Welcome to Waking Up Well, a column where we hand-select people we admire and ask them to share how they start the day. We think morning routines are a crucial part of an intentional wellness journey and we’re fascinated by the practices of our favorite figures.

AmyAnn Cadwell is Founder and CEO of Vrai Media, a global lifestyle media company centered on caring for readers, whose brands include The Good Trade and this very site, Good Gear. She’s also a co-founder of Soundly, a hearing health marketplace, and an angel investor and advisor for mission-driven startups. She’s a mom, too. Here’s how she sets herself up to feel grounded and supported ahead of a busy day of directing her team and advising on projects.

6:30 am | Wake up and check metrics 📲

I wake up and review my Oura and Eight Sleep scores. I’m paying close attention to my heart rate and HRV metrics and noting what part of my cycle I’m in based on my temperature. If my recovery is trending downward or I’m deep in my luteal phase, I’ll bump around my calendar and schedule a midday yoga nidra session. If I can prioritize thirty minutes of quiet calm around lunch, I’ll feel much more supported in the second half of my day.

After my daughter Gia was born, I removed my work email and social media accounts from my phone, but I still pull up my personal Gmail to read The Daily Good newsletter each morning. Although I’ve previewed the content at earlier stages, this is my first full read-through of the day’s edition. So much planning and love goes into each newsletter and the essays we feature — it’s a delight to see it all come together! 

7:00 am | Sunshine & snuggles ☀️

By now, Gia is stirring. We snuggle and then go out to our patio to, in her words, “get sunshine in our eyes!” 

7:15 am | Savory breakfast 🍳

My husband starts prepping Gia for school, and I prepare breakfast. About a year postpartum, I started wearing a continuous glucose monitor because I was struggling with intense brain fog and fatigue, and I wanted to learn how certain foods impacted my blood sugar regulation. The learnings were transformative for my hormones, mood, body composition, and energy levels. One of the biggest insights was to focus on breakfast as the most important meal to set the tone for my day, and I feel my best after a high protein savory breakfast (check out these graphs of the impact of a sweet vs. savory breakfast on blood sugar). 

Inspired by my friend and metabolic health expert, Dr. Casey Means, I focus on the five pillars of a blood sugar-balancing breakfast she outlines in her book Good Energy. These include protein, omega-3 fats, fiber, antioxidants, and probiotics.  

Some of my favorite go-to’s for the whole fam: 

  • Soft scrambled eggs, avocado, sauteed greens and garlic 
  • Chia seed pudding with coconut yogurt, plus berries, nuts, and seeds 
  • Leftover lentils and roasted veggies with chicken sausage  

I test my biomarkers twice a year and prefer only to take supplements if I’m trying to address a specific symptom and my biomarkers show a deficiency. (I see a functional medicine doctor who orders and reviews my tests, here’s how to locate a functional practitioner in your area — alternatively,  Inside Tracker and Function Health are great platforms for getting routine labwork.)  My current rotation includes omega 3, iron, zinc, vitex, and Vitamin D. I save caffeine until I settle into my work day (it’s my desk treat!), but I don’t really need the jolt because I’m about to dip in the cold plunge. 

7:45 am | Cold plunge time! 🧊

OMG! My current protocol is 1 minute 30 seconds at 53 degrees. I don’t plunge when I’m on my period or if it’s extra cold outside. I love how I feel when I get out of the tub. A surge of energy, happiness, and alertness (hello, dopamine!) propels me into the day. 

8:00 am | Self-care🧴

Gia is headed to school drop off, and I hop in the shower and get dressed for my day. This is key podcast listening time; my favorites are This American LifeHuberman Lab, and We Can Do Hard Things

I keep makeup light and lather heavily with Osea’s body oil — one must stay hydrated! Mate the Label is one of my favorite brands for work-from-home essentials (and run by one of my dearest friends!), Nili Lotan, DÔEN, and Quince are my closest essentials if I’m headed out of the house for meetings.

I say a quick prayer and read the poem “Why I Wake Early” by Mary Oliver, which is taped to my mirror.

Whatever the day holds, may I welcome it with open arms.

Hello, sun in my face.

Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.