I Survived Cancer, and This Is the Morning Routine That Makes Me Feel Strong

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.

Whether you enjoy getting up early in the a.m. or not, we all have a morning routine. Mine may consist of hitting snooze several times (by the way, I really need to kick that habit), gulping down a large mug of coffee and running around my apartment to ensure I make it to work on time, but for Rachel Rhee, a health and wellness influencer and blogger who was diagnosed with kidney cancer last year, a morning routine is a major part of staying healthy—both mentally and physically. We're constantly inspired by how she uses mornings (while many of us are still tucked away under the covers) to work on her mind and body. Keep reading to learn more about all the rituals she does daily. 

6 a.m.

Rise and shine! I enjoy starting my mornings slow, so I have time to reflect, plan, and create before I really start tackling my to-do list. I don’t peek at my phone until around 7, so the first hour is just solely for me. Waking up at 6 though means I start my morning routine at night—so I get to bed by 10 p.m. (ideally!).

Before anything else, I read a book each morning. This ritual can range from five to 30 minutes, but I’ve been loving it because it wakes up my eyes and my brain and it gets me learning and consuming thoughtful content (as opposed to mindlessly scrolling Instagram).

6:30 a.m.

I prepare all of my beverages for the morning. Matcha or green tea is my nonnegotiable. On top of that, I pour a glass of water to drink throughout the morning, and I also make a juice or smoothie (in the warmer months).

7 a.m.

I’ll drink my matcha and start reflecting using my wellness tracker. It’s a worksheet that I created that tracks my lifestyle patterns. How much sleep am I getting? Am I meeting my nutritional needs? Am I practicing meditation? What am I grateful for? are among the questions I ask myself each day.

7:30 a.m.

Time for Tiger Lily, my rescue pup, to wake up! She sleeps in more than I do! I take her out for a 30-minute walk and that helps both of our bodies get up and moving. Usually, during this time, I start checking my email, scrolling, and doing tasks on my phone.

8 a.m.

I am back home, and since I’ve already been on my phone, this is typically when I really start my day. The computer wakes up, and I’m ready to go!