POOJA KINI shares her experience and tips for setting intentions and caring for your health on a daily basis. She also shares a great recipe for a quick, healthy and very tasty breakfast.
I’ve experienced a great deal of change during my transition to adulthood; perhaps the most poignant being how I invest my energy and set my intentions. As a teenager in high school, I would not think beyond the next “big thing” – an exam, a competition, a party, college admission. Up until I graduated from university, every effort I made went towards crossing an item off a list or achieving an external goal.
If you work a traditional 9 to 5 job, your routine can cause your days to blend together. While this may result in monotony (and it’s important to make sure it doesn’t!), it can also create a sense of stability. This external stability caused a shift in my priorities. I started seeking fulfillment internally. I made choices that centered on my happiness, peace, and well-being. I set long-term, less specific intentions, like reading more, moving my body, and eating better. Essentially, I prioritized taking care of myself – something I did not realize I had been neglecting earlier.
Recently, I realized that my days are far more productive when I wake up earlier. I feel like I have accomplished more, and I get an extra few hours in the morning to myself before work. I can clean my room, get a quick workout in, go for a walk, read…the possibilities are endless. The caveat? I have never been a morning person.
I’ve been a night owl for the last ten years. So no matter how much sleep I get, I associate the early morning with feelings of grogginess and crankiness. But the pros certainly outweigh the virtually nonexistent cons of being an early riser, and I’ve been making a serious effort to get myself out of bed.
Here are some things I’ve been trying that seem to be working:
Get some sun
It’s far too easy to snooze your alarm and fall back asleep, but one hack I’ve discovered is to get some sunlight on my face as the key to an immediate wake-up. Keep your blinds open, move to a sunny area of your home, or even step outside for a moment. You’ll feel your body realize it is time to get the day started.
Wait to drink caffeine
I used to require my daily cup of coffee as soon as I got up, but drinking it on an empty stomach made me jittery and tired by noon. Now, I drink a glass of water first and pair my coffee with breakfast. This allows me to enjoy my beverage and avoid any unpleasant side effects.
Drinking water is so important, and so easy to neglect. I try to fill my water bottle as soon as it empties so I constantly have water near me when I feel thirsty. Drinking enough water has helped me stay more alert and refreshed throughout the morning.
Eat a nourishing breakfast
This might be the biggest game-changer for me. I used to avoid eating breakfast, and now I have found the additional nourishment powers me through the morning until lunch.
My go-to oatmeal recipe is easy, quick, and super nutritious.
½ cup rolled oats
Frozen fruit (I use wild blueberries and peaches)
Fresh fruit, cut up (I use strawberries)
Milk of choice (I use almond milk)
Something crunchy (I use hazelnuts, but feel free to use any nuts, granola, etc.)
Nut or seed butter (I use almond butter)
Optional: chia seeds
Cook your oats on the stovetop to the consistency you prefer. I am not a fan of solid or mushy oats, so I make sure my oats are fully submerged in a ½ water, ½ milk liquid mixture.
Add frozen fruit and chia seeds. Bring everything to the boil, stirring regularly.
Take off the heat, add to a bowl, and top with fresh fruit, nuts, and a spoon of nut or seed butter. If you want, you can drizzle some honey on top!
Intentional self-care is a work-in-progress, an ongoing practice that changes often. And as you might have figured, prioritizing isn’t as easy as saying you will do something. But, if you take baby steps that progress naturally, and remind yourself why you’ve set the intentions you have, it’s possible!
Pooja is based in San Francisco and loves to cook, read, drink coffee, and take long walks with no destination. She recently graduated from UC Santa Barbara after studying Economics and Accounting, and now works in finance. You can find her on Instagram @poojxk.