How To Create a Brain-Calming Morning Routine for Less Than $40

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Shot of a young man reaching for his alarm clock after waking up in bed at home

Rise and Grind

Adopting a healthy and consistent morning routine can result in a slew of benefits. From helping you approach the workday with renewed focus and motivation to reducing stress and anxiety levels, setting clear intentions every morning can increase your sense of control and boost productivity. Incorporating calming activities such as yoga, meditation, and journaling can even improve your sleep quality by helping regulate your circadian rhythm and enhance your overall well-being. Here are some tips and products that you can use for less than $40 — or for free — to help you improve your morning routine.

Prices and availability are subject to change. 

Related: The Best K-Cups For Your Morning Brew

Young multiracial latina woman meditating at home with online video meditation lesson using laptop.
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Try a Meditation App

Wondering how to be happy first thing in the morning? By incorporating meditation into your daily morning routine, you may find yourself better equipped to manage distractions and stay focused on each task at hand. Studies suggest that meditation can even reduce symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression, all while helping increase mindfulness and alertness. Wellness apps such as Calm, Aura, and Headspace guide you through different meditation techniques like breathwork and visualization that remind you to take breaks throughout the day, checking in with yourself and recalibrating your energy and focus. Membership prices to these apps can range, but many offer free trials to get you started.

Related: 11 Cheap and Healthy Breakfast Combinations

Sunrise Alarm Clock

Invest In a Sunrise Alarm Clock


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Designed to mimic the natural sunrise by gradually increasing light in your room before your designated wake-up time, sunrise alarm clocks can help regulate your body's circadian rhythm to improve sleep quality. Since our bodies' circadian rhythm is responsible for regulating sleep and wake cycles, any disruptions to this rhythm can lead to sleep problems such as insomnia and fatigue. Sunrise alarm clocks can also help your body adjust to a natural sleep-wake cycle by promoting the production of melatonin. Plus, it's so much nicer to wake up to the gentle glow of a sunrise instead of the jarring sound of an obnoxious alarm clock. 

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Female hands pouring water from the decanter into a glass beaker with lemon and ice. Health and diet concept. Quenching thirst on a hot day.
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Hydrate, Hydrate, and Hydrate Some More

Drinking lots of fluids — especially lemon-infused water — right after waking up is a simple, cheap, and effective way to start your day off on the right foot. Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, which can help boost your immune system and protect against infections. Lemon water is also believed to aid digestion, promote hydration, and support healthy skin, hair, and nails. Additionally, lemon water can help alkalize the body and balance its pH levels — which may help reduce inflammation and prevent colds and kidney stones. 

Young African American lady practicing yoga at home in black leggings sitting on floor in lotus posture hands crossed on chest slight delight smile on face, feeling her body. Emotional health

Practice Sun Salutations

When practiced in the mornings, yoga can help improve focus and productivity throughout the day. The physical postures — or asanas — in yoga help improve blood flow and oxygenation to the brain to enhance cognitive function and mental clarity. Breathing techniques, also known as pranayama, can help reduce stress and anxiety.

Sound Therapy Machine

Try a White Noise Machine


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A noise machine — also known as a sound machine or white noise machine — can be a helpful tool in promoting better sleep to help you wake up feeling refreshed, and more likely to stick to a morning routine. The constant, soothing sound generated by a noise machine can mask other noises that might make you disturbing your sleep: cars going by, a snoring partner, or loud neighbors. You can buy a white noise machine for less than $20 and have several sounds to choose from, such as ocean waves, rainfall, or a whirring fan.

Shot of a handsome young man standing alone and stretching during his outdoor workout

Get Moving

Exercising in the morning is another great way to jumpstart your metabolism, and start the day on a positive note. Whether that means going on a run or hitting the gym for a quick workout, consistent exercise can stimulate our bodies to create and release endorphins (feel-good chemicals that help reduce stress and anxiety, and increase feelings of well-being). Exercising regularly can also help increase the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, appetite, and sleep. Check out our list of exercise ideas to get started.

Chill the F Out from Apothekary

Give Herbal Supplements a Try

$21 and up from Apothekary

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Herbal supplements can be another helpful addition to regulate your mood and create a sense of calm. Certain herbs such as ashwagandha, chamomile, lavender, and reishi mushrooms purportedly have calming properties that can help reduce feelings of anxiety, fatigue, and stress. Incorporating an herbal supplement to your morning routine can also help create a sense of ritual and provide a moment of self-care before tackling the day. This herbal mix by Apothekary claims to be a "serotonin-boosting stress-busting elixir targeting cortisol levels" that also tastes like a peppermint hot chocolate. Yum! 

When you're at peace everything falls into place

Try Journaling

Devoting a bit of time to write down your thoughts, feelings, and intentions for the day can be a beneficial routine that allows for self-reflection and emotional processing. Journaling can also serve as a way to create a sense of focus and tranquility while setting a positive tone for the rest of the day. Whether you've got a busy day running errands or have multiple presentations to get through at work, journaling can be a helpful tool to promote self-awareness, reduce stress, and help you feel more organized, balanced, and inspired. 

Matcha Tea with Kettle
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Practice the Ritual of Making a Cup of Matcha

$30 from Jade Leaf Matcha

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If you aren't a fan of coffee, matcha has become increasingly popular as a milder alternative that provides a sustained and gradual increase in energy without the jitters and crash commonly associated with coffee. Containing a unique combination of caffeine and an amino acid called L-theanine, matcha is a type of green tea that has high levels of antioxidants that may help ward off heart disease, and even certain types of cancer. The practice of making a cup of matcha tea, which involves whisking matcha powder into hot water, can itself be a brain-calming ritual. For $30, you can buy a Matcha starter bundle complete with an electric whisk, steel sifter, and scoop. 

Imagination, Inspiration, Ideas, Innovation, Creativity, Motivation,Technology

Practice Visualization and Set Positive Mantras

Visualizing your goals, dreams, and aspirations in detail can help create a sense of focus. Visualization can also help reduce feelings of anxiety and stress, while promoting a sense of calm by imagining positive outcomes and experiences. You can try reading inspirational content such as motivational quotes, or set mantras that you repeat throughout the day such as, "I am capable of achieving anything I set my mind to," or "I am conquering my fears and becoming stronger each day.”

Breakfast Salad

Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet

A balanced diet rich in vitamins and nutrients can help fuel the body and mind, while helping to regulate your mood and reduce feelings of fatigue and irritability. An optimal diet should include a source of protein and healthy fat such as avocado and lean chicken to help keep hunger at bay. Try to avoid processed and sugary foods, as these can cause spikes in blood sugar levels and cause crashes and brain fog.