These Six Morning Habits Will Help Keep You Going All Day Long
- Student Tips
From classes and studying to extracurricular activities and social engagements, the life of the typical college student is packed. But if you are currently fueled by a combination of caffeine and sheer will, it’s only a matter of time before exhaustion catches up with you. Rather than relying on Red Bull, consider these six healthy (and sustainable) healthy habits instead.
1. Keep a sleep diary.
Sleep is one of the most common casualties of student life. And yet lack of sleep is linked with a number of detrimental consequences, including everything from poor academic performance to weight gain. If you’re having trouble getting up in the morning and/or staying moving throughout the day, understanding your unique sleep patterns can help you change them for the better.
Advises Shelby Harris Psy.D., “Basic changes to proper sleep hygiene can make a world of difference for some patients. Look for trends on your sleep diary. For example, you might notice that taking a nap during the day might lead to trouble falling asleep at bedtime. Some people find that sleeping in on the weekends makes it harder to fall asleep on Sunday night. Others may notice that exercise too close to bedtime impacts their ability to fall asleep. A sleep diary can make it easy to pinpoint things that need to be changed.”
2. Make breakfast a must.
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And yet it’s usually the first meal to go among busy college students. In including eating breakfast on its list of “10 Morning Habits Successful People Swear By,” Forbes recommends, “Fuel your body for the tasks that lay ahead of you. It will help you maintain a steady focus throughout the day.”
Which begs the question: What are the “best” breakfast foods when it comes to delivering the nutrients and energy you need? Nutritionist Erica Giovinazzo, MS, RD, told Health, “You want to aim for a breakfast that combines good carbs and fiber with some protein.”
3. Take a moment to meditate.
When you’re short on time, meditation may seem like the last way to spend your precious limited moments. However, meditating can help you use your brain to its fullest throughout the day.
In adopting this habit, you’d be in exceptional company. After interviewing 140 people at the top of their fields for his book Tribe of Mentors, Tim Ferriss drew an insightful conclusion. “"Despite the fact that these are people from tennis to surfing to cryptocurrency to fill-in-the-blank, like any field you can possibly imagine — some type of morning mindfulness or meditation practice would span I'd say 90% of the respondents,’ he told Business Insider.
4. Steer clear of screens.
Okay, so a screen-free day may not be possible in today’s digital world. However, limiting screen time in the morning can be an invaluable enterprise.
Proposes TalentSmart, “When you dive straight into emails, texts, and Facebook, you lose focus and your morning succumbs to the wants and needs of other people. It’s much healthier to take those precious first moments of the day to do something relaxing that sets a calm, positive tone for your day. Jumping right into electronics has the opposite effect—it’s a frantic way to start your day. Exercising, meditating, or even watching the birds out the window are all great ways to start the day.”
5. Start the night before.
A good morning doesn’t start when your alarm goes off in the morning. It actually begins the night before. Mornings can be inherently chaotic. By devoting a few minutes the night before to attend to details, such as preparing your lunch or packing up your laptop, you can facilitate a shift from panic to peace.
6. Plan for the day...and for the future.
Sometimes, the mere thought of everything you have to do in a day can be immobilizing. However, when you take a minute to write down all of your tasks (and actions), you immediately get a better sense of what, specifically, needs to be done, along with how to prioritize your time to get through it all.
But planning your day isn’t just about time management; it’s also about assessing the bigger picture. During his 2005 commencement address at Stanford, Steve Jobs said, “When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
In other words, planning your day doesn’t just help you anticipate what to expect for the minutes and hours ahead of you, but it also holds you to a higher purpose: Making sure you’re spending your time on the things that really matter. To make this process easier, we have put together a list of the best apps to help students stay on track and get organized.
While it can take some effort, there's a major upside to adopting these six practices now. Do them consistently for a while, and they’ll not only become something you do without thinking, but they’ll stay with you for a lifetime.
Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.