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The One Thing We Actually Love About Working from Home

14 women share how their morning routines have changed (for the better!) over the last six months.

By Madeleine Kim

“What’s your morning routine?” If you read enough interviews of successful people, you’re bound to see this question come up more often than not. And it makes sense: The morning habits you develop will inevitably set the tone for your day. But since the Covid-19 crisis began, life has been anything but routine, and this made us wonder: How can we use this time to be more intentional about how we start our days and develop habits that will serve us even after we return to the office?

Here’s how fourteen women are making the most of their mornings right now.

 

Stylist, M.M.LaFleur

Jordan N.

“While working from home, I’ve swapped my morning commute for 15 minutes of guided meditation. This practice gives me permission to slow down, connect to my breath, and visualize the kind of person I want to show up as (at work and in my personal life, too!). Dedicating a few short moments of stillness and silence to myself has been the gift that keeps on giving. It sets the tone for my day and prepares me for whatever may come my way.”

NFL Writer, The Ringer

Nora P.

“I’ve learned…to keep my PJs on! I’m most productive in the morning, so I can get a lot done if I roll out of bed, make my coffee, and settle right in for the first part of my workday. Then, after a couple hours, I get dressed in ‘real clothes,’ which refocuses me at a time when I’m more likely to get distracted. My takeaway: Get in tune with your natural rhythmsand appreciate your PJ sets.”

E-Commerce and Sales Strategy Manager, M.M.LaFleur

Christina B.

“I am obsessed with business podcasts and productivity hacks from successful entrepreneurs, so during quarantine, I decided to test some of the hacks I’ve heard about. First, I take a three-minute cold shower while doing one of Wim Hof’s breathing exercises, which wakes up my body and helps control my cortisol levels. My skin looks better, I have more energy, and I honestly crave it every morning. 

After the shower, I spend five minutes on skincare. Wear SPF every day! That’s one of the things I try to push on everyone I know, even if they think they aren’t seeing the sun. Getting a sunscreen that smells nice and is made from good ingredients makes you feel clean and refreshed for the day. 

Next, I do a passage from The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday, which has been life-changing. I used to feel very stressed in the morning—unable to get out of bed easily, and not feeling like myself until I had two coffees in me. Now, I spend a few minutes reading, and then I write about how a passage makes me feel, which helps me start my workday with a positive mindset.”

Digital Product Manager, arfa, Inc.

Tafarii M.

“My morning routine is incredibly important to me, because it sets the tone for my day. Knowing which rituals refresh and energize me means being able to set myself up to have a good day every day. For me, those rituals include making time to work out, eating a leisurely breakfast, and having time to do my makeup without feeling rushed. Before I began working from home, this meant waking up around 5:30am (yikes!). Now that the chaos of commuting has been removed (and I can squeeze in some extra sleep), my routine not only leaves me refreshed and energized but lets me start my day with a sense of peace that I couldn’t really achieve before. That sense of calm is something I hope I can take with me once I eventually go back to commuting.”

Partner at law firm and mom of two

Jackie L.

“I have made an extra effort to go outside at least once a day, whether for a walk in Riverside Park or, more recently, an empty beach run at 6:30am. I’ve realized how refreshing it is to have some time alone with just my thoughts—no work email, no kids, no cooking, no cleaning. When we return to the office, I hope I will keep finding outdoor solo space for my thoughts for at least a few minutes every day.”

Stylist, M.M.LaFleur

Joanna P.

“It’s easy to spend too much of the day sitting down when you’re not commuting. So during quarantine, I’ve started almost every morning by taking a walk to Dog Beach in Brooklyn’s  Prospect Park and setting reminders for myself to stretch every few hours. I plan to keep up this practice once I go back to the office, because I think it will help me be more mindful and intentional about taking breaks—especially when it feels like NYC is getting the best of me.”

Human Resource Business Leader, Progressive Insurance

Mary Beth B.

“During quarantine, I’ve actually been getting up earlier and heading outside—whether for a run, a workout on the patio with my daughter, or even just watering the flowers, which helps me start the day with energy and peace. Work-wise, I’ve learned how important it is to use video when connecting with people who aren’t in the office with me. In the past, my team would primarily connect over the phone, but video allows you to check for understanding and non-verbal cues. Finally, this time has reinforced the importance of boundaries. It’s so easy to slip into working 12+ hour days, but when I do, I am not nearly as good at making decisions, staying as engaged in meetings, or having the patience to handle complex issues.”

2nd Grade Teacher, Achievement First North Brooklyn Prep Elementary School

Elaina R.

“During quarantine, I’ve shifted my morning routine to focus on skincare rather than makeup. Some of the minutes I used to allocate to applying makeup (like concealer or bronzer), I now use for a more thorough skincare routine. Once I’m back to work, I plan to stick with a longer skincare routine and more trimmed-down makeup, especially since I’ll be wearing a mask to work.”

Brand Editor, M.M.LaFleur

Caitlin A.

I gave birth to my first child on March 5th, so I was on maternity leave for the first three months of the shutdown. Now that I’m back to work, we are trying to establish a morning routine that allows both me and my husband to have time for ourselves while also spending time with the baby. We’ve figured out a system where he plays with her and then they take a nap together while I get ready in the morning—it gives me about an hour and a half to take a long shower, drink coffee, and put on makeup so I can look somewhat human on Zoom calls. Regardless of when we go back into the office, I plan on making sure this schedule sticks until our daughter goes to college.

Web Specialist, Nestlé

Maggie S.

“Despite living in the same apartment for over three years, I rarely used my balcony prior to quarantine. When I started working from home, I was constantly looking at my balcony, which reminded me to make use of the things I have around me. Now, I like to start every morning (even rainy ones) by spending some time out there. Sometimes it’s 20 minutes reading a book, sometimes it’s only 5 minutes drinking my morning tea. Either way, the fresh morning air helps ground me for the day, and it’s definitely something I’m looking forward to continuing when I start going into my office again.”

Partner, Venable, LLP

Alex M.

“I have always cherished my mornings and jealously guard that time. While I have definitely developed some bad habits over the last four months, I now start each morning by naming something for which I am thankful (some days, I need to dig deeeeep) and have added a yoga practice to my life. Cliché, yes, but also hard and rewarding. I also hope to continue my regular Zoom calls with my high school girlfriends, who live as far away as Australia. Seeing their faces always brings me home.”

Account Executive, M18 Public Relations

Julia C.

“I used to exercise at a studio in the mornings before work, but since the shutdown, I’ve shifted my workout schedule to the early evening, using virtual classes. This helps me clear my mind and creates a natural end to the work day so I don’t answer emails all night. I use the extra time in the morning to sleep later and relax while drinking my morning cup of tea before starting the day.”

VP of Marketing, Breather

Samantha G.

“Now that my commute from ‘home’ to ‘office’ is 20 steps, my morning routine has drastically changed. I now forgo Starbucks, brew coffee (yup, I purchased my first coffee maker), and enjoy my first cup while watching the morning news and then a second on my morning calls. I’m not a morning person, so AM gym classes were previously impossible. I now work out at home around 8am and can be on a Zoom by 9:30. These are habits I plan to continue once I return to the office. I may have to shift the home workout a little earlier and brew my second cup at the office, but I’m more comfortable doing it on my own, in my home.”

Legal Intern, United Nations

Katherine H.

“Since the start of lockdown, I have forgone my daily oat-milk latte and switched to making pour-over coffee for myself at home. It only takes a few minutesthree and a half, to be exactand it’s a nice way to pause before I start my work day. Plus, once I’m in the kitchen, I end up making myself a proper breakfast instead of just grabbing a granola bar. I’m definitely going to keep this routine going post-quarantine. Making coffee at home saves me a ton of money, and ordering my own beans means I get to support independent, ethical coffee roastersan added bonus!”


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Madeleine Kim

Written By

Madeleine Kim

Madeleine Kim is a Senior Brand Associate at M.M.LaFleur, where she started out as a stylist. She loves developing styling-focused content and creating newsletters that bring the M.M. community together.

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