The Best Morning Routine, Says a Women's Health Expert

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.

As a publication that explores nearly every aspect of women's health—from what's the best birth control to how to have better sex—we are in full support of any company that works hard to improve the lives of women everywhere, no matter their background, geographical location, or financial status. So when we heard about Rory, a startup that offers online consultations for women who are starting menopause (at only $15 from the comfort of your home, may I add), we knew we had to investigate. Before you start thinking, I'm way too young to be reading about this, the company shares this interesting statistic: Menopause can start as early as 35 years old. Even more concerning is the lack of knowledge many healthcare providers have on how to treat women with menopause. "When asked specific questions about vaginal dryness, a quarter of gynecologists and one-third of general health practitioners were not able to correctly answer the questions," a study shows.

But Melynda Barnes is one of the doctors who
can. She recently took a break from her medical scrubs to become the clinical director of the startup and help lead the team and recruit physicians. So what does a typical day for her look like? Let's start with a 6:30 a.m. wake-up call. Keep reading for her go-to morning routine.

6:30 a.m.

Believe it or not, I’m actually more of a night owl than a morning person. After practicing surgery full-time, I got used to waking up early so that I could make it to the operating room by 6:30 a.m. Now, the first thing that I do when I wake up is to meditate. I use the Muse headset to monitor my brain waves and meditate for 20 minutes. I then drink a glass of water and brush my teeth.

7 a.m.

Next in my morning routine, I like to do a long practice of yoga. In 2014, I went to Ubud, Bali, and practiced yoga twice a day and meditation daily for a month. After I left Bali, I continued to practice daily yoga and meditation and in 2016 became a certified yoga instructor. I tend to do yoga at home to create my own flows based on how my body feels that morning. I like to practice for 45 minutes to an hour. When it comes to yoga wear, I like to feel comfortable. I’m a proud member of Nerd Nation as an alum of Stanford. I own so much Stanford gear that most of my yoga clothes are Stanford T-shirts and Stanford tights.

8 a.m.

I like hot showers, and as the water is warming up, I spray the inside of the shower with eucalyptus oil. While the shower is getting steamy and spa-like, I wash my face. As a facial plastic surgeon, skincare is really important to me, and as evidenced by the sheer number of sunscreen bottles that I have, sunscreen is super important. It's the best anti-aging intervention, and it helps to protect your skin against skin cancer. It is a win-win all around. I really love Fresh products and use their Rose Foaming Face Wash and follow up with their Rose Hydrating Mask. I also use Neocutis Journee moisturizer with SPF. If you want the softest, smoothest legs, I highly recommend Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish followed by Eucerin Intensive Repair Lotion with alpha hydroxy acids. They are the smooth-skin dynamic duo!

8:30 a.m.

Time to get dressed and eat breakfast. Before I started as the clinical director for Rory, I used to wear scrubs and a white coat most days. Now I actually get to wear fun clothes to work! Even though I work at a startup, I still have a hard time completely dressing down. I usually wear glasses and am obsessed with Warby Parker.

9 a.m.

I’m usually half running, half walking to the train and probably don’t leave the house until 9:05 or 9:10 a.m. I take the subway into Penn Station but have found the exact position on the train where I exit on 32nd/7th Avenue and thus avoid actually walking through Penn Station. While on the train, I always read. Right now, I am reading High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove.

9:30 a.m.

I arrive at Rory headquarters. I’ll go through emails, catch up on our Slack channels, and then get ready for my first meeting.

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