Art by Nina Walat
So you’re an early bird, huh? Maybe you really like mornings, or maybe you just are incapable of sleeping in, but either way, you’re up way before most people your age. So how can you make the most out of that time when everyone else is snoozing?
Luckily, your tendency to wake up early allows time for a productive morning routine to start your day off right. Besides basking in the magical moments so unique to mornings, you can spend the time to set yourself up for success.
What you have time for in your morning routine largely depends on how early you wake up and when you first have to go to school or work, but there are a few things that you should definitely try to incorporate: mindfulness, breakfast, and exercise.
One of the most essential parts of mindfulness in the morning is to stop checking your social media like they are the daily newspaper. While we often feel that we need to catch up on all the notifications that we’ve missed overnight first thing in the morning, it can contribute to negative feelings and consequences. Some psychiatrists are beginning to focus on this bad habit of many young people, and believe that it can lead to more stress and a less productive day.
If you want to kick this habit, stop setting your alarm on your phone, and stop keeping your phone within arm’s reach of your bed overnight. Almost any notification or update can wait until after you’ve completed your morning routine. If you just can’t seem to let go of it, at least wait to check your phone until a bit later, not when you first wake up and roll over.
Not focusing on the latest updates from Snapchat and Twitter will make it a lot easier to focus on what you have to do in the morning, and open up the opportunity to practice some meditation. Studies have shown that meditating in the morning, even for a few minutes, can strengthen your thought processes throughout the day. Some people also claim that it gives them more energy and helps them focus.
Early mornings are the perfect time to meditate because they are quieter and less hectic than a busy afternoon and evening, when you are already dealing with stress from the day. So consider adding a quick meditation to your morning routine -- you never know how it might affect your daily attitude.
Most people that skip breakfast do so because they feel as though they don’t have enough time in the morning to include it. They figure that it’s more worth it to sleep in those extra few minutes than it is to eat breakfast. As an early bird, though, you have plenty of time to include breakfast in your morning routine -- and you definitely should.
Eating breakfast gets your metabolism firing, gives you energy to make it through the day, and can help prevent you over-eating later in the day. You don’t have to have a full sit-down meal, but even a little something to eat in the morning will help you reap the benefits of breakfast. Just avoid some of the common sugary go-tos like donuts or PopTarts, which won’t give you the nutrients that you need and will likely lead to a crash later.
If you are looking for some healthy, easy breakfast options, try some of the things on this list. Many of these items are quick and simple, like greek yogurt or fruit, but will still help you kickstart your day in the right way.
Photo by Carli Jeen on Unsplash
Another great way to start your morning with more energy is to incorporate a workout into your routine. Sometimes the idea of waking up early and fitting in a workout when your eyes are still a bit bleary seems daunting, but including exercise in your morning routine will eventually form a habit and help you to stay on track with your exercise goals.
Even just a short workout in the morning helps you stay less stressed during the day and sleep better at night. Plus, getting it out of the way in the morning means that it’s one less thing you have to worry about when you get home from school or work.
A small study also showed that 65% of successful people from a sample exercise in the morning, so if you’re looking to be on the path to success, consider adding a bit of your movement to your daily morning routine.
Making the most of your morning is especially important when you wake up early enough to take the time for yourself. If you’re an early riser, make sure your morning sets you up for a productive day by incorporating some of these practices to launch into your day with more energy and less stress.
Stephanie is an undergraduate student at Washington College. She is an English major with minors in Journalism, Editing, and Publishing, and Justice, Law, and Society. When not writing, you can find her either at a concert, reading a book, or petting a cat.