I Replaced My Cigarette Habit With Brain Food—Here's My New Morning Routine

What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed in the morning? A well-rounded morning routine sets the tone for the day and gets you prepped—both mentally and physically—before diving into a packed schedule filled with emails, chores, happy hours, workouts, and more. Our series Morning Person profiles those who have mastered the art of the morning routine. Tune in every Monday morning here and on our Instagram to learn exactly how the pros get it all done before the sun comes up, from their go-to breakfasts to their a.m. workouts.

How to Add Nootropics to Your Daily Routine

Photo:

Courtesy of Caroline Rasmussen

For every big change that occurs in our lives, there's typically a defining moment that prompted us to break a habit or make said change. For example, experiencing Whole30 taught me to never pick up something from the grocery store without first glancing at the nutrition label again. For Caroline Rasmussen, her moment was a bit more serious. 

When her dad was diagnosed with early onset dementia and Parkinson’s disease, Caroline was prompted to take a second look at her life. She was working on Wall Street, stressed and exhausted, and using cigarettes and coffee just to get through the day. While the news about her father's wavering health was devastating, in a way, it was a wake-up call that prompted her to overhaul her current lifestyle and prioritize her own well-being. 

Now, besides making a complete 180 by leaving Wall Street to practice herbal medicine and Reiki healing, Caroline is also the founder of a health company that focuses on brain food nootropics. Needless to say, her a.m. routine is quite different. Keep scrolling for a peek into what her typical morning looks like. 

How to Add Nootropics to Your Daily Routine

Photo:

Courtesy of Caroline Rasmussen

7 a.m.

The first thing I do is spend a few minutes still in bed orienting to what the external environment is by observing the light coming in and orienting to my inner environment—how energized or tired I feel, any dreams or recollections from the night, any residue in my mind or feelings about things that happened the day before, and any fears or desires about today. It’s a light form of samatha, or open awareness meditation, where you simply observe your environment. Doing this first thing in the morning conditions me to return to open awareness throughout the day, which helps me maintain perspective and keeps my mood stable.

7:10 a.m.

I jump in the shower and wake up with Linné’s Activate Exfoliating Body Wash, which feels like you’re in a eucalyptus cloud. 

Then, while my pores are still open, I quickly apply Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum. It’s been my go-to skincare product for years but even more so now that I’ve really cleaned up my beauty routine due to pregnancy. 

I also love the Mighty Majesty hair and body serum from Ranavat Botanics, which has a heavenly jasmine aroma.

7:30 a.m.

Time for breakfast, which can range from chia seed pudding to eggs to just fruit, based on how I’m feeling that day. Overall, I try to keep my days as go-with-the-flow as possible. It works so much better for me than the rigid routines I had in my 20s. My non-negotiables though are Amrita Anti-Aging Brain Food, which is clinically proven to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain and body, and super-hydrating Copra Raw Coconut Water, which is made with young coconuts from my native Thailand.

8 a.m.

After breakfast, I’ll have coffee or a matcha latte and check my phone for the first time to see if there are any urgent items I need to address right away. If I don't do this, it can be harder to get tuned in for my seated meditation. (The brain can't fully engage in analytical thinking and introspective thinking at the same time.) If I can, I’ll sneak in some pleasure reading before meditating.

8:45 a.m.

How to Add Nootropics to Your Daily Routine

Photo:

Courtesy of Caroline Rasmussen

Once I’m caffeinated, I do my seated meditation, 30 minutes to an hour, depending on what my schedule allows. 

I use Bios Apothecary Balancing Oil as an olfactory cue to get into a relaxed but focused state.

9:30 a.m.

Finally time to get to work! Until my daughter’s nursery takes over, I have the luxury of a proper home office, and I’m savoring every last minute of it. Most days I take Dharana Focus & Energy Brain Food to make sure I get the most out of my morning work hours. If I have a jam-packed afternoon or my energy dips after lunch, I’ll have another serving to get through the 3 p.m. slump. The mix of ginseng, Rhodiola, and mucuna pruriens keeps me motivated and productive without spiking jitters or anxiety.

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