Rising and shining in the mornings can sometimes be easier said than done. Trust me, I get it. I have always considered myself a night owl: staying up late over-thinking the trials and tribulations of my day, stressing about tomorrow, mentally checking my countless to-do lists and so on.

But… all that seems to do is overwhelm me and cause plenty of sleepless nights of tossing and turning that create very anxious and stressful mornings. Nothing about this situation was working in my favor, so it was time for me to experiment with something new.


I have completely changed my attitude about my morning routine and have created evening wind-down rituals that set me up for better, more productive mornings. I actually really looked forward to them and feel good about all that I can accomplish in just one hour every morning.

And even if I still do get into the office at the same as I would if I hit my snooze button five times, I at least leave the anxiety, stress and hurry behind—trading it for energy, clarity, a positive mindset and motivation. It is so true that the tone you set for yourself in the morning is the tone that you’ll carry with you throughout your entire day.


With dedication and practice, I have been able to fine tune a few simple, consistent morning rituals that have helped me to stay on track and develop healthier lifestyle habits. Above all else, early mornings are a gift to myself so that I can do the things I love. Setting my alarm an hour or so earlier is no longer a dread, but something that I look forward too. Hopefully, you find that you start craving an early morning start as well…


Stretch. Move. Breathe


Even if your eyes are half closed and you stay in your PJs, give yourself at least fifteen minutes (or more, of course) to stretch your limbs, get your blood flowing and breathe a little more deeply. It is amazing at what just fifteen minutes will do to provide you with energy and allow any anticipated stresses to remain as neutral thoughts.


Find simple yoga poses and stretches to kick-start your day...




Sip. Hydrate. Cleanse.


Your body gets depleted with water when you sleep, so the first thing that you should grab (well before caffeine) is a tall glass of water. Sip it on an empty stomach to activate your metabolism, cleanse any toxins and replenish the fluids that you lost.

Proper hydration is essential in helping to avoid brain fog. After all, our brains are made up mostly of water and the average person should be drinking at least two liters of water a day. I have been experiencing adding a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime plus fresh mint leaves—an added bonus. Did you know that mint helps to improve digestion and remove bacteria that causes bad breath? Nobody enjoys morning breath!


Nourish and Fuel.


Breakfast should be your lightest meal of the day. Since your body and organs are still waking up, it’s ideal to nourish with foods that can be easily digested. This is why smoothies and protein shakes are perfect opinions. Both are loaded with nutrients and require minimal digestion so that you can have sustained energy and avoid the dreaded mid-morning energy slump.


Browse. Read. Educate.


The modern day version of eating breakfast while reading the morning paper is of course scouring the internet to catch up on news, checking your social media feeds and so on. To avoid getting sucked in and distracted, make yourself a list of your top 5 sources that you can read about the positive happenings in the world. Better yet, find sources that are unrelated to your job or profession, since you will be spending a good chunk of your day invested in that anyways.


Wellness and yoga blogs are where I derive most of my inspiration and it’s time that I can give myself to fuel my own passions and interests, educating myself along the way.


Here are a few of my favorite places to start:


  1. Elephant Journal

  2. Yoga Mint

  3. Tone it Up


Create a List… or Two?



Before you head out the door, write yourself a to-do list for whatever it is that you need and want to accomplish for the day. Keep these items realistic and feasible, so that you can feel good about physically crossing them off your list by day’s end. It’s something tangible to hold you accountable and will make you feel very productive and accomplished after a long day at the office.


I like to categorize my lists by personal, work and miscellaneous. This way, I make sure that I am not ignoring my personal tasks and goals. They’re equally as important to me and I try to not let them slip just because my work day may get busier than anticipated. Miscellaneous can be those other one-offs such as your grocery list that you can add to as you think of items throughout the day.


Maybe you don’t start any of this rituals tomorrow, or the next day, or even this week… but pick one to start with and slowly expand until you realize that you’re filling that extra hour in the morning with all good and positive things.


And in all honesty, if your body is craving the extra sleep, try not to ignore that. We live in a world of chaos, noise and exhaustion, therefore it is important to listen to ourselves when we are needing the extra sleep. I will usually have at least one week or a few days throughout the month when all I want to do is keep sleeping—and it is those days that help me realize just why I love my early morning rituals so much.


What early morning rituals help you to kickstart your day? Share your thoughts below.

Brittany Epley is a recovering overachiever, a single mother to a Beagle puppy named Dixie-Rose and a spiritual gangster wannabe. She graduated in 2012 from Virginia Tech (Go Hokies) where she majored in Psychology and Biology and minored in English. Brittany recently moved back to her hometown of Richmond, VA where she is currently realizing that life and being a responsible adult is the craziest thing there is—and she is learning (aka struggling) to go with the flow.