TG: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
LP: Head for my coffee maker, which I prepped the night before, and click that on switch. Even just the smell and sound of it brewing start to prime me for the day as I get going.
TG: What gives you energy?
LP:Sweat! Whether I’m feeling blah—or in other words, not feeling like banking a workout—or have a healthy amount of motivation coursing through me, moving my body in the morning always revs me up.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
LP: We are a work in progress. Although I am very much connected to my phone because of my job (checking Slack, email, Google Analytics, Instagram, etc.). I’ve developed a healthier relationship with this device. I took a lengthy social media break over the summer, and it was liberating. I suspect this will be an evolving relationship, but it’s been a gamechanger to feel more in control of how often I look at my phone. It does hang out on my nightstand charging over night, but I no longer scroll before bed: I read an actual paper book and don’t look at it again until my 5:17 a.m. chimes alarm rings.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
LP: A few weeks ago, I experienced what I would consider a personal failure. I’d made some positive changes in my life, and slowly, then quickly, veered off course and drudged up behaviors I thought I’d detached from. When this happens—and it can be a silly little slip or a big OMFG thing—I really try to give myself some grace, because as much as I like thinking/feeling that I am super woman, the truth is that I am simply human. And humans are perfectly imperfect, which is so beautiful. We get to learn and grow, and we get to begin again right this minute.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
LP: One of my favorite quotes is: “Let’s make better mistakes tomorrow.” It reminds me that we’re all doing our best, and to cut myself some slack.
TG: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do?
LP: I’m a huge fan of to-do lists…especially making checkmarks as I complete tasks. When things are bananas busy, I take it up a notch and assign tasks to different hours, half hours or even 15 minutes of my day. That helps me see that I can do it all, and ensures that I don’t overcommit to something that doesn’t deserve too much of my brainpower or time.
TG: What’s your personal warning sign that you’re depleted?
LP: It’s all in my eyes! When they are clear and bright and shining, I know I’m in a good place physically, emotionally, mentally. When they look dull, or feel itchy and twitchy, it’s a sure sign that I’m zapped and things gotta change. No surprise then that the “Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose” mantra from the TV show Friday Night Lights is my personal rallying cry!
TG: What’s a surprising way you practice mindfulness?
LP: Gratitude lists probably aren’t very surprising, but maybe you’ll think my approach is? I write one every morning—10 items long—and make sure to include things that are hard in my life or that are making me sad. Finding gratitude in the challenges I face feels really empowering, and reminds me that there is always something to be learned, even if it’s a lesson I wasn’t looking for.
TG: How do you reframe negative thinking?
LP: If I’m having any sort of minor or major physical response to a person, place, thing or thought—racing heart, tightness in chest, quivery, tearing up, clenched teeth, there are so many ways this manifests itself!—then chances are there’s a deep rooted cause that is all about me and my own ego. So I really try to attune myself to those little flags and leverage them to take deep breaths and think about the situation from a less emotional/personal point of view. Definitely easier said than done, but you get better at it with practice!
TG: What brings you optimism?
LP: My kiddos! They are 10, 10 and 6…and so resilient. In the face of all of the challenges of the past year and a half, they give me so much hope for the future.
TG: Tell us about a small change you have made in your life to improve your sleep. What did you do, how long did it take until it became effective, and how you sustain this habit?
LP: I like to take a quick shower before bed to “wash the day away.” It’s a little bit of a sleep hygiene practice where I imagine rinsing off the energy that I accumulated over the day—and yes, I know that sounds very woo woo, but trust me you absorb all sorts of good and not so good energy every day—to re-calibrate myself. The bonus is that this naturally lowers your body temperature once you’re out of the shower (or bath), which is a scientifically proven way to sleep more soundly.
TG: What’s your secret time-saver in the morning?
LP: It’s all about the night before prep: do the dishes, set out the workout outfit, prep the coffee.
TG: What have you learned about yourself during this chaotic year that you plan to implement into your life moving forward?
LP: I’m good with sharing more of the messy moments of real life. In the Before Times (pre-pandemic), I would’ve been so distressed if one of my kids pulled on my sleeve and asked for more time on Roblox in the middle of a very important presentation at work. (This happened to me during a team Zoom call with the president of my division. Ask the WH editors!) But I rolled with it. And that is a wonderful new part of our lives now…exposing/celebrating the realness of who we are and what happens behind our “work” personas. It’s been an honor to see my colleagues’ apartments, backyards, parents’ houses, puppies, children, partners…and I’m glad they’ve seen mine, too. I don’t want to lose that compassion and realness as things go more and more back to normal!
The fall season is a perfect time to kick-start your mornings, with many people getting into new routines – whether sending kids back to school or heading back to work in an office. In Liz’s new book, Own Your Morning, she takes readers on a journey to creating the healthiest, happiest morning for them. There is no one “right” way to do it, but in Own Your Morning Liz provides tons of science-backed, expert-based tips and personal anecdotes to help readers explore and experiment so that they can be the architects of their own unique morning magic, and generate the endorphins and positive energy needed to set themselves up for success for the rest of the day. Everybody’s perfect morning looks so different, and that’s what’s so fun about them! Liz gets excited and inspired by all the ways other people are making their mornings magical and sharing them on Instagram with #OwnYourMorning.
Next month, the spirit of Own Your Morning will come to life as part of the first-ever Women’s Health Breakthroughs Festival, a virtual event taking place October 17-22. Curated by the editors of Women’s Health, the program will include keynote conversations, panel discussions, workouts, workshops and more, designed to inspire positive change and personal breakthroughs. Featuring leading experts and thought leaders, Breakthroughs Festival events will be packed with insider tips and tools to help attendees kickstart their own journeys to a happier, healthier life.