News Treehugger Voices The Importance of a Morning Routine Make the most of your day by kicking it off with one productive hour. By Neeti Mehra Neeti Mehra Neeti is a freelance writer for Treehugger who covers sustainability and conscious living. She has edited three magazines during her career and she is currently a columnist and is a contributor to a host of publications. Learn about our editorial process Published April 25, 2022 02:00PM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process Share Twitter Pinterest Email Alistair Berg / Getty Images News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive As a child I was the proverbial night owl. Studying or reading late till night, I’d wake up groggy and grumpy and plod through the day uniformly so. It took me around three decades to appreciate the quiet hours of the morning to set the tone for the rest of the day. A few years ago, I tried to experiment with a morning routine, which would seamlessly help me navigate a hectic lifestyle with calm and equipoise, while being mindful of the Earth. It took a few months for me to embrace a regimen which lifted my energy levels and brought me a feeling of well-being. In Ayurveda, the Sanskrit word dinacharya (dina means morning and charya, routine or regimen) means a healing daily routine that balances the body and the mind, in harmony with the cycles of nature. It’s a good idea to wake up a little earlier to fit dinacharya into your schedule. Once you have established a routine, you will wake up naturally without struggling. Ahead, my morning routine. Hydrate When You Wake Up Staying hydrated has manifold benefits right from boosting your mood to improved cognitive performance. The first thing I do in the morning is have a glass of water stored overnight in a copper vessel. I occasionally follow it up with a glass of warm citrus water if I’m feeling sluggish. Lemon helps to kickstart digestion in the morning. Give Your Mouth a Good Swish and Brush I begin most days with the traditional Ayurvedic practice of oil pulling that’s said to be good at flushing out bacteria from oral cavities. I use a special decoction with a base of sesame oil and spices such as clove, turmeric, cinnamon, pepper, and more ingredients (available here). Otherwise you can use cold-pressed organic sesame oil. Just start with half a spoonful and swish around for 10 minutes and spit in a lined garbage bin (not in the sink, or else you will clog the pipes). Brush your teeth with an eco-friendly toothbrush, one of the heroes of your zero-waste bathroom. And instead of using single-use toothpaste, a great switch is toothpaste tablets. In this way, you can eliminate single-use plastic from your dental routine. Meditate and Stretch I find the morning hours perfect for contemplation and give my body a good stretch before getting ready for the day. Meditating for a quarter-hour in the morning helps me gather my thoughts. Create a peaceful sanctuary by picking a sustainable meditation cushion and warm up with some languorous stretches on an eco-friendly yoga mat so that you’re charged for the day. I prefer to use a cork mat and layer it with a GOTS-organic cotton certified quilted mat cover for my morning yoga, so that I’m comfortably cushioned, yet have some grip. Journaling As an editor, I’m at my computer for the whole day, so nothing is more satisfying than penning my thoughts freehand in my journal. Author Julia Cameron’s "The Artist’s Way" spells out how writing "morning pages" helps creativity flow. And while penning beautiful thoughts, I handpick stationery which is both eco-friendly and beautiful to look at. You can choose pencils made from newspaper, fountain pens with natural non-toxic inks, and a wide array of notepads made from post-consumer waste. There are even journals made from "poop paper" that come from the recycled droppings of cows, elephants, horses, and donkeys. (Read my green guide for stationery lovers.) Getting Ready for the Day I’m a big fan of an oil massage and, depending on how much time, I squeeze in a pre-bath oil massage and never skip my post-bath oil massage. (Read about why I switched to oils for my hair and body here.) A quick massage keeps my skin supple. Depending on the season and my mood, I generally switch between hemp oil and apricot oil for my body, and rose hip and almond oil for my face. I love how hydrated it makes my skin feel. While this all might seem overwhelming, it’s just a matter of getting in the rhythm of it. My dinacharya is an effortless part of my life now, and is a wonderful way to slowly set the wheels in motion for a busy day. 8 Ways to Make Your Mornings More Pleasant and Productive View Article Sources Benton, D., et al. "Minor Degree of Hypohydration Adversely Influences Cognition: A Mediator Analysis." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 104, no. 3, 2016, pp. 603-612., doi:10.3945/ajcn.116.132605 Pross, Nathalie, et al. "Effects Of Changes In Water Intake On Mood of High and Low Drinkers." Plos ONE, vol. 9, no. 4, 2014, p. e94754., doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094754.