My Morning Routine

My Morning Routine
Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto

Physiotherapist, co-founder Ode

June 2, 2021

My Morning Routine
Photo : Margarita Loza

We are routine beings. Historically, we have lived with the rhythms of the Earth through cycles of the sun, moon & seasons. To me, an intentional routine is a way of grounding, a way of harmonizing myself within my environment to show up with love, care and resiliency in the world. I view routine as fluid, evolving through time, seasons, state of mind, and my menstrual cycle. Routine is a way of nurturing myself and connecting to my intuition by reflecting on what I need from my routine on a given day.

Routine begets freedom. Once established, it is truly liberating & empowering. 

I practice a morning routine because my lifestyle allows for it and have found that it serves as an incredible grounding force. The morning is a special time of day for me. The sun is rising, nature is waking up, the air is fresh. Our nervous systems respond to the quality of mornings, which offer an energy of renewal. 

To begin, I free myself from digital distraction by shutting off my phone. Neuroscientists describe how multitasking with media causes parts of our brains to burn oxygenated glucose, essential nutrients for cognitive & physical functions. Anchoring in a ~digital free~ routine helps clarify what is essential and can free up mental space, allowing for more creativity, productivity and presence throughout the day.

I do 5 min of cardiac coherence breathwork with the Respire phone application, a scientifically and medically proven method to naturally harmonize our nervous systems. It consists of 5 minutes of inhaling for 5 seconds and exhaling for 5 seconds through the nose, ideally in a sitting position. According to Ayurveda, our breath mirrors our body & mind. Deep breathing has many health benefits such as increasing oxygen levels (which are low first thing in the morning), lowering blood pressure, lowering cortisol (stress hormone) levels, improving digestion & immune function, stimulating the lymphatic system, etc. Isn’t it fascinating that something as simple as our breath can have such harmonizing effects on our health?!

I mist my plants as a way to connect with nature … connect with my senses. What a special moment to spot a new sprout, reminding me of the power of flourishing, both in nature and as a woman. Caring for my plants is about nurturing something other than myself. Plants have also been proven to improve mood and reduce stress levels as well. 

I write a 10-point morning gratitude list. To me, gratitude is a practice that enriches my connection with my community. As pointed out by Brené Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection, gratitude & joy are interconnected. Gratitude begets joy. It is so powerful! Neuroscience studies have shown that it changes the chemistry of our brains … for the better. As part of my weekly writing, I incorporate an End of week check-in created by Amber Rae,  reflecting on “I feel … I need … I forgive … I celebrate … I release … I trust …”

I do a 10 minute movement session, grounding myself through a state of flow. I find comfort in self-regulating my mind & body through movement. You can flow through this therapeutic movement session led by our co-founder, Lisa-Marie. Let us know how it feels! I try taking my movement session into sunlight. Interestingly, exposure to bright morning light is an effective way to help protect against premenstrual syndrome (PMS), insomnia and seasonal affective disorder. 

I practice being over doing with my cup of tea. Immersed in the present moment just with myself, savouring and tasting the warmth, feeling my hands mold the cup. Currently (spring time), I sit in my reading chair, open the window and listen to the birds, feel the breeze on my skin … simply taking time to connect to my senses.

I do a 3-part meditation including mindfulness, meditation & manifestation pieces from Emily Fletcher’s Ziva technique. To be completely transparent, I’ve fallen off the meditation bandwagon for the last while … writing this is inspiring me and holding me accountable to begin again.

  • Mindfulness (~2min): coming to my senses by hearing the ambient sounds, feeling the tactile sensations, seeing with my eyes closed, tasting the subtle tastes left in my mouth and smelling what I’m smelling.
  • Meditation (~10min): I love integrating the following self-compassion mantra by Kristin Neff from her book Self-Compassion. This type of loving-kindness meditation has been shown by Harvard researchers to be associated with longer telomeres (biomarker for longevity) in women.

    “May I be safe.
    May I be peaceful.
    May I be kind to myself.
    May I accept myself as I am.”
  • Manifestation (~2min): I begin this piece by asking myselfWhat am I grateful for?”, allowing me to anchor in a receiving state. I visualize how I will feel during or after accomplishing a goal, desire or dream as if it was my current reality (for now, to guide & empower as many women as possible with the launch of our programs in Fall 2021).

I read a book anywhere from 5-30 min. At the moment, I’m reading In the flow by Alissa Viti about synchronizing our life to our unique hormonal symphony. As a lifelong learner, the wisdom offered from books is precious and humbling. As a great woman, Ruth Ginsburg, once said: “Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life. Reading shaped my dreams and more reading helped me make my dreams come true”. Reading may have numerous health benefits as well. Bibliotherapy, a therapeutic approach using books to support mental health, may ease depression, chronic pain and dementia. A study conducted at Yale University School of Public Health showed that those who read books had a 20% reduced risk of death compared to non-book readers. The researchers described “the benefits of reading books include a longer life in which to read them" … that warms my heart.  

I pull a card from my Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards deck. It’s fun and can be a source of self-reflection & self-discovery. I use this as a way to learn about cross-cultural women figures and to connect with women in my life by pulling one for a friend, family or even Ode.

Altogether, this routine can take up to 2 hours. The beauty of fluidity in routine is that it may be adjusted depending on available time and the intention, whether that be grounding, energizing, calming, etc. And sometimes, I’m running out of the house! My routine is in constant evolution. Initially, I was rigid and strove to complete all aspects of my routine, every morning. I learned (& continue learning) to detach myself from the performance aspect and nurture myself where I’m at. Fluidity in routine also follows seasons, such as incorporating some candle lights to winter mornings (with the sun rising later) or doing movement sessions outside in summer. 

What I particularly love to explore is how I can sync my morning routine to my menstrual cycle. If you are not menstruating, you may synchronize to the cycles of nature, such as the moon. During the follicular phase, I may prioritize goddess card pulling and reading to foster the creative and curiosity aspects of this phase. During the ovulatory phase, I may invite friends to join in on part of my routine such as a movement session, tea or try new fun things to tap into the collaborative and playful nature of this phase. During the luteal phase, I may prioritize the weekly check-in to go with the completion and clarity characteristics of this phase. During the menstrual phase, I may shorten my routine to allow more sleep and rest. I often take out the book Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, a magnificent psychological archetype representation of women. I also prioritize connecting to my senses (mindfulness, meditation, misting plants,etc) to listen to my intuition.

As a curious being, I seek new and fun things to add to my morning routine options to help harmonize my life. I’m wanting to explore Luxcey’s nutrient-filled skin products & self facial massage routines, which are ethically and intentionally created by Rose. 

I hope this can inspire you to nurture yourself through the power of routine. We’d love to hear what your routines are!

About the author

My Morning Routine
Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto

Physiotherapist, co-founder Ode

Bianca is an orthopaedic & pelvic health physiotherapist from Montreal with a background in exercise science. Having competed internationally as a gymnast, she developed her passion for movement and community. Bianca’s mission is to support and empower women to discover & cultivate their own healing powers through life transitions.