The way we start our morning impacts our mood and the way the rest of our day will go. If we are rushing out the door, eating a granola bar, and have no idea how our day will go, I can guarantee this will only lead to more stress and a less organized schedule. Depending on if you have a job, how many organizations you are involved in, and how many classes you are taking, the way you start your day can greatly impact these. Not to mention, doesn’t it feel inherently more productive when you’re up early and ready to start your day? If you are more of a night owl, there’s nothing wrong with that. The only thing I would suggest is slightly adjusting how late you stay up to allow for more sleep and time for your morning routine. This may mean switching to a morning person, though you may find this feels much better in the end. These tips will get you on the right track to a productive morning routine:
1. Get up earlier
The first step is ensuring you wake up early enough to make sure you have the time for a productive morning routine. Depending on what you have planned for your morning and what time you have work and class, this time could vary. Start with whatever time you would usually get up and get up one to two hours earlier. This will allow you time to relax, get in your morning workout, and plan your day (listed below). Odds are, if you are only getting up one hour before you need to, this is not going to be enough time to get yourself awake and prepared for the day.
2. Journal and plan
If you are someone who keeps a journal, starting this in your morning routine is proven to improve your mood and help you set your intentions for the day. Journal your thoughts freely or write about what you’re grateful for. Whichever you choose, try to end it on a positive note so that you can go forward into your day free of anything that may be keeping you down or making you feel unhappy or stressed. If you do not keep a journal, you can take the time to plan out your homework for the day and any other chores you are responsible for. Setting up your plans and intentions will reduce your stress and keep you on track throughout the day. I have found it best to do this during my morning coffee or after breakfast as one of the first things I do.
Even if it makes you a little sick at the thought of eating so early, or if you just aren’t a breakfast person, it is beneficial for you to eat when you wake up. This is not only to break your fast but to reduce your cravings throughout the day and prevent yourself from feeling any nausea. You know that awkward feeling when your stomach is finally hungry and decides to announce it to the entire lecture hall? Yes, that is what we are trying to prevent. Find something you like that is light enough for you to eat early. Yogurt, toast with avocado, or scrambled eggs with sprinkle cheese have been the lightest options I go for when I am not very hungry in the morning. In time, you can train your body to eat in the morning–and even look forward to it.
How many times have your professors reminded you, you should be checking your emails at least once a day? Some even told me to check three times a day, leading to me keeping my email on an open tab at all times. No matter how many times you actually do it, the habit of checking at least once a day is a good habit to begin in college. Teachers will often email you with notifications about changes to homework and class cancellations. It’s best to check during your morning routine to ensure you won’t be receiving any curveballs that day. Besides, if a class is canceled, it is better to know before you get all the way there to an empty classroom.
Morning workouts are the best–once you actually get the energy to do them. Getting out of bed and knowing you have to go sweat your butt off in twenty minutes isn’t exactly the best feeling. However, they can be incredibly energizing and stress-relieving–the perfect way to begin your day. Besides, how many of us are guilty of skipping a workout we had planned for later in the day because of a poor grade on a test or a tiring day on-campus? Just to let you know, I’m raising my hand. It’s easy to let a bad day get in the way of working out, considering we don’t always want to do it. Although, if you get it done earlier in the day, then you will feel more accomplished and will not have to worry about it later.
6. Clean up
Spend five minutes cleaning up your room, apartment/dorm, and bathroom. Doing this once every day during your morning routine will make it less daunting than allowing the mess to pile up and become worse throughout the week. Plus, having a messy environment will only lead to more stress and possibly make you feel overwhelmed. Taking the time to do this in the morning will get it out of the way for the rest of the day, leaving you free to enjoy yourself, and not worrying about the mess you have waiting for you when you come home at night.