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Original photo by Julia Cloppse
Wellness

Don’t Sleep on a Good Morning Routine

I definitely used to not be a morning person and/or not really have any set things I did every morning. While staying in bed and just scrolling on TikTok or Insta for sure still happens for me occasionally, my morning routine has been an absolute game changer. I would say right around when quarantine hit, so for about a year now, when I was in need of some structure and stability in my life (which I think we all were needing), I started to implement daily habits in the morning. Now, I can confidently say I go to bed at night excited for my little peaceful morning that I know I will always give myself. Yes, sometimes if I’m in a rush I may only get a couple of rituals in, but that’s better than nothing. Getting in my mood boosters first thing has just been a non-negotiable, and I totally crave it now. I know you’re all dying to hear what’s in the “secret morning routine sauce” so let’s get into it. 

Early Wake Up Time

I get up to an alarm at 7 every morning. While the time does change according to when I go to bed the night before, I love to be up early.  I’m someone that needs the full 7-9 hours or I cannot function as a human. Getting up early is almost like you have an advantage over most other people or just some time to completely devote to yourself before jumping into tasks. Plus, depending on which way your window faces you may be able to catch a beautiful sunrise. It’s the best start to the day. 

Get Up Right Away and Make Your Bed

Once you hear that alarm, don’t think twice or hit snooze, just get up and start making your bed. The most cliche advice ever, but it really does make a difference, and after a while it just becomes muscle memory to make it right away. First, who wants to look at an unmade bed all day? Secondly, it’ll give you that first rush of completing a task or doing something productive. Third, it’ll just ensure you won’t get back in or stay in. 

Let The Sunlight In!

The next thing I do, which I love, is open my blinds to just feel the sunlight. Who even needs coffee when you have Vitamin D to invigorate you bright and early? Okay, that’s a lie. But, it really does feel so good to just feel the sun on your skin and take it in for a moment. It almost is like a reminder of a new day –  a new beginning. Also, look at how beautiful my room looks with that natural light!

Stretch

Something I do every morning! Waking up sore after sleeping is, I would say almost a universal thing, but taking at least a few minutes to roll out a yoga mat and a foam roller (Amazon!!!) to try to work out the aches and pains is crucial. My mood can go from a groggy morning 5 to a 10 just from getting that soreness out. Also, I’m going to mention being “present” a lot but this one helps a lot with that. You’re not starting your day thinking about the 10 to-do’s you have on your list for later; for those few minutes, you’re purely devoted to  just trying to get the kink out of your back and that feels super calming and simple.

Hydrate Your Plants (if you have them) and Yourself

We always hear it but we really do wake up so dehydrated in the morning after a night of sleep. So, take a few minutes to either make yourself a big glass of ice water with some squeezed lemon and a reusable straw (feels very boujee) or maybe some warm water with lemon, whichever your vibe is. Either way, infusing water with lemon just makes it more fun and tasty. Hydration also applies to your plants (if you have them). Watering my plants has become this ritualistic, calming thing (like all of these things), but it’s very important to be a good plant mom first.

Meditate

I cannot recommend enough to go on Youtube and find a morning meditation to do before you start your day. Sit on your bed, in criss cross applesauce, even if it’s a 5 minute one (I usually do 10), listen to the words and breath. Meditation helps so much to just clear your mind and really give you so much positive energy and peace. It also helps to shake those stressful thoughts that you can sometimes wake up with in the morning, and meditation overall just gives you a great mindset for the rest of your day. Gratitude ones are great because they help to remind you of all the good things in your life, and we can all use that. 

Journal/Read with Coffee

I mostly do these things to avoid being on my phone the first thing in the morning. Just sit for a few minutes and write down whatever is on your mind. I call it a mind dump! In the morning, what I write usually consists of a gratitude list, some affirmations and a small entry of whatever I want to get out that day. Not only is writing out some positive words just a great mood booster, it also totally feels like someone is clearing your mind of clutter when you can just write things out. It almost is like giving yourself a clear mental slate for the day ahead. Second, read for fun, even if it’s only a few pages. It feels very calming and academic to just get into a story line or read a bit of a self help book instead of scrolling on your phone. 

Movement

Sometimes this is a short yoga flow, a little dance party, some pilates or a walk outside, but getting out endorphins in the AM really just gets things circulating and helps to kick start the self esteem for the rest of the day. After I get even a small amount of movement in, not only do I feel stronger or more “fluid”, but I truly just feel like I can accomplish anything, as dramatic as that sounds. I feel super proud that I moved my body a little, and now I’m ready to take on the rest of my day.

Hygiene

Self explanatory, but nothing quite hits like a nice shower (sometimes with a cold burst at the end to really wake me up), lathering on some cream and doing my morning skincare. Feeling squeaky clean and making sure to just go the extra mile to take extra care of myself is a non-negotiable. Plus, you smell very good!

Breakfast and Caffeine

Fuel to be productive! Another cliche, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Get a good healthy breakfast in (mine usually consists of some sort of fruit in some fashion) and your brain and body can have energy for whatever the day throws at you. “You’re not yourself when you’re hungry”. Although I do a lot in the morning, coffee is still a necessary step before I can be a functioning human, and I truly recommend La Colombe cold brew if you have not tried it yet! I put that in a little Crate and Barrel cup over some ice with a metal straw, and truly feel like a barista (got to romanticize your life).

Jump On In With a To-Do List

Time to remember that there is an actual world around you and this isn’t quite just your own personal movie. I re-enter the world from my morning euphoric state, by getting organized, getting out my laptop and writing out my to-do’s and goals. Now that I’m relatively calm, stretched out, clean, fueled and caffeinated, my day can begin :). 

laptop on desk
Original photo by Julia Cloppse

This all (or parts of it) may sound cookie cutter and cliche, but even just incorporating some things that you do for yourself everyday is huge. You’ll look forward to it, as it really is an act of self love trying to get your mind and body right for the rest of your day. The world and your instagram feed can wait for you to take some time for yourself. 

My name is Julia Cloppse, I am a third year at UVA and I'm from Staten Island, New York!
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