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I Tried A Bunch Of “Successful Morning Habits” And Several Have Made A Difference In How I Approach My Day

From scroll limits to skincare.

Hi, I'm Fabiana! I consider myself a person who loves a good routine.

The author smiling at the camera
Fabiana Buontempo / Via Instagram

Lately, I've been feeling more stressed than usual, and I know part of it is because I haven't been carving out enough time in the day for myself. While I have a good workout routine down pat and a nighttime regimen that allows me to unwind after a hectic day, I'm lacking a morning routine. (Or a fully effective one, at least.)

My current morning situation involves me snoozing my alarm multiple times before jumping out of bed to throw workout clothes on, do an hour workout, make a quick smoothie, and then rush to take a shower so I can start my workday on time.

Disney / Via

I'm stressed just writing that. 

So for the past several weeks, I've been doing some trial and error to figure out how I can start my day in a less stressed, rushed way. My goal is to find a calming routine that will set the tone for a productive and positive day.

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Here are the 10 tips that have helped me the most:

(These habits and tips aren't meant to be universal — since everyone is different. But I wanted to share my full experience in hopes that some or all of it would be useful!)

1. I set an earlier alarm to allow myself to slowly wake up.

The author's alarm clock
Fabiana Buontempo

To avoid waking up in a chaotic and rushed manner, I've been setting my alarm 40 minutes earlier than when I would usually get out bed for my workout. The key here is giving myself an extra 10 minutes to snooze my alarm before I eventually turn on my lamp and slowly make my way out of bed. I also changed my alarm tone to birds chirping because my previous obnoxious, anxiety-ridden alarm was not cutting it. 

2. I try my best to avoid scrolling my phone as soon as I open my eyes.

The author waking up and smiling at the camera
Fabiana Buontempo

This tip definitely takes some adjusting. The first morning I tried it, I lasted five minutes before grabbing my phone to scroll Instagram or check email with barely one eye open. It takes some will power, but after a few days of not checking my phone as soon as I turned off my alarm, I noticed such a difference in my mood. I always remind myself when I feel tempted to scroll my feed while lying in bed that I have the rest of my day to check technology. Mornings should be my quiet time. 

3. I keep a big water bottle on my desk so I can drink it right away.

The author's XL water bottle
Fabiana Buontempo

I used to keep my water bottle in my bathroom so by the time I went in to brush my teeth, it would be there waiting for me. Now, I've moved my bottle into my room so it's one of the first things I do when I wake up. Hydration is key!

4. I make my bed before I begin any other morning task.

The author's bed, freshly made
Fabiana Buontempo

Does anyone else feel incomplete when they don't make their bed every morning? I'm one of those people. 🙋🏻‍♀️I've always been one to consistently make my bed, but sometimes when I'm rushing to begin my day, I skip it and save it for later. Making my bed then becomes another thing I have to do once my workday begins, and that stresses me out. So I found by making my bed as soon as I get out of it, it's one less thing to worry about later. 

5. I quickly journal my morning thoughts.

The author's journal
Fabiana Buontempo

I'll admit it: I never understood the hype around journaling. Writing is my passion and my day job — yet writing my thoughts (by hand!) in a notebook never sounded appealing to me. What do I write? Where do I begin? Do I make a bulleted list? Do I write it like a diary entry?  

My therapist suggested I try journaling, so I decided to designate my mornings to it. Lately, I've been writing down whatever is on my mind that morning. Maybe I had a weird dream or I went to bed thinking about something or someone. Whatever it is, scribbling down my thoughts has really helped clear my head and get out whatever I don't want to start my day with. Yes, I get the hype now!

6. I make it a point to say a few things I'm grateful for each morning.

MTV / Via

Practicing gratitude has so many amazing benefits, and while I used to keep a note in my phone of all the things I'm grateful for, I decided to start my day by telling the universe out loud all the things I appreciate in my life. It's tempting to want to rush through the morning to get the day going, but I feel really content and at peace when I force myself to sit, close my eyes, and quietly say a few things I'm grateful for. 

7. I do a quick stretch to wake up stiff muscles.

Stefanie Shank / Via

Spending a few minutes stretching my tight lower back, rolling my neck, and even simply reaching above my head has done wonders for my muscles that often get stiff from sitting all day. 

8. I purposely wear an outfit that I feel good in for my morning workout.

The author in matching leggings and a sports bra
Fabiana Buontempo

My daily work-from-home look consists of something comfy, a makeup-free face, and hair usually up in a clip, so I use my workout as an opportunity to wear something cute that I feel good in. As they say, "If you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good, you play good.” 

9. I take my time applying my morning skincare.

The author's morning skincare products
Fabiana Buontempo

I'm normally one to rush through my morning skincare routine, quickly applying one product right after the other to just get it done with. Now, I am more mindful with this time, and I actually allow each product to be absorbed into my skin before moving onto the next step. Sometimes I'll even give my face a little massage to help with any morning puffiness. Instead of looking at this time as a chore I need to get done, I instead view it as a nice morning self-care ritual. 

10. I write out that day's to-do list.

The author writing a to-do list
Fabiana Buontempo

The last thing I do during this "me time" is write a to-do list in my planner. This allows me to schedule out my day and prioritize tasks that must get done so I'm not as frantic when I begin my workday. 

Do you have any morning habits that you love and have made an impact on your day? Tell me in the comments below!