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23 Morning Routine Ideas to Get Your Day Started on the Right Foot

These are worth waking up for.

Mornings are a polarizing time of the day. Some of us wake up feeling like The Rock, while others wake up feeling like a rock. Since most of us don’t have Cinderella’s woodland creatures to lend us a hand, we’re here to provide morning routine ideas that will start your day off on the right foot. Not the left one.
Morning Routines - stretching

23 Morning Routine Ideas Worth Waking Up For

Daily routines are supposed to add value to your day. If you’re still ironing out the details of your morning routine, here’s a list of ideas to get started.

1. Make a cuppa something nice.

For many of us, coffee is the only thing that gets us out of our warm beds. The fun doesn’t have to extend to only the caffeinated crowd, though! Substitute with tea, hot lemon water or decaf coffee.
Morning Routines - coffee

2. Finish a cold bottle of spa water.

Water is always a good idea, especially after dehydrating our bodies with coffee. Take hydration to the next level by adding lemon, cucumber, lime, or mint. Bonus points if it’s in those cool influencer-esque cups with a glass straw.

3. Soak up the natural light.

It’s no secret that sunlight provides a ton of benefits. Pull back the curtains, go for a walk, or curl up by a sunny window and soak in that Vitamin D. This tip is especially helpful for those of us living in colder climates. Sayonara, seasonal depression!
Morning Routines - going for a walk

4. Light a candle.

We know you want to conserve that Bath & Body Works ‘Leaves’ candle that’s on it’s last burn, but we promise it will be put to good use in your morning routine. There’s something about a candle’s flicker that starts your day off by feeling luxurious and cozy. Just don’t forget to blow it out.

5. Diffuse essential oils.

If you’re really committed to saving your candles, try a diffuser. Not only do they smell amazing, but they also exude this bubbly background noise that makes any apartment feel like a spa. Mornings aren’t your thing? Anyone who really needs a kick in the butt should try diffusing citrus.
Morning Routines - essential oil diffusers

6. De-puff with a facial manipulation tool.

Social media influencers are solely responsible for the facial manipulation tool gold mine that was 2021. Gua sha stones, jade rollers, and ice rollers have filled beauty cabinets left and right. And we have to say, the world is looking a lot more chiseled than it used to.

7. Read.

Reading isn’t for everyone in the morning – especially since many of us read to aid with sleep. However, we might just be reading the wrong books in the morning. Give a self-help or non-fiction book a try instead.
Morning Routines - reading

8. Slap on some under-eye patches.

The unfortunate hallmark of a rough night’s sleep are puffy under-eyes. Even for those of us who sleep like babies, puffiness happens. Rid yourself of the dark circles with some under-eye patches.

9. Plan out the day.

Many of us wake up with our to-do list flying around in our head. Instead of ignoring your anxieties until work begins, we suggest writing out a list during your morning routine. Try to limit the list to just the 5-7 things that have to get done that day. This way, we can begin our days with clarity and lower cortisol.
Morning Routines - to do list

10. Turn your warm shower to cold for a minute.

There are plenty of benefits to getting a blast of cold water – it can help reduce inflammation and muscle swelling, support a healthy immune system, improve circulation, alleviate stress and obviously, jolt us awake. No need to descend into a cold lake like Wim Hof… we can reap the benefits of a cold plunge from the comfort of our showers.

11. Tidy up.

Do this one while your coffee is brewing. Wipe down those counters, hang up the clothes on that chair (we all have that chair), and fluff up the couch. This is where we mockingly say, “Tidy desk, tidy mind!” No, really, though.
Morning Routines - tidying up

12. Go for a walk.

Movement is always a positive way to start the day. Get outside and smell those roses! Or trash if it’s a Wednesday in Boston.

13. Make an Insta-worthy breakfast…

And then don’t post it on Instagram. Or do, your prerogative.

There’s something so indulgent about preparing an aesthetically pleasing meal just for ourselves. Think smoothies, yogurt bowls with cacao nibs, avocado toast with all the toppings. We’d say this beats a boring, slightly-overripe banana any day.
Morning Routines - avocado toast

14. Complete a skincare routine.

Wow, a routine inside of a routine! It’s okay if you don’t have a Hyram-level skincare regime – you can still take a few minutes to wash your face and apply some moisturizer. #selfcare

15. Stretch.

Most of us haven’t stretched since we took the Presidential Fitness Test in 6th grade. Sit your booty down on the floor and touch your toes (or knees, if you’re as stiff as we are).
Morning Routines - stretching

16. Drain the lactic acid from your legs.

Speaking of stretching those limbs, consider elevating your legs to drain the lactic acid. It’s said that this can help us recover more quickly between workouts. Even if this is junk science, we promise it still feels good.

17. Meditate.

We can’t not throw this one in here. While meditation isn’t for everyone, it certainly provides a ton of benefits… especially first thing in the morning. YouTube has plenty of guided meditation videos, as does an app like Calm (not sponsored, but we wish).
Morning Routines - meditate

18. Don’t use your phone for the first 30 minutes.

We’ve all heard the advice to stay off our phones in the morning. We know this is easier said than done. To remove the biggest barrier (aka our phone’s alarm clock), try using a smart home (e.g. Alexa, Google Home) as an alarm, or buying an old fashioned alarm clock. There’s even clocks that imitate the rising sun!

19. Consume content from your favorite creators.

Who doesn’t look forward to a YouTube video or podcast from a beloved content creator in the morning? Bonus points if the content provides some sort of value (like these finance content creators we love). But even if it doesn’t, most of us would enjoy watching Maggie MacDonald do her skincare routine while we do ours.
Morning Routines - watching contrent creators

20. Allot 5-10 minutes to daydream.

It sounds cheesy, but visualizing your dream life can start your day off on a really positive note. Tori Sterling, podcast host and YouTuber, recommends writing a journal entry from the perspective of your higher self. What does that person do in their morning? Which kind of dream job are they doing? What do they eat? We’re thinking bottomless Sweetgreen salads. And mimosas.

21. Get ready. 

No, pajama sets don’t count – although we’re sure yours is really cute. Even if you’re working from the confines of a home office (or for most of us, living room/dining room), your days will be a lot more productive in a cute top. Maybe even slap on some lipstick.
Morning Routines - getting ready

22. Lay on a heating pad.

This tip is especially hot for any Adultescents with bad backs (okay, so all of us?). Even if you have a top-notch posterior, heating pads are oh-so relaxing. Caution: this tip is not the most summer-friendly.

23. Check in on your resolutions and goals.

The morning is a great time to check in on goals, whether they are daily, weekly, monthly, or annual. Run down the list and see how things are stacking up. This is also a great time to track your habits.
Morning Routines - coffee

Morning Routine Don’ts

Contrary to the popular adage, a morning routine is not a marathon nor a sprint. It’s not something that needs to be intense, and it certainly does not need to be lengthy. Lifestyle vloggers want you to believe otherwise, but trust us, it’s just so they can squeeze in ads for Calm and Daily Harvest into the same video. Get that coin, gals.

Long, regimented routines will make you want to hit snooze. The point of a morning routine is not to jam 12 activities in before you leave the house, but rather to help start your day off on the right foot. For some of us, that might be going hard at the gym, and for others that might be laying on the couch watching YouTube. Choose your own adventure!

Keep in mind that morning routines are not binding contracts. Maybe you’ll decide to meditate every morning, only to realize that meditation just sends you right back to bed. There will be no legal repercussions to changing up your routine, and many of us actually need to switch things up so we don’t get bored out of our minds. We see you, ENFPs.
Morning Routine Ideas - stretching

Final Thoughts on Morning Routines

Mornings can be fun, even if you’re a night owl. Use this list to create one of your own (but please, do not try to complete this entire list). Did we miss any great morning routine ideas?

If you need more routine content to keep you on track, check out Adultescence podcast episode #23: Setting Sustainable (and Fun!) Routines.

By Jess Lohr

Jess is a Cambridge-based, Syracuse-born twenty-something who loves coffee, dogs and stalking Zillow for her future home. Her favorite ways to kill time include strolling through Boston’s cobblestone streets, socializing over a glass of wine, and reading finance books (if only 22-year-old Jess were like this).

She has spent the past 4+ years working in Consumer Insights, and when she’s not working on her 9-5, you can find her pursuing her most recent side hustle as a dog sitter. Jess is co-founder of Adultescence, a podcast and lifestyle website with the mission of helping post-grads navigate adulthood.

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