Not a morning person? Me either, but luckily us night owls and early birds alike can achieve a happy and healthy day just by taking a look at our morning routine. The early hours of our morning set the tone for how energized and productive we’ll be, so chances are that the benefits of starting your day off right will flourish way beyond the caffeinated effects of that venti Blonde Café Americano. In fact, embracing routines can positively impact your mental health, as multiple studies have shown that habits are a key to wellness. Habits require little energy, and with them down pack, our brains can conserve its self-regulatory energy for taking on greater issues and making important decisions (Stoewen, 2017). Getting a jump start and beginning your morning with healthy habits can therefore allow you to move more efficiently throughout your day, as you expend less mental energy. So, if you’re looking to not only feel less groggy during those morning meetings but to also improve your quality of life, then look no further than at how you spend the first few hours of your day. Try these positive habits below so that you too can formulate a morning routine that has you beginning each day afresh and anew.

Rewind Time

Let’s rewind and confess that a successful morning routine actually begins the night before (with a good night’s sleep). The average adult needs 7-8 hours, and for good reason. Sleep strengthens learning, consolidates memory, and enhances emotional regulation. Tonight, we challenge you unplug from your smartphone, head to bed an hour early, and catch the recommended amount of z’s. You can thank us in the morning.

Rehydrate

Replace that early espresso with a tall glass of water, to combat the adverse effects of dehydration that often accompanies 7-8 hours of sleep. Water contributes to the maintenance of essential brain functioning, and without it, our cognitive performances become greatly impaired. Rehydrate yourself with an early glass of water as a simple way to boost cognition, and you’ll feel alert and energized to take on the rest of your day.

Clear Your Mind

Set aside enough time in the morning so that you can take 3-10 minutes for deep breathing exercises. Close your eyes, sit upright, and focus on your breathing, as a way to be present and focus on yourself, before you give yourself to the day. These quiet moments are not only calming but can also decrease any mental clutter that may prevent you from performing at your best throughout the day.

Engage in Exercise

Once your mind is clear, engage in 5-10 reps of a fitness exercise, such as air squats or push-ups. If you’d like to go for a morning run, even better, but by just engaging in short movements, you’ll get your blood circulating and be on your way to improving your mood. Exercise releases endorphins, which can boost happiness and reduce emotional stress. Exercising early in the day can add a sense of clarity to your morning that will help guide your mood well past the early hours.

Get Excited

Everyday is a gift, and as such should be treated like one. Write down one thing that you’re looking forward to that day, whether it be finally starting that cooking class, or the office getting new chairs. Little things can be exciting as well, so enjoy the anticipation. By noticing these special moments, you’re priming your mind to always focus on the positive (which is something to get excited about within itself).

As a recap:

Balancing work, school, a social life, and fitness schedule is by no means easy, but starting your day on a healthy note is a proven way to benefit you for the rest of the day. Try adding the positive habits mentioned above to your morning routine, because by changing your habits for the better, you change your life for the better.