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.
These 10 tips can help you get out of bed and face the day with a little more enthusiasm (or, at the very least, acceptance).
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.
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.
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.
On overcast days, turn your overhead lights on instead. You might even consider investing in a light therapy box.
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.
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.
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
Exercise in the morning
If you’re able to exercise, these tips can help you get moving in the morning:
- Take 15 minutes for a neighborhood walk or jog.
- Walk or bike to work, or get off the train or bus one stop earlier.
- Extend your dog’s regular walk by a few blocks.
- Move your yoga routine to the morning.
- Try gardening to reap plenty of mood and wellness benefits.
- Get your kids moving with an early morning stretching session or game of tag.
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.
Tips to try:
- Make your bed.
- Wash your breakfast dishes.
- Unload the dishwasher.
- Toss in a load of laundry — you can always start it later, if you’re heading out.
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.
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.
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.
You might, for example:
- play a video game
- catch up on your favorite YouTube channel
- read or listen to a book
- put on a favorite playlist
- work on a craft or art project
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 to is unwind, alone, to the tune of silence (or soothing music).
That said, bonds 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.
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 nighttime routines.
Crystal Raypole has previously worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. In particular, she’s committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues.