How you spend your mornings can really set the tone for your day. You know that saying "waking up on the wrong side of the bed?" Well, there's some truth to that, because it can really impact how the day unfolds. How many of you have woken up grumpy, anxious, moody, etc., and just couldn't shake it off for the rest of the day? I know I've definitely been there. And when I wake up in a funk, it doesn't help me focus on getting work done. It can depend on the day, but when I feel "off" in the mornings, I can feel distracted; might get impatient with others; feel uninspired or bored; and even deal with a little bit of sadness and anxiety.
If you can relate to this, we're definitely not alone. In fact, there might be some science behind it. A 2018 study found that people who start their mornings focused on how stressful their day will be may find that their working memory is lower later in the day. That means they could lose focus or be more likely to make a mistake at work. In short, a bad morning could lower your cognitive abilities throughout the day.
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So how can you start the morning off right so you can feel good and do your best? Having rituals or habits can help. This can vary from person to person. Some people might need to work out first thing to get those endorphins going and wake them up. Others might want to try a grounding ritual, like journaling or meditating. Some might want to do something fun or social, like dance it out or check-in with a friend or family member. Whatever it is, if it sets you up for a good day, keep doing it!
If you're looking for ways to shake up your morning routine, I polled my colleagues to see how their start their mornings to feel good and be productive. Get some inspiration here, or, if you have a ritual or habit you want to share, we'd love to know. Send us a DM at @thethirty.
"I have to work out before my day starts. No matter how tired I am, how late I stayed up, how not in the mood I am, I get my butt out of bed at 5 a.m. and get a sweat sesh in. On the off occasion that I don't work out beforehand, I feel totally off and not nearly as productive throughout the day because all I can think about is when I can work out next. I know most people will think I'm crazy for getting up so early, but I just love having that time to myself before most people are even awake. I don't feel rushed and can just focus on myself. Right now I'm totally into Melissa Wood Health, jump roping, strength training, and walking four to five miles. I try and switch it up to keep things excited."—Caitie Schlisserman, managing editor, branded content
"Over the last few months, I've found so much joy in starting my workday with a dance party. After a mindful morning filled with moments of stillness and caring for my body with warm water with lemon and a glass of chlorophyll water, I like to take a few minutes to dance around to a song that makes me feel energized, joyful, and ready to take on the day. Lately, that song has been 'Alive' by Kehlani, because it's upbeat and deep at the same time and just makes me feel so happy every time I hear it, but any tune by Jhene Aiko, SZA, or Solange will do."—Courtney Higgs, beauty editor, Who What Wear
"No matter what my schedule looks like, I have to get fresh air in the morning. It's a non-negotiable for me even if I have an early morning meeting or I'm hungover (hey, it happens!). Whether I go for a short five-minute walk to grab a coffee, take an hour-long stroll while listening to a podcast, or do a workout outdoors—there's something about getting in a little movement outside that sets a positive tone for my day."—Michaela Bushkin, senior fashion editor, branded content
"I'm not the first to discover the wonderful benefits of the Five Minute Journal, and I certainly won't be the last. Writing down something I'm grateful for and an intention for the day puts me in such a happy mood. I also love going back to read my notes from past weeks, months, or years to see what was going on in my life at the time."—Bushkin
"Every morning without fail, after I've done my morning skincare routine and prepped my hair for the day, I go to my favorite local coffee shop. It's the one thing that allows me, no matter what, to know I've gotten out of bed and gets me in the mindset to begin my day."—Jasmine Fox-Suliaman, audience engagement editor
"After I've gotten my coffee, I always write down my to-do list for the day. Typically, I like to break into must-finish today, followed by goals/ aspirational tasks to finish today, and things to keep in mind for upcoming deadlines and projects."—Fox-Suliaman
"After I've written my to-do list and even get some writing done or emails out of the way, I like to binge-listen to a few podcasts to get me through that late-morning. to mid-afternoon slump. They often inspire story ideas, conversations or keep me chugging along when all else fails."—Fox-Suliaman
After being curled up in bed for hours, I like to start the morning with a nice stretch. I'll do a couple before I start my morning workout. Sometimes I'll use my foam roller or yoga strap, or if I feel like I need to loosen up my muscles a little more, I'll use my Theragun for a little bit of percussive therapy.
I've been trying to practice meditation more to help calm my mind and control my anxiety. I find a five- or 10-minute meditation helps me feel good and relieves any stress I feel about the workday. I'll listen to some music or do a guided meditation through my Headspace or Peloton apps.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions. See our full health disclaimer here.