Next time you wake up, try a few of these 10 tips. Most take a just a few minutes, and they’ll help you feel prepared, relaxed, and ready for whatever’s to come.
1. Go for a quick walk.
Plus, a wealth of evidence shows that walking keeps you healthy. One study of about 72,000 women found that three hours of walking per week cut the risk of heart attack and stroke by about 35%.
The best part is that it’s totally free and only requires a pair of shoes.
2. Make your bed.
You don’t need to do a heart-pounding workout to feel accomplished in the morning. Instead, bestselling author and four-star admiral William McRaven suggests something simpler: making your bed.
“It’s not just about kind of throwing the covers over the pillow,” he said in an interview with Business Insider this April. “It’s about making your bed right and walking away and going, ‘OK, that’s good. That looks good. I’m […] proud of this little task I did.’ And that is really what I think sets the tone for the rest of the day,” he said. “It doesn’t take an hour to do, and yet you get this sense of accomplishment.”
3. Drink water.
We constantly lose fluid when we breathe and sweat— two things that happen while we’re sleeping. This loss of fluids can lead to dehydration, which can make you feel dizzy, faint, or (in serious cases) confused. That’s no way to kick off your day.
Drinking a big glass of water in the morning ensures that your body stays hydrated and your mind stays sharp for whatever’s ahead. And, to help you stay hydrated all day, there is a way to figure out the exact amount of water you should drink every day.
4. Read a book.
Science aside, it’s just nice to start the day with an activity that’s calm and quiet before the torrent of texts and work emails rushes in. And, for what it’s worth, many of the world’s most successful people report voracious reading habits. Bill Gates reads about a book a week, according to Business Insider.
5. Write down “three good things.”
The “three good things” exercise is simple: Once a day, write down three things that went well for you that day and explain why they went well.
It only takes 10 minutes, and it can have a big impact. The psychologist who developed the exercise found that practicing it for just one week reduced depressive symptoms and increased happiness for the next six months.
Some people complete the exercise at night, but you could try it in the morning as a way to reflect on the previous day. It just might give you a sunnier outlook on everything that’s ahead.
6. Get some caffeine.
Yes, you already know that caffeine can make you more alert. (Or, if you’re a caffeine addict, you know that it’s required for basic functioning.) But did you know that its effects extend throughout the day? It takes about 5 to 6 hours for just half the caffeine you’ve ingested to wear off.
Just make sure you’re not taking in more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day. Here’s what that looks like in terms of actual drinks.
7. Do a tiny task that you would otherwise dread all day.
There’s no real science behind this one, but it’s easy to see how it works. Imagine coming home to clean kitchen, or a bedroom with all the clothes folded, hung, and put away. It sets the stage for a relaxed evening.
8. Clear your mind.
Plenty of health fads aren’t backed by solid science, but meditation is. A growing body of evidence shows that meditation’s benefits are real and plentiful. Studies have found mediation can improve focus, reduce feelings of anxiety, and decrease blood pressure. Regular meditators also appear to fatigue less easily and get sick less often.
9. Plan out your goals for the day.
Instead of just reviewing your schedule for the day, psychologist Travis Bradberry recommends creating a super-specific list of goals that you want to accomplish. Don’t just say you’re going to finish a task — write down how you’re going to do it and how long it’ll take.
“When you plan out your day as carefully as possible, your chances of successfully accomplishing your goals skyrocket,” he once wrote on LinkedIn.
But make sure the goals you set are realistic. Otherwise, when you don’t complete them, you’ll only feel dejected. Also, try to knock out the most difficult goals early in your day.
“When you complete difficult tasks first, you carry positive energy and a feeling of accomplishment into the rest of your day,” Bradberry wrote.
10. Talk to someone you love.
That good feeling you get after chatting with a loved one isn’t just a nice way to start the day — it’s actually good for your body.
More scientific evidence is showing that social interaction is crucial to our wellbeing. People with more social connections live longer than those who are more isolated, according to a review of existing studies done in 2010. Additionally, people who are lonelier are more likely to have elevated stress levels.
Spend a few minutes talking in person with a partner or roommate, or make a call to a friend or family member who doesn’t live with you.