Even if you wouldn’t call yourself a “morning person,” the wee hours before the day begins can serve as a great opportunity for self-care, wellness, creativity, reflection, and productivity. Your morning routine and what you do when you first wake up matter because how you spend your morning can set you up for success for the rest of the day. So stop scrolling through TikTok or hitting snooze, and try these 12 things right when you wake up.
FYI, you don’t need to check every item off the list every day to be considered “healthy” (no one has time for that!). The goal is to offer inspiration for you to prioritize your health, turn happiness into a routine, and make the most of your mornings—whatever that looks like to you. Use these 12 things as inspo to experiment with or adapt to your morning routine in whatever way feels best, but above all, make your mornings work for you (yes, even before 8 a.m.).
1. Drink a big glass of water
Drinking more water is one of the best things you can do for your body. Especially after sleeping all night, it’s important to rehydrate as soon as you wake up as a part of your morning routine to feel more energized. Make it a goal to drink a big glass of water in the morning right after you get out of bed (or before—no judgment). Before downing a cup of coffee, grabbing a bite to eat, or taking a shower, make it a part of your usual morning repertoire to rehydrate your body as soon as possible to avoid feeling sluggish or tired.
2. Establish a skincare routine and stick to it
So you work out, eat well, and drink water, but don’t forget to take care of your skin too. All you need is a quick routine, but if you have extra time or you love extra indulgence, put on a face mask or massage in oil while you brush your teeth. You’ll be taking care of your skin for the long term while reaping serious instant-glow benefits for the rest of the day. And remember that it’s not just the skin above your neckline that’s important. Take care of the rest of your body with hydrating body lotion or oil, and apply the same care as you would to your face on your neck and décolletage.
3. Set your alarm a few minutes earlier than you need to
If your mornings feel like a race against the clock, consider waking up a litter earlier to have a slow, calm start to your day. You might have limited control over your mornings (like an early work start time or a child to take care of), so waking up just 10-15 minutes earlier than you need to will help you feel more in control and calm throughout the entire day. Whether you spend your time meditating, indulging in a luxurious skincare routine, or simply listening to the quiet and satisfying sound of your coffee brewing, you will not miss the few extra minutes of sleep.
4. Don’t look at your phone
If the first thing you do after your alarm goes off is check your email or answer text messages, we need to talk. You’re starting your day off reacting to what others need from you instead of giving yourself time to focus on what you need. Give yourself a little time to be fully present instead of falling prey to a reactive, response mode from all of your notifications and alerts. Stay off social media, don’t check your email, and ignore text message alerts for at least 30 minutes after waking up.
5. Make your bed
Not only will it feel good to get into a made bed later at night, but it’s also important for the success of your day. Making your bed first thing every morning means one small win before you even have a cup of coffee, which subconsciously will motivate you to achieve thousands of small wins throughout the day (and you know what they say about small wins: They lead up to really big ones). Plus, Gretchen Rubin found in her research that it’s the easiest and most common daily habit you can do to boost happiness.
6. Carve out 15-30 minutes for yourself
Maybe you’re used to getting straight to work tasks or your to-do list, and you tell yourself you’ll meditate, move your body, or sit and read later in the day, but how often does that really happen? Place “me time” at the top of your to-do list instead of hoping you’ll have time later by setting aside 15-30 minutes every morning to do something just for you. Write, draw, paint, listen to your favorite playlist, practice French—whatever it is, make sure it’s something you’re excited to do. Another option is to spend a few minutes reflecting before beginning your day by journaling or meditating.
7. Connect with someone you love
We’re all about some alone time, but connecting with the people you love is a crucial part of your self-care routine too. Connecting first thing during your morning routine will give you the warm and fuzzies all day long and help you remember that the point of life is to enjoy it. Pause for a minute to pet your dog, smile at your roommate, call your mom, kiss your significant other, or write a thank you card to a coworker. All it takes is 60 seconds to check in and reconnect with the people you love most.
8. Eat (or prep) a healthy breakfast
PSA for those of you who claim to not have time for breakfast: Breakfast is a crucial opportunity to fit in more nutrients and give your body energy to get through the day. If you don’t feel like eating when you first wake up, no worries. You can always eat something later in the morning when you are hungry—just try not to skip straight to lunch altogether. Not sure what to make? Try these breakfast bowls, healthy breakfast ideas, and sweet or savory options. If your mornings are usually rushed, prep your breakfast the night before to make your morning routine a little quicker.
9. Clean one area of your home
Ugh, we get it. Who wants to do chores before a long day of work? We’re not suggesting you pull out the mop bucket or deep clean an entire room first thing in the morning (we can’t all be Monica Gellar!). You can truly make a huge impact in less than 15 minutes by putting away laundry, wiping the counters, or unloading the dishwasher. You’ll be able to enjoy your day and feel less scattered when your space is clean. Plus, you won’t be pushing off more chores to do later.
10. Prep lunch or dinner
Eating healthy requires thought and preparation. If you wait until you’re starving to think about your next meal, you’re more likely to go get fast food or heat up something from the freezer. If you only have a minute, plan what you’re going to eat for the rest of the day, much like you plan out your calendar and to-do list. It can either be a recipe based on what you’re craving or what you’re going to order from the restaurant down the road. If you have 10-20 minutes, start chopping veggies or even throw ingredients into your instant pot. It will save you time later and ensure you’re making the healthiest decisions possible.
11. Make a to-do list
It’s easy to start the day with your head swimming with everything you need to do. Stop, take a breath, and start writing. Writing everything down on paper will make it easier for you to focus on one task and feel less overwhelmed. Don’t forget to also prioritize life goals. Of course, you’ll always have to do the mundane house chores or tedious tasks, but figure out where you can outsource those items and prioritize what will get you closer to your goals first.
12. Move your body
Aside from helping you feel accomplished, adding a workout to your morning routine will help your body feel more awake, energized, and productive throughout the day. But don’t worry: If you don’t have the time (or energy) to go on a run, do a fitness class, or get to the gym before 8 a.m., you don’t need a full workout to reap the benefits. Try going on a walk to get outside, doing a quick yoga flow to move your body, or stretching to warm up your muscles. No matter what type of movement your body craves in the morning, it will help wake you up and keep you energized all day.