These Are the Small, Doable Habits That Keep Apartment Therapy’s Founder Grounded
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This issue of Happy Place is presented in partnership with Yogi Tea.
It’s all too easy to wake up and dive straight into all those phone notifications, emails, and chores that don’t seem to end until…well, bedtime. But when you create space for yourself at the beginning and end of each day — moments for calm, quiet, and clarity — you also make everything you have to deal with during the day easier to deal with. Oh, and you feel way better, too.
For Apartment Therapy founder and CEO Maxwell Ryan, the early morning hours are dedicated to mindfulness. He’s cultivated a tried-and-true routine that allows him to relax and enjoy some of his favorite activities before the hustle and bustle begins. Ryan comes back to this energy in the evening, too, with simple actions that set him up for a restful night and a fresh start the next day. Read on (and listen in) to learn how he does it.
Want to add more mindfulness to your day? Listen to Maxwell’s advice in his own words.
Give Yourself the Gift of (Quiet) Time
Ryan is a self-described night owl, but he gets up at 6:30 every morning. “It’s hard for me to go to bed early,” he says. “I focused on that a lot in the last year and a half.” The result of all that hard work: three full hours of time for himself before work begins. He starts his day with a cup of tea and some quiet reflection at the meditation altar in his bedroom. (Staring at the wall for a few minutes totally counts, too.) In the mornings, Ryan likes Yogi Honey Chai Turmeric Vitality tea, which has a spicy-sweet flavor accented by earthy turmeric.
Move Your Body
After meditating, Ryan moves to the living room for his morning yoga practice. “That’s an important part of my wellness routine,” he says. “Stretching your muscles is as important as working them. And yoga is a major stress reliever.” After yoga, he’ll read and take a look at his schedule to plan the day ahead. When it’s time to go to work, Ryan keeps his body moving by walking or biking to the office.
Skip the Takeout Tonight
Cooking dinner keeps Ryan connected to both himself and his home, an idea that goes back to Apartment Therapy’s beginnings as a design service. “When I started working with clients, I found that people who don’t cook that often, their homes fell into disarray,” he says. “If your home is just a crash pad where you watch TV, get takeout, and go to sleep, it’s hard to make it a mindful space. Cooking helps you feel more grounded and mindful in your space — and you eat better!” Plus, while waiting for water to boil or the oven to preheat, Ryan will often clean out the fridge or water the plants. “Cooking gives you the presence of mind to take care of your home.”
Power Down Before Bed
When it’s time for bed (hopefully not too late!), Ryan has a routine that helps him get a good night’s rest. “I don’t have a lot of time in the evening,” he says. “So it’s important for me to be able to get to sleep quickly.” First, he makes sure to clear up after dinner: “I’m a big proponent of keeping your home uncluttered. If you see clutter, you won’t be relaxed.” Then he takes a hot shower and meditates for 10 minutes. When it’s time to get in bed, he brings along a cup of Yogi Elderberry Lemon Balm Immune + Stress tea, with bright, calming lemon balm and Ashwagandha, an Ayurvedic adaptogenic herb traditionally used to support immune health and stress response. Not only is it a comforting evening drink, but it also helps him start the next day hydrated.