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Whether or not you’re a morning person, your first waking hour offers an opportunity to set the tone for your day. If it’s typically frenzied and stressful — think blaring alarms and pushy smartphone notifications — that reactive energy is likely to linger.

Thankfully, every sunrise is a chance to start fresh. Here are some ways you can set yourself up for calmer, more focused days.

  1. Forget your phone. It can be tempting to check your favorite social-media channels first thing, but starting your day by staring at your screen could trigger a serious cortisol spike. Instead, set an actual alarm clock and keep your phone outside your bedroom — so when you do decide to reach for it, you can do so intentionally.
  2. Drink up. It’s common to wake up dehydrated after going hours without drinking fluids. If coffee is typically your morning beverage of choice consider putting it off for a bit and reach for water first. Add a squeeze of lemon for a flavor boost. (For our recipe for a refreshing morning drink see “Good Gut Water”.)
  3. Stretch it out. Some easy movement can help guide your body into a wakeful state after a good night’s sleep. Try bending over to touch your toes, then reach your hands straight up for a long-body stretch. (For two dynamic drills, see “How to Loosen Early-Morning Body Stiffness”.)
  4. Relish the ritual. Take a few minutes to do something enjoyable for yourself. You could meditate, sketch, journal, read a poem, light a candle, or spend some time savoring a healthy breakfast — anything that allows you to ease, rather than rush, into your day. (For more a.m. advice, go to “Living Experiment: Mornings”.)

This article originally appeared as “Your Morning Routine.”

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