Mornings can sometimes be challenging, but a good morning routine can help. The first hour after waking sets the tone for the rest of your day, so using this time well is essential. The ten healthy habits described below can help you start your day right.
Ten Healthy Habits
To set the stage for a truly inspired and productive day, incorporate some or all of these ten healthy habits into your morning.
1. Don't Snooze Your Alarm
Set your alarm at a volume that will wake you up but with soothing, uplifting, encouraging, or inspiring sounds. Instead of a grating beep or abrasive buzz, begin your waking moments with a favorite song, words of an inspirational teacher, or soothing sounds from the natural world (e.g., birdsong, rain, or a rolling creek). This should reduce the temptation to hit the snooze button and encourage you to begin your day feeling nurtured and genuinely enthused.
2. But Do Snooze Your Smartphone
Don’t check your phone first thing in the morning. Your social media feeds, the news or the weather forecast, and your texts can wait.
Instead, make the first 60-90 minutes of your day a “sacred time” and “sacred space” that doesn’t include looking at your phone. Instead of mindless scrolling, you can do focused deep work of reviewing the top goals and activities you set the day before.
This exercise will maximize flow, a frame of mind when you’re fully engrossed in a task and feel heightened contentment for the activity. If you’re interested in learning more about flow state, check out this article.
While staying away from your phone may feel challenging at first, you’ll come to appreciate this screen-free time, first thing in the morning. Even 30 minutes is a good start if 60-90 feels daunting.
3. Make Your Bed
Instead of picking up your phone, make your bed. Creating order and beauty in your living space can be vital to starting your day off right. As you mindfully pull up the sheets, smooth the blankets, fluff the quilt, and place the pillows—imagine that you’re creating similar beauty and conscious order in your heart and mind. In this way, you can begin to notice how your internal and external environments mirror one another. Completing a simple task first thing in the morning is also a great way to kickstart your mind into productivity.
4. Drink Water
At a molecular level, around 60% of the human body is made of water, so staying well-hydrated is integral to maintaining your physical health and wellness. Along with keeping your organs functioning properly, water helps the body detox, maintain its ideal weight, and support a strong immune system.
So, begin your day by drinking a tall glass of water. Later, if you’d like, you can enjoy a cup of tea, coffee, or your favorite smoothie. But let water be your first gift to your body in the morning.
Journaling is another excellent activity to add to your morning routine. Whether in a Word file or a leather-bound paper journal, sit down with your journal as you’d sit down with a good friend—to speak your mind, share what’s important, and inspire one another.
There are many different ways to journal: You can record your dreams from the previous night. You can begin your day by writing down ten things you feel grateful for. You can free-write with a prompt such as “What I most want to say right now is ….” Find the way of using your journal time that feels most nourishing and uplifting.
If you’d like journal prompts to get started, check out this article of ten top prompts to improve your mental health.
6. Light Exercise
Gentle exercise is a great way to support your physical and psychological well-being. Exercise helps keep the body’s joints and organs healthy. It also generates feel-good brain chemicals (e.g., endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin) that naturally lift your mood.
A brisk walk around the block, a 15-minute bike ride, a quick yoga or tai-chi class, or a light dumbbell or kettlebell sequence are all excellent options. If you’re new to exercise, take it slow and easy and gradually build up to a 15 to 20-minute morning routine.
7. Enjoy a Healthy Breakfast
Eating a healthy breakfast is essential for providing your body with the nutrients and energy it needs to remain inspired and productive throughout the day. Rather than grabbing a donut or bagel on your way out the door—or skipping this meal entirely—sit down to enjoy a truly healthy and delicious breakfast.
Some excellent healthy breakfast options include eggs (your favorite way!), oatmeal, fresh fruit, yogurt, kefir (for probiotic benefits), or whole-grain toast spread with nut butter or avocado.
8. Mindfulness Time
Everything mentioned thus far can be done with mindfulness: with a sense of relaxed focus, natural clarity, and oneness. Rather than multitasking, you can let your awareness thoroughly pervade a single activity. Rather than thinking of the past or future, you can fully immerse in one activity and focus on the now.
It can also be wonderful to devote five or ten minutes to practicing mindfulness of breathing. Here’s how: Sit quietly in a chair or on the floor with your spine naturally upright. And now, bring your attention to the movement of your breath: the inhalations and exhalations. Notice how the breath sounds and how it feels in your body without trying to change it in any way. In this way, keep the breath in mind each time you breathe in and each time you breathe out. Just observe the breath with gentle interest, moment by moment.
If you’re interested in trying different types of meditation, check out this blog article for an intro to the top 5 types.
9. Get Fresh Air
Whether opening the windows in your house or apartment, stepping out onto your balcony or porch, wandering in your backyard, or going for a walk around the block, find a way to get some fresh air first thing in the morning. Not only will this help you wake up, but it will also keep your lungs happy and healthy.
10. Plan Your Next Day's Schedule
A great way to support an inspiring and productive day is to plan your schedule consciously. Know what your planned work, social, recreational, and family activities are ahead of time. It’s also important to know when there’s free time during your day when you can do a spontaneous activity or even rest. You can easily move through your day by being intentional in your plans and visualizing the places and people you intend to interact with.
Healthy Habits to Start Your Day the Right Way
Improve the quality of your life and enhance your mornings by trying these ten healthy habits to start your day. Remember that it takes about three weeks to learn and fully establish a new routine, so do your best to repeat these activities every day for at least 21 days to reap their full benefits.