still have to stay focused.

Don’t worry, there are a couple of things that you can do to make it easier.

  1. Turn your room into the right environment. Is watching TV the reason why you sleep late? Then this is probably the best time to kick your TV out of the room. How about surfing the net? You can schedule a couple of notifications to remind you for that. Put the alarm clock somewhere far from your bed that you’ll be forced to get up just to shut it down. Whatever works!
  2. Tell people! Make it public. Post it on your blog. Tell your family or your roommates that you’ll start waking up earlier from now on. In that way, (for me at least), you don’t just feel guilty towards yourself during those lazy unbearable days. Also, they’ll understand when you pass on those late movie nights and they’ll also probably even remind you from time to time.

STEP SEVEN: Equip Yourself With The Right Tools

Morning-Routine-2

If you think there are tools that can help you in your routine then please do so. There are different alarm clock apps, meditation apps, and more that you can download to help you out. You can also print out helpful lists, or other printables (like a habit log) to track how good you’re doing. Don’t spend too much time on this though. Remember, if you want to find the perfect running shoes before you start running, then you’ll never finish that marathon! Other things that you would want to add could be listed as a reward instead (more on this later).

STEP EIGHT: Wake Up Early!

The only thing that’s left to do now is to start! Here are a few tips I’ve compiled from my favorite blogs to help you on your road to becoming a morning person.

Dale of The Daily Positive suggests to give yourself some buffering time the moment you wake up and start the day with something you love.

Leo of Zen Habits suggests to enjoy the break of dawn. Actually, if you read his whole article, you’ll pleasantly notice that he has inspired me a LOT.

Finally, for more soulful mornings, you can read Kara’s take on Hal Elrod’s Miracle Mornings on Boho Berry. It’s a morning routine which can be summarized into S.A.V.E.R.S. or Silence (Meditation), Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribe. I haven’t tried it personally, but notice that a few of the elements on my own routine are identical.

STEP NINE: Find Inspiration

There will be days that your new habit will seem too much to bear. These are also the best days to prove yourself if you really are up to the challenge. Don’t give in. This is the time where Step One will come in handy. Remember the bit of paper where you have written your main objective and why you’re going through all of this in the first place? Did you keep it? Good. Now read it.

If it’s not enough, breathe, then search the internet for inspiration – THERE ARE LOTS! As I have already mentioned above, Boho Berry and Zen Habits are good choices. So is Mind, Body, Green. If these are not enough, Pinterest is a trove of inspiration for anything, including healthy habits.

For even more inspiration, you can follow my Happy Mornings Board on Pinterest. It’s a board I keep for more ideas and inspiration. It’s constantly updated too!


STEP TEN: Building On and Rewarding Yourself

Congratulations! You have developed a morning routine that’s perfect for you. After the first month, it is helpful to do a quick assessment on your achievement. You may adjust on the other things that you want to add or remove to your current routine. Also, don’t forget to reward yourself! There are other lights at the end of the rainbow other than a new healthy habit formed. How about buying that new book you saw the other day? Or, just an idea, like me, you can reward yourself with something that will help this current routine, or other things that you would want to make a habit off. As what I’ve shown on my Habit Log, I’ve rewarded myself a cute mug to “launch” my water intake monitoring. Small things that you will constantly use are good because they will serve as reminders of how you succeeded. Moving on, I’ll also give myself a new book and a new blender because I want to seriously focus on having healthy breakfasts at home, even if it’s just a meal replacement smoothie.

Artsy Nanay Morning Routine 3

Moving On…

How is your journey on your new morning routine going? I would love to hear about it. In any case, stay tuned to my next post where I’ll share with you my own experience. Anyway, as a thank you for reading my post, here are FREE printables: a Morning Routine Chart, and an inspiring quote about mornings by Buddha himself. And before I forget, don’t forget to follow my blog with Bloglovin!

Artsy Nanay Morning Routine Habit Log

Artsy Nanay Morning Quote

Artsy Nanay Free Printable Morning Quote

Downloadables: Morning Routine Habit Log (92 downloads) Free Printable Morning Quote (87 downloads)

Some of the graphics I used on my printables are designed by Freepik.

Signature

Overcoming Insecurity Through Pregnancy

This post was previously posted on my personal Facebook Account.

Overcoming Insecurity - Artsy Nanay

Pregnant women are said to be very prone to insecurity, and I am among them. Yes, even before I got pregnant, there were times that I just can’t look at myself in the mirror. I have a terrible acne problem which has only gotten worse during my pregnancy. People may think that “you’ll just get used to looking at yourself in the mirror”, but you don’t. I struggled pretty hard when I was in high school. I wasn’t tall, nor did I have the body of a bombshell. (I was accelerated for two years, so while my female classmates were already getting their periods by the time we reached high school, I only got mine before my junior year – I was only twelve. By the time we reached senior year, almost everyone had fully-developed bodies, while my boobs were…well, they were still nowhere to be seen! HAHA). It’s a good thing that I can laugh about it now. If there’s one thing that UP helped me deal with, it was my chronic insecurity and depression. My closest friends didn’t even know how close I was to taking my own life, because this is my first time going out about it.

The relationships I’ve been in didn’t help.

I thought, at 16, that if I get someone to like me, it would help me feel pretty. It did at the start, but the feeling died shortly after. I was in a relationship for almost 8 years with someone who constantly cheated on me. Everyone thought we were perfect, but every year, every “other girlfriend” I found out, my insecurity got worse. But I coped. I studied harder, and focused more on other things; trivial things that would help me forget how I feel.

After that relationship, I got myself involved with two more cheaters. This was the time when I suddenly realized that the reason why I might be gravitating toward these losers is because I’m a loser myself, so I changed. I dressed better, ate better, got my hair rebonded, bought dresses and shoes and other stuff that I believed could make me feel prettier. It didn’t matter to me if it made me look pretty, the important thing is that I felt good. And everything was doing pretty well…until I met Justin. Let’s admit, I have an attractive guy for a husband. I know he has his panget moments too but every time I look at him, he’s just perfect. In that precise moment that he started courting me, all of my defenses weakened and my insecurities came back with a vengeance. I just don’t get what this guy sees in me and I was pretty sure he’ll just cheat on me later on…until he proposed, and here we are.

Slowly he helped me get my self-esteem back. I started to feel genuinely good about myself. I started looking at myself in the mirror in a whole new light. This was the reason why I cried when his sister was already putting my make-up on, on the day of our wedding, because it was the first time I actually SAW MYSELF AND FELT as the most beautiful girl alive.

I started fighting back and I won.

So now I present to you the new me. Hair is one of the defining factors of being beautiful here in the Philippines, right? So I shaved everything of. I’m taking control of how my beauty is defined.

Overcoming Insecurity - Artsy Nanay
By the way, my husband wasn’t the only one who helped me in this. The beautiful women I met in life taught me it’s real meaning. First, I was raised by a strong woman who grew up in the small island of Rapu-Rapu Albay, Calinica Oflear, my grandmother. My mother taught me the value of independence and never having to rely on anyone for happiness. My academic idol, Flaudette May Datuin taught me to never give a shit about what others think. My cousin, Lisa Marie Clemente and instructor Roselle Pineda taught me the value of human rights and how to remain strong on your ideals. Atty. Ipat G. Luna taught me that a woman should be like Mother Nature, nurturing, supportive, but also knows how to kick-ass. And finally, one of my bestest friends, Diane Florentz, taught me that you should never let your relationships in life define who you are. I kept all your lessons well. Thank you!

Signature