• UO Goals: Morning Routines with Claire Esparros

    Get a primer in setting up your day for success with Brooklyn photographer Claire Esparros, who’s helping us kick off 2016 with a look at her morning routine. 
    Photos by Frankie Marin

    What is your morning routine? Can you walk us through the different things you do each morning?
    By nature, I am a night owl. This is something I have been striving to change for some time now, as I truly wish to be a morning person (or at least trick my brain and body into believing I am). I think the morning is the most peaceful and sacred time of day — a quiet time before any outside influences can transform your state of being.

    I set my alarm half an hour before I need to actually get my butt out of bed, which allows me to lay peacefully for a few moments, slowly coming to terms with the concept of being awake and mull over my thoughts. Once my brain is active enough to contemplate movement, I starfish my body, stretching all my limbs out as far as they can reach, finally pulling myself up into a seated position. I roll my head back and forth against the wall (like how you do in yoga against the floor) to trigger a flow of energy. Then I begin to reach my arms forward, crawling my fingers far out in front of me, then stretching up above my head from side to side. Once there is some energy moving through my body, I crawl out of bed.

    I typically do not make my bed in the traditional sense, so when I get up I do so with care, crawling out as I pull the sheets back up into place, but allowing them to remain somewhat disheveled in a cozy way. I love observing how my pillows have settled from the way that I slept that night, and I like to leave them as they were. It's a slightly different look each day.
    I make my way to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth first thing. I find these actions wake me up and get me feeling inspired to get ready for the day. Then I put on music to set the tone and get moving!

    I then head to the kitchen to get a pot of coffee started. This routine is something I cherish each morning. There's always a bit of nostalgia and a sense of peace I get from it, not to mention the amazing smell. While the coffee is brewing, I put away any dishes left drying from the night before and tidy up around the apartment. The way my space looks affects my mental state, so I like to keep it tidy and organized.

    Getting dressed next, I start by leaning out of my window to gauge the temperature. I try to think about what I want to wear when I wake up to expedite this process, because too many outfit changes drives me crazy and wastes time. I have a simple, no-fuss makeup routine which I do in front of my giant mirror in the natural light of my room.

    If I have the time, I will sit and drink my coffee and eat breakfast while chatting with my roomie or answering a few preliminary emails. Otherwise, I will pour my coffee to-go and plan on making oatmeal once I get to the office. Before heading out, I pack the remaining items I need into my bag, switch my music to my phone, pop in headphones and pop on sunnies, heading off to the subway.

    What time do you get up?
    8am. But I've been trying to inch that earlier and earlier. #morningpersongoals

    Do you do anything before bed to make your morning easier?
    Yes! Always. I organize and pack my bag, prep my lunch and snacks and, if I have a photo shoot, figure out where I'll be going and what trains I'll be taking so I'm not scrambling in the morning. Helps me rest easier knowing I'm not waking up with a frantic to-do list.

    What do you have for breakfast?
    These days I've been on a major oatmeal kick. I start with plain oats, then add cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut sugar, agave or honey, and bananas — and occasionally some chocolate chips for an extra treat. Other days I'll make a green smoothie, and sometimes my roommate and I will make breakfast sandwiches together if we both have the time.

    Do you look at emails and work-related things first thing, or wait until you’ve started your day?
    No way! I try to limit my in-bed phone use to turning off my alarm, checking the weather and turning on music. I feel like it puts me in a bad mental space to get into work emails until I can sit at my computer to tackle them within a better headspace.

    What’s your philosophy on having a routine in general? How does it set up the rest of your day?
    I think that carving out a routine for yourself and sticking with it is the best way to ensure productivity, sanity, and that feeling of self-accomplishment. Obviously there can be variation, but a good routine, I think, creates the mental space we need to harness our creative energy and produce our best work while feeling great too!

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