Each morning that dawns offers a new opportunity to take charge of the day and make it yours — if you’re a morning person, that is.
Not a morning person? Well, suffice it to say that you probably don’t sit up and stretch after waking naturally from a full night of refreshing sleep.
Instead, you might groan at your alarm and smack the snooze button a few times. When you finally drag yourself out from under your cozy duvet, you blearily wander from room to room, gulping coffee as you try to wake up, wondering how it could possibly be so late already.
But even if you’re a diehard night owl, you can learn to make your mornings more productive and refreshing.
Tips that can help you get out of bed and face the day with a little more enthusiasm.
- Set your alarm for success
Shaking off that lingering morning grogginess, or sleep inertia, may be as simple as updating your old-fashioned buzzer alarm to a more melodic tone.
Research from 2020 suggests waking up to a melodic alarm — think pop song, rhythmic instrumental tune, or natural sounds like birdsong — may help wake you gently instead of jarring you abruptly from dreamland, in other words, choosing an alarm tone you actually like may have the most benefit.
So, why not take a few moments to evaluate your phone’s alarm ringtone options and find your favorite cheerful melody? You’ll thank yourself in the morning.
- Let the light in
Natural light is a major player in your morning routine, whether you realize it or not.
Sunlight helps “wind up” your internal clock, so to speak. Facing the bright light of day first thing in the morning can help your body realize it’s time to wake up, leaving you more alert before you’ve even approached the coffeepot.
Of course, daylight doesn’t just help you wake up — natural light in the morning can leave you feeling sleepier earlier in the evening, making it easier to get to bed on time. And what better way to kick off your morning than the satisfaction of feeling well-rested?
If you have the time to venture outside before you start your day, go for it. Mornings already jam-packed? Open your curtains and window as soon as you get out of bed, and take a moment to breathe deeply and enjoy the fresh air.
- Wash your face
Splashing some cool or lukewarm water on your face can refresh tired eyes and make for an invigorating wake-up call.
It may not be strictly necessary to give your face a full wash in the morning, especially if you do a multi-step skin care routine at night or have very dry or sensitive skin.
Regardless of which camp you call into, try a gentle fingertip wash to lightly wake your senses, and feel free to skip the cleanser if you’re worried about drying out your skin.
- Eat a nutritious breakfast
Starting your day with a balanced, protein-packed breakfast doesn’t just fill your empty stomach. It also energizes you and provides fuel for the day ahead.
Breakfast isn’t an absolute must, but it can give your morning a satisfying boost — especially if you opt for ingredients like whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables, and proteins like eggs or plain yogurt.
And don’t forget to stay hydrated. A balanced breakfast can also include coffee or green or black tea, along with a glass of plain water. Try taking a mindful moment or two to savor your morning beverage of choice slowly instead of gulping it down as you rush to get ready.
- Move your body
Stretching in the morning can help ease tightness in your muscles and leave you feeling more limber and alert instead of tense and sluggish.
Morning exercise may not feel quite as instinctive as that early morning stretch, but it offers benefits, too. Physical activity can increase blood flow throughout your brain and body, energizing you and improving cardiovascular
Exercise in the morning may also boost important brain functions like decision-making, working memory, and attention. Plus, if you favor outdoor exercise, a morning workout can help you avoid afternoon and early evening heat.
- Tackle a few chores
Sure, chores may not be all that exciting. But taking care of a few simple tasks in the morning can help you start your day with a sense of productivity — a feeling that can follow you into the day and jump-start your motivation to handle other important responsibilities. Plus, you’ll thank yourself later in the day.
- Meditate or journal — or both
While meditation can offer benefits at any time of day, starting a morning meditation practice can help you clear your mind, collect your thoughts, and set a mindful intention for the day ahead.
Many people find meditation particularly helpful for decreasing stress and easing feelings of anxiety. Meditation can boost self-compassion and self-kindness, so it can make a big difference if you often find that morning worries and frustrations set a negative tone for your day.
Meditation doesn’t work for everyone, so if you don’t find it helpful, there’s no need to force it instead, you might try a daily journal: Writing for 10 or 15 minutes each morning can similarly give you space to sort through your thoughts, affirm yourself, or set a daily intention.
- Make a to-do list
You’ve got plenty of things to do each day, and somehow, a few of them always seem to slip your mind.
Jotting down essential tasks — returning overdue library books, revising your project outline, and picking up ingredients for dinner — first thing in the morning can help you keep track of everything you need to handle at home or at work.
It serves another purpose, too: It helps you prioritize your responsibilities and gives you a clearer idea of what items are better suited for tomorrow’s to-do list, keeping your workload more manageable and reducing feelings of overwhelm.
To-do lists also come with a built-in bonus. Writing down a tasks gives you a paper (or electronic) reminder, so you don’t have to keep reminding yourself to take care of it.
- Do something you enjoy
You don’t have to limit your morning routine to preparation and productivity. Setting aside some time for things you really, truly enjoy can help make mornings something to anticipate instead of dread.
Certainly, practices like meditation, yoga, and journaling can eventually become enjoyable, even if you don’t love them from the start. Still, it’s worth dedicating a portion of your morning to a hobby, something you do purely for fun.
- Connect with loved ones
When it comes to keeping in touch with friends and family, you have the best of intentions. By the end of the day, though, you’re generally so drained you can’t bear the thought of a conversation, even with your nearest and dearest. All you want to do is unwind alone to the tune of silence (or soothing music).
Sound familiar? It’s nothing to feel guilty about. Everyone needs alone time, after all, and not getting enough of it can leave you frustrated and burnt out.
Bonding with friends and family are important, too. If you’re struggling to make time for your loved ones at the end of the day, why not try a morning phone call, video chat, or visit?
Making an effort to reach out in different ways, or at different times of day, could have a positive impact on your relationships — and of course, starting your day with a phone call, cup of coffee, or morning walk with a loved one can boost feelings of connection and improve your mood.
The bottom line is that you can’t stop the morning from coming, so why not create a personalized morning routine to welcome it your way, instead? Just keep in mind that the best morning routines generally start with great night-time routines.
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