The path to a mindful morning is fraught with challenges. Waking up is the easy part, but what comes next? Roll out of bed and into the office without pausing to think? Or rise before the sun to make time for meditation and a nourishing breakfast? We’ve spoken to our favorite wellness friends to learn how to start our days calmer and more grounded.

Today we speak with vegan food blogger and fitness instructors Ana Alarcón, about her morning routine, and how she makes time for mindfulness.

Splendid Spoon: Are you an early bird or a snooze button addict?

Ana: Early bird! I definitely have lazy mornings, but even if I want to sleep past 9am, I can’t! [The definition of a morning person! — Ed.]

SS: How do you start your morning?

AA: As soon as I get up, I set an intention. This will either be something personal, a quote I love, or simply saying to myself “You’re a badass”, in front of the mirror. I know it sounds silly, but it works! I also drink a huge glass of water to wake myself up and cleanse my body. I have to admit that some days I start by reaching for my phone, and then check my emails and Instagram. I know this is bad, but I do often find inspiration and motivation there!

SS: Do you caffeinate?

AA: I do, but not first thing. I’ll normally grab a coffee around midday. I’m trying to stick to just water or tea in the morning.

SS: What does your typical breakfast look like?

AA: Honestly, I’ve been having oatmeal for two years now! It’s super easy to prepare and carry around with me. Most days I’ll have hot oatmeal, but now summer’s coming, I’ll switch to overnight oats with frozen berries.

SS: Where do you find time for mindfulness in your morning?

AA: I like to sit down and have breakfast with my boyfriend. This is our time to talk about the day ahead, our plans, remember our goals, and set the mood for the day.

SS: How does your mindful practice impact your day?

AA: It makes so much difference! If I have a quiet morning, my day will be calm. If I’m rushed, my day will be crazy. My morning definitely sets the tone for the day.

SS: What’s next in your day?

AA: That depends, but normally I will go and teach a fitness class or stay at home and work on my blog!

SS: What’s your top tip for a mindful morning?

AA: Start slow. Set your alarm a bit earlier so you actually have time to get up, wake up, and plan your day.