Mornings are a tough time for many people. It can be a struggle to crawl out of bed and get started with your day, especially if you haven’t gotten enough sleep (like many college students!) Although different things work for different people, here are some of the activities that help me get a productive start on my day.
- Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Let’s talk benefits! Modern research has concluded that practicing mindfulness meditation can reduce pain, improve quality of life, and even decrease symptoms of depression in people suffering from chronic pain. Researchers have also found that meditation can help improve the immune response—every–day meditation has been shown to increase T–cell activity in patients with HIV or breast cancer. Most importantly, mindfulness has been connected to increased self–acceptance, enhanced interpersonal relationships, and improved patience.
Incorporating some type of mindfulness practice to kickstart your day helps keep you grounded and positively influences how you respond to challenges throughout the day.
- Set Intentions and Affirmations
This task is commonly overlooked, but it’s extremely important for those seeking to boost productivity and start the day in an organized way. Furthermore, in setting intentions for yourself, you delineate your goals for the day in your mind, which can clarify what you want to accomplish—essentially, affirmations help set a purposeful mood for the day.
However, it’s important to note that positive affirmations aren’t magic; you need to practice them regularly in order to see lasting, long–term changes.
- Drink Water
Drinking water is extremely important! Your body is 60% water, so it’s clear that it’s essential for proper functioning. Water is integral for nutrient transportation, thermoregulation, and organ health, among numerous other benefits! It also helps speed up your metabolism, improve your mental performance, and improve skin health. Studies have shown that adults generally wake up dehydrated, so drinking water first thing in the morning helps rehydrate the body.
- Don’t Use Your Phone!
I know it’s hard, but it’s not impossible. If you start your day scrolling through social media or responding to texts, it can lessen your productivity and happiness levels. By looking at your missed notifications, you shift your mindset to the past instead of looking forward to the new day. Furthermore, starting the day with a bombardment of news increases stress and interferes with your ability to prioritize your goals. While it may seem hard at first, it’s extremely worthwhile to break this bad habit—no one likes waking up only to feel like they’ve somehow “missed out” while they were asleep
To give you more motivation to cut this habit, research has shown that prolonged use of smartphones can be detrimental to your physical health over time.
- Make a To–Do List
Though they’re similar, making a to–do list is different from setting intentions. To make a to–do list, write all the tasks you intend to accomplish during the day, either on a piece of paper or something like a digital diary. To–do lists have been linked to increased productivity, organization, and mental clarity, which make them an effective method to start the day.
- Make Your Bed
Making your bed, which may appear to be a mundane and useless task, actually impacts your day a lot more than you would expect. Having a tidy bed encourages you to keep the rest of your room tidy and has been linked to increased productivity.
The understated importance of making your bed is best exemplified by a quote by Admiral William McRaven: “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another… By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”
Additionally, making your bed lowers stress and improves your mood. A made bed instantly makes the room look organized, creating a peaceful ambiance that encourages you to be more productive.
These activities don’t need to occur in any specific order, and you don’t even need to do all six things on the list. What’s important is to incorporate what you can into your own routine and find which activities are most effective for you.