Establishing a morning routine, or even improving your current one, can sound like a drag. However, being intentional about how you spend your early hours can benefit you both physically and mentally. A quality routine can give you energy, lift your mood, and improve your mental health by reducing stress and anxiety. Oh, and did we mention a productive morning can add a little boost to your confidence?

Whether you’ve had the same ritual for years or are starting fresh, there are many techniques for upgrading your mornings. Below are five ways you can take best advantage of your time after sunup.

1. Prepare for Your Day With Protein

Why should I do it? We’ve all heard it: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But what’s even more important is to eat a healthy one. Starting your day with unhealthy carbs, like sugary donuts and cereal, can leave you feeling lethargic. Including protein in your breakfast is one of the best ways to increase and prolong energy throughout the day. Not only that, but it can help regulate your hunger, leading you to make healthier food choices.

How do I do it? A plate of scrambled eggs and lean turkey sausage or bacon can be great fuel to start your day. Don’t worry though, vegetarians — there are plenty of plant-based protein options for you. Incorporating more protein into your breakfast can be as simple as adding your favorite protein powder to a smoothie. Whipping up a Greek yogurt parfait with healthy toppings is another great protein-packed alternative.

2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Why should I do it? Drinking water increases oxygen and blood flow to the brain. This helps give your mind clarity and focus throughout the day. Not only does staying hydrated rev up your metabolism, but it can flush out harmful toxins in the body. Another major perk? It can help make your skin glow!

How do I do it? Hydrating in the morning doesn’t have to be challenging — or boring. Make it easy by keeping a large glass of water by your bedside. Or make it fun by drinking watermelon juice, coconut water, or water infused with your favorite fruits. You can even add some honey to hot water for a warmer way to start your morning. Bonus points if you drink a glass of water before your first sip of coffee.

3. Take Your Vitamins

Why should I do It? Taking care of your body on a mental and physical level is important. There are an array of excellent vitamins that can help stimulate your metabolism and brain function. For example, taking ACV gummies can help support immune function, promote weight loss, boost your metabolism and more. However there are many options that you can work into your routine.

How do I do it? Multivitamins tend to benefit you the most when taken early in the day. You can talk to your doctor or do research into what vitamins may benefit you the most and there are a lot of great ways to make it easy to remember taking your vitamins easily. Take them at the same time every morning. You can utilize a pill box to organize everything to take in the morning, and place it close to your water to remember. You may also use your phone to set a reminder.

4. Make Time for Mindfulness

Why should I do it? Meditation is all the rage, and there are plenty of reasons why. Starting your day with mindfulness and/or gratitude practices has many proven mental health benefits. These include elevating your mood, increasing your focus, improving productivity, and lessening symptoms of anxiety and depression.

How do I do it? If you’re a beginner, meditation doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it may sound. In fact, it doesn’t have to last longer than five or 10 minutes. Start simple by writing down five things you are grateful for or doing breathwork from the comfort of your couch. For more advanced mindfulness practices, you can sign up for yoga classes or break out your own mat at home. There are many ways to make this part of your morning routine right for you.

5. Plan — and Prioritize — Your Day’s Activities

Why should I do it? Believe it or not, planning your day from the start affects more than just your productivity. Adding this proactive to your morning ritual can reduce stress, improve time management, and help you achieve your goals. Who doesn’t love scratching off a task on their to-do list? Hello, endorphins!

How do I do it? This is another component of your morning routine that doesn’t have to be as mundane as it sounds. Picking out a planner that fits your personality and preferences can be a great way to get started. Simplify your to-do list by writing out your work-life activities, then separately writing out your home-life activities. From there, begin ranking the most important to least important tasks of the day. This can help give you a visual of your responsibilities and where to start.

6. Fit in Time for Fitness

Why should I do it? Exercising in the morning kick-starts blood flow to your brain and releases dopamine, the feel-good hormone. This will boost your energy, increase your focus, and improve your mood. These benefits not only impact the start of your day, but they carry with you as it goes on. In fact, the benefits even stick with you through the night, as morning exercise can help you get a good night’s rest.

How do I do it? Whether you’re a gym rat or stay far away from the weight room, there’s a way for everyone to enjoy exercise. The secret is finding an activity that comes naturally and feels the most rewarding to you. For some, that means jogging outside or lifting weights; for others, it can be Pilates or hot yoga. No matter what kind of movement you prefer, just remember — some is better than none.

The key to developing and maintaining a morning routine is finding out what works best for you. Didn’t like the watermelon juice you tried? Give hot honey water a shot. Realized jogging isn’t for you? Try some Pilates instead.

Enhancing your early hours is entirely up to you, your preferences, and your goals. While instilling new healthy habits into your morning can feel difficult, it is always worth it.

Angela is a senior editor at Dreniq News. She has written for many famous news agencies.