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It Took Years to Develop, But This Founder Finally Created the Perfect Morning Routine

In our CEO Wellness series, we ask executives about their day-to-day habits to gain insight into the strategies they use to reduce stress and maintain their well-being.

Varshil Patel is the co-founder and CEO of Therapy Notebooks, which helps people learn and use evidence-based mental health tools through guided notebooks. Prior to Therapy Notebook, Varshil led product teams at Flatiron Health and Fundera.

Coffee or Tea? and what do you put in it?
Coffee of course, usually with some oat milk. However, my mother was an Ayurvedic practitioner in India and convinced me to stop by in the morning before making a cup. So now, I wait an hour before having my coffee in the morning and start my day with lemon water first thing in the morning. That way, my stomach gets some prep before my coffee ritual (you know, coffee can be a little harsh on an empty stomach) plus, I’m properly hydrated at the start of the day.

What’s your go-to breakfast?
Oatmeal. Sometimes hot oatmeal that I make in the morning, but usually overnight oats that I prepare the night before—my favorite toppings are bananas, berries, almonds, and peanut butter.

Tell us about your workout routine.
I work out five days a week and my workouts are a mix of easy runs, hard runs and strength training. My key is to exercise consistently with friends at least twice a week. It’s this great mix of responsibility and fun: I commit to watching that friend on a workout and enjoy myself more. For my weekly speed workouts, I actually go to the Brooklyn Track Club on Tuesday evenings and run with 50 to 100 people.

How many hours do you sleep on a typical night?
I learned (the hard way) that sleep is vital to my overall well-being, so I’m constantly trying to get better at my sleep routine and aim to get seven hours a night. I’m still a work in progress on that front.

How do you de-stress?
My go-to tools for combating stress are stillness, movement, and connection. I start my mornings with alone time, which includes at least 15 minutes of writing. Then my partner and I go for a walk around the neighborhood to meet and reconnect with each other. This morning routine has taken years to develop and has really improved my ability to manage stress on a daily basis. I also lean on these tools when I’m overwhelmed: I’ll go for a quick run, head to a nearby cafe with a magazine, or talk to a loved one. I feel especially grateful for the community of friends who live nearby that I can lean on—their care and support sustains me through difficult times.

By your phone, what’s your average daily screen time over the past week?
3 hours 32 minutes.

Which app do you use the most?
Instagram. I’m usually watching some combination of cooking, tennis, and running content (mixed with memes, of course).

When was the last time you took a day off? What have you done?
About a month ago, my partner and I drove from Brooklyn to the Hudson Valley for a 3 day vacation. This has become an annual tradition for us every winter. We usually do not make specific plans or reservations. We choose one of the Hudson Valley towns to explore and naturally take the days off from there. Our favorite spot on this past trip was Lagusta’s Luscious Cafe in New Paltz – great coffee and food, as well as a perfect place to spend an afternoon reading and chatting.

What is your company doing to prioritize employee welfare?

At Therapy Notebooks, we believe in human-first collaboration. It means embracing compassion in our day-to-day interactions to encourage openness, vulnerability, and authenticity at work. I think there’s great power in the ability to feel like you might mess up—and that’s okay. You may have had a tough day and being honest with your colleagues builds a collective sense of security – and feeling psychologically safe is fundamental to lasting well-being at work.

What’s your favorite treat?
Cookie dough, especially from briquette pastry. (I have a huge sweet tooth!)

Show us a picture of your happy place.

Courtesy of Varshil Patel

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