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How This Best-Selling Author Kickstarts Her Morning Routine

Erika De La Cruz, is a Mini-Mega Boss: Best Selling Author of Passionistas & Founder of Passion to Paycheck, lifestyle conference & community. The California State Senate has named her “The Millennial to Watch” and she has shared her journey as a first-generation Mexican American and Survivor of the 2009 American Economy Crash with publications like Forbes, Today, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur and Vogue.

Erika lost everything in the economic crash of 2009. Her family’s items were confiscated & re-sold at swap meets across California. At the same time, her mother chose voluntary homelessness and Erika was left with no choice but to figure out how to get to college and build a life that would allow her to help her family. A lot of the country is experiencing similar circumstances as COVID-19 regulations are being carefully navigated and Erika is helping to mentor thousands through doubt and uncertainty. 

Optimism and hope brought her out of her mentality of defeat and allowed her to create a life she loves: Helping bring global access to positive emotional health and personal power for women everywhere (like she was able to access when she thought her life was over.) While she has “achieved” much in her lifetime, she prides herself on working and collaborating under those from whom she can learn. “When you stop learning, you stop growing” says De La Cruz and therefore – assisting & championing The Love Academy, and having a chance to learn from Serena De Comarmond, a seasoned & international love-guru on this season of Dream Life on FYI was a no-brainer for her! 

What time do you wake up in the morning and how do you wake up?

I have no timing on my rising! I know it’s rare, but I do NOT set alarm clocks. I go to bed and wake up as I please. As a result- my rest has been so rejuvenating. *I’ve strategically arranged my schedule so that nothing pressing (including calls) occurs before 11 am, and that’s enabled my mornings to be filled with creative space and priority work that moves the needle forward.

What’s on your bedside table?

A book, definitely not a cell phone. I put my phone on a different floor entirely and don’t actually turn it on from late evening to about 10 or 11 am. It’s freeing!

Do you prepare for your mornings the night before? If so, how?

Yes, but not in the way one would assume – I prepare mentally. So, I think about what I have going the following day and who I want to be. “To Be Lists,” rather than “To-Do Lists,” take priority in my routine. Who you’re being is the engine driving everything else. 

What are your skincare/body care rituals?

I wash my face nightly, then moisturize. I love Peter Thomas Roth’s skincare line. Even though my commitment is at an all-time high before bed, I could be much better about mornings; I usually splash some water on my face after waking up and that’s kind of it!

What does your morning routine flow look like? 

My morning flow is so important to me. It typically goes like this:

  • I wake up and immediately tune into my emotional space, usually going over a few reasons to be grateful, before my eyes even open.
  • I repeat “thank you” in my head and identify the various things I’ll be doing throughout the day, identifying or cultivating excitement around what they’re providing for my life.
  • Once I get out of bed, I go directly for a glass of water! I’m a huge coffee buff, but having caffeine before putting H20 into my body isn’t really the best thing to feed it. I proudly haven’t missed a glass of water before my cup of coffee in 2 years. 
  • Then I have the cup of coffee! But I intentionally choose a mug that makes me *feel best. I also take the time to brew something great: french press, kettle coffee or espresso. I LOVE my morning cup and don’t settle for anything less than yummy.
  • Similarly, before taking any “action” for work or otherwise, I then dedicate anywhere from 10 minutes to one hour consuming positive/feel-good content. (Like the water before the coffee, feeding my mind the best fuel prior to work is one of my strongest commitments.) Gratitude journals, meditation, affirmations or listening to personal development mentors are my go-to.

When do you kick off your workday? And do you have any starting-work rituals?

After my morning routine, I’m off to the races and allow myself to open any email or begin my “priority tasks.” My ritual is usually a very brief list of the day’s most important line items. I’m careful not to list too many, because when you list the small tasks, you may instinctively start with them – and possibly end with them too. Feeling fulfilled because you crossed something off your list is great, but when you list the smallest, easiest tasks, you can fall into a trap of procrastination on the larger ones!

How does your morning routine change on the weekends?

It’s almost exactly the same, except instead of starting “work” afterward, I usually log into my Disney-Plus or open a Vogue magazine! I love enjoying my leisure activities on the weekend.

What does your mindset look like at the beginning of the day? Do you have any tips or tools for getting in a good mindset?

Yes, commit to creating a “toolbox” of mind-set resources. There are so many different ways to get into an optimistic, relaxed and positive state of mind- youtube channels, memberships, meditations, yoga, books, or journaling are all my personal favorites. Make the commitment to yourself to tend to *you* before tending to *your work.* 

What’s non-negotiable vs. what does an extra-luxurious morning look like?

Non-negotiable is my cup of coffee. I don’t know if I’d function very well without that! An extra luxurious morning is one where I’m up early. I like to take a walk to a nearby park to practice something mindset based there. I love finding myself up extra early, like the 6 am hour,  I feel like I have a competitive edge on the world and the gift of extra reflection time.

What would you like to improve with your mornings?

Hmmm, I’d say if I could wave a magic wand, a personal chef to come in and cook me some vegan breakfast after I’ve answered a few emails!

What’s your #1 recommendation to others who struggle with mornings?

Do not have obligations in your path. It sounds crazy, but you do have the power to arrange your days as you’d like, including requests to your boss to begin at 9 am versus 8 am. If you are bound to an alarm clock, then I’d say getting into a routine of waking up hours before that would help immensely. Getting to bed early so that you can wake up earlier will allow some freedom of time to create a routine that makes you feel best before beginning your day.

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