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Personal EcologyRockwood Staff Shares

Rockwood Staff Shares: Morning Routines

By April 16, 2015February 10th, 2017One Comment

This is the first in a new, ongoing series, “Rockwood Staff Shares”, about how the staff lives into Rockwood’s 6 Practices. If you’d like to know the staff’s take on something, send us an email!


In January, I started a new phase in my life: I became a morning person. I discovered, completely by accident, that a consistent morning routine made me feel like I’d done more by the end of the day.

Changing my mornings changed my whole day, though that wasn’t really a surprise. Studies have shown that people with morning routines report being more productive, and morning routines are often included in lists about successful people’s habits. For me, however, making the most of my mornings has really been about maintaining balance and sustaining my energy (aka, personal ecology). It’s helped me decrease stress, make time to work on my personal goals, and increase my general happiness throughout the day.

Reflecting on all this recently got me thinking: how do other Rockwood staff members use their mornings? Here’s what they had to say:

Eileen Hazel

Eileen, Senior Finance & Operations Manager

I start my morning with a shower, some physical therapy exercises, music, and a full breakfast. I don’t look at work emails till I get to work.

Maddie Flood

Maddie, Development Manager

I bike to work, which gives my body the opportunity to wake up and get energized before sitting at my desk.

Akaya Windwood

Akaya, President

I give myself a couple of hours each morning to have my coffee, read the paper, and greet the day slowly. I’ve been parking my car about 2 miles from work and walk to the office, if I don’t have an early meeting.

Stacy Kono

Stacy, Director of Programs

I make sure I have energy during the day by going running about 2-3 times a week, or riding my bike to work. I always eat breakfast after I wake up. Occasionally, I make smoothies, and it feels like special occasion even though it’s easy to do. Even though I use an alarm, I try to get up as naturally as possible. That means I go to sleep by 11 PM, to get eight hours of sleep.

Virada Chatikul

Virada, Program Manager

I prepare food—either breakfast or lunch or both! I love to cook and love the feeling of ‘fresh’ or ‘homemade’ nourishment! My default breakfast is a green smoothie: kale, mango, strawberries, banana, blueberries, soy milk, and Greek yogurt. Peeling and slicing the fruit has become meditative, and the whole process of gathering all the ingredients, the order they are dropped in the blender, and its subsequent cleaning is now a well-choreographed dance. Then I sit down by my window and sip it with my dog beside me. That is the least rushed part of my morning!

Avani Mody

Avani, Special Projects Coordinator

I always have trouble waking up, so I try to make sure I prepare as much as possible the night before. That way when I wake up my clothes are ready, my lunch is packed, and I don’t need to feel as rushed so early in the day.

Ronald Pineda

Ronald, Enrollment Manager

I’ve made a habit of starting the day with yoga, followed by 15 minutes of meditation.

Nicole Boucher

Nicole, Director of Advancement

When I’m on good personal ecology behavior (it’s sporadic), I meditate and do yoga, and I make my daughter’s lunch the night before.

Kierra Johnson

Kierra, Program Coordinator

Sometimes—and by sometimes I mean when it’s on my mind—when I wake up, I stand out on my outside deck and take a few breaths in the morning before getting ready for work. More regularly, however, I read a daily passage from The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo and Daily Word before I turn on my computer.

Tyson Casey

Tyson, Program Manager

Before getting out of bed, or even opening my eyes, I start my loving-kindness prayers (to self, others, all beings). With my eyes still closed, I’ll start to stretch in bed. I start with my hands and forearms, then shoulders, then pull my knees in to stretch my hips and thighs. Then I open my eyes. After that, I roll to a sit and stretch my back, then I stand, stretch my neck and start a brief yoga routine next to my bed. I perform a similar routine before going to bed at night, only in reverse order.

Sharon Price

Sharon, Associate Director of Programs

I meditate on BART every morning. I put my headphones in my ears but I’m not really listening to anything—this at least makes me feel like people aren’t wondering why I’m staring into space in stillness!


As for me, I’ve added something new to my morning routine: gratitude. I take a few minutes and just appreciate the people and opportunities in my life at the moment. If you’re interested in changing or adding to your morning routine, here are some places to find inspiration:

How do you make the most of your mornings?