Often, a college student’s morning routine consists of waking up five minutes before class, throwing on yesterday’s jeans and grabbing a coffee from the dining hall on the way. It’s often rushed and isn’t much of a morning routine at all. Maybe you alternate the jeans with last week’s sweatpants and swap out the coffee for an orange juice to spice it up, but there are plenty of ways to ensure better self-care without exerting too much effort. Just know you may sadly lose an extra five minutes of sleep; however, any of the following additions to your morning routine will hopefully be beneficial.
1. Eat breakfast
For a busy college student always on the go, finding time to eat breakfast is usually a hindrance. Who has the time to sit down in a dining hall or assemble their own breakfast before 8 a.m. chemistry lab? If you’re someone who can’t imagine creating an avocado toast masterpiece, don’t worry! There are a number of fast and healthy breakfast combinations you can try. The important thing is that you eat something in the morning.
Marisa Pieper, a student at Arizona State University, says, “For me, I have to eat breakfast. Eating breakfast jump starts my day and makes my brain up for class or work! Something as simple as toast with peanut butter or yogurt and granola really helps me start my day off right.”
In case you’re not a breakfast person, remember that eating a simple protein bar or a piece of fruit can prevent your stomach from rumbling in the middle of an exam or your hand reaching for sweets later in the morning. Eating breakfast can also keep your digestive system regulated, especially during your least favorite time of the month.
2. Drink water
Staying hydrated is something many college students forget to do. During a long day of stressful classes and busy activities, we often forget to nourish ourselves with what our bodies crave most: water. Sometimes, we’re not even aware of our dehydration, despite experiencing symptoms like headaches and fatigue.
Hannah Harshe, a sophomore at the University of Michigan, incorporates water into her routine before any other beverage consumption.
“I drink a full glass of water before I have my coffee each morning,” she says. “I fill up a cup before bed, so I can chug it right when I wake up.”
Keeping a water bottle next to your alarm is a great way to remember to drink up. You don’t even need to get out of bed (as long as you remembered to fill it!). Don’t forget to bring that water bottle with you to rehydrate later on in the day!
Related: 11 Ways to Have an Awesome Morning
3. Make your bed
When you’re in a rush to an early class, the last thing on your mind is having a neat bed. One of the perks of college is having some freedom from your parents. If your mom isn’t around to nag you about the unmade bed, why make it? Having the covers thrown back already makes an afternoon nap all the more inviting. However, Kayleen Parra-Padron, a senior at Florida International University, believes making her bed sets up a successful day.
“I need to have my bed made if I plan on getting anything done in the morning,” she explains. “I feel like making my bed is the first task I have to tackle every day, so once I tackle that, everything else should be easier. At the end of a long day, coming back to a comfy, well-made bed is the best feeling ever!”
If you’re the type of person who hits the snooze button too many times, taking the initiative to make your bed every day might help you wake up more. That way, you’ll have more time in the morning and will be less likely to skip class from sleeping in.
4. Engage in some mental self-care
Your morning routine doesn’t just have to focus on your physical well-being. Taking a few minutes to care for your mental health is just as important because having a negative mindset can ruin your entire day. A big exam or presentation can fill your thoughts, so it’s crucial to set aside some time just for yourself.
Lia Faticia, a junior at Penn State University, recommends doing some sort of meaningful devotional.
“I always do a devotional, or a five-minute journal-type ritual. It just sets up my day with at least one goal and is also time to meditate before I get out of bed to reflect on my day ahead,” she says. “[It’s] always a nice way to start the day positively!”
You can definitely experiment with a range of devotional options, too. From mindful meditation to mirror pep talks, you can try a different method of mental self-care every day until you find the one that suits you best.
If you’ve never tried journaling before, you’ve been missing out on an opportunity to dump out your emotions and thoughts in a place no one will ever see. It’s more satisfying than you might think. Writing as part of your morning routine can take a plethora of forms—composing poetry, recording dreams, creating goals. You can even mix it up each day and try something new.
Melina Walling, a sophomore at Stanford University, tries to respond to a writing prompt every morning.
“I’ve got this book filled with 300 mini writing prompts. Instead of spending five minutes watching Snapchat stories, I try to complete one entry,” she says. “I usually end up on some BuzzFeed article about hilarious historical memes, but I know writing brings me a sense of calm.”
Writing a few sentences before you head to your first class of the day can not only help you organize your thoughts but also create a positive attitude. If you’re not a fan of writing, a great alternative is reading a passage from your favorite book or some inspirational quotes.
Starting your day off the right way is more important than most of us realize as college students. We deal with enormous amounts of stress and sometimes don’t know how to handle it. By adding something healthy and positive to your morning routine, you change the entire course of your day for the better.