Before I had a morning routine, I did not have a consistent way of starting my day, partly because of my irregular sleep schedule, but also, with no plans, I would be just scrolling through my phone or getting right onto the thing that I worked on the night before. I wanted to bring more consistency to my day, and I came up with these four.

Make my bed

The first step is to get out of my bed and make my bed. Tim Ferries described in his morning ritual that it gives you the day’s first win. And it feels nice to see the bed made, especially working from home all day.

Put sunscreen on

The next step is to put on a jacket (multiple jackets these days. After living in the chilly Bay area for almost nine years, the cold is still never something I fully associate with the weather here). Then, I wash my face and put the sunscreen on because the long-term benefit of sunscreen has been proved by scientists, and everybody is free to wear it.

A slow walk around the park

I walk around San Pablo Park slowly, like practicing kinhin(經行) - walking meditation. The park is mostly empty, but I see some people walking their dogs, running, or hanging out in front of their houses. I learned that it is surprisingly easy to say hello and talk to people as they pass. People respond when I say “good morning” with a smile, and sometimes we start chatting. I met many neighbors, including my mailman and a jazz musician faculty at Berkeley Conservatory of Jazz. It feels unique to say hello to the mailman by his name whenever I see him coming by.


I use foam rollers and a lacrosse ball to massage my body, try a couple of pull-ups, and hang on a pull-up bar. Right after the workout, I learned that the morning is the best time to stretch after my muscle gets tight during sleep. Neck, hip flexors, and hip muscles are the ones I spend the most time on and are the most painful.


For years I relied on coffee to wake up, but the awakeness did not feel mentally clear. I stopped drinking coffee every day last November. I occasionally drink if I need to power through the day or just enjoy the taste of a latte, but it is now replaced with this morning routine.

After these four rituals, I feel energized, awake, and ready to start my day. Once I become more consistent with checking off all four of these morning routines, I would like to create one for finishing off my day.