What are your morning rituals? If you claim you don’t have any, think again. What do you do after you wake up each morning? Those are your rituals. The difference is that when you’re intentional about them, you can use the first hour of your day to improve the rest of it. Here are 10 ideas to start.
1. Stop pressing snooze.
We’ve all woken up a few minutes before the alarm goes off, only to bury our heads into our pillows to savor those final precious moments of sleep. Unfortunately, going back to bed means both lesser quality sleep and that you’ll feel more tired when you wake up again. Make a habit of never pressing snooze, perhaps by standing up and staying standing immediately after waking. Feeling brave? Buy an alarm clock without a snooze button.
2. Celebrate the day.
Stop waking up on the wrong side of the bed by starting your morning with a celebration. Just the ability to greet another day is celebration enough. An easy ritual is just forcing yourself to smile. It might feel ridiculous, but it’ll improve your mood and by extension your whole day. Want to do a little more work? Try playing your favorite song and having a mini-dance party. Or think of 3 things you’re grateful for to start the day with a sense of appreciation and peace.
3. Drink some water.
We know, the first thing you want is to reach for the coffee. But your body is incredibly dehydrated in the morning, and drinking caffeine first thing only exacerbates that. Instead, start your day with at least one cup of water for a much-needed energy kick. For best results, try a cup of warm water with lemon. Cold water will shock your body, and the lemon’s bitterness boosts your detoxification process. And if you must have coffee, strive to wait an hour before having your first cup. It’s better for you anyway!
4. Go outside.
For most of us, the hardest part of morning is the struggle to feel awake. Jump start your brain by heading outside to bask in natural sunlight. Even if it’s not a nice day, the outside air helps you both reconnect with the world and signals to your body that bedtime is over. If you really can’t bring yourself to do it, sitting at a well-lit window can have some (but not the same!) benefits too.
5. Ignore your electronics.
So many of us grab our phones as soon as we wake up to see what we missed through the night. But ignoring your electronics for the first hour of the day can be beneficial. Not only will you have a brief respite from any work emergencies, but you’ll also avoid ruining your day with depressing news. If you must check your phone, try Instagram, which tends to be full of happy people and events. But do your best to stay offline. Avoid using your phone as an alarm clock, and keep it in a different room while you’re sleeping if you can. Weaning yourself off this habit can induce FOMO, but trust us. It won’t kill you.
6. Make your bed.
Ever heard of a keystone habit? These are habits that create routines that spill over into other habits, and making your bed is one of them. Not only does making your bed each morning set the tone for an organized and clutter-free day, but it also can boost both your happiness and productivity. Plus, it’s nice to come home to at least one clean thing every night.
7. Convince yourself it’ll be a great day.
A great day starts with a great mindset, which is why we encourage you to start your day with a celebration. But you can only have a good day if you believe it’s possible – and on some mornings, that’s just plain hard. Help yourself along by using affirmations or visualization. Visualizations are great for improving goal achievement, while affirmations are better for when you’re having a tough time and need some self-soothing. Say (or see) it until you believe it.
8. Pick a big win.
What do you need to accomplish to make today a good day? Do you need to finish a proposal or spend quality time with your family? Whatever it is, deciding at the beginning of the day will help you fit it in. So each morning, pick 1-3 things you want to accomplish throughout the day. Strive to eat both personal and progressional goals, and make sure it’s something you can control the outcome of. Then, schedule your day around these priorities.
9. Pick a passion project.
If you’re thrilled with your current life, then this tip may not be for you. But too many of us wouldn’t be happy with our lives if we died tomorrow. Do you have a passion you’re not pursuing? Maybe you want to learn an instrument or start a non-profit. Try carving out time for this project within your morning ritual. You can’t pretend you don’t have time or that you got sidetracked if you do it first thing every day.
10. Take a cold shower.
While a long hot shower is one of life’s great luxuries, a short one just isn’t quite the same. But most people only have time for short showers in the morning. So why not turn the temperature down? Cold showers help you feel more awake, and are great for your body – both inside and out.