Welcome to Morning Ritual Spotlight: This week’s guest is Erin from realfoodandlove.com…
My personal morning ritual has become a crucial part of my day, and my healing caper. It allows me to create space for myself before the noise and expectations of the outside world arrive, and to set an intention for how I choose to have the day unfold before me. It’s my time, and it’s all for me.
In this series, I’m talking with people who inspire me in this AIP and health space, about their morning rituals. As we learn about how they begin their day, my hope is that you’ll gain some insights and motivation to develop a personal morning ritual for yourself.
If you’d like some help in creating YOUR personal morning ritual, head on over to check out my NEW free video eCourse – How to Create Your Personal Morning Ritual.
Let’s find out more about Erin…
I’d be willing to bet that if you asked any AIP blogger to name the kindest one amongst us, Erin’s name would feature most often. She is an absolute gem.
Erin strives for balance while juggling life as a wife, mother of two wildlings and a squishy one-year-old, all while working part-time from home. It’s taken some time, but she’s put in the work and is now at a point where she has a good understanding of what she needs to do and to eat in order to feel her best. Isn’t that an incredibly freeing statement?
To learn more about the gorgeous Erin, I encourage you to head over to her ‘about me’ page: http://realfoodandlove.com/about/
Welcome, Erin! What’s your AIP story?
I initially changed my diet shortly after I had my first son in the hopes of easing a psoriasis flare I was experiencing. I started with a primal template (paleo + full-fat dairy) and a few months later while continuing to read articles online about autoimmune disease and paleo, I stumbled across the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) and got started immediately. Now I enjoy my tailored variety of foods – somewhere between paleo and AIP.
How long have you been following AIP and what your diet and lifestyle look like now?
I initially followed the elimination stage for a solid 6 months. My flare had settled and I felt great. Unfortunately, I dove head-first into things I missed most: coffee, chocolate, and nuts (ALL the nuts!). That mistake brought on a new set of painful symptoms, so I made a call to a rheumatologist and while waiting two weeks for my appointment I went back to the elimination stage and tracked my improvements. By the time I saw the rheumatologist, my symptoms were gone, but we talked in detail about my experience, I showed him the pictures I had taken, and he ran tests. Through that, I learned I also had psoriatic arthritis and Raynaud’s.
After that, I gave myself a little longer to recover and was more mindful with how I approached reintroductions. Since then, I’ve reintroduced several foods: white rice, coffee, cacao, seeds, ghee, fruit- and berry-based spices. Some are an “occasional” thing and others I can enjoy more of as long as I’m feeling well, and my lifestyle factors are looking good.
How do you wake up in the morning? Do you use an alarm clock? Are you a snoozer?
Yes, I need an alarm clock on school days.
I’ve found if I hit snooze, I get grumpy so I usually just get up! I like the tone I have for my alarm though it’s not an obnoxious or startling bee, but a gradual pleasant tune. This is the one I use here.
Do you have a morning ritual?
Well, we’ve recently moved house so I am still finding my new “normal”. At our old place, I’d open the curtains and stretch, looking outside. I also give thanks for a new day and send good thoughts to those that I love. Then I make the bed, use the bathroom, dry brush, get dressed, and drink a big glass of water before I head to the kitchen.
Is your morning ritual something that you have been actively or consciously working on, or has it naturally evolved over time?
Since I’ve been a mother, I’ve always liked having a quiet moment in the morning. The calm before the chaos! But especially once our daughter started attending school, I recognised the importance of taking a moment for myself before being pulled in every possible direction.
We know how important sleep is for our health. What time do you go to bed? – and, to sleep? How religious are you about your bedtime?
I often joke that I guard my sleep as if my life depends on it. There are times I go to sleep before my older two kids, and their bed routine starts at 7 pm on school nights. But generally, because I need to be on point the next day, I am in bed no later than 8:30 or 9 pm (school nights for us are Sunday-Wednesday). If the little one is still awake, it might be another 30 minutes before I fall asleep though.
There are times when I stay up later, like when watching a movie with my husband or if visiting family, I want to be able to have the option of being flexible! A great movie, fantastic conversation, and belly-aching laughter – those are times I have no regrets the next day (I just may call it early that night).
Do you have an evening routine to help you get ready for quality sleep?
If I’m online after dinner, I wear my blue-light blocking glasses. Other than that, I assume I just get ready for bed like anyone else. I use the bathroom, brush my teeth, and put my phone on airplane mode!
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
I try not to rush breakfast. We’re not a “pour a bowl of cereal and rush” type of family. So, if that means waking early to make breakfast, I’ll do it. Leftover soup or bacon and roasted veggies are a couple of my favorites. The kids would be content to eat bacon and roasted sweet potatoes for days on end though. My husband is on a bacon and egg kick lately, too.
Let’s talk about stress management? – Is movement or mindfulness a part of your daily morning ritual?
A bit of both, I suppose? I don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to a solid or lengthy ritual or routine, but some people might consider what I do as prayer. I also try to incorporate moments of mindfulness throughout my day. Reading, colouring, or doing puzzles with the kids (or on my own!) and I make it a point to dedicate a day or two of unplugged time each week. That has become one of my best tools for stress management.
Do you use any apps or products to enhance your morning ritual, track your sleep, movement or mindfulness?
I don’t track my sleep (I’d be horrified to see what my sleep routine looks like while still nursing our one-year-old), but we have been using a white noise machine since our youngest was born. It provides the best ambient fan sound and we’ve come to love it. As far as apps, I’ve not been super consistent with 10% Happier – it’s become a “break in case of stressed out emergency” tool – but I really enjoy it when I do use it.
How soon do you check your social media and email in the morning?
I try not to until after I’ve gotten the kids to school (what time that depends on the day), just so I’m not mentally distracted. I do sometimes check in if I have a pressing email to check on or follow up about.
How does your partner/family fit into your morning routine?
My husband is typically heading out the door (or has already left) by the time I’m getting up, so it’s quiet. My kids usually are still sleeping. Sometimes our ten-year-old daughter wakes early to see Daddy off, but she often goes back to bed until it’s time for her to start making lunch for school.
Do you follow this morning ritual every day of the week, or do weekends look different?
Weekends are different. I don’t have alarms set at all and usually wake to our six-year-old son climbing in bed to snuggle. Maybe there’s a sense of expectant relaxation because it’s the weekend? I don’t have a routine other than the bit of work I have, but even that is flexible.
What happens if life throws you a curveball and your morning ritual is compromised? How does this affect you?
I find I do/feel my best when I’ve had a good night’s rest (that’s a loaded statement), but especially if my morning starts rushed it seems to only snowball from there. Those days are when I seem to crave normalcy and routine (and quiet).
Do you have any advice to people just starting out in creating their own morning ritual?
Try to implement one change that you are most looking forward to and go from there. You may find you need a few “edits” before you find what works for you.
Many thanks, Erin!