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Weekday mornings can be demanding. Specially when you have a tough day ahead. Some mornings have you drained the minute you wake up, and you find yourself rushing to your office in the clothes you slept in. Other days, you are as fresh as a daisy despite sleeping at 4 a.m. Unfortunately, the majority of us go through the former scenario on most days. Reason? We don’t know how to kickstart our days with an ample dose of nutrition, peace, and motivation.

Even science agrees that a productive morning is directly proportional to a productive day. But how to ensure productivity? Well, the first step is to calm down. Most of us have trouble taking a deep breath first thing in the morning and start our day with thoughts of our busy routine ahead, the moment our eyes fly open. We just rush to get things done immediately without a moment of contemplation. Our schedule only kicks in once we’re in the office that also in a haphazard manner. Our mornings are just a jumble of this and that without any fixed regulations or activities. This, in turn, can negatively impact our entire day.

Having a set, balanced morning routine can help. Wondering how to start your mornings to ensure you stay energetic throughout the day? Here are a few tips!

Decide your wakeup time

They say, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Most would recommend you set a routine that involves you sleeping early and waking up early too. However, it’s better to do the way it works for you. Some people are more creative as night owls while others find their energy levels up in the morning time. You should determine what works best for you and follow that. Even if your morning happens late, you can have a more productive day if that is what suits your work behavior.

Set an alarm tone that works for you

No one likes to wake up to the traditional ring of the alarm. For some, it’s too noisy and irritating. For others, it doesn’t do its job well enough. A better idea? Set a song as your alarm tune. This way, you decide which sound greets you first thing in the morning. Some people are more comfortable with calming music that wakes them up but doesn’t shout in their ears. Others prefer rock music that gets their body into the wakeup mood immediately. Set a tone that would sync with your brain’s tuning.

Dedicate 5 minutes to mindfulness

Woke up and your body is insisting you to pull the blankets up and go back to sleep? Give yourself a moment and try to open your eyes. Rest on your bed for a while once awake. When you’re ready to get up and moving, sit on your bed and just give your body a moment to adjust. Then start your day. In the moments you spend laying or sitting awake, avoid thoughts. Keep your mind clear and have a moment of silence to yourself. Experts also recommend meditation.

Take a walk, run a bit or exercise

For most people, physical activity in the morning works to boost blood circulation and get them into wakeup-and-work mode. If you are one of these people, take out some time and engage in a short exercise or run outdoors. Studies show that working out in the morning can improve one’s mood, decrease the risk of depression, and also raise one’s willpower. If you’d like a calmer physical workout, take a walk or stretch. Yoga is also a great option with its many benefits. Some people also prefer to start their day with kickboxing.

Prepare for the day a night before

Waking up to decision making can be tough and confusing. Having to deal with your email and workload as and when you wake up is also a hassle. This is why, it is a better idea to prepare your routine a night before. Make a mental to-do list of all the things you have to do the next day before heading to bed for sleep. Once in bed, shut off your brain and don’t switch it on until you are done with your morning rituals. It’s a better idea to not even check your email or your phone immediately as you open your eyes for the day.

Do little things that motivate you

Are you an artist who can start his day better by drawing a mini doodle? Or are you a book nerd, who finds inspiration in words? If so, start your day by doing what you want to, by doing something small that makes you happy, like reading a motivational quote, feeding the birds, cuddling with your partner, spending time with your family, and the like. SELF’s associate nutrition editor, Marjorie Korn, says “I try to play 5 or 10 minutes of guitar. It helps reinforce things that I’m trying to learn, and it makes me happy!”

Eat well and stay hydrated

Start your day by eating a healthy breakfast. Don’t compromise on nutrition. If cooking makes you happy, go ahead and cook. Let yourself be free in the moments when you are eating breakfast. If spending time with your family is a priority to you, make sure to eat breakfast with them, chatting about the day rather than covering your face with a newspaper and munching on some biscuits. Drink at least two glasses of water when you begin your day.

Dress up and get ready in time

Decide what clothes you have to wear to work and iron them the night before. Spend less time getting ready unless you really enjoy standing in front of the mirror and ensuring you look your best all day long. Some people also go for elaborate skincare routines early in the morning. Not only does this make certain their skin stays fresh, but it also is a refreshing way to start your day. Exfoliate, moisturize, and dab on that tone your skin to begin your day beautifully.

Destress yourself

Another pro tip: wake up and once you’ve freshened up, get to cleaning the obvious clutter in your room. We’re not recommending you take a broom and start cleaning, dusting, and mopping. We’re just saying get those mugs back to kitchen, keep your things in place, set your bedsheet. Decluttering helps destress, even science says so. If coffee is your go-to drink for mornings, sip away in peace. Does hugging and wishing your partner good morning work to destress you? Go for it.

Remind yourself of your wins and goals

An easier way of dragging yourself to work? Remind yourself of all the things you have accomplished to encourage yourself to do better. There are some days when you feel entirely too dull and discouraged. In particular, on such days, you need to pat yourself on the back and think of all the victories you have achieved. Also, remind yourself of your long-term goals and how work today could bring you closer to meeting your set targets. Be your own source of inspiration.

Don’t procrastinate and stick to your set time

Decide which part of your morning routine should be dedicated the most amount of time. You can’t keep grooming and preparing yourself for the day and get late to work. This is why, you shouldn’t get too carried away with slow mornings either. Hustle without hassle. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t spend too much time on one activity, just give it the amount of time you have decided for it. Manage everything in a timely manner.

Do the difficult things first

Once you are onto work, do the toughest tasks assigned first. This way, the difficult part will be out of the way first. You wouldn’t have to worry about that sword hanging over your head all day long. Brain Tracey, self-help expert and author of Eat the Frog follow’s Mark Twain’s philosophy: “If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.” Here, ‘eat the live frog’ doesn’t translate to literally eating a frog. It means do the most challenging job before other tasks.

At the end of the day, your morning routine is your own. While you can learn from the pros and alter the details to suit you, since we all have different likes, dislikes, and working mechanisms, entirely following someone else’s routine might not work best for you. Do the things you like and take mornings lightly. Too hectic is never a too good option. It can stress you out and disrupt the rest of your day. Remember, a good morning equates to a productive day. Sleep well, eat well, spend time with your loved ones, don’t stress, calm yourself, and start your day on your terms.