5 Tips to Create a More Productive Morning Routine

A productive morning routine is a key to success. Starting your day off on the right foot can make all the difference when it comes to being productive. While it may seem intimidating at first, there are some simple steps you can take to create a morning routine that works for you. In this blog post, I will share 5 tips to help you create a more productive morning routine.

1) Keep It Simple

I don’t know about you, but if I do too much first thing in the morning, I end up feeling overwhelmed and I hop right back into bed.

My current favorite way to start the day is to remember any dreams I might have had and make a note of anything that stood out. I’m a firm believer that dreams are our unconscious and conscious minds’ way of communicating with each other, so it makes sense for me to start my day like this.
Another habit I’ve incorporated into my morning routine is drinking some water before I get out of bed because I often wake up feeling super dried out.

The key to creating a productive morning routine is to keep it simple. Start small and work your way up from there. This way, by the time you get around to doing more complex tasks, you’ll have already started the day off with a clear head and a sense of purpose. This can mean something as simple as making your bed, or having a cup of coffee and meditating for 10 minutes before diving into the day’s tasks. By starting simply, you give your body time to wake up and your mind time to focus.

2) Focus On How You Feel

Despite what anyone else may say or think, human beings naturally want to feel good emotions and avoid painful ones. If your morning routine makes you feel like a failure, you’re not going to want to follow it.

The first time I tried to write down a morning routine I thought might work for me, I had things on there like exercising, feeding the cats, going for a walk, eating a 600-calorie breakfast, and doing a full face of makeup. It was a lot of work and it made me feel like I wasn’t doing anything right. The second time around, I focused on only two things: drinking a glass of water after I brushed my teeth. After I did those things, I was able to focus on feeding the cats or drawing the perfect winged liner.

When I complete my morning routine, I want to feel motivated, inspired, and confident that I can tackle whatever comes my way during the day. By focusing on how you want to feel as a result of completing your morning routine, you’ll find it much easier to stick with it in the long run.

If you want to feel energized, then think about how you want to start each day. If you want to be productive, then consider what tasks would make that easier for you. By focusing on how you want to feel instead of the actual tasks themselves, it’s much more likely that your morning routine will help bring about those feelings.

3) Start With Meditation

If you’re looking for a simple way to start your day that doesn’t involve leaving the comfort of your bed, meditation is an excellent option. Starting your day with a few minutes of meditation can help you clear your mind and prepare for the day ahead. It can also help you get into a more productive mindset, which will make it easier to tackle the tasks on your list. If you’re looking to add a bit more exercise, try adding some yoga poses into the mix.
You don’t have to do anything complicated; just find an easy pose that takes about 20 seconds to complete, like Child’s Pose or a supine asana like Happy Baby (my personal favorite for staying under the covers).
Something I like to do is extend my meditation throughout parts of my routine. For example, I listen to a gentle lo-fi track when I’m driving to work and I like to hum mantras to myself while I’m getting dressed. I noticed that even if I didn’t get all parts of my routine finished in time, I still felt calm and centered (my number one priority for this routine).
I’ve added this step to my routine for the past month and it has made a huge impact on the rest of my day. I feel calmer, more centered, and more focused than ever before. My anxiety level is way down, and I’m able to accomplish all of my goals each day including working on my business and writing articles like this one.

If you’re interested in learning more about Mindfulness Meditation and how it can help deepen your spiritual practice, check out my article on the topic here.

4) Prepare For Challenges

One of the last things I added to my morning routine was checking my emails and making a to-do list. I used to start my day by checking my emails and making a to-do list. It was a huge mistake because it put me in a reactive mindset right from the beginning of my day, which made me feel like I was constantly chasing problems instead of working on solutions. Now I do this after meditation so that I’m fully present and calm before diving into the chaos of running my business and working a full-time job.
I bought a little daily sticky notepad that has a space for notes and scheduled events as well as my top 5 to-dos for the day. It even has a little space for my gratitude practice and daily mantra. Before I get started with work-related tasks, I take some time to reflect on what needs to get done. If I hadn’t taken the time to slowly start my morning, I might leave something pressing off of my list.
Preparing for challenges does not mean that you should think about all the things that could go wrong in your day; it means that you need to create an opportunity to prioritize tasks that need to happen and leave some room for unexpected things like a last-minute meeting, or, in my case, a parent who needs support with a challenge one of my students is facing.

5) Take Time For Yourself

Your morning routine is a great opportunity to take time for yourself, even if it is only for a few moments. Self-care activities such as listening to music, reading a book, journaling, or meditating are all wonderful ways to start your day on the right foot. Additionally, if you have a partner, children or pets, it’s important to still make time for yourself in the morning.
My mother used to wake up at the crack of dawn and practice her self-care before my father and I woke up. I always thought she was crazy, but now I also find myself waking up before everyone else just to enjoy the peace of my own company. Thankfully, my husband doesn’t have to be up early as well, but my cat and I often sit together and watch the sunrise, or I’ll put on all of my clothes and stand outside with my tea before I do anything else.
Making time for yourself in the morning allows you to clear your mind, get organized, and approach the day feeling calm and refreshed. Taking a few moments to do something that brings you joy can be a powerful way to set the tone for the day.


A productive morning routine can help you stay calmer, less stressed, and more prepared for the rest of your day. In the long run, simplifying your routine, paying attention to how you feel, meditating, preparing for challenges, and making time for yourself can be extremely beneficial. You can intentionally choose how you want to start your day to maintain that positive energy and practice effective self-care.


Implicit Biases and Prejudices: How They Can Keep You from Growing Spiritually

Prejudice and implicit bias are two concepts that we often talk about but don’t always understand. Prejudice is an attitude or opinion that is formed without any knowledge or experience of a subject. Implicit bias, on the other hand, is when we make judgments based on our unconscious assumptions and prejudices. In this blog post, we will explore how these two concepts can limit our spiritual growth and what we can do to overcome them. By recognizing the negative effects that prejudice and implicit bias can have on our lives, we can begin to take the necessary steps to break free from their shackles and become the best version of ourselves.

What is implicit bias?

We’ve all experienced it at some point – a backhanded compliment or an insensitive remark. Whether intentional or not, these comments can have a lasting impact on how we perceive ourselves and our place in the world. This type of behavior is called implicit bias. It is a form of prejudice that arises out of a person’s personal experiences and beliefs without conscious awareness. Implicit bias is pervasive in society and affects how we interact with each other and the decisions we make. It is based on stereotypes and assumptions about people’s backgrounds and can lead to discriminatory behavior. For example, when looking for a life coach, many people tend to assume that someone with a bigger following is more qualified to offer a service. This may or may not be true–what IS true in this situation is that this person has an excellent marketing team.

Implicit biases are often difficult to identify because they operate outside of conscious awareness. They can influence our thoughts, feelings, and behavior without us even realizing it. Even though we may think of ourselves as being open-minded and unbiased, implicit biases can still creep in and have an effect on our day-to-day interactions with others.
The key to reducing the impact of implicit bias is to become more aware of our own biases. Taking the time to reflect on our prejudices and the ways they might be influencing our decisions can help us become better allies and better people overall. By recognizing our implicit biases and actively working to challenge them, we can create a more just and equitable world for everyone.

Examples of how implicit bias can play out

One of the toughest jobs I’ve ever had was working at a residential facility for adolescents at the start of my social work career. I had worked the night shift for the first time in my life and was leaving when my boss met me at the door and said something that confused me at first. “I thought you’d work harder since your people always try harder”, she said.
She was referring to the fact that I am an immigrant.
Honestly, I was too shocked and sleep-deprived to understand what she was saying right then and there, but I vaguely recall telling her that my parents both worked all the time and decided that I didn’t want that kind of a work-life balance.

Everybody is sitting around saying, ‘Well, jeez, we need somebody to solve this problem of bias.’ That somebody is us. We all have to try to figure out a better way to get along.

Wilma Mankiller

My interaction with my boss was an example of a privilege assumption or the implicit bias that I must work harder because I am not American. According to her experience, immigrants tend to be humble and hardworking. I did not present this way and she felt it did not meet her expectation.
Implicit biases also come up in the form of unexpressed expectations you have of a person or group of people- in other words, your expectation of them is different from the expectation they might have of themselves and, consequently, may result in people underperforming and living without being fulfilled.
Another type of implicit bias I experienced is at training to become a CPR instructor. One of my coworkers and I had been chosen to be the trainers at our facility (same job as above) and so we drove to Nashville together to get our certifications. At the beginning of the class, when the instructor was calling roll, he left my name to the very end and, looking at me and then back at the paper, proceeded to egregiously mispronounce it. My first name is not ethnic by any means–as a matter of fact, it is a European first name.
The prejudice here was that this dark-skinned woman with a long name must pronounce it differently than it looks–a generalization.
I didn’t respond, but he kept mispronouncing my name and looking at me it until my coworker burst out laughing and corrected him. When he said my name correctly, I responded “I’m here.”
Was it petty? Maybe. Am I sorry? No.
The third example of how implicit biases can play out is from my personal life. For a long time, I did not want to befriend anyone who wasn’t part of my identified community (west Indian, millennial, and female-identified). It was a time in my life when I felt lonely and wanted the familiarity of people like me to help me feel safe. While it did help me feel safe, it also cut me off from relationships with people who may also help me feel safe and loved even though they were not similar to me in obvious ways.

The impact of implicit bias on your spiritual growth

Implicit bias is a survival mechanism that humans use to put the world into neat little boxes–everything has a designation and everyone behaves typically. This creates a false sense of safety because the world is not neat. The world is messy and complicated. The more we try to make it neat and simple, the greater the chance that our biases will lead us astray. Things and people spill over into one another, and many things have not immediately apparent layers. The world is much more complex than we want to believe. As a result, implicit bias is a problem because it leads to other phenomena like spiritual bypassing.

Spiritual growth is a way for you to thrive in an uncertain world and seeks to replace a fear-based fixed mind with an expansive and accepting growth mindset. This is not an easy task, but it is worth the effort because a growth mindset will help you to flourish.

The more you practice mindfulness and gratitude, the more your mind will relax into these states of being. This can help you develop a calmer approach to life and reduce the effects of implicit bias on yourself and others.

Steps you can take to overcome implicit bias

Overcoming implicit bias and prejudice is not an overnight job. It’s a difficult practice to master, but one that we can all benefit from. The number one remedy for the biases we unconsciously hold of other people and situations is a strong mindfulness practice. Whether you are working with your own implicit biases or those of the people around you, mindfulness can help us become more aware of these unconscious programming patterns and make better decisions about our lives.

Photo by Angela Roma on Pexels.com

Mindfulness is a powerful tool to help us break our biases and learn to be more open-minded. By taking the time to pay attention, we can notice where our thoughts and feelings are coming from, how they affect our behavior, how others around us are affected by their own biases, and how different perspectives can be used as tools for change in ourselves and others.

If you can be mindful and aware of what is happening at the moment, then you are less likely to be influenced by past programming that tells us how things “should” be. This can help us to be aware of our biases and make decisions based on facts, rather than assumptions.

Why Is Spirituality So Difficult to Define?

Spirituality is a concept that has been around for thousands of years, yet it remains difficult to define. It is often intertwined with religion but is not limited to one faith or set of beliefs. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s famous quote, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience”, captures the idea that spirituality is an integral part of who we are as humans and our search for meaning. In this blog post, we’ll explore why spirituality can be so difficult to define, and how it shapes our lives.

What is spirituality?

Within the past three years, the search term spirituality has jumped exponentially. Is this due to enforced pandemic-era isolation? So, in light of this search for a deeper understanding, we will continually revisit the same ideas, especially those posed by our predecessors. But what is this thing called spirituality, exactly? We have created religions and ideologies to try to explain it, but it all comes back to one thing: the senses.

Photo by zhang kaiyv on Pexels.com

I remember the very first of the many spiritual experiences I would have had before I knew to call them that. I just turned four and my family recently immigrated to the United States from our tropical home in Guyana, South America. It was my first winter, and I got a horrible fever. My mother, who had worked in the medical field for much of her adult life had done everything she could to bring my fever down. She and my dad laid me in my bed and were fervently praying between slathering me with ointments and giving me teas and cold medicine. As I lay there, I vividly remember thinking “I’m going to sleep for a little while, then wake up to play” (toddlers, am I right?). And as I drifted off to sleep, I had a dream that I can remember as if I just woke up from it.

I dreamed that I was running through the rainforest and that a pack of wolves was chasing me. I could feel the leaves slapping my face, and my feet pounding on the earth. They nipped at my heels and I felt that surely, they were going to catch me when suddenly, an even larger brown wolf appeared in front of me. I was trapped, and all I could think of was that I wish my mom were there to protect me. Just as I felt the wolves behind me closing in, the wolf in front of me charged them–it snapped and fought the other wolves until they all ran off. When I uncurled myself from the floor, the wolf had turned into a big brown bear and then, before my eyes turned into my grandmother. She took me into her arms and promised to keep me safe.

When I woke up from my dream, my fever had broken and I was up to my usual antics immediately. My parents were relieved and I didn’t mention the dream to my mother until recently.

I had a feeling of connecting to something outside of myself–something intangible and unnameable. Even though the fever was scary and overwhelming, what I just experienced took on a sacred meaning when I dreamed of being saved by a mystical presence from an unknown threat.

We are spiritual beings having a human experience

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

This is a quote from the French philosopher, Jesuit priest, and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and it can be a difficult concept to understand. We are human beings, but we also have a spiritual aspect that is part of our being. It is this spiritual aspect that can be difficult to define.
To be a spiritual being means that we are connected to something greater than ourselves. We may not always be able to put our finger on what that connection is, but it exists nonetheless. We are spiritual beings because we can have a profound understanding of the world around us. We can sense things beyond the physical realm, such as the presence of divine energy, or qualities like beauty and peace.

When we recognize and honor our spiritual nature, we are better able to connect with the world around us. We become more aware of the spiritual realm, even if we don’t fully understand it. We can open up our minds and hearts to feel more deeply and connect more authentically with others. We can feel connected to something greater than ourselves, something beyond our physical selves.
In short, when we recognize and embrace our spiritual nature, we become more in tune with the world around us and find greater meaning in life. This understanding can bring us closer to understanding the true nature of spirituality and why it is so hard to define.

Why is spirituality so difficult to define?

Since spirituality is such a personal feeling, it can be difficult to express with mere words, let alone try and put into words. One is both looking for spirituality and spirituality that comes upon you in unexpected places in the world. Some want spirituality to fit nicely into a nice box, but spirituality is all about colorfully defying the norm.
Whether you have a gratitude practice, visit holy places, or just try to see the beauty in all things, living a spiritual life is a process, a journey. It cannot be rushed and it should not be restricted to a certain set of beliefs. Instead, it should be experienced as a means of self-discovery and as a way of connecting with something greater than ourselves.

Want to learn more about how to create a simple and effective spiritual practice? Read this article!

2 Steps to Create an Effective Gratitude Practice [For Beginners]

Gratitude is an invaluable tool that can help reduce stress, increase self-awareness, and promote better mental health. If you are looking for an effective way to practice gratitude and cultivate mindfulness, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s blog post, I will share an easy tool to help you create a meaningful and effective gratitude practice as a beginner. By following the two steps outlined in this post, you can begin to incorporate gratitude into your daily life and reap all of its wonderful benefits.

Picture this: 13 year old Giya at Christmastime.

I had been struggling with acne that year and it made me feel pretty bad about having a pizza face. This was around the time that Proactiv started becoming popular and I remembered my mother mentioning that I could probably benefit from it. I also put on my angel tree form at church that I wanted an Easy Bake Oven. My family didn’t have a lot of money, so I wasn’t expecting both, but honestly, I wanted the Easy Bake Oven more than I wanted face wash. Let’s be real. I went to bed, convinced that I had a glorified microwave waiting for me.

The ill-fated Christmas gift pinterest.com

When I woke up in the morning and saw that there was just one very small wrapped present for me under the tree, I immediately got an attitude. My mom was excited, but as I pouted and took my time unwrapping the gift, my worst fears were confirmed: face wash.

“Do you like it?” my mother asked, probably shocked by my lack of response.

“It’s okay, I guess.” More pouting.

“You are so ungrateful! You know this stuff is expensive. You were so upset about your face!” My mom was livid.

In my mind, I wouldn’t have anything cool to brag about getting for the holidays, and it made me feel even more self-conscious about my face. Worst Christmas ever.

It felt like a slap in the face and I had no idea why it was so important to express my gratitude for something I found humiliating. My parents were SUPPOSED to buy me multiple gifts for the holidays. I didn’t get why I only got one…and it wasn’t even the one I wanted most. Hindsight being what it is, I understand that it is important to express gratitude as a way to show love and appreciation for the people and things in our lives. I used the face wash my mom bought me and my acne improved, I didn’t feel self conscious about my face anymore, and after a while I was able to appreciate the sacrifice my parents made to get me something that was much more satisfying than a plastic toy.

(Side note: one of my mom’s friends also bought me the Easy Bake Oven, and it broke within a month of playing with it.)

I remember apologizing to my mother months later for being such a brat, and her smile made me feel good as well. I learned that it feels good to be appreciated and I know that whenever I did say thank you or was thanked for doing something, I felt closer to all I shared those simple words with.

How to create a gratitude practice

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

Practicing gratitude mindfully isn’t something you need to document or spend untold amounts of time on. I can do my super simple but powerful gratitude practice anywhere and at any time multiple times a day.

Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Take a moment to appreciate something– whether it be a person, situation, thing, or your own hard work. I like to say something like “Thank you________ for_____ .” Let yourself feel the joy of gratitude and savor it for a few moments.
Step 2: Shift your attention to the lesson that experience or thing has taught you. Consider the bigger picture, and ask yourself what can be learned from that moment. I often say something like “I appreciate that I learned____. It makes me feel____.” It’s okay if it feels silly at first–it gets easier the more you practice. If you can’t see the lesson, just focus on saying thank you.

Examples from my own life

Gratitude for a person:
One of my friends bought me a beautiful velvet robe as a birthday present. When I got it in the mail, I made sure to send her a video of me trying it on and share how much I loved it. Then, in my reflection on the gift, I said “Thank you universe for giving me such a good friend. I appreciate that I met such a positive and kind soul who shows me how important it is to be thoughtful and kind to those I love.”
Gratitude for a situation:
When I met my partner, a lot of people were very critical of the fact that our relationship was long-distance. I knew that this person would help me get closer to the type of person I wanted to be, so I often say “I am so grateful I met my partner the way I did. Our long-distance relationship helped us focus on falling in love with each other’s personalities.”

The importance of gratitude

In modern society, there is so much emphasis placed on having, doing, and being more. I’m sure many of you can relate to feeling like you have to be perfect in order to be accepted, loved, and successful in life. We are told that if we don’t get straight A’s, win every award at school or work, perform at a high level 24/7, and achieve more than anyone else then there is something wrong with us.
For many years, felt like I wasn’t enough and that if only I could do more, have more, and be more then I would finally be good enough. But the truth is that we are all doing the best we can with what we have at any given moment in time. Trying to catch up to other people and viewing life as a race to the finish line brings us pain, misery and suffering because it is unrealistic.
When we slow down and start expressing gratitude for all that we already have instead of what is missing, we can focus on the positive moments in our lives, increase our self-esteem, build healthy relationships, boost our mental and physical health, and bring about a greater sense of happiness and contentment. Not only does a gratitude practice make us feel good, but it also positively impacts those around us.