I’m a school psychologist by trade and a curiosity chaser, animal lover, and plant-passionate recipe writer by heart.
With roots in psychology and plant-based nutrition, I’m fascinated by the way our daily habits affect mind, body + spirit. Also, my cookbook, Blissful Basil, will be out Dec. 20!
My typical day
First, a quick disclaimer: Although this is my tried and trusted approach to navigating each day, there are certainly days when something throws my routine for a loop. When this happens, I flow with it and do my best to approach unexpected happenings with a flexible, self-compassionate attitude.
I’m currently on leave from my position as a psychologist (to focus on book, blog and other adventures), so I’ve had more flexibility in my schedule these past several months than I typically do. My productivity and attitude thrive when my routine is balanced, so I’ve used that added flexibility to build more self-care and downtime into each day.
I never used to consider myself a ‘morning person’ but I’ve definitely become one! I’m more motivated, balanced, and optimistic with an early and self-reflective start, so I typically wakeup between 5:30am and 6:30am (but will sleep in if my body needs it). Once I’m up, I have two options for what to do next: Option 1) Workout (usually 30 minutes of yoga, strength training, or HIIT), meditate for 15-20 minutes, and then shower/get ready for the day. Or option 2)
Shower/get ready for the day and then meditate for 15-20 minutes.
Our minds are capable of making a limited number of decisions each day and once we’ve hit our threshold, we hit a point of ‘decision fatigue’.
By structuring the recurring elements of my morning routine, I’m able to conserve energy for the unexpected decisions that need to be made in my work.
Once I’m ready, I head straight to the kitchen and make myself breakfast and a cup of matcha tea, chai tea, or coffee. I’m a smoothie lover, so that’s often my go-to breakfast, but lately I’ve been enjoying a warm bowl of oats with almond butter and berry compote or coconut yogurt topped with homemade pumpkin spice granola and a drizzle of maple syrup. I’ll often nosh on breakfast and sip tea while I complete my morning email check (I try to check just twice a day – once in the morning and once in the late afternoon – so that I’m not reacting to my inbox all day).
Once I’ve gone through my emails, I plan out the specific projects, tasks, and to-do’s for the day in my planner (I highly recommend the Day Designer if you can get your hands on it – it’s a game-changer). I have a general, recurring schedule for each week that makes my daily planning of to-do’s more effortless than if I were to approach each day with a completely blank slate.
Mondays and Wednesdays are dedicated to new projects, brainstorming, and book-related tasks; Tuesdays and Fridays are dedicated to recipe development, photography, photo editing, and writing posts; and Thursdays include recipe brainstorming, planning the following week’s recipe/project schedule, and a few hours of flex time to complete lingering to-do’s and special projects.
Once the specifics of the day are planned, I get to work, moving through my list of to-do’s and tasks. If I’m working at my desk (i.e., M, W, T), I’ll step away and make a snack around 10am – my go-to morning snack tends to be rye toast or brown rice cakes topped with sliced avocado, tomatoes or sauteed spinach, squeeze of fresh lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of chili flakes and sea salt. If I’m working from the kitchen (i.e., T, F), I snack as I’m recipe testing, so depending on the day it could be anything from vegan peanut butter ice cream to pumpkin soup! I also love sipping on homemade green juice throughout the morning but total honesty: I don’t regularly make time to juice, so that’s more of a special treat! Typically, I drink filtered water with a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice throughout the day. Hydration is vital to both physical vitality and brain functioning, so staying hydrated throughout the day helps keep us energised, focused, and emotionally balanced.
Lunch is almost always leftovers from dinner or recipe testing, so it varies quite a bit.
That said, I try to keep things fresh, energising, and easy to digest, because I’m prone to post-lunch sleepiness if I eat anything too heavy or processed. Some of my go-to lunch meals include: roasted sweet potatoes (or other veggies) and steamed leafy greens with brown rice, mashed avocado, pomegranate seeds, and fresh herbs.
For years, I had a habit of chipping away at work while eating lunch, but lately I’ve been prioritising ‘balance’ over ‘busy’ and that means taking an actual break from work to enjoy lunch. Usually, I’ll sit down and eat mindfully, watch inspiring youtube videos, or read an article on a topic I’m curious about (e.g., the universe, space, black holes, and Kundalini yoga are recent favorite topics)!
After lunch, I get back to work, chipping away on either computer- or kitchen-based tasks. I finish most days with a second email sweep and social media check-in (e.g., comments, scheduling upcoming posts, etc.). On days when I didn’t fit in a morning workout, I’ll stop working between 4pm and 5pm and get moving. My favorite part about working out? The resulting feel-good brain vibes and a post-workout smoothie! If I already worked out in the morning, I’ll work until 6pm and then have a smoothie or other small snack (e.g., apples and almond butter, seeded crackers and hummus, etc.).
Dinner is my favourite meal of the day, and I love making something that’s just as satisfying as it is nourishing. Lately, I’ve been making seasonal power bowls (e.g. ‘the Grab-n-Go Sweet Potato, Cranberry & Quinoa Power Bowl’recipe on my blog) and warming soups (e.g. ‘Best Ever Vegan Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup’ recipe on my blog). I have a total sweet tooth, so I almost always have a little something sweet after dinner -”usually banana ice cream or leftovers from whichever dessert recipe I’ve recently tested (e.g., Vegan Carrot Cake Blondies with Cashew-Coconut Icing – recipe on my blog).
After dinner, my husband, Dan, and I settle in to watch an episode (or two!) of one of our favorite shows on Netflix, check out an interesting documentary (my favourite), or listen to music (he’s a music lover). Unless there’s something urgent that needs my attention, I do my best to stay out of email, social media (Pinterest being the one exception), and blog comments at night. Most nights, I head to bed between 9:30pm and 10:00pm. Once I’m in bed, I wind down with essential oils: I dab lavender on my nose and temples, a detoxifying oil blend (i.e. clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary) on the soles of my feet, and a mood-balancing oil, such as Ylang Ylang, on my pillow. Then, I read or peruse inspiring quotes on Pinterest before finally drifting off to sleep.
My favourite quote
There’s wisdom to be gained every day and in every type of life experience if we’re curious enough to ask questions.