Welcome to this edition of Morning Ritual Spotlight: This week’s guest is yours truly!
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.
Usually, 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. In today’s post, I’m talking about the evolution of my morning ritual – we’ve come a long way, Charlie Brown…
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 this morning ritual caper…
What’s my AIP story?
For over twenty years, I suffered from an undiagnosed chronic skin condition. I never talked about it because it was hugely embarrassing to me. It transpired that my issue was autoimmune in nature – and my revolting and painful skin condition that I never talked about had a name. Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS).
Not long into my 40s, I decided I needed to take more of a proactive role in my health. I’m living proof that it’s never too late!
When I changed doctors and started investing in my health, I discovered that not only do I have a genetic predisposition to autoimmune issues, but my poor ability to manage stress and my negligent sleep habits were affecting me just as much as my diet. And, as a result of this diet and lifestyle cocktail, my gut was in serious disrepair, too.
After researching and studying autoimmunity and functional approaches to health, I’ve knocked my autoinflammatory skin condition of over two decades into almost complete remission. All by making some better choices.
And, by changing my diet and spending more time in the kitchen, I learned along the way that it wasn’t really about the food; it was about making choices that served me…
How long have I been following AIP and what do my diet and lifestyle look like now?
Happily, the AIP framework is a way of life for me now. I have been following it for over half a decade and it has quite literally changed my life.
I spent 9 months in the initial elimination phase. Like many, I started out thinking that I would use the diet to get myself back on track and then I would be able to go back to living my ’normal’ life. At the time, I had no idea that AIP would become my new normal. Nor did I realise that my dietary choices were only one piece of the puzzle.
Despite my diet being far less restrictive than it was at the beginning, I remain a work in progress. My one absolute non-negotiable is gluten – it’s not worth the pain of an HS flare that follows (and I still miss good sourdough bread). At home, I eat a very AIP-centric diet with a focus on nutrient density. Nuts and seeds feature, as do coffee and good quality chocolate (Yay!) Unlike most HS sufferers, a little high-quality dairy seems to work for me, too.
When I dine out, I’m now at a point where I can relax the reins in terms of nightshades and pulses, too. I remain focused on whole foods and keeping sugar intake low. Too much sugar exacerbates my HS.
A big part of my healing continues to come from actively implementing routines and habits that support my health. I continue to regularly set myself practical goals as a way to experiment with making good diet and lifestyle choices.
How do I wake up in the morning? Do I use an alarm clock? Am I a snoozer?
I wake up naturally and don’t use an alarm clock. I don’t snooze (never have. It makes me feel hung over).
To be honest, I’ve always been a bit of an early bird. Since starting this AIP caper, making quality and quantity sleep a priority is one of my ‘non-negotiables’.
Do I have a morning ritual?
Do I have a morning ritual? – You bet I do! It’s one of the most important routines in my health toolbox and I credit my morning ritual with helping me ‘get my head in the right place’ as I greet each day.
I love it!
Is my morning ritual something that I have been actively or consciously working on, or has it naturally evolved over time?
A bit of both.
My morning walk with Bella (my mini poodle) has been an important part of how I start my day for over ten years. What has changed is how I conduct myself on my walk (I no longer take my phone. I actively work on being present and noticing my surroundings. I aim to face the rising sun – both because of the health benefits and it just plain makes me feel good).
As I developed my morning routine (and it continues to be a work in progress!), I have added to my walk in ways that serve me. By this, I mean that I have added actions that help me in my health caper – mentally or physically.
I start my day with my speedy 3-minute morning ritual. It’s something I developed for people who told me they were too busy for a morning ritual and I do this in bed before I get up. Following a quick bathroom stop, Bella and I hit the mean streets of Sydney for about half an hour. During my walk, I set my intention for the day.
Food for Bella, coffee for me and we’re ready to start the work day!
We know how important sleep is for our health. What time do I go to bed? – and, to sleep? How religious am I about my bedtime?
I am SUPER religious about my bedtime. I’m also a complete nana and am almost always in bed by 9.30pm (which also possibly explains why I don’t need an alarm clock to wake up with the birds). My sleep is very precious to me.
There’s always a book on the go, but generally, I’m asleep within 10-minutes of going to bed.
Do I have an evening routine to help me get ready for quality sleep?
An informal one. I don’t have any issues getting to sleep as a rule, but I do try to stay off my devices in the evening.
We live in an apartment. Before bedtime, Bella and I head outside for her evening bedtime routine before I get ready for bed. At the risk of over-sharing, I’m a bit of a sexy beast in the bedroom. As a grinder from way back, I have a custom night guard. I wear an eye mask to shut out all light and use a white noise machine to combat the sounds of living on a fairly busy road. I also unapologetically keep the bedroom cool because I know I sleep better that way.
How soon after waking up do I have breakfast, and what do I typically have?
I grew up in a house where we always had a cooked breakfast. To this day, when I visit my parents in Auckland, my Dad serves me a cooked breakfast.
In my early AIP days, I would religiously make myself a breakfast hash, and that remains a firm favourite because it’s easy, it tastes great and it’s nutrient dense. More recently, I’ve been experimenting a little with intermittent fasting. For me, it works to push out my first meal of the day. So, I’m playing around with when I eat after waking. It’s a moving target at present!
Let’s talk about stress management? – Is movement or mindfulness a part of my daily morning ritual?
Given my daily morning constitutional with Bella, and the conscious effort to be very present during the course of our walk – I would say both. Of course, the breath work and gratitude falls under that ‘mindfulness’ banner, too.
Do I use any apps or products to enhance my morning ritual, track my sleep, movement or mindfulness?
When it comes to my food and mood journal – I’m a bit old school. I tend to go back to a moleskin notebook, or sometimes an Excel spreadsheet.
I have a ritual of setting myself monthly short-term health goals. This keeps me on my toes and fully engaged in this health caper – and, it means I don’t get so easily sidetracked! (I have a short downloadable eCourse on the exact process I use, too: https://joannafrankham.com/practical-goal-setting/)
How soon do I check my social media and email in the morning?
Honestly? This is not my best thing. But – I am definitely more disciplined in the weekend than during the week.
Many of my clients live in the northern hemisphere. That means, stuff happens while I am asleep. I usually do a quick check of my coaching groups first thing; just to ensure no disasters have struck overnight before I get underway. I actually find I am calmer for doing this.
How does my partner fit into your morning routine?
During the week, David is usually up and out the door by the time Bella and I are ready for our morning walk. In the weekend things are a little different and we tag-team a little more, especially with walking Bella.
Do I follow this morning ritual every day of the week, or do weekends look different?
Weekends are different. Actually, Fridays are a little different, too.
On Fridays, as part of my morning ritual, I share a live Facebook video check-in at sunrise from the beach. It’s my weekly greeting of the dawn with fellow AIPers from around the world. Here’s the most recent live check-in. I still do everything else – there’s just a little bit extra!
On Saturdays, it’s farmers market day. So, my ritual is to head off for my weekly shop and catch up with local farmers and growers. I’ve =been doing this for over a decade and it’s one of my favourite activities.
Sundays, all bets are off. Sometimes, we head out to breakfast. Sometimes we head to the park with Bella. And sometimes, it’s a live video session with my AIP Mentorship group.
What happens if life throws me a curveball and my morning ritual is compromised? How does this affect me?
To be honest, this happens rarely. My mornings are like a well-oiled machine!
Any advice to people just starting out in creating their own morning ritual?
Small. Incremental. Steps. I suggest starting with the speedy 3-minute ritual.
Change is always easier when you approach it by stealth. And, this definitely applies to a morning ritual – especially given how busy we all are of a morning.
The beauty of developing a personal morning ritual is that it gives you a real opportunity to move from being a spectator to an active participant in the direction your day takes. It’s all about intention.