My Morning Self-Care Routine

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“A great attitude becomes a great day which becomes a great month which becomes a great year which becomes a great LIFE.”

 – Mandy Hale

I used to struggle with intense anxiety. It would have been insanely helpful if I had learned about self-care back then but everything happens in due time. I am beyond grateful the events of my life led me to learning about practices that can better myself in all aspects of my life.  

Over the past year, I have learned about mediation and gratitude journaling (which I have talked about in previous blog posts). I used to be a complete and utter skeptic of these practices but after a series of events led me to say “F*ck it, I’ll try anything”, I started incorporating both into my morning routine. Holy cow - you guys! These practices proved to be incredibly powerful and have changed my life. That's because they change the way I go about my life on a daily basis. I find I am not ATTACHED to fear, anxiety, or doubt when I am doing these practices. Those things still creep their ugly heads into my mind at times, but I can now recognize them and simply let them pass through.  Knowing how powerful these tools are, I started opening myself up to learning about new practices that could benefit me even more. That is where my friend Danika Brysha comes in! 

Danika was in my sorority in college and since our time at CU, she has become a plus-size model, started a Whole30 Meal-Delivery company called Model Meals, and is currently on THE BRUNCH SERIES TOUR, teaching women how to create their dream lives through her self-care checklist (to name a few things she is up to). She has an incredible story that led her to becoming an entrepreneur which you can read about HERE (scroll down to “Danika’s Story).

Through the process of starting Model Meals, Danika learned about self-care and created a “Self-Care Checklist”. This became her go-to morning routine. She talked about her checklist and morning-routine on social media and people were dying to learn more and how to do it themselves. After tons of interest, she and her partner, Billy, decided to move out of their apartment, sell their belongings, and take THE BRUNCH SERIES on tour. They bought a trailer and mapped out a 8-month route hitting cities all around the U.S. Billy is chef, so at THE BRUNCH SERIES events, he cooks the women an incredible meal while Danika holds a day long workshop about creating your self-care checklist and morning-routine.


Brunch Series Tour

 (The Brunch Series Tour Dates & Stops)

I was fortunate enough to attend THE BRUNCH SERIES when I was back in Omaha last month and learned soooo many amazing things! Over the past few years, I have learned a ton from Danika just by following her on social media (@danikabrysha) but getting to learn about some of these practices in person and put them into action was very powerful. 

 Nicole & Danika Brunch Series(Danika & I at the Brunch Series I attended in Omaha! With our Bali bags, of course :))

So, what is a self-care checklist? 

In Danika’s words:

“The self-care checklist is a tool I created for daily accountability towards your best possible life. It is an action plan that allows you to take daily baby steps to build a big picture. It starts and ends your day with positive thinking, manifestations, clarity and self-love.”

What kind of things will be on a self-care checklist?

  • Gratitude

  • Meditation

  • Positive affirmations

  • Healthy movement

  • Writing a biography of yourself in the future

Setting up your self-care checklist

Danika recommends a free app called Evernote that is really easy to use. You can download it on your phone and computer. You open a new note and title it “Self-Care Template”. Write in the elements that you want on your checklist and always leave it blank. Each morning you will copy and paste that into a new note that you will use for the day.

This is what my current morning checklist looks like:

Checklist Blank

So essentially, this is what my morning entails:

  • I wake up and turn off my alarm

Sleep Cycle(I use an app called Sleep Cycle. It analyzes your sleep and will wake you in your lightest sleep phase using calming alarm music). 

(Pro tip: DO NOT look at anything else on your phone until you have completed your self-care routine. No Instagram, no emails, no text messages. I promise this will make a huge impact. Do your self-care checklist before anything else and you will approach your day with a completely different attitude and perspective.)

  • Make the bed

  • Go pee, brush my teeth, and wash my face

  • Drink a glass of water with lemon

  • Next, I sit down to do my meditation. I usually do 10-15 minutes but if it’s a busy morning, I will do a quick 3 minute mediation

headspace(I use the app Headspace) 
  • Make my bullet proof coffee. I’ve gotten some questions about this so here is my recipe:

    • 1 packet of Lion’s Mane Mushroom Coffee from Four Sigmatic (it is amazing for focus and another perk is that it doesn’t give you the high/jitters that regular coffee does)

    • 1 tsp. of Ghee (clarified butter)

    • 1 tsp. of MCT oil

    • Coconut milk (however much you like)

    • Then I use a frother to blend it until it is like a creamy latte

If you’re wondering about the benefits of bulletproof coffee, there are many – but in a nutshell:

“Bulletproof Coffee, which is basically just a cup of black coffee with grass-fed butter and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil mixed in, was designed by Dave Asprey, owner of Bulletproof Executive, to "supercharge your brain function and create effortless fat loss with no cravings."

  • Then I open my computer and log into EVERNOTE to fill out my checklist (I drink my delicious coffee as I do my morning checklist).

Self Care Checklist
  • On the checklist, I will first check off all the things I completed that morning thus far

  • Then I write 3 things I am grateful for:

    • I often write current things I am currently grateful for (being my own boss, my family, my friends, being able to travel, the bed I sleep in, the coffee I am drinking, etc.)

    • BUT, I also use this as a manifestation tool. So, if I have a big meeting that day I may write “I am so grateful that the meeting w Suzy went so well and X result came out of it." Or if you are manifesting something specific in your life (like a relationship) you may write “I am so grateful that I found the love of my life and we have such a healthy and happy relationship.” Manifesting these things and writing it down as if you already have it, will change your relationship to that thing and you will subconsciously make choices throughout your day to lead you to that result.

  • I then write 3 things that would make the day great:

    • Examples of this may be work related like “write a new blog post” or often they are “go to yoga”, “read 20 minutes”, “take a long walk”, “get to bed before 10pm,” etc. Setting the intention of the 3 things you want to get done is more likely to make them happen.

  • Next, I write 3 positive affirmations:

    • These are affirmations that you tell yourself to build yourself up. Examples may be, “I am healthy, happy and strong”; “I am powerful”; “I am exactly where I need to be right now”; “I am an incredible (mother/wife/business owner).”

  • The last thing I do is write a biography of myself in the future

    • This is as if someone interviewed you 5 years from now and wrote a biography about you. Here is what an example might look like…

    • “Nicole Humphreys is…. An entrepreneur and philanthropist. She is the Founder of the successful brand, August Effects. She has homes in Bali and CA where she spends most of her time with her husband, Connor and their children. The family loves to travel and is frequently exploring new places around the world. Nicole is strong, successful, and happy.”

So, that’s the basis of my checklist!

Here is what my checklist looks like completed:

Checklist Completed


Monthly Challenges

You may be wondering why it says “Monthly Challenge” at the top. Lastly, let me tell you a bit about that:

  • Each month, Danika recommends you add 1-3 new monthly challenges to your morning routine.

  • If you enjoy the monthly challenge, the next month you will add that to your permanent routine. If you don’t – try something new!

  • My monthly challenge in September was doing a “future biography”. I have found it really powerful so am going to keep that as part of my routine. In October, my new monthly challenge is to do yoga at least 3 times a week.

Home Yoga

(Day one of my October Monthly Challenge. I am using the SWEAT app to do at home yoga flows in the morning.)

A Few Last Thoughts

My entire morning routine takes me about 20-30 minutes in the morning (including the 10-15 minutes of mediation).

Some other housekeeping that Danika recommendations in regards to the checklist are:

  • Make it your own! If you don't like the idea of doing the checklist on your computer, you can use a journal to hand write it each morning. Or, you could even draft your checklist for the month in Evernote and go to FedEx and have them print 30 copies and bind it! 

  • Take at least one day off from the checklist per week

  • Only add 1-3 new monthly challenges each month

  • You should be able to complete the list in 10 minutes or less. That doesn’t mean you can’t spend more time on it but sometimes you won’t have the time so you should be able to do a micro version if need be.

  • For the sake of forming habits, the monthly challenge should be the one thing you do every day.

  • You are not good or bad if you do your full checklist or don’t do it at all. Your checklist has zero power to determine your self-worth of enough-ness.

I challenge you to try this for a week (or even a month) and see if you notice a difference. I have taught a few friends about this recently and after 3 days of doing their morning routine, they have been blown away. They notice a difference in their overall mood, outlook on life and productivity levels.

Life can be crazy and overwhelming. It is so important that we take some time to check in with ourselves and give ourselves self love and care. If you’re thinking “I’m too busy for this” – sorry, but that’s bullshit. The busiest & most successful people in the world make time for this. Oprah, Tony Robbins, Tim Ferris, you name it.

Wake up 15 minutes earlier and make this a habit. What you would probably need 3 hours to get done during your day will likely take you half that time because you are so focused.  A beautiful life is made up of a bunch of beautiful days – so take back your days and start them with self-care.

Reading about this is a blog can be helpful, but nothing is like learning about it person. Danika’s Brunch Series Tour has a few more stops so if you can get a ticket, I would highly recommend attending! Click HERE for tickets. You won’t be disappointed!

Happy self-caring! Please write me with questions and feedback if you start doing this!

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