It is 8:20 in the morning, your alarm clock is buzzing, you can hardly open your tired eyes and try to reach your phone to click snooze for the 3rd time in a row. You fall back into your soft, comfy pillow and sleep for another ten minutes. You get torn out of sleep once again and try to keep yourself from repeating the process all over. You take your phone, sink into the world of social media and after you finished sliding through every new Instagram story and posts, you watch out for interesting YouTube videos, ending in a 30-minute documentary about elephant babies. After a while you see a dozen reminders popping up at your screen, telling you that you have a ton to do today, keeping your motivation to get up and be productive at its lowest point. Should you really shower today, you ask yourself. Nah.

No matter if you just moved to Kiel starting your studies or you are in your 5th semester and have seen it all. The pandemic changed everything, and we are all coping and learning to embrace the new normal. One thing that has drastically changed the day to day life as a student is the fact that we now study online. And with that comes the new necessity to keep yourself motivated and sane­. One thing that can help you with that is a morning routine.

Why do you need a morning routine?

As a student, people expect you to be self-organized and well-planned. Unlike you have known from your high school experience, there is no one giving you every last crumble to complete the cake at the end of the semester. Instead you need to be on top of things yourself which sometimes can lead to feeling overwhelmed and left behind. A morning routine can help you to feel more in control of everything and helps you to make room for all that is important. Especially in times as unknown and frightening as the Corona pandemic, a routine can help you cope with change and can aid your mental health. With a  routine, you can form healthy habits to reduce your stress levels and start the day on a bright note.

Starting a morning routine

When you start thinking about a morning routine, you often tend to set the expectations at yourself and the wished outcome quite high – not to say, unattainable. It is normal that you want to go from 0 to 100, from not wanting to get up in the morning to doing everything you could imagine that is supposed to be good for your body and mental health. I personally did the same thing when I started integrating a proper routine into my morning. The ideal routine in my head looked like this:

  • Wake up
  • Read a book for 30 minutes
  • Get up
  • Make my bed
  • Meditate
  • Do a workout
  • Take a shower
  • Get ready
  • Drink a tee
  • Listen to a podcast that educates me in something new
  • Tidy up my room
  • Make a green smoothie
  • Eat breakfast
  • Make a to-do-list for the day
  • Check my mails
  • Start working on the to-do-list

All those things were great, but as you can imagine, it was a lot, at least for me personally. I did that for maybe two weeks and was very productive in that time period but then at some point just could not keep the energy to even complete all those little tasks in my morning routine. The routine itself had so many tasks, that it started to stress me more than it let me feel productive. I thought about it again and tried to think more practical and achievable. From day to day over a course of time, I found my personal best morning routine for a productive study week:

  • Wake up
  • Check my phone and mails for approximately 10 to 15 minutes
  • Get up
  • Make my bed
  • Open the blinds and open the windows
  • Mist my plants, start the humidifier and see if they need water
  • Take a shower
  • Get ready
  • Tidy up my room
  • Make a to-do-list for the day
  • Eat breakfast
  • Start working

This still looks like a lot to me when I write it down, but in comparison to the first try, this routine includes tasks that are easily able to get done in less than a few minutes. It is a routine that helps me feel on track of things and start the day on a positive note.

The most important about a morning routine is, that it must be a routine that suits your personal situation and surroundings. Everyone is different, in their behavior, interests, life. If you want to be on your phone for an hour first thing in the morning, find a morning routine where you can integrate it in a healthy way. Find the routine that makes you feel the most productive and positive without overwhelming yourself with tasks.

A morning routine should not be about copying other people’s routines nor feel like your life should go as well as theirs either. A morning routine should be personal and dedicated to you only. So instead of comparing yourself to all those great morning routines that we find in the world wide web, start thinking about what makes you the happiest. What are the small things that put a smile on your face? What could you incorporate, that makes you feel productive even though it takes only 5 minutes of your time? Take your time to find your morning routine.

Possible steps of a morning routine

The following list is a summary of typical steps of a morning routine for inspiration. Take a look and feel free to expand the list in the comments if you have any more ideas.

  • Drink water
  • Make your bed
  • Have a cup of coffee/tee
  • Have a shower/bath
  • Make time for Breakfast
  • Take care of your plants/pets/loved ones
  • Pray/Give thanks
  • Check your mails
  • Write a journal
  • Meditate
  • Read
  • Write down three things you are grateful for
  • Exercise
  • Do yoga
  • Avoid snoozing
  • Make a to-do-list for the day
  • Tidy up your room
  • Tidy up your workspace
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Listen to music
  • Open the windows
  • Brush your teeth
  • Make laundry
  • Make the dishes from last night
  • Set goals

Create your own morning routine

Finally, it is time to make a morning routine yourself. Take some inspiration, come up with new ideas, see what works best for you personally and see if it can make your day just a little brighter from the start. Good luck!