Getting back into a morning routine can be challenging after summer break. With a little planning ahead, you can avoid hectic and stressful mornings. These tips and tricks will help ensure you start each school day at your best.

1. Get a Good Night’s Rest

We coach our students to get a good night’s rest before a big test, but do we always follow our own advice? Working on lesson plans and grading papers until the wee hours of the morning may make us feel productive in the moment but leaving a few things undone and going to bed so you can get seven to eight hours of sleep is actually a smarter strategy.

2. Plan a Wholesome Breakfast

We’re all guilty of racing out the door without eating breakfast, and coffee makes a poor substitute for a nutritious meal. Get creative with your breakfast menu and plan something you’ll be excited to eat. Make a quick smoothie with fruit, almond butter and yogurt. Or go the savory route with quinoa, smoked salmon, and a fried egg.

3. Drink Water

We all know how important it is to eat a good breakfast, but drinking plenty of water is just as important. Before you reach for that cup of coffee, drink a glass of water. Staying hydrated will improve your concentration and will jump-start your metabolism.

4. Exercise

Increase your energy levels by exercising in the morning. Not only will you feel better physically, but an early morning workout can be an excellent time to clear your head and get mentally prepared for the day ahead.

5. Plan Your Day

Mornings can be an excellent quiet time where you can map out the day’s planned activities. Take a few moments to reflect on what you hope to achieve during each activity.

6. Schedule Harder Tasks for the AM

Procrastinating difficult or dreaded tasks increases our stress levels. When possible, schedule these tasks for the morning when you are more alert and have higher energy. By getting the difficult tasks out of the way early, your day will get easier.

7. Leave in Plenty of Time

Morning rush hour traffic is stressful enough. Avoid additional anxiety by making sure you leave in plenty of time.

8. Check the News

Staying on top of current events can be an empowering part of your morning routine. Take some time to read the newspaper, watch a news program on TV, or check in on your favorite Facebook or Twitter newsfeeds. Bonus tip: a popular current event can be a good icebreaker with your students.

9. Catch Up on Email

Make sure you allot enough time to check your email before your students arrive. This will help ensure you are up-to-speed on any last minute projects or meetings.

10. Do Something Nice For Yourself

Before the first bell rings and your students take their seats, take five minutes to do something you enjoy. This can be as simple as reading a favorite magazine, looking at pictures or videos of your family, or catching up on social media. This small indulgence will help you start the day fresh and relaxed.

Have something to add? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.