The way your morning goes generally sets the tone for the rest of your day. And when you’re about to step into a workday, you want to make sure you’re getting off on the right foot.
Creating strategic morning routines can help you boost happiness, reduce stress, and enhance your overall productivity.
So, we’ve compiled 12 habits, routines, and rituals you can incorporate into your morning to help make every day the best it can be.
Get Up a Little Extra Early
Does anyone actually like waking up early? Or do they just like being up early? Whatever way you look at it, getting up a little extra early–that is, earlier than you really need to–can be a good way to start your day with a little less stress.
Giving yourself extra time will keep you from feeling rushed, and that alone can be a game-changer for your day.
Pro tip: Not great at getting up early? Put your phone or alarm in another room so that you actually have to get out of bed to turn it off. That can help you avoid hitting “snooze.”
Make Your Bed
We’re not telling you to make your bed in the same way you were told to as a kid. We’re saying it because doing so can actually give you a sense of accomplishment at achieving something, first thing in the day.
In a video you may or may not have seen, retired Navy Admiral William H. McRaven says, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. And by the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
If you haven’t seen this video, where Admiral McRaven talks about how to change the world, it’s worth a watch to get inspired. Click here to watch it.
Wait a While to Check Your Phone
Here’s the problem with going straight to your phone in the morning: it can very easily kick-start your day with stress.
For example, seeing a ton of emails you need to respond to can immediately make you feel tense about the day to come.
Instead, take your time to wake up in a calm state.
As Julie Morgenstern, author of the book Never Check Email In the Morning, puts it, “Those requests and those interruptions and those unexpected surprises and those reminders and problems are endless … there is very little that cannot wait a minimum of 59 minutes
Eat a Simple Breakfast
As they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But that doesn’t mean it has to be the most elaborate.
If you find it stressful to cook a big breakfast in the morning, don’t bother. Instead, make something simple and healthy, like oatmeal with fruit, or a smoothie packed with fruit, veggies, and protein powder.
Get Some Exercise or Meditate
Whether it’s going for a run, hitting the gym, or simply having a stretch, getting a bit of exercise in the morning is a great way to kick-start the day.
Exercise releases endorphins, the “feel-good chemical,” so you can actually get a boost of positivity, first thing in the day.
If you’re not into exercising physically, you can also meditate or practice mindfulness for a few minutes. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry. There are a ton of apps out there. Our personal favorite is the Calm app.
When you sleep for the recommended six to eight hours, that’s a long time to go without any water consumption.
When you drink water immediately upon waking up, you’re giving yourself crucial hydration. And since the human brain is made up of 73% water, doing so helps you feel more alert. It also jump-starts your metabolism and has notable benefits for your digestion.
Feeling sluggish? Try getting outside, even for a few breaths of fresh air or a walk to get your blood pumping a bit.
Getting outside has an uncanny way of making us feel refreshed, and that’s a great way to start your day.
Write Down Your Goals + 3 Things You’re Grateful For
Let’s be honest: the workday will inevitably throw you a few curveballs and challenges. And sometimes, you can even find yourself feeling frustrated and dejected.
Here’s a simple solution for that. Start your day by writing down:
- 3 things you’re grateful for
- 3 goals for the day
Then, put that piece of paper in your pocket. When things get stressful, take a minute to review it. Remind yourself of the things that make you happy, and check-in to see how you’re progressing towards your goals.
This is a helpful way to refocus and get back on track.
Have a (Momentary) Cold Shower
You’ve probably heard people say that you should have a cold shower. And while we don’t advocate for trying to have full-on, full-length cold showers, giving yourself 30 to 60 seconds of cold water in the morning can actually be beneficial.
Doing so will help wake you up and improve your circulation. The cold and warm stimuli also constrict and dilate your blood vessels, which strengthens your immune system. Studies have also shown that cold water reduces sore muscles (like the ones you get from sitting at the office all day).
Start with Something Proactive (Rather Than Reactive)
Once you finally get to work, try starting your day with something proactive rather than reactive.
For instance, checking emails is very reactive: it involves you reacting to the requests, questions, and demands of others.
On the other hand, tackling a task or project off your to-do list is proactive.
By starting your day being proactive rather than reactive, you won’t spend the day feeling like you’re on your heels.
Try it. Trust us.
Prepare the Night Before
While this isn’t exactly a morning routine, it can help make your mornings feel more organized and less daunting.
Each night before you go to bed, take a look at your calendar for the following day as well as your to-do list.
That way, you’ll know exactly what’s on the docket so you can minimize surprises. Having a grasp on what the day has in store can help reduce stress and make your mornings more enjoyable.
Allow for Some Deviation
The reality is that you won’t stick to your routine perfectly every day, so don’t expect to. Allow for some deviation. The point isn’t to drastically overhaul your life–that never works. The goal should be to make manageable tweaks, additions, or changes to your morning that ultimately help improve the rest of your day.
Remember: not all of these things will work for everyone, and this list isn’t exhaustive, either. Try to identify and do the things that make you feel positive, optimistic, and refreshed to start the day and to hold off a little on anything that causes you stress.
Your morning routine is a very personal thing. But, when you get it right, it can cause a ripple effect of happiness, productivity, and wellbeing throughout your day.
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