I Tried Oprah's Morning Routine & Feel So Freaking Zen
You've been there before: You're scrolling through your Instagram feed when you see your favorite celeb post about their favorite new product — a face serum, vitamins that will make your skin brighter, or a specialty food service. You can't help but want to be like the stars, but are the products worth it? In Elite Daily's new series, I Tried, we put it all to the test. We're trying those products as well as celebrities' health and wellness tips, recipes, and life hacks. We'll do the leg work and tell you what living like your fave star is really like.
My morning routine is — to say the least — very meh. I work from home so, TBH, there isn't much of a routine. I wake up at about 8:45 and lie in bed until I actually have to be logged on at 9. When the clock strikes 9, I pick up my laptop and log onto work. At some point between 9 and 10 I get out of bed to brush my teeth and change into workout clothes. I told you. It's very meh. So I tried Oprah's morning routine to spice up my mornings a bit. And, oh man, did her routine deliver.
OK, well... to be fair, Oprah's far more bougie than I am. It has to be taken into account that she has a net worth of almost $3 billion, while I have about $40 in my checking account as I write this. So there are aspects of Oprah's morning routine that are just simply way too fabulous for me to recreate as someone who doesn't live in a mansion with a staff of personal trainers and thousands of trees in her backyard. That being said, I think I managed to create a regular person (read: peasant) version of Oprah's morning routine that actually manages to get the job done — and I highly recommend it.
7:10 a.m.: Wake Up And Chill
I love that Oprah doesn't just wake up at 7 a.m. like any other basic b*tch. No, according to the most recent schedule she wrote for Harper's Bazaar in 2018, which I based this article off, she wakes up at 7:10 a.m. I connect to that move on a visceral level because I hate waking up at any time on the hour. I'd always prefer to give myself at least a few minutes of extra shut eye. So, right off the bat, I'm down with Oprah's routine.
And I haven't even hit the best part yet. Yes, Oprah wakes up at 7:10, but she doesn't actually get up until 8.
Instead, Oprah spends almost an hour just soaking up nature. "This morning, when I hit the blackout shades just after seven, the light was casting its golden glow over the green lawn, with the clouds and ocean in the distance," Oprah wrote for Harper's Bazaar. "I watched three geese fly over the backyard and land in the pond. I hadn’t even had a sip of coffee, but it was already a perfect day."
OK, so I live in a tiny apartment in Manhattan and, unfortunately, only see a brick wall when I open my blinds, so I had to makeshift here. The closest I could get to watching "geese fly" was turning on Our Planet on Netflix. Close enough, right?
It wasn't exactly like watching geese fly, and if I'm being totally honest, I dozed off a few times while I was watching. But, it definitely helped me start my day off with an appreciation for nature.
That being said, I would rather either sleep the extra 50 minutes or just wake up and get out of bed. The chilling for 50 minutes is probably the one part of Oprah's schedule I'd axe.
8 a.m.: Brush My Teeth
At 8 in the morning, Oprah finally stops gazing at the geese in her backyard to go brush her teeth. So, I got up to brush my teeth at that time. I usually rush through this process, but I felt like rushing on anything would be very un-Oprah so I tried to take my time, sweet time.
It was a little boring, but I'm sure my dentist will thank me later. (Shoutout to Dr. Viccino!)
Even Oprah says she makes her dogs wait while she takes care of her pearly whites. "First thing in the morning, I brush my teeth and take the dogs out," Oprah wrote. "There are five of them and everybody’s ready to get out, but I make them wait while I brush my teeth." Preach, sister.
8:10 a.m.: Walk My Cousin To The Subway
When Oprah's done brushing her teeth, she takes her dogs for a walk around her backyard. I don't have a dog or a backyard, so I decided to instead walk my cousin, Nilou, to the subway around the corner.
I swear this photo was her idea:
She's staying with me while she's in between apartments and just so happens to leave for work every day around 8:15, so it worked out perfectly with my Oprah schedule.
On Thursday night, I wound up spending the night at my boyfriend Brian's place, so I decided to walk him to the subway as my replacement for Oprah's dog walk.
I know walking human beings to a subway in one of the busiest cities in the world doesn't really compare to walking your adorable dogs around your gigantic backyard, but I really did love the morning strolls. I also loved the bonus hang time with two of my favorite humans. Definitely a part of Oprah's schedule I'd keep.
8:20 a.m.: Read Some Inspiring Quotes While I Wait For My Coffee
At about 8:20, after I dropped Nilou or Brian off at their subway stations, I moseyed on over to Starbucks to get a coffee.
Oprah brews her own favorite coffee every morning after she walks her dogs, but I don't usually drink coffee, so I honestly didn't even know how to go about doing that. Plus, there's a Starbucks on, like, every block. So I went for a grande dirty chai with coconut milk. One day, I cheated and got iced tea. Shh, don't tell Oprah.
As I waited for the barista to prepare my coffee (or tea, that one time), I read five inspirational quotes. My favorite all week was one from Alice Walker that read, "Look closely at the present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming."
Why the inspirational quotes, you ask? Well, because Oprah reads five inspirational quotes every morning while she waits her coffee to brew, duh. Oprah specifically reads quotes out of a box called "365 Gathered Truths." It's filled with 365 cards that have different life truths on them and it costs $96. Oprah reads five cards a day and says it's "a beautiful way to start the day" and, trust me, I believe her. But I'm also not a billionaire, so I just downloaded a free motivational quote app on my phone. It's called Daily Quote and it's not great, but it gets the job done.
I actually noticed that reading the quotes opened my eyes to other motivational quotes that I never noticed before. For example, I pass by a Madewell ad every time I walk home from Brian's place, but I didn't notice its inspirational message until I started living like Oprah. It reads: "Good intuition starts with a great ability to listen."
8:30 a.m.: Read My Sufi Inspo For The Day
In addition to her Daily Truths, around 8:30 a.m., Oprah reads her daily email from “Bowl of Saki” on her phone. This was something I could actually afford because, well, it's free.
So, I signed up and started receiving morning emails that looked like this:
That's how it works. You get a quote and then there's commentary unpacking the quote. I actually really loved these emails and will definitely not be ending my subscription.
8:40 a.m.: Meditate
After reading her Bowl of Saki email, Oprah meditates for 20 minutes. The problem is Oprah's meditation locations are extremely unrelatable. No, seriously. Read this excerpt from the piece she wrote for Harper's Bazaar:
I observed 20 minutes of silence sitting in my breakfast chair. If it were warmer, I would go outside. My house is surrounded by more than 3,000 trees; it feels like I live in a park. When I want to meditate, I can go to a special rock that’s carved into the shape of a seat. Or I can sit underneath the 12 live oak trees that I call 'the Apostles.'
I don't have a dozen live oak trees, a breakfast chair, or a special rock to meditate on. So, I opted for my bed. I opened my blinds and reflected on my Sufi quote of the day as I stared at my gorgeous metropolitan view — another brick building about two feet away from me.
Actually, on Wednesday, the guy in the window directly in front of me noticed me staring and closed his blinds because I'm pretty sure he was creeped out. He has not opened his blinds since.
On Friday, when I didn't have to be logged on for work right at 9, I tried going to a park with a quiet zone to do my meditation.
I pass by this park every time I walk home from Brian's and I even used to live a block away from it, but I've never actually sat inside of it. I must say, I prefer running the risk of scaring my neighbor by staring out of my bedroom window.
The quiet park is nice in theory, but the fact of the matter is it's still a quiet park in Manhattan, which means my meditation was interrupted by sirens, cars honking, and a man discreetly peeing about three feet away from my park bench.
9 a.m.: Work Out
I had to skip this final part of Oprah's morning routine from Monday to Thursday because I usually have to start work at 9 those days, but on Friday, I decided to give it a whirl and book a morning barre class on my ClassPass.
Obviously, Oprah doesn't go to FlyWheel. Oprah instead has "two, sometimes three, people" come over to her place to help her with resistance training. Then, she goes for a 30-minute run around her backyard.
Walking to the 9:30 barre class after meditating in the quiet park was the closest to her routine that I could get. I had to swap the cardio and the stretching around, but I walked 30 minutes from the quiet park all the way up to the barre studio (I have bad knees so can't run). Then, I did my barre class, which is essentially a bunch of stretching and resistance training. I feel like Oprah would be proud.
All in all, my conclusion would be that Oprah's morning routine is truly too bougie for any normal human being who wouldn't be eligible for an episode of VH1's Fabulous Life Of to exactly recreate.
That being said, I think I did a pretty solid job of getting as close to her routine as any struggling writer in Manhattan really could. And I actually think I'm going to keep up with it a bit.
Well... I won't keep walking Nilou to the subway in the mornings, and I might save the 50 minutes of staring into nature for when I have an actual home with a view. However, I will say I love the focus Oprah puts on her soul in her morning routine.
I focus on a lot of things throughout the day and I really feel like my soul is pretty much at the bottom of the list. I wake up and my goal is just to make it through my to-do list for the day.
Oprah wakes up and devotes a solid two hours to giving herself inspo for being a better person and I loved that aspect of her routine. Especially the meditation part. I don't meditate unless it's before bed when I'm trying to ween myself off of Advil PM. And even then, I just listen to Matthew McConaughey tell a story on my Calm app... which I don't even really think can actually be considered meditation.
I loved spending the week devoting 20 minutes to sitting there doing nothing but reflecting on a beautiful quote I'd just read.
So, yeah. I think I'll keep with the meditation. I'm sorry in advance to my neighbor who now most definitely thinks I just love to sit and watch him get ready in the mornings.