Morning Routine + Warm Oats

In Breakfast by Amanda0 Comments

Welcome to Central Plus Seven! As my first post for the blog, I think it’s fitting for me to share with you my morning routine. Since my early teens, my mornings have always been a critical time for me to get my shit together, eat a really good breakfast and fully prepare to take on the day (mentally and physically). This is not possible for me if I’m in a rush, so that means getting up early and having a plan.

In 8th grade, so about 13 years old, I would get up extra early to shower and put my hair in hot rollers before school. And if you’ve ever used hot rollers (who even does this anymore?), you know they have to sit on your head. . .for a while. So while those set I would do my makeup, get dressed and gather school stuff, all before sitting down to a warm Toaster Strudel or Eggo waffle and catching a bit of the Today Show with my mom before heading off to school.

This changed only slightly in high school when I ditched the hot rollers for a flat-iron and had to squeeze in a little last minute homework before catching a lift to school extra early so we could get a good parking spot and still have time to gossip with friends before class. (Late birthday here so I couldn’t drive myself to school till Junior year). After my first year of college, I pretty much abandoned this whole ‘morning routine’ concept in exchange for extra sleep! And it really wasn’t until my first job in my hometown that I had to get a morning routine back.

An 8-5 job made skyping with my now husband tricky. With a 7 hour time difference, after work for me was too late for him. Our only option was to schedule some time in the morning before I went to work. So 6:30 a.m. became Skype time, every weekday, almost regularly, for 2 years. But we’d only chat for about 30 minutes, because I still need my ‘chill’ time to eat breakfast, watch the news (ehem, the Today Show), and get to work early. This totally worked for me and for us. It felt good to sit my butt in my chair at the office knowing how much I had already accomplished that morning (I used to go running in the mornings too, which felt great, but didn’t last long. I pretty much just hate running). I could focus on my job, and felt alert and ready to conquer.

Since I began working from home, my morning routine has been out of character for me. I would get up between 5:30 or 7:00 (however I felt that day), go pop my contacts in and go straight to work at my computer. I’d take a lot of small breaks to wash my face, make some breakfast, get coffee; then at about 10:00 or 10:30 I’d stop to go to the gym and run errands. I wouldn’t get home till about noon, have a quick lunch, shower and get back to work by 1:00 or 1:30. I’ve been doing this for 2 years now and I realized recently that this is just not me. I felt groggy during the first hour at my desk, had a hard time focusing, and would easily talk myself out of my workouts so I could have ‘more time’ to work on my projects. It wasn’t working and I always felt like I could be getting more done. It was time to try something new and get my mornings back.

For the past two weeks I’ve adopted a new routine and I’ve already seen very positive changes! I’ve had so much energy in the mornings and have been powering through work projects which feels great. Here’s my new morning flow:

5:30 – Time to get up!

My alarm goes off and I get right out of bed. I used to lay in bed for a few minutes after my alarm checking Instagram and Facebook, but there is no time for that and I’ve found it’s not good for my mental state to be day-dreaming on social media within seconds of starting my day. Instead I spend this time washing my face, getting dressed for the gym, drinking some warm lemon water and maybe checking some work emails if I have time.

6:00 – Gym time!

I ride my bike to the gym if the weather is nice and use it as my warm up. I do BBG (on week 9!) so I’m either getting a circuit in, which only takes about 35 minutes (that’s why BBG is the freaking bomb), or it’s LISS day which takes a bit longer.

7:15 – Me time!

I’m usually home by 7:00 or 7:15 and this is when I make breakfast, usually some form of oats, check my social sites, shower and get ready for the day.

8:10 – Work time!

Self explanatory. I have my coffee at my desk and I’m ready to go! Working from home requires a lot of discipline, especially if you’re working remotely. I take one 15 minutes break at 10:00, usually having a small snack, and then stop around 11:50 – 12:00 for lunch.

This early morning plan requires an early bedtime and a little planning the night before. The fact that it’s summer also helps, because sun rise is before 5:00 a.m. in the summer. We’ll see how well this routine sticks when it’s winter time 😉 But I admit I’m human and some mornings, it’s just not happening. Listen to your body. I say it’s okay to diverge from the ‘plan’ if you need the rest.

warm-oats-2
If it’s a weekday, I’m having oats for breakfast. It’s healthy, filling, delicious and easy to change up day-to-day depending on what’s in the fridge. But I have a basic warm oats recipe I stick with and usually change up the toppings. I’m about to make the switch from warm oats to overnight oats again, because it’s just too damn hot and I’m sweating too damn much after the gym to be standing over the stove making a hot breakfast. The basic recipe is below so you can give it a try!

Too Long; Didn’t Read

Your morning routine can be a critical factor in how your day unfolds. I’ve always been a morning person with a morning routine to set me up an awesome day, but even morning people can fall into a slump (or a two year long, bad habit-creating, lazy morning spree, like me). My suggestion if you’re feeling a little down, like you’ve lost your spunk, your energy or your motivation: try switching up your routine a take a look at how you’re spending your time in the mornings. Small changes can really shift your attitude and mood in a positive direction. Oh, and eat a good breakfast like these oats:

WARM OATS

Serves: 1
Total time: Less than 8 minutes
Easily doubles

The go-to breakfast in my kitchen. These warm oats only take a few minutes to whip up and will warm you from the inside out. You will basically transform unto a super hero after this breakfast, ready to conquer the day.

  • Ingredients

    warm oats 
    ⅓ cup rolled oats
    ⅓ cup soy milk (or milk of choice)
    ⅓ cup water (see note)
    ¼ tsp vanilla extract
    cinnamon

    toppings 
    4 almonds, chopped
    ½ banana, sliced
    1 Tbsp peanut butter (or other nut butter)
    2 strawberries, sliced
    ¼ cup blueberries
    chia seeds
    quinoa pops

  • Make it

    Heat soy milk and water in small sauce pan over medium heat. When warm, add the oats, vanilla, and a few dashes of cinnamon, turn the heat back a bit. Cook on medium-low for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. It’s okay if it’s bubbling, just don’t let it boil over. You can cook longer for a thicker consistency.

    While the oats cook, slice your fruit and prepare your toppings.

    Transfer cooked oats to a bowl. Decorate with fruit, add your toppings. Be creative, make it pretty. Pretty food tastes better.

    ( Note )
    Groceries in Austria can be expensive, especially for cool, trendy health foods like soy or almond milk. I try to make my milk last longer by going half and half. You can totally just do 2/3 cup of your milk of choice if you don’t want to do this.

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