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My Morning Routine


Mom running as part of her morning routine

My morning routine is essential in setting the tone for my day. It’s something that I design with the greatest of intention and refresh seasonally while collaborating with the kids around their bucket system (it’s essentially the morning clothespins on my bucket, though I don’t use a physical bucket). If you have done Sage Coaching, you know we start by identifying our values, creating our priorities, determining our needs, and then hold space for those in our daily rhythm. This is a powerful dose of self-care to help you be your best all day long (and your needs can co-exist harmoniously with your children’s needs with some creativity and know-how). So here is my morning routine this season, as an unschooling mompreneur.

1. Rise

Waking at a consistent time each morning feels good for the flow of my days. But there are no universal rights or wrongs when it comes to the time for that awakening. What are the natural circadian cycles for your body and brain? We are night owls and a 10am waking feels ideal for us all (and in our consciously designed lifestyle we do not commit to being anywhere before 11am). So each night as I plug in my phone, I turn on the Pandora alarm for 10am.

Values/Priorities: Honoring natural bodily rhythms and needs, being unbusy

Needs: Late morning

Small Step: What time will you rise? You can adjust this time gradually from where you are now to where you want to be (15 minutes earlier or later).

2. Read

We love some good, long, cozy cuddles in the morning, so after singing and smooching my kiddos awake, I read non-fiction. My body gets to stay warm and restful and my youngest fills his love cup (okay, me too – who doesn’t love a cuddle) with me while my mind starts rolling around with some fresh learning through a book.

Values/Priorities: Connection and self-driven learning

Needs: slow,gentle awakening, physical connection, feed brain before body

Small Step: Fiction? Non-fiction? Audio book? eBook? Paperback? What do you want to learn more about and how do you best learn? Start with a small literary bite (1 paragraph).

Journaling: All of my work as a writer is my process of journaling but assuming you are not a non-fiction writer, I recommend journaling. Keep it easy yet powerful (1 intention and/or gratitude).

3. Exercise

After my mind is fully awakened, my body is ready to go. In winter, we would all meet in the great room for family yoga but as spring is blossoming, I am now enjoying a morning run. This is my meditation as it clears my mind. This is my spiritual practice as I connect with nature. This is my inspiration as I listen to a playlist of podcasts that offer a quiet and simple resonance (The Minimalists podcast is my favorite).

It’s worth noting that “I am not a runner.” That is part of my narrative, or the story I have written of who I am, based on my interpretation of my life’s experiences. But I am also brave and I invite you to embrace some bravery too in questioning beliefs, even (and perhaps especially) those held tightly. Because the world evolves; people evolve; our understanding evolves (if we invite it). I have good reason to hold that belief after a lifetime of environmental allergies and exercise induced asthma create a perfect storm around outdoor running that has triggered intense and scary pain. And so I decided to start very small – right on the edge of my comfort zone. I walk to the end of our property, run to the end of our neighborhood and back, and walk back to the house. I don’t have some grand outcome I’m hooked into to display my physical prowess. My goal is the experience itself, not a goal at all but an intention. And it’s working. I feel great. And over time I’m sure the distance of the run will gradually increase.

Where do my children fit in with this ritual? I run through our neighborhood, so I am accessible, and at 12, 9, and 6, that is fine for them. But as always in my family-integrated life, they are welcome to join me and Autumn (our dog), and sometimes do. I have one agreement in place (I prefer agreements to rules as they better reflect our collaborative dynamic): no conversation. We converse abundantly, all day long, and in this brief window, I loose the meditative quality if I am engaging in conversation. They are welcome to come, to walk the dog, to run, to ride a bike, etc. Everyone’s needs are met.

Values/Priorities: Nature, strength, energy, self driven learning, calm, questioning, connection, collaboration

Needs: Exercise, time outdoors

Small Step: What activity? Where? How? How much/long? Start small with a practice intention instead of a fitness goal (like 1 30-second plank).

4. Shower

Hot water is my ultimate self-care. It renews me. I take a shower every morning.

Can we talk beauty routine for a minute here (we dive into this in the Sage Family Podcast episode 10)? I am natural, low-maintenance, and minimalist. My morning bathroom routine consists of a shower, brushing teeth and hair, and putting on deodorant – that’s it. Then when I move into the closet space between my bathroom and bedroom, I easily pull from my Minimalist Wardrobe, feeling comfortable and confident every single day – effortless.

Values/Priorities: Cleanliness, peace, minimalism, simplicity (ingredients)

Needs: Clean start to each day, quick and easy beauty routine, systems in place to feel ethical, comfortable, and confident for the rest of the day

Small Step: Shower? Make-up? Hair styling? Products? Wardrobe? Keep it simple! Write out the steps you actually move through and products you use (and toss the rest!). (You can see what I tossed and kept here in my post Minimalism in Mama’s Bathroom.)

5. Clean

I do a quick kitchen clean up for no more than 15 minutes when I move into the main living space. This small act makes a world of difference in how I feel in our space for the rest of the day. It’s a clean start without overwhelm or resentment – just 15 minutes max. And since I do it every morning, it’s easily maintained.

Values/Priorities: Cleanliness, peace, collaboration, organization

Needs: Clean kitchen

Small Step: What area of your home needs attention each day? Hold the boundary of just a brief window of time (5 minutes).

6. Breakfast

Each morning I make a breakfast smoothie for us all to start our day with a nutritive and healthful foundation. We use different things each day for variety but these are the basics (all organic).

From jars on the kitchen open shelf above the Vitamix:

  • Seeds (a mix of chia, flax, quinoa, millet, hemp, buckwheat)
  • Protein (bone broth protein powder)
  • Coconut (shredded and unsweetened)
  • Almonds (slivered)
  • Cacao Powder
  • Almond Butter (crunchy)
  • Coconut Oil

From the fridge:

  • Coconut Water
  • Yogurt (plain)
  • Juice (apple, coconut pineapple, or orange)

From the freezer:

  • Ice (crushed)
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Pineapples

With smoothies in hand, we move into the main current of our day.

Values/Priorities: health, wellness

Needs: Yummy and nutritious jumpstart

Small Step: What fuel do you choose for your body? Incorporate what you like (like a cup of coffee) and take small steps toward healthfulness (like organic yogurt instead of sugar and dye loaded yogurt).

That’s what my morning routine looks like this season. What does yours look like? Because even if you have not designed it consciously, you do have one. For most people, that unconscious morning routine drains them of mental energy and inner peace instead of nourishing them, putting out fires and spiraling into negative self-talk. It can be helpful to think of a morning routine like pre-made choices. It is to lead from a place of wholeness. So, what are your values, priorities, and needs? Let’s use those to build you a personalized morning routine. 

  1. Olivia says:

    This routine sounds so lovely and like something I aspire to. With my husband going off to work and dropping our son at daycare along the way, mornings are hectic and a far cry from what I envision as an ideal. But we’re slowly but surely working on it. Thanks for the inspiration.

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I work from an island in the Pacific Northwest, where I live wild and free in connection with my hilarious husband and three growing sailors in our fixer upper on the beach. I authentically live this healing work out loud raising my own neurodivergent family (inner child included) and draw on my decades of education and experience (I've done all the nerdy work so you don't have to) to guide a revolution of overwhelmed parents just like you to feeling at peace within yourself, consciously connected with your children, embraced by a supportive community, and enjoying a values-aligned life you love.

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I'm Rachel Rainbolt

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