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Morning Tips
Better Ways to Start Your Day

Start your day by opening curtains.
Start your day by opening curtains.

From the moment you wake up, you're building a narrative for the day. Wake up late, and you'll feel rushed, anxious and agitated. Those feelings can translate into how you treat your family, friends and co-workers. It's hard to set aside a bad beginning, and it can shape everything that happens until you go to bed. Here are some things you can do to get your mornings off to a better start.

If you have a separate bedroom, apart from a living room or home office, then keep it a place of rest. It can be stressful to wake up in the middle of the night and see things you have to do, like homework, chores, reports or other pending tasks. Those things will be waiting for you when you get up; you don't need to face them at night. Put work out of sight, so your sleep is more restful.

Go to bed 15 minutes earlier than usual. So many people wake up tired just because they didn't go to bed on time. If you're still groggy in the morning, go to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual the next night. Keep adding 15 minutes a night to your bedtime until you wake up feeling refreshed.

When you wake up, don't rush. Move through your morning routine, taking care to appreciate the new day. This is what I do so I don't forget anything.

I spent a couple of mornings making a list of everything I needed to do. I wrote down every task, from brushing my teeth to making my breakfast. Then I timed myself to figure out how long it took to do everything when I wasn't rushed. That gave me a step-by-step list of what I needed to do and how long it would take. For me, I need about 40 minutes to get everything on my list accomplished.

Then I looked at anything on my list that could be done the night before. I don't need to pick out clothes and iron anything; I lay things out before going to bed. I don't need to prep vegetables for my breakfast; I do that the night before. Anything I can take care of before I go to bed gives me that much extra time in the morning.

Now take the time you need (in my case, 40 minutes) and subtract it from when you have to leave your house for work or log on to work. If you need to go by 8:00 am, and you need 40 minutes to get ready, you have to start by 7:20 am.

If you have to be up by 7:20 am and you need 8 hours of sleep, you must be asleep by 11:20 the night before. Carry that back just a little more. If you take 30 minutes to fall asleep, you must be in bed getting ready to sleep by 10:50.

When you wake up or your alarm goes off, open your curtains or blinds and let the sunshine in. Sunlight will naturally reduce your levels of melatonin, making you less sleepy and more energized. Sunlight also raises the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which can make you calmer and improve your mood.

Turn on a morning playlist. Music can reduce stress while also getting you energized and excited. Find a station or put together a compilation of your favorite hits. Don't be afraid to throw in some dance moves.

Drink a big glass of water before you have your coffee or tea. While the pot is brewing or the water is heating, enjoy some water and hydrate. It'll allow better digestion when you eat and help you appreciate the taste of whatever caffeinated beverage you enjoy. Plus, it'll help you drink more water throughout the day.

Don't put off, reschedule or skip the things you do for your health. If you workout in the morning, jog, do yoga, meditate or stretch, consider those activities a priority. Those are the things you do to keep yourself healthy. Put off taking care of your health, and eventually you won't be able to do anything else you're supposed to.

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Updated 7/7/2021