How can we transform frantic mornings into peaceful ones? We asked our Spoon Squad for their hacks to find space and calm in the first few hours of the day.
Today we speak with New York-based registered dietitian Eliza Whetzel, about her mindful morning routine.
Splendid Spoon: Are you an early bird or a snooze button addict?
Eliza: 100% an early bird! Most days I’m up at 5:30am.
Splendid Spoon: Do you follow a sleep ritual to set you up for a productive morning?
EW: I’m a sleep-lover. If I don’t get enough hours sleep, you’ll know about it.
An hour before bed, I shut down any screens, brew a cup of chamomile tea, and turn on my Dohm noise machine. I usually try to read for a bit in bed, but I’ve found that in my new bed (yay for king size!), I’m out like a light. If I get up in the night, I don’t check my phone as I don’t want to expose myself to the blue light that will wake me up. Instead, I get a drink of water and then shut my eyes and do some box breathing [The same as four-square breathing: inhale for a count of four, hold the inhale for four, exhale for four, hold the exhale for four. — Ed.]
SS: How do you start your morning?
EW: I get up, brush my teeth, put on the running clothes I laid out the night before [A great tip to ward off the snooze button — Ed.], and head out for a run in Central Park. I just started training for my second New York marathon, so fitting my morning run in is key.
SS: What does your typical breakfast look like?
EW: It’s always a combination of protein and produce. My boss, Stephanie Middleberg, preaches this ideal breakfast combination, and I follow it! My favorite is a smoothie bowl with a scoop of vegan protein powder or collagen peptides. My other go-tos are chia pudding or an egg scramble with avocado, spinach and tomato.
SS: Do you caffeinate?
EW: To caffeinate or not to caffeinate, that is the question. I’m sensitive to caffeine and was worried about my intake. However, I recently had genetic testing done which looked into my caffeine metabolism and other genetic traits related to nutrition. This showed that I’m a “normal” caffeine metabolizer, so I stick to one or two cups per day. [Caffeine metabolism is genetic? Amazing! — Ed.]
SS: Where do you fit mindfulness into your morning?
EW: My runs are my mindful time. I’ve used Headspace’s running program to cultivate a more mindful running practice. This usually involves counting steps and controlling my breath. Running also helps me to start the day from a place of positivity and strength.
SS: How does your mindful morning impact the rest of your day?
EW: My morning sets me up to be a more calm, cool and collected person! Mindfulness is key to success, and finding time for it in your day, especially in the morning, is pivotal for whatever you do! Being mindful helps me give my best to my clients, patients, family, and friends, without overextending.
SS: What’s next in your day?
EW: I either head to Middleberg Nutrition for consultations with private clients, or to Mount Sinai Hospital, where I’m currently helping out with kidney and liver transplant patients.
SS: What’s your top tip for a mindful morning?
EW: If you have to think hard about being mindful, it’s not going to happen. Incorporate mindfulness into activities or habits you already have. Oh, and eat more veggies!