Three Tips for Finding Time For Self Care When You're Way Too Busy

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Sometimes it can seem like you’re always running behind - like there’s never enough time in the day. You know you need to take care of yourself and find ways to relax and stay sane, but between all the other things on your to-do list, there’s never time. We may even look enviously at others thinking, “they have it so much easier than I do. Look at how much time they have to spare in the day!”

The reality is that we all have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s up to us how we spend that time, for the most part. Lack of time is one of the biggest challenges clients have when it comes to considering making a change toward a healthier lifestyle or finding better balance. There’s no time to cook a meal, work out, read that book, get sleep, etc. Even the busiest of person has time in their day that can be better managed. Below are some tips for finding more time in your day so you can find a healthier balance and less stress!

  1. Find and acknowledge your time black holes! For 5-7 days, preferably during a timeframe that also includes at least one weekend day, write down how you’re spending your time. Break it down into hourly chunks if you can. Do you best to just write it down each thing without judgement. Maybe that 4 hours of Netflix was really helpful to your stress relief. Now is not the time to judge. But, it can be really enlightening to see exactly how your time is spent.

  2. Add some screen time restrictions to your devices. Do you REALLY need to be on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat for hours a day? Must you scroll through the news or stock app 3-4 times per day? It can be really helpful to set time limits for yourself with certain categories that suck away precious time. You can find apps that will help you track this, and can alert you to when you’ve hit your limit for the day. If your “time suck” activities you discovered in tip #1 aren’t related to your phone or computer, well done! You can apply this tip to cutting back on the time you’re spending on other things, like binging episodes on Netflix. 

  3. Schedule in relaxing breaks and “fun” time. Your fun may be different than mine. My idea of a relaxing break may sound boring to you. But the bottom line is, if you’re not making time for whatever works for you - it’s not going to happen! Say you love painting and find it fun and relaxing. Set time up on your calendar to paint! You’ll have the best success if the fun/relaxing activity is waiting for you - ie: the paints are already set up in an area ideal for painting. Or, your gym clothes are set out and ready to go. Or your bath salts are set out on the bathroom counter. That way when it’s time, there aren’t many excuses standing in the way of you and that activity. Even if you just schedule 15 minutes for an activity, it’s a start! Often times 15 minutes turns into a longer time because we find that we’re enjoying ourselves, but if we don’t give ourselves the luxury of doing those activities that we enjoy, they often can slip by the wayside.

Once you’re managing your time better, you can start making time for things that matter more to you AND reduce your stress level. My new e-course, 21 Days to Less Stress, can help you learn to identify your biggest stressors, discover how to turn the volume down on stress through self care and reframing, and become more resilient against future stress. Learn more and enroll at gosimplewellness.com/stress

How to Reverse Your Worst Diet/Stress Habits.

How to Reverse Your Worst Diet/Stress Habits.

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Time for a moment of truth - have you already noticed your jeans getting tighter? Or are you having digestive issues thanks to all the holiday indulgences? Stressed to the max about the holidays? When it comes to reversing your worst diet and stress habits, you need a solid goal, a strong plan, and accountability to keep you on track.

 My 60 Day Jumpstart program is the perfect way to kick your health goals into action. You'll get a 1:1 strategy session with me over the phone, weekly email/SMS check-ins for accountability and course-correction, and a call at the end of the 60 days to keep momentum going strong. 

Join my 60 day Jumpstart program, and you'll kick off January resolutions on the right foot. Prices will be going up in January, so secure intro pricing before 12/31! Learn more and reserve your spot today gosimplewellness.com/jumpstart

How to Create a Bedtime Routine You Can't Wait to Start Tonight!

When people come to me with problems getting quality sleep, I often suggest creating a bedtime routine as the first place to start. The reaction is usually, “what? I’m not a kid!” Hang on, hear me out! You’ve just spent 18+ hours working, playing, eating, solving problems, fiddling on your phone, and actively using your brain. Even if you’re just relaxing and watching Netflix or on your phone close to bedtime, your brain is being stimulated. Plus, if you’re tech-ing it up all the way until you go to bed, you’re exposing yourself to lots of blue light which lessens your body’s ability to produce melatonin - the hormone that helps you get to sleep.

Having a bedtime routine is an essential form of self care. You’re letting your body know it is allowed to slow down and prepare for rest. So what does an adult bedtime routine look like? Here’s the good news, it’s whatever YOU find relaxing. 

A few ground-rules: 

  • Set your phone down and put it in another room for an hour before bedtime. It’s too engaging and tempting. Whatever is on your phone can wait until tomorrow!

  • Plan to start your bedtime routine around the same time each night. This will help train your brain that it’s time to sleep.

  • Experiment! Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to try new things.

Step 1: Set up your sleep space

The best sleep comes in a cool and dark room, with clean linens and not a lot of noise. You can take your sleep game to a new level by diffusing essentials oils or using a room spray. My favorite sleep enhancing oil is lavender, but you can also give roman chamomile or ylang ylang a try. Keep the phone out of the bedroom! Get an old-school alarm clock instead of using your phone to wake you up in the morning.

Step 2: Prepare yourself for sleep

There are lots of things you can do to set yourself up for sleep. I recommend starting this process between 20-45 minutes before you actually want to fall asleep. Lower the lights in your surroundings to create a calm environment. A few ideas for your routine are below. Note that things that qualify as “screen time” aren’t included (late night TV watchers, sorry!)

  • stretch

  • drink a glass or warm tea or milk - just not too much so you have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom!

  • read a book

  • take a warm shower

  • meditate

  • self massage

  • listen to relaxing music

  • listen to an audio book or podcast

  • do a brain dump of all the things you want to do tomorrow

  • write in a journal

  • do a visualization - visualize your ideal day

  • Bedtime hygiene - wash your face/brush your teeth

Step 3: Go to sleep!

When you’re ready to fall asleep, it’s time to turn off the lights and get into bed. If you’re still struggling to fall asleep, I recommend doing a guided body scan meditation. You can find a good walkthrough on YouTube. It’s a great way to relax your muscles at the end of the day. Sweet dreams!

Are the holidays adding too much weight, stress, and temptation? Join my 60 Day Jumpstart Program and lock in the 2018 rate before it goes up in January! 60 days of 1:1 support from a health coach - right when you need it most! 

Using Vision Boards to Make Your Dreams a Reality

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Remember that trip you wanted to take to Europe? Or that craft business you wanted to start? It’s easy for time to pass us by without making any progress to toward our goals unless we focus on them with intention. What we focus on is what grows, so why not keep your goals in plain view? One great way of keeping your goals at the top of your mind is through a vision board. 

How does it work? It’s actually pretty easy. Just grab some poster board and some magazines, and cut out images, words, and quotes that focus on how you want to feel and what you want to achieve. Say you really want to travel more, so grabbing a travel magazine with photos of your desired destination will help it seem like more of a real possibility. It’ll be there, right in front of you every single day. Seeing it repeatedly and knowing that is something you are striving for will help you work toward traveling vs. just wishing you could go.

Vision boards work well because they are so visual. If they focus on how you want to feel, or how you want to spend your time, they will be more likely to become a reality. But, they don’t HAVE to be visual. I created a “Vision Wall” which was essentially several sticky notes with goals for various areas of my life. Things I wanted to do, learn, and be. What I wanted in my daily life. Where I wanted to travel. Goals for my business and myself. I used fun pens to write them out, and put the ones that I wanted to focus on most right next to the doorway in the bedroom. That way, every day it was the first thing I was seeing as I left the bedroom. 

Keep your vision board (or wall!) in an area that you don’t mind leaving it up - but also somewhere you’ll see it every day. It might seem a little strange to have it displayed so publicly, but it is also a great way for your spouse, partner, friends, or family to know what you’re aiming toward, so they can be supportive. In fact, you and your partner can both create your own, and see how they intersect. Maybe you’ll find a fun new mutual goal to strive for together.

Get the most out of your vision board by taking action! What would it take to travel to Europe? When could it happen? Make a list of what needs to happen and when, then start knocking things off the list! You’ll be sipping champagne at the top of the Eiffel Tower before you know it, and all because you lent a bit of focus (and action) toward your goal.

If you're having a hard time reaching your goals, why not join my 60 Day Jumpstart Program? It's packed with the accountability, inspiration, and expert advice you need to get where you want to be!

Have Fun EVERY Day to Lower Stress

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Having fun is the best stress reliever. Having a good time can help lower your blood pressure, and can help you find perspective on a problem you’re facing. But, I hear a lot of people tell me they don’t have time for fun. Ugh, honestly that’s when you need to have fun the most! 

I suggest that people make time for at least 30 minutes of fun per day. Literally, put it on your calendar and treat it with the same importance as a doctor’s appointment. These 30 minutes shouldn’t include any expectations. The only thing it needs to “do” is be fun to you. It doesn’t have to seem fun to anyone else or be Instagram-worthy. You don’t need to accomplish anything -  this is just for your enjoyment only.

Where some people get stuck is deciding what to do for fun! It can be way harder than you think. We are so wrapped up in our day-to-day activities, that separating what we enjoy vs. what we know has to get done can be challenging. If you’re struggling with what to do to fill your 30 minute fun time block, or just want some more ideas, maybe it’s time to take a walk down memory lane! 

Think about it - what did you do for fun at age 9? 

Were you way into riding your bike around town? Did you love sitting out on a bench reading Babysitter’s Club books? Were you playing in the pool? Did you lose time drawing or coloring? Were you always out playing games with your friends? Use these clues from younger you to find out what might be fun. You don’t need to pop wheelies on your bike in your neighborhood, but maybe you could take your bike over to a trail and just ride for fun - not for speed or with a particular destination in mind. If you loved reading, pick up a new fiction book. Non-fiction books tend to be a secret way of “working on ourselves,” which is great - but not for pure enjoyment. Remember, we have no goals with this “fun time.” 

I challenge you to make a list of everything you remember doing for fun as a kid. Then, make another column and list how you could incorporate each of those activities in your life now. Maybe you’ll try coloring and be super bored, and that’s okay. We evolve as we get older, and maybe that’s just not the activity for you any more. Or maybe it needs to be adapted to be more interesting to you these days. Remember, we’re trying to have FUN here - so if something is not as great as you remember, move onto another thing on the list. 

A word of note. Our days have a finite number of hours in them, and there are a lot of things that you need to make time for, including at least 30 minutes of exercise. So, if something you loved doing as a kid qualifies for exercise now - you can feel free to combine those 30 minute time blocks into one! If you can find an activity you really love AND it gets you moving, I’m obviously on board! 

If stress is dragging you down, or you have some eating habits that could use work, why not join my 60 Day Jumpstart Program? It's packed with the accountability, inspiration, and expert advice you need to get back to feeling more like yourself!

When You've Tried Everything Else

If you’re like many of the women I work with who are struggling with high stress, low energy, and big cravings, you’ve probably already tried a few things... "relaxing" and watching Netflix, relying on coffee in the morning, or cutting foods out.

Each time you try something new you get excited and think “this is it... this time it’s going to work!”

But then when each new approach didn’t work, you’d beat yourself up and end up feeling like there was something “wrong” with you.

It is not your fault! The simple truth is that by nature, quick fixes don’t work. Deprivation doesn’t work. 

In your heart of hearts, I’m guessing you know this already.

Here’s what I want you to know. You can conquer cravings, have more energy, and manage your stress. 

This is what I teach my amazing clients...I show them how simple and EASY it is to feel more like yourself - energetic, present, and light. 

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And this is exactly what I’d love to show you.

That’s why I’d like to offer you a FREE Beat Stress Strategy Session. I’ve opened up 5 slots on my calendar for over the next 2 weeks, and I’d love to speak with you during one of them.

Click here to book your free session>>

During this call, I’ll help you determine how best to achieve the results you want, WITHOUT feeling like you’re sabotaging yourself anymore. You’ll get an action plan to help you reach your unique goals.

If you’re tired of feeling like you’ve tried everything and you’re ready for a different (and more effective) approach — then I know I can help and I look forward to connecting with you.

Warmly,

Sara

P.S. Spots for these FREE calls will fill up fast, so if you know you want help with your stress, cravings and energy, I encourage you to grab one of these spots! Click here to schedule now.

The Trick to Staying Sane When You Can't Predict The Future

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Wouldn’t it be great if you had a crystal ball? You would know the pros and cons of every decision before you had to make it, and could have more certainty in that decision. You wouldn’t worry about wasting your time, making the wrong decision, or hurting someone you care about. Why? Because you would be able to see your way around any and all pitfalls and avoid them completely. Right? 

So here’s the deal with change and uncertainty. You just have to embrace it. 

I get excited about trying new things and being spontaneous. But admittedly, there are other uncertainties that I find harder to deal with. The big stuff, like whether to take a new job or where to move tend to make my mind twist and turn every possibility forward and backward again. I have spent endless hours over the years making pros and cons lists, talking about my options with anyone who would listen, and even spending time in my dreams working out the options in my head. You could call it analysis paralysis - the inability to move forward because you’re too busy analyzing every potential outcome! 

Truthfully, the lines on that pros and cons list don’t always capture the full picture. Even if it seems clear on paper which way you should go, something could still be holding you back from making the decision. 

What I began to notice in these moments, was that I didn’t need all the answers. I just needed to know everything was going to be okay. 

That’s not to say talking it out with friends or writing lists isn’t helpful. I think it is definitely part of the process. Sometimes during that analysis you’ll get a different perspective. But eventually, you have to get out of your head and trust your gut. Trust that you will be okay however it turns out, and make the decision with confidence. Sometimes really getting to the heart of the reason why you are feeling wishy washy can quiet your mind and help you find that trust. For me, that clarity happens when I’m taking a dog for a walk. Or driving across town. Or taking a long shower.

Take a breath, and ask yourself why you can’t decide. Then listen to your body. What emotions wash over you in those moments? How do you physically feel? What do you keep coming back to?

We live in a very analytical world and sometimes we forget that our own intuition, or gut feelings, can be a great indication of how to move forward. 

How often do you find yourself trusting your intuition? Is this something you struggle with? I can help you tune into your gut when it comes to tough decisions with a few simple tools. Send me a note and we can talk through it!

How to Have More Time in a "Busy" Obsessed World

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In the last couple of weeks, have you wondered where the time went? Have you felt frustrated with the lack of time to get things done? Have you had to put things off that you really wanted to do? Did you dwell on the lack of time available to you in a day? Do you respond to everything with "I'm too busy!" You may have a love/hate relationship with time! 

Years ago when I was working a high pressure job, I often felt stretched for time. Some days it seemed like I was on a super frustrating roller coaster ride. I would get up and go to work, be busy all day at the office, come home, eat dinner, and then crash on the couch before going to bed. While at the office, I had so much on my plate I often felt like I was in an actual race. I was nearly out of breath from all of the proverbial balls I was trying to keep juggling in the air. This roller coaster ride was on repeat, and I felt so frustrated about never having time for things I wanted to do. Whether it be painting, spending time with my friends, working out, or even cooking a healthy meal. I could actually feel a weight on my shoulders that represented my total lack of time.

So what was the trick to getting off of that roller coaster ride? 

Someone once told me that we all have the same 24 hours in every day. I hated that statement, because suddenly it meant that my lack of time to do anything was actually a situation I had created for myself. I began to realize that my constant feelings about my lack of time weren’t doing me any favors. I wondered if changed my mindset, whether that would translate to feelings of more control over my time. After all, thinking about anything from a glass half empty mindset tends to put you on the defensive. I began to consider the word abundance. If I felt like I had all the time in the world, maybe I actually would find more time! 

So, when I would catch myself thinking negatively about time, I would tell myself, “you have all the time you need right now.” At first, I could feel my body almost revolt against that statement, but after awhile it became an almost calming response. Thinking from a place of abundance became sort of a lifeboat for me. Suddenly I was reframing all of my feelings of scarcity into feelings of abundance. I even bought a necklace with the word “abundance” engraved on it. I wore that necklace for years to serve as a daily reminder that I had everything I needed to be happy and satisfied in the present moment.

Once you have a different relationship with time, you may realize that you want to make some changes. That definitely happened for me. I started to make small changes by prioritizing different things. For example, I stopped caring what others thought if my lawn got a little too long. At one point I even hired someone to take care of the yard work for me, because I realized that hours spent fussing over cutting the grass was not at all a priority for me, and was taking time away from other things that would bring me more joy. Also, I began to notice that the 20 minutes it took for me to wait for my take-out order was all the time I needed to make a healthy dinner at home. It could be done with no extra time investment after all.

My relationship with time did not change overnight. It took a long time, with plenty of slip-ups along the way. But, it is possible to feel better about time. And it could be a key way to get time back on your side so you can do the things that bring you most joy in the world. 

What is your relationship with time? Could you use some help in this area? I can guide you through a step-by-step process to help you experience a similar shift. Set up a free 1:1 sample session to see what coaching can do for you!

Life Hack: Experience More Joy Each Day

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What do you enjoy doing? What makes you smile or laugh? Are those things on your to-do list today? A lot of times the daily grind can edge out the things that bring us joy. There are lots of things to do, the day doesn’t seem long enough, etc. But keep in mind, happiness lowers stress levels, increases your immune system’s function, and lowers your risk of disease. It also makes life more enjoyable than if you’re just slogging along.

Even doing just one thing that brings you joy each day, and taking a moment to notice it, is a powerful antidote to even the most frustrating of days. Try this:

  • Make a Joy List. This is a list of all the things you enjoy. Nothing is too small. Perhaps you love biting into an apple, smelling a flower, or getting into a bed with freshly clean sheets. If it gives you that feeling of joy, add it to your list. Stuck? Consider your senses. What smells, tastes, or textures make you feel especially good? Or, think back to things you enjoyed as a kid. There are often some good clues there!
  • Take a look at how you spend your day. Where could you fit in a little pleasure? Fitting in a break where you can do one of your Joy List items can give you the boost you need on any particular day.
  • Repeat daily. Train yourself to treat yourself to the things you enjoy often.

 

 

6 Ways to Reduce Stress Today

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I have been told A LOT of times earlier in life to reduce my stress level. Family, friends, doctors, teachers, and coworkers have all made the comment in passing. Oddly enough, being told to “just relax” didn’t do the trick. In fact, sometimes it would be more stressful trying to find ways to be less stressed! Can you relate? I’ve compiled my favorite things you can try immediately to lower your stress:

1) Take a huge breath. Belly breathing is one of the best things you can do for your stress level in the moment. It has an immediate effect on your stress levels because you are oxygenating your blood, which causes your brain to release endorphins. For the greatest feel-good effect, fill your lungs all the way up with air over 5-10 counts. Hold it in for a moment, and then slowly release the breath over 5-10 counts. If you do this four or five times in a row, you will likely be able to feel the difference!

2) Take a silly break. What gets you laughing? Hearing your loved one attempt (and fail) at speaking with an accent? Watching a comedy show on Netflix? Playing racquetball with friends? Playing a game with your kids? Immediately add that activity to your calendar. 

3) Take a nap. Sleep works wonders. I went through a particularly stressful time a few years back where I felt as though I could have slept for days. I gave in, and allowed myself to rest. After that, I was able to move forward with a clearer head. While you may not have the luxury of a few days of total R&R, you can likely squeeze in a 20 minute nap!

4) Go outside. The weather may or may not be cooperative, but that doesn’t matter. Get outside for as long as you can manage, and soak up some vitamin D and fresh air. Take a walk, go skating, or even just sit on a park bench in a beautiful setting. 

5) Call up a long lost friend or family member. Is there someone you find yourself missing a lot these days? Give them a call, and keep it light. Now is not the time to share your woes. Instead, focus on reminiscing about fun times. Reconnecting with old friends can be a good way to gain some perspective. 

6) Take a positivity challenge. For 1 hour, don't complain about anything. If you find yourself thinking negatively or complaining outwardly, start the timer over. It can be tough, but forcing your brain to shut out negativity and focus on positivity can sharply change your outlook and lower your stress.

Huge caveat, while these things may make you feel better in the short term they are often not enough for the long haul. There are often bigger shifts needed to address chronic stress in a sustainable way. If you’re ready to make some changes when it comes to stress in your life, reach out. I coach clients 1:1 on this process so that they are better able to manage their stress. The first session is FREE and I have openings starting next week!

-Sara


Do you need 1:1 support around food or stress? Set up a free one-on-one phone session with me and let’s talk about it! 

Take the Self Care Holiday Challenge

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The holidays are in full swing! You might be traveling, going to more social events, and faced with many chances for overindulgence. All of these interruptions can make it easy to lose sight of your goals. Personally, I’m going to be doing a little challenge over the next two weeks to help stay on track, and I hope you’ll join me!

The Self Care Holiday Challenge: Take at least an hour, a few days per week for the rest of the year, to do some act of self care. 

Sounds easy enough, right? Taking a few moments for yourself out of the next couple of weeks can help you stay on track, reduce stress, and set you up for a healthy start to 2018. Some things to consider for those “self care” hours include getting a massage, taking a walk with your favorite people, meditating, reading a book, taking a tea break with family, or getting some sleep. 

I plan to try a few of those self care options, but the one I’m most looking forward to is sleep! I have a hard time sleeping too late into the morning, so my goal will be to start my bedtime ritual earlier in the evening a few days over the next couple of weeks so that I can get a bit more sleep. High quality sleep (7-8 hours for most adults), can make all the difference in your mood, your ability to solve problems, and your ability to make healthy eating choices. 

In my opinion, you never need an excuse to take time for yourself. But, if you need some encouragement, I’m here! What self care activities will you add in over the next two weeks? Send me an email at sara@gosimplewellness.com.

 

 

Using Morning Rituals to Better Harness Your Energy

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I wouldn’t call myself a morning person or a night owl. However, I feel that my best creative and mental work happens in the morning. Long ago, I wanted to find a way to better harness this energy, and developed a morning ritual that would get me from bed to productivity as quickly as possible. Caveat alert! Everyone is different, but I figured I would share what my current morning ritual looks like, and maybe you’ll find something that you can apply to your own morning. 

1) A quick walk. My dog needs one, and it is a good way to get the body moving and get some fresh air first thing in the morning. I often don’t feel quite ready for a more intense workout in the morning, so a walk is perfect. I used to try to do my workouts early in the morning, but it would drain me. Lately, my regular workout happens around lunch time. I have found that exercising at that time of day also helps me stave off the afternoon slump! But everyone’s different!

2) Breakfast. I know some people are not very hungry in the morning, but that is not me! I wake up ready to eat, and if I wait too long to eat my energy drains pretty quickly. My usual breakfast these days is some steel cut oats dressed up with frozen organic blueberries, shaved coconut, pecans, flax and chia seeds, and a heavy dose of cinnamon. I have been lowering my added sugars in the morning for months, and the blueberries give a nice sweetness that isn’t overpowering. And I try to pack in a lot of antioxidants and nutrition in this first meal of the day.

While my oatmeal is cooking, I steep some organic green tea. My favorite brand is Numi Organic Gunpowder Green Tea. I also have a small glass of almond milk, because I am usually feeling a little thirsty when I first wake up. Between the two beverages, I’m feeling well hydrated!

3) Brain Games. While I’m drinking my tea, I devote 10-15 minutes each morning to some sort of brain activity. Lately, I am using Duolingo to brush up on my Spanish skills. Otherwise, I try to do a quick meditation.

4) Game plan. I list the “must do” activities for the day. These are things that absolutely cannot be put off another day, or tasks that need to be worked on to keep a project’s momentum. This list also includes appointments or places I need to go. I try not to put a lot of things on the day’s to-do list. I have another list of weekly tasks that I can pull from if I have time for more projects, and I also pull from this list when creating my daily list so that everything gets done over the course of the week. Of course things come up, so limiting the “must do” list leaves the door open for those last minute activities.

Then, it’s time to get started! Start to finish, this morning routine is usually about 30-45 minutes. It may seem like a lot, but just taking that time to set up my morning makes a huge difference in my day.

What is your morning ritual? Is there something you want to tweak or add in your own routine?