A bright, crisp morning is probably our favourite time of the day. The possibility of the day, stretching out ahead, sparkling with potential. For the longest time we have both been fascinated by how others start their days, what tips and tricks people use to help maximise their productivity and wake up well.
With this in mind, we thought we’d share with you what each of our morning routines look like, perhaps to give you inspiration to spruce up your own AM habits…
L’s laid back morning of mindfulness
- 10am: Rise and shine! I’ve never been much of an early bird, especially if I’m working in the theatre the night before. Normally a show won’t come down until 10.30(ish). By the time I’ve had a drink with colleagues to decompress and travelled home it’s pushing midnight. I like to snuggle down with a crime procedural and get in a full nine or so hours of sleep. My body is pretty good at waking me up naturally, plus my boyfriend is now WFH so the gentle hum of a conference calls acts as my alarm clock. Still in my pjs, I stumble to the Nespresso machine. Coffee is an essential part of this de-la-Haye girl’s morning, except on Sundays when I treat myself to a Tetley.
- 11am: I carefully transfer the mug of magical liquid back to bed. Yes, I do get back into bed. There’s something so luxurious about it, sipping my brew in between the sheets. If you’ve got the time, I recommend you try it. I take this time in the morning to journal. Now wait – before you eye-roll – I think this act of self care is more common than we think. Some call it “morning pages”, others “free writing”, but whatever you call it, the process remains the same: you take some time simply to put pen to paper and clear your mind of all its mental chatter. You can use the pages to document all your worries or give gratitude or, mine and E’s favourite pastime, write a list. Stick some music on and let your mind wander!
- 11.30am: I air the bed, Febreezing and “Hinching” as I go. Then it’s into the bathroom to cleanse my face and brush my teeth. The less I put on my face the better my skin tends to be so warm water, a little moisturiser and some sunscreen in all I need. By this point I’m normally on my second cup of coffee. I grab the matches with my free hand and light a candle in each room. Even in the daytime, I just think they’re magic.
- 12pm: Hair goes up on top of my head and sports bra is wriggled into. If I’ve a show that evening then I take this time, just as morning slides into afternoon, to run. I aim to do a 5k three/four times a week. I normally hate every second of it but once in a blue moon, it’s not too bad and it’s always worth it for that post-run hit of endorphins. If I’m between jobs this is my time for yoga. I aim to do a little work on my mat each day. It is so much more than stretching and slow breathing: for me, yoga is a spiritual activity and it makes me feel so powerful. I notice such a difference on the days I don’t allow myself the time to practise.
- 12.30pm: I jump in the shower and do a quick vocal warm up. The steam is great for my voice which needs a bit of gentle coaxing to get going. Finally, I check my emails, Whatsapp messages and, of course, our blog. Often E will have sent something hilarious to the family group chat that brightens up my day. I catch up on any laptop-based work or teaching admin while I make my breakfast. I can’t bear eating first thing but once I’ve moved my body, my tummy will start to rumble. Brekky is undeniably my top meal of the day. Seriously, if I worked in an office all my meetings would be based around this meal time. Banana pancakes, smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel, sourdough with avocado and eggs and filthy Nutella oats are all on heavy rotation for me.
- 1pm: I double check my to do list, ticking off anything completed from the previous day and catch up with my boyfriend on his lunch break. Then I’m off out and about, masked up, teaching, rehearsals or auditioning. Ready to handle whatever a day in 2020 fancies throwing at me!
Zooming about with E in the early AM
- My morning routine begins very differently to L – if L is an owl, I am a lark – but other parts of our routine are similar. Prior to the arrival of Covid, I travelled all over the UK and often overseas for work. My morning routine then would begin about 6am in whichever hotel I was staying in and had a laser-focus on getting ready to meet my clients and spend full days working with them. Since March, my morning routine has been rather different.
- Any time between 5 – 7am, depending on who I am working with that day, and which part of the planet they are based, I’m woken by my alarm. I am “up and at ’em” as I’ve learned from very stressful experience that the snooze button really doesn’t do me any favours. I head straight to the bathroom to spruce up for the day, avoiding, if at all possible, a morning shower that involves washing my hair. A warm body shower is perfect, but my hair is thick and heavy and I am incapable of blow-dry styling myself so if I wash it in the morning, I drip all over myself for hours and I’m lucky if it’s fully dry by late afternoon. My morning face routine has not changed for 25 years: Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish, followed by Liz Earle skin tonic and, yes, you guessed it, a mixture of Liz Earle Skin Repair and Superskin moisturisers. I used to spend about 30 minutes each morning on my daily make-up but my professional life is now based around Zoom and I have discovered the beautify filter, so a lick of mascara and my lipstick (always) is all I need.
- 7:30am: downstairs to five, unalterable, “must dos”: feed Tyler and let him out for his morning constitutional; take my fistful of vitamins with a glass of Berocca; boil the kettle for a steaming mug of fruit or peppermint tea (I don’t do coffee or “normal” tea, and don’t get me started on the vileness that is green tea); crack open my journal to capture thoughts and notes that have occurred to me overnight and remind myself about what I plotted the previous evening as my actions for the day; and have a quick shufty at the latest comings and goings on my social media. I am verging on the compulsive with my journal; it is part reflective log, part daily agenda but mainly lists. I then hit work, invariably these days via one video conferencing platform or another, and there I am, in my little broadcast studio cum office, powered by Twinings’ peach, orange and boabab tea until lunchtime.
- 12:30pm: my morning ends with food! Like Lily, I don’t eat in the morning but come early afternoon, two slices of The Sussex Kitchen’s delicious wholemeal sourdough are plunged into the toaster and the latest jar of Marmite crunchy peanut butter is cracked open. It truly is the superior brunch and, in the interests of candour, I share with you that most days, I am too impatient for the toast to pop and snaffle of couple of teaspoons of the Marmite peanut butter straight into ma bouche – yum-yum! These two slices, a piece of fruit (I’m not a complete savage) and another bucket of Twinings set me up for the afternoon’s work.
The weekend routine starts later, of course, and is less structured and more relaxed; Tyler, tea and toast are constants though.