For many of us, mornings are anything but calm.
The alarm goes off after you’ve hit the snooze button two times. You jump out of bed, pulling on clothes and sticking your toothbrush under the faucet. Within twenty minutes, you’ve gulped down some coffee, slipped on shoes, and rushed out the door to go to work.
Even if you don’t go to work in the morning, the early hours of the day often feel hectic and rushed. But mornings don’t have to be stressful. By intentionally implementing a few daily habits, you can revitalize your morning routine and start your day fresh, energized, and prepared.
We’ve gathered five of our favorite morning habits to give you a starting point—as we prepare for summer, try re-vamping your routine with a few of these healthy disciplines!
1. Choose a Healthy Breakfast
Breakfast tends to divide people into two camps—the breakfast-lovers and the breakfast-skippers. Whether or not you typically make a morning meal, eating breakfast could have benefits that influence your entire day.
According to a recent study, people who eat breakfast have decreased insulin resistance, and breakfast may even help lower people’s risk for type 2 diabetes. A morning meal can also give you a needed energy boost—if you tend to feel tired and unmotivated when you wake up, try eating a small breakfast.
Below, we’ve listed a few suggestions if you feel like you’re in a breakfast rut.
- Avocado on whole-grain toast
- Overnight oatmeal with chia seeds and nut butter
- Over-easy eggs with crispy, cooked kale
- A fruit smoothie with added greens
If you prefer not to eat in the morning, try brewing a hot cup of coffee or tea. Taking a moment to prepare a healthy food or beverage can help you begin your day with peace and intentionality, setting you up for success.
2. Get Moving
To jumpstart your morning, get moving.
Ongoing research shows that even light exercise can reduce your risk for depression, increase your memory, boost your mood, and improve your heart health. It doesn’t take much time to see these benefits, either—studies suggest that even 10 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day can drastically improve your health and fitness.
Exercising first thing in the morning has additional perks. Working out before you eat breakfast can boost fat loss, and the endorphin release can improve your mood and lower your stress for the rest of the day.
You don’t have to hit the gym at five in the morning to get the benefits of exercise. Here are a few activities that get you moving without requiring much time:
- Go for a 15-minute run or walk around your neighborhood
- Choose three exercises and complete 20 repetitions of each movement
- Spend 2-to-5 minutes stretching
Try including a little movement in your morning routine—even a few minutes of activity will get your blood moving, boost your energy levels, and increase your overall health!
3. Make a Plan
For some people, making checklists is a way of life. Each day has its own list, with sub-lists for every hour and project.
However, not all of us are “list people.” Instead of making you feel organized, planners and checkboxes could amplify your stress—if you don’t check everything off by the end of the day, you might feel discouraged and behind.
The good news is that you don’t have to write a 12-point list to organize your day. Instead of writing down everything you need to do, think of one or two goals you want to accomplish. Identifying a few tasks can help you channel your energy into the most important projects while avoiding burnout or feeling overwhelmed.
Taking time in the morning to make a brief daily plan can improve your focus and productivity. Depending on whether you love or avoid lists, try one of these tips:
- If you love lists too much: Try limiting your list to five tasks. A short list can help you set realistic goals, prioritize quality over quantity, and focus on the most important projects.
- If you never make lists: Try identifying one or two major goals for the day. Making a morning plan can help you feel productive, focused, and intentional, without being overwhelmed.
Jot down your list in a journal, planner, or sticky note. Setting intentional goals in the morning can help you avoid both aimlessness and busyness—make a plan and prepare for a productive day!
4. Check Something Off
Once you have established daily goals, take time in the morning to cross something off your list.
It doesn’t have to be something big. Sometimes, accomplishing a small chore after you wake up is enough to make you feel efficient and energized. Below, we’ve listed a few small things you could do to start your morning on a productive note.
- Make the bed
- Send an email
- Tidy your space
- Water the plants
If you want to feel extra accomplished, try checking off a difficult task early in the morning. Mark Twain said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” When you accomplish your hardest tasks first, the rest of the day will feel lighter, and you won’t keep pushing the same dreaded chore from one day’s list to the next. Whether you are putting off an intense chore or a difficult work project, “eating a frog” in the morning can help you set a productive, positive tone for the rest of the day.
5. Spend Time with God
One of the best ways to start your morning is to spend time with God.
To breathe new life into your morning routine, try dedicating time to Bible study or prayer. Reading Scripture four or more times a week has been shown to improve your spiritual and emotional health—those who dedicate time to regular study are less likely to feel bitter, lonely, or anxious, and more likely to withstand various temptations and share their faith with others.
While there is no right time to pray or study Scripture, a morning quiet time can help you start the day centered in His truth and love. Additionally, if you have a family, morning might be the only time during the day when you can spend alone time with God.
If you feel stuck or uninspired in your daily devotional time, try starting a prayer journal, working through a Bible study, or joining a morning study group.
- Start a prayer journal: Prayer doesn’t have to involve talking. If you find it hard to focus on prayer in the morning, try writing down prayers in a journal. The act of physically writing out your prayers, even in bullet point form, can help you concentrate and order your thoughts before the Lord. Prayer journals also provide a kind of spiritual history—when you look back through them, you can see evidence of God’s faithfulness in your life.
- Go through a Bible study: Whether you are a new or veteran Christian, the Bible can be intimidating—it’s often difficult to know where to begin. If you are searching for more direction in your quiet time, try working through a Bible study. With daily lessons and in-depth questions, a good study will make Scripture more accessible and help you get the most out of your study time.
- Join a morning study group: There’s nothing like studying Scripture with other committed believers. For Christian community, guided discussions, and additional accountability, try joining a morning Bible study group. Ask your church if they have any morning groups, and if they don’t, prayerfully consider starting your own. With the right tools and training, anyone can lead a welcoming and effective Bible study.
Mornings don’t have to be the worst part of your day. This summer, reclaim your mornings and begin each day with clarity, peace, and purpose.
How do you include God in your morning routine? Let us know in the comments below!