Turn your usual commute time into a full-blown wellness routine

Have you ever read about the morning routines of celebrities and the wellness elite and thought: I wish I had time to do that? Well, now you kind of do…

Now that the coronavirus pandemic has us working from home (and trying to stay sane in the process), doing HIIT training in our living rooms and spending more days at home, it’s time to make the most out of what would be your ‘office commute time’, your ‘getting ready for work’ time and your ‘gym time’.

From drinking hot water with lemon upon rising (there’s A LOT of that), to yoga and breathwork, there’s never been a better time to partake in some early morning indulgent self-care.

Wellness junkie and Naomi Watt’s Onda Beauty co-founder Larissa Thomson’s morning routine is a great example of taking time for yourself – from 6:45am to 10:35am she indulges in breakfast, meditation, taking supplements, a workout, a steam shower (with a smoothie in-hand) followed by her extensive (jealousy-inducing) beauty routine.

It’s long been said that the secrets of successful people lie in the early, dark hours of the morning. What used to be a typically private time of day has turned into a space where we’re trying to improve work-life balance. But it’s not just about forcing yourself to wake up early, instead it’s about how ritualising your AM hours gives you more time to do the things you like – in the comfort of your own home.

Think of Miranda Kerr, who drinks half a litre of organic celery juice, meditates, sets her daily intention and dry body brushes all before washing her face. Or this New York-based Editor, who makes dinner at 7am after an hour of yoga and a matcha latte, all before heading to work. Talk about productivity!

Before you think it’s all chores and woo-woo wellness practices, here’s a list of how we’re monopolising on these extra few hours we’ve been given.

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Take a breath

We’re so accustomed to being shocked awake by our alarms and are more often than not running to a strict timeline or running late, so there’s no time to slowly adjust. Instead, you shoot yourself up and out of bed in a matter or seconds.

Take some advice from Elle Macpherson who wakes up at 5am and focuses on conscious breathing before getting out of bed. “I like to have that time in the morning where I can be quiet and prepare myself for the day,” she tells Gritty Pretty.

“I don’t reach for the phone. I don’t jump out of bed or have an espresso as soon as I wake up. I wake up consciously and set the foundation for my day. I do conscious breathing and then some meditation. I set my intentions for the day, sometimes I do some spiritual reading or writing. Meditation for me is very simple. Just sitting quietly; I sit up, I don’t lay down, and then I breathe, counting my breaths. I get into a calm state, and then I just listen – listen for guidance, quiet my mind. That kind of connection is very important to me.”

Take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to gently wake up – even if you don’t meditate or set intentions, a few extra moments in the comfort of your bed will calm the nervous system for a more focused start to the day.

Practice mindfulness

Much like Macpherson, the list of celebrities and ‘successful’ people who meditate first thing is endless. Oprah does twenty minutes as does Jennifer Aniston, in fact her fitness guru Taryn Toomey, founder of cardio-yoga hybrid The Class encouraged her to try it, and has a pretty impressive ritual herself.

“I meditate, ideally for 20 minutes. I sit on my BioMat, and it’s an antidote for all that buzzing energy I have,” she tells Goop. “A meditation session with everything going on in the morning sounds like I’m dreaming, but as it becomes my routine, and my kids’ routine, it happens. My kids flow with it – they know they can come in if the house is on fire, but overall they respect that time. Kids thrive on structure and routine, so my making this habit creates this great container for them, too. And I believe learning by osmosis is key.”

Make it ‘me time’

Most of these extravagant morning routines focus on self-care, so take note – even if you don’t ‘do’ anything, you’re still putting yourself first. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley isn’t a morning person but wakes up an hour before her son so she can have some time to herself.

“My son wakes up at 8am, so if I wake up at 7am, I have about an hour of ‘me time’. It takes me a long time to wake up and I don’t like to talk to anybody – I’m not a morning person at all! I dream of being that person who can leap out of bed at 5 am with a spring in their step, like my partner. I’ve tried, but I find it exhausting,” she says.

“Once I’m up and have that little bit of time to myself, I usually just potter around, make myself a matcha latte and chug a lot of water. I know it’s healthy and boring, but I try and drink a lot of water before anything else because it flushes everything out. Your body builds up toxins overnight, so I want to flush them all out, and I’m usually parched from the night.”

Stretch it out

We often forget how great a good old-fashioned stretch is. Not only is it easy (and free), but it’s a gentle way to slowly wake up your body, nervous system and blood flow.

Ellie Goulding is a fan, “I do a detoxifying stretch routine most mornings. I usually wake up feeling groggy and this feels like it pumps the blood back round again,” she told her Instagram followers.

As are the Hadid sisters, who both include stretching as part of their AM routines. Bella opts for seven to ten minutes, “I get up around 6:30am and I start the day by stretching a little bit, and then I check my phone to see if I’m late, she says. Gigi stretches most mornings before hitting up a sauna or steam room to get her blood circulating.

Try a few minutes of arm and leg stretching in bed before laying on the floor and getting into your back and stomach with some twists.

Try a bath instead of a shower

We’re all aware of the relaxing properties of a hot bath, but we usually never have time to take one, or they’re reserved for when we’ve had a long, hard day. Perhaps the trick is to have them before a long day?

The first thing Lily Aldridge does when she wakes up is take a hot bath with an arnica soothing muscle soak. Which makes sense if you work out in the morning to speed up recovery.

Eat breakfast, properly

Although supplement-packed smoothies and intermittent fasting seems to be the breakfast du jour for the wellness crew, a good chunk still credit a healthy breakfast to improving their focus and setting themselves up for the day.

Usually sitting down to a well-rounded brekky with the whole family is the stuff of Hollywood movie-scenes, but now that a little extra time is on your hands whipping up avocado on toast with eggs, approved by both Kirsty Godso and Simone de la Rue, two celebrity trainers and fitness bigwigs, should be something you embrace.

Plus, sitting down to eat a meal mindfully and slowly will help improve your digestion, too.

More essential coronavirus reading:

Read up on what the government lockdown means for you, understand why Aussie doctors are up arms, be aware of the ‘hidden symptom’ of COVID-19 carriers, prepare yourself for the long-term mental health effects of the pandemic, get your sweat on at home with these free online workouts before reviving your over-washed hands with this DIY balm, and then console yourself with these unexpected joys.