Starting (and Keeping) a Morning Routine to Start Your Day

When I was little, I was always up at the crack of dawn, starting my day by eating breakfast and watching TV while watching the sun rise through the windows. Now that I’m in college and things are much different, I’ve found it harder to wake up every day. One thing that has changed the way I wake up and get myself ready for a new day, however, is setting a morning routine. Taking the time for myself--even if it means waking up earlier instead of rushing out the door, eyes barely open--makes days much more bearable.

Through the years, my routine has changed, as all things do. Every semester is different, and there are always those days I sleep in late, but these five steps have made mornings much more enjoyable, even for a night owl like me.

  1. 1. Drink water!

    It seems like water is the cure to all of our problems. It sounds so simple, but it’s often overlooked. Drinking a cold glass of water in the morning to compensate for the water lost while sleeping jump-starts our metabolisms, increases blood circulation and thermoregulates our bodies. It may be tempting to go straight for the coffee or tea, but water is one of the best ways to feel energized in the morning even without caffeine. When plain water gets boring, I like to switch it up with lemon or cucumber to add a little more flavor. At this point, if I’m not drinking water within the first few hours I wake up, I feel dehydrated for the rest of the day.

  2. 2. Skipping the social media

    This step is difficult but necessary. It’s hard to wake up to your phone’s alarm and not check notifications and go through the whole social media routine, but we often spend way more time than we need to on social media in the mornings without even realizing it. Replacing social media with anything that doesn’t involve screens, like journaling, reading or meditation, goes a long way. Sticking to one of these or switching them around every now and then to keep things exciting can really make a difference when starting your day. Whether it takes replacing your phone alarm with a real one or simply fighting the urge to look, skipping the social media in the morning is a must to give yourself the time you deserve.

  3. 3. Eating a good, healthy breakfast

    I’m not a breakfast person at all, but eating breakfast in the morning makes a huge difference in how I feel during the day. Even if I’m not hungry, I make sure I eat or else I’ll crash midday. Keeping my metabolism in check does a lot to my hunger cues throughout the day. Filling up with fibrous and nutritious foods like oatmeal, eggs and yogurt keeps me focused during the first part of my day. In addition to this, being diligent about taking vitamins after my first meal keeps the routine going and gives me even more nutrients.

  4. 4. Spending the time to get ready

    As you can tell, my morning routine is all about feeling my best before heading out the door. My favorite part of my mornings is sitting down—not standing—to do my hair and makeup. Something about sitting down instead of standing makes me feel less rushed, and I can fully take the time to do something that makes me feel good. Experimenting with different makeup and hairstyles to know what you like and what works for you on a daily basis can speed up the process of going through all of your makeup and help you establish a routine. Even if I’m in a rush, sitting down gives me a sense of clarity and the ability to pause and enjoy pampering myself.

  5. 5. Getting things done the night before

    Nothing ruins my mornings like having a busy to-do list the minute I wake up. It’s easy to leave things to do in the morning after a long night, but mornings are supposed to be a time of clarity. If I have assignments to do, emails to catch up on and clothes to put away, my mind only feels more cluttered, and this can set off the rest of my day for good. Not only does having a cluttered mind set off my day, but having to wake up early to get simple tasks done that could be done the night before can be a drag.

Although the thought of waking up earlier than planned sounds unappealing as opposed to sleeping in a few extra minutes, taking the time for yourself--even on a busy day--can make you feel a little better.