Starting your day can be a drag, especially when you aren’t doing it the right way. In an effort to catch up on as much sleep as possible while still ensuring that you arrive to work on time, it’s easy to skip the most important parts of waking yourself up: invigorating your body and mind and preparing for the long day ahead so that you can be the best you that you can possibly be.
When you’re just jumping out of bed, throwing on your clothes and makeup and running out the door, you’re most likely left with droopy eyes, a rumbling stomach and dragging feet, which all come together to create a grumpy, virtual zombie. You could make it through the day as such, but wouldn’t you rather be fresh-faced and energized?
It’s not difficult. There are ways to be ready to take on the world, things that just shouldn’t ever be skipped. You might forfeit a teeny bit of sleep in the mornings, but the revitalizing results of preparing for your day the right way are definitely worth it.
1. Wake up energized
We can all probably agree on the fact that waking up to an alarm that sounds like a fire alarm is not pleasant or refreshing. Instead, try creating a pump-up playlist of your favorite songs to use as your alarm. If you set it on shuffle, you’ll wake up to a new song every day and you’ll have a great mix to get ready to. Hairbrush singing, sock dancing and all!
Once you’re up and at it, open those blinds and let the sunshine in! Seeing the sun will alert your brain that it’s time to wake up and start the day!
2. Make some time for a workout or yoga session
When you’re up before the sun on a workday, exercising is probably the last thing you want to do before heading into the office, but it’s in your best interest to push through that feeling of laziness and hit the pavement!
Reilly Tuccinard, a junior at the University of South Carolina, makes time for the gym first thing when she wakes up. “I usually feel exhausted and unmotivated, but after I finish a morning workout, I am so ready to start my day,” she says. “It’s the best way for me to get focused and excited for my busy schedule—especially since I know that my workout is done and I don’t need to worry about it for the rest of the day.”
Rachel Crocetti, an alum of Hofstra University and a producer at InStyle.com, takes her dog for a walk around her neighborhood in the mornings. “I avoid listening to music while walking her so I can say hi to neighbors. It always puts me in a great mindset for the day when I have a great morning walk!” she says.
If you can’t make it to the gym in the morning or don’t have time for a walk around your neighborhood, a good stretch routine or yoga session can help to loosen you up and be ready for the day ahead, too.
3. Take care of your skin
This one is super important, especially if you’ve worked out or are going to be heading out into the sun! Exercising is going to cause you to get sweaty, obviously, and the salt in your sweat can dehydrate your skin! It’s important to wash your face and moisturize, even without a workout.
Em, a graduate of Siena College and a Resident Director in New York, makes sure to wash her face every morning. “I can’t start my day without doing it, but if I’m running late I have to at least splash my face with cold water,” she says. “Otherwise, I feel really groggy.”
“I also feel incomplete if I don’t wear sunscreen on my face or neck. I’m making more of an effort to apply it on my arms and legs, too,” Em adds. Sun exposure, even without sunburn, can lead to skin cancer in the future. UVB rays penetrate the epidermis (the first layer of skin) and cause permanent genetic damage that can lead to skin cancer. UVA rays can penetrate even deeper into the skin, and cause lasting damage that leads to wrinkles, sagging and pronounced spider veins.
4. Make sure you hydrate
One of the first things everybody should do upon waking up in the morning is hydrate. Proper hydration has countless benefits for your body. It keeps your metabolism up, and it’ll make sure your brain doesn’t make you think you’re hungry when you’re really only thirsty. Drinking enough water aids in the transformation of energy, which will keep you awake and in action instead of feeling sleepy. It also helps to build and maintain your muscles and aids your digestion.
Lizzy Peper, a marketing coordinator and graduate of Marist College, chooses hot water with apple cider vinegar and lemon to jump-start her digestive system, or iced green tea for an additional energy boost from caffeine. “They are both great to have in addition to a glass of water with breakfast, and I find they are easier to get down in the morning than just gulping only water!” she says.
Sarah Madaus, a junior at Temple University, also likes to add apple cider vinegar to her water. “It gets my metabolism revved up,” she says.
Drinking water regularly will make you feel healthier, keep you feeling fuller for longer, and make your skin glow more than you probably knew it even could.
Keeping a water bottle next to your bed or a glass on your bathroom counter, ready to be filled, is a surefire way to make sure you’ll remember to drink up! If water isn’t your favorite choice, there are tons of ways to spice it up and make it more desirable to you, including squeezing fresh fruit into it, or letting the fresh fruit soak in it overnight to infuse it with even more nutrients and flavor!
5. Eat a good breakfast
You know what they say, right? “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” so you definitely don’t want to be skipping this meal! Eating breakfast has been credited with such feats as increasing your metabolism, lowering late-night snacking rates, preventing obesity, improving your nutrition and improving your concentration.
“I always make sure I have a quality breakfast in the morning,” says Lizzy. “My job can get pretty busy so if I don’t fuel up in the morning, I’ll burn out before I get the chance to grab something for a late lunch.” She likes treating herself to a banana smoothie bowl topped with granola, oatmeal with peanut butter or cereal with fresh fruit to energize herself in the mornings.
6. Boost your self-confidence
Sometimes, the last thing you want to do is leave your home to go out to work, run errands, hit the gym, visit a friend or family member or be surrounded by society. You’re tired, you don’t feel good, you don’t look good. Whatever the reason is, there are ways to boost your mood as you get ready to leave the house!
Some have go-to mantras to repeat in times of struggle or preparation. They help to distract from whatever else is running through your mind and get you excited to take on the day:
Or, some strike a pose, take a selfie of their killer outfit, or put on their brightest lipstick to boost their self-esteem!
The wonder woman power pose is a great way to start your day, with your feet shoulder-width apart, your hands on your hips and your chin tilted up. This taking up of space that allows you to feel powerful and confident.
“I don’t really have a specific pose, but I’ll definitely check myself out in the mirror after I get dressed as a ‘Hey girl, you look great and you got this’ kind of start to my day!” says Em.
Haley Cahill, a graduate of Appalachian State University, always makes sure to put lipstick on before leaving for work. “Even on days my hair is in a ponytail, my outfit barely matches and I forgot to put on jewelry, I never leave without applying some shade of pink or red lipstick,” she says. “It makes me feel confident and put together even on the most chaotic of days.”
7. Go over affirmations
In keeping with a similar theme, you could shine a little figurative light on your morning by creating lists or reading something inspiring to affirm the good things in life and take a second to forget about the bad.
Sarah likes to read something inspiring every morning. “For me it’s religious,” she says, “but it doesn’t have to be for everyone. I also write three affirmations about myself, and three goals I have for the day.”
Autumn Dube, a senior at Emmanuel College, writes down three things she’s thankful for every morning. “Whether it is a great conversation with a friend, a new pair of boots, or an upcoming opportunity, I take about 5 minutes each morning to reflect on them,” she says. “It’s said that being able to appreciate the good things in your life will only bring more goodness your way, and I believe in this!”
8. Plan out your schedule
Finally, in order to mentally prepare for the day ahead of you and ensure that you know what you’re in for, it’s important to take a few moments to jot down your intended schedule for the day, so that you can make every effort to get all of your goals accomplished.
Kathleen Rotondo, a graduate of Siena College and software engineer at IBM, even likes to do this the night before so that she can make sure she’s up in time to get ready and go over her schedule once more. “I get up, make a cup of coffee, and write out my list of to-do’s in more detail, so I don’t stress about my crazy schedule the night before. This way, I can feel like I start my day with a grip on it,” she says.
Sarah writes a quote to inspire her every day. “It keeps me motivated every time I open my planner,” she says.
If you make time for these few things in the morning, or even throughout your day, you’ll be rocking it all day long. Now go out there and take on life, one morning at a time!