I know I’m not the only one who scrolls through countless TikToks of perfect morning and nighttime routines—these people seem to do a million things before the sun even comes up or have never accidentally binged Netflix until way past their bedtime. The aspirational morning and nighttime routine content can get overwhelming, and I often find myself wondering if I’m really supposed to do all of that to care for myself at the beginning or end of my day. The simple answer is no. A morning and night routine should cater to what makes you feel good and ready to start or end your day. Finding a routine that works for you is all about experimenting—that’s what’s so great about your routine; it’s yours. If you’re not sure how to craft a morning or night routine for you, don’t worry. We’ve got some ideas to get you started.
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Must-haves for your morning routine:
Your morning routine should be all about starting fresh. We all know how important it is to start your day off on a good note, but how do you do that exactly? Below are six basic ideas, but the important part is to tailor them to whatever feels best for you.
Prep your skin for the day
As simple as it is, splashing water on your face really does help wake you up and improves your focus. If you have more time to go through a longer skincare routine in the morning, it’s a great way to follow a set routine every day. And whether you’ve just splashed cold water or you have a 10-step routine, don’t forget to top it all off with SPF before you head out the door.
Indulge in a morning beverage (and hydrate)
Coffee, tea, water, kombucha—oh my! The options are really endless, and whether or not you’re the type of person who relies on caffeine to get going, find a set drink you really love and focus on perfecting that perfect cup. No matter your drink of choice, don’t forget to hydrate!
Give yourself some buffer time
Take some extra time in the morning to really wake up. Whether you have an extra 60 seconds or 30 minutes, allow yourself the time so you’re not rushing to work. Write out your tasks for the day, read a couple of pages from a book, unload the dishwasher, or take a few breaths to calm yourself down.
Plan out a nutrient-dense breakfast
We know it’s hard to make time for breakfast, but skipping a meal in the AM can lead to low energy levels later in the day. Try planning and prepping your breakfast the night before if you have a tough morning (overnight oats?) or schedule time into your morning to DIY some avocado toast or a breakfast sandwich you can take on the go if you need.
Moving the body helps you fully wake up and get energized for your day. If you can’t fit in a full workout, a 10-minute walk or going through a few yoga poses is guaranteed to start your day off right. Even stretching for 30 seconds can help the body wake up and feel refreshed.
Pick a morning affirmation
Often overlooked, this one might be the easiest to incorporate. When you’re brushing your teeth or putting on your makeup, don’t forget to affirm some positive energy into your day. Pick an intention for the day or think of how you want to feel, and then remind yourself of that intention throughout the day.
Must-haves for your nighttime routine:
No surprise, your night routine should be the opposite of your morning routine. The goal here is to wind down, but know what you want to get out of it specifically. PS: Extra pinched for time in the evenings or feeling exhausted? Try out one suggestion each night instead of all in one day.
Prep your skin for the night
Your nighttime skincare routine should be a little different from your morning one. Ditch the daytime gels for thicker creams or overnight serums and focus on areas you’d like to pay attention to more. If you’ve got dry skin, opt for a moisture mask, or use an exfoliant like retinol if your goal is anti-aging or a brighter complexion.
Prep for the next morning
Set out your outfit for the next day the night before, wash your favorite mug, or tidy up your workspace. Also, try to take care of an easy task you’d otherwise have to do the next day: Wash the pot you set in the sink to “soak” or craft an email you’ve been meaning to send to someone. It allows you to cross something off your to-do list you may have been avoiding. Trust us, your future self will thank you.
Have a wind-down routine that helps you sleep
No matter what helps you relax, unwind, and fall asleep, find a go-to routine and stick to it. For me, nothing screams “it’s time to relax” more than diffusing oil or turning on a humidifier—something about the hum of the gentle eucalyptus- or lavender-scented steam really creates a relaxing environment to get a great night’s sleep. You can also try reading a book, doing a meditation, or taking a bath—whatever helps you get sleepy.
Put away the screens
PSA: The blue light from screens could be disrupting your sleep (not to mention how much stress you feel right before bed if you’re finishing work or the FOMO you feel if you’re scrolling through Instagram). Try reading before bed instead of using your screens until your eyes start to droop.
Practices to add to either routine:
There’s bound to be some overlap between your night routine and morning routine. Play with your scheduling a little bit and find what works for you: Does this activity work best for you at the beginning of your day, the end of your day, or maybe even both?
Take a shower
I know what you may be thinking: Well, duh, I’m going to shower! But when you shower, you have no other responsibilities except for literally showering—it more than just cleans your body; it can also help clean your mind. Whether you’re someone who takes a morning or a night shower, carry that idea with you in your mind as you focus on nothing else but yourself.
In the long run, one of the best takeaways from journaling is being able to look back at different points of your life and see what kind of space you’re in. Journaling is a great practice to incorporate into your daily routine and works at any time of day.
Need to calm down for a relaxing sleep or get motivated for a busy day? Try a quick meditation. Just like journaling, it works at any time of the day. If you have more time, try a longer, self-focused meditation before bed or an early-morning flow to get you in the right mindset.
Stretching in both the morning and night is my personal favorite part of my day. It allows me to take some time with not only my body but my mind as well. In the morning, stretching is good for waking up the body, but in the evenings, stretching can help the body release tension from the day. Try it at any point to find out what works best for you.