Start Your Day Right (Building the Perfect Morning Routine)

VIPKID morning routine

Tried and tested ways to ensure you get up on the right side of the bed

If you’re not a morning person, waking up any time before 10am is tough. Waking up before 7am is a Herculean task worthy of a medal. And waking up before 5am… well, there’s a reason we’re writing this article.

Since you’re an online teacher, falling out of bed and operating as a close cousin to the undead really isn’t an option. Because in just a few moments, you’ll open your screen and be greeted by a smiling face eager to get started with class. Matching that enthusiasm while even the early bird is still tucked in requires some effort.

Luckily, developing simple, easy to achieve habits are the most effective way of getting into an early morning rhythm, and by spending a little more time on your morning routine, you’ll be a model morning person in no time!

  1. Get to know your sleep cycle

VIPKID morning routine

The age-old adage of 8 hours of sleep a day can be a bit misleading. There is broad agreement that the most beneficial amount of sleep has nothing to do with the length of time you sleep, but rather the quality of your sleep. Have you ever found after a 4-hour sleep you feel strangely energized (albeit lazy come the end of the day), while after a 7-hour sleep just opening your eyes is a feat? This is because you might be forcing yourself awake in the middle of deep sleep. If you don’t know the perfect amount of sleep time for your body, check out the numerous Apps available (like Sleep Cycle) that help monitor when you’re in a light phase of sleep and wake you up accordingly.

  1. Keep a glass of lemon juice by the bed

VIPKID morning routine

The fastest way to wake up and feel at one with the world is to get your metabolism going. Drinking water as soon as you wake up is good, adding a little lemon juice is better. With its high Vitamin C, Potassium and Magnesium content, lemons help to balance the body’s PH levels and make your metabolism realize it doesn’t belong to a hibernating bear (anymore). Just remember to prepare the glass of lemon water the night before, because nobody likes the thought of a cold kitchen floor in the morning.

  1. Get your blood flowing

VIPKID morning routine

Don’t freak out, but this is related to exercise. There’s no need to sign up for the local gym and commit to 90 minutes of cross fit at 5am every morning, but getting your blood flowing is one of the best ways to put your body into first gear. Aerobic exercise is the best, which can mean something as simple as a few jumping jacks or a brisk walk around the block. Did you know that according to happiness researcher Shawn Anchor, a mere 10 minutes of cardio can be as effective as taking an antidepressant?

  1. Take a moment

VIPKID morning routine

Spend a little time just calmly thinking of the day ahead. You may have a packed schedule, or even spent the previous night dreaming of all you have to get done, but just a few minutes to collect yourself before the day will have a huge impact. There’s a less than 3% chance your decision to do this will trigger the end of the world.

  1. Hold off the coffee… at least for an hour

VIPKID morning routine

(Wait, what now? This list went from reasonable to just plain ridiculous bordering on insulting…)

Hold up a minute. We would never do something as irrational as suggest you stop drinking coffee. But, studies have shown that drinking coffee too early in the morning can have a counter-productive effect on your energy levels. This is because your body naturally produces a cortisol spike when you wake up, and drinking coffee can dilute the effect of it. The best thing to do is ride the wave of your natural cortisol first, and then dive into the java as the morning gets going.

Hopefully these simple habits will help you become the morning person you never thought you were.




  1. Thanks for the tips, Daniel! I didn’t know about the effects of lemon juice in the morning even though I would drink it some mornings. I need all the help I can get with those early classes.

  2. Going to try all the tips. Another app for my phone, some lemon juice first thing, hold off on my coffee, take a moment, and ugh… a little warmup workout.

  3. I always begin the morning with a glass of warm water, followed by no food or coffee for 30 minutes. It is a great way to balance your system and flush any toxins out.

  4. Thank you. I am ready for that lemon juice. But, no coffee before I teach….Hey, wait a moment. I have no problem getting up at 4:30am, because I go to bed early… for me!

    • Great advice, but I don’t think I could survive the first half hour of consciousness without coffee! Otherwise, I’ll certainly give these a try!

  5. The 10 minute warm-up was new to me! It makes sense. I usually exercise after I teach my morning classes. This is such a great tip. I am going to give it a try! Thanks!

  6. Thanks for the tips. I am definitely going to try the glass of water with lemon in it. I drink that during the day but have never tried that in the morning.

  7. I am totally trying the lemon water! I am a ‘first-thing-in-the-morning” coffee drinker. I can’t wait to see how I feel with the change!

  8. I keep water by the bed already. Now I guess I’ll try lemon water. And coffee as an award after classes are finished for the day.

  9. Some good advice. To not look like a early morning zombie, I get up at least an hour early and definitely no coffee at the start. But I usually start my day at 3 am (OMG!!! As the kids say), sometimes 2am. So water is definitely a good choice to get the metabolism going, and also it surprisingly gets the body up and at it. Lemon is good, but sometimes it just puts too much acid in my body, so I have to be careful about the amount of lemon.

    You would think that a bit more sleep and getting up a bit later to teach would be better. But I find that I am a bit too groggy, not to mention to looking like the cat just dragged me in, sleepy hair and all. It’s like acting in Hollywood. A little water to the hair, maybe some gell, stuff under the puffy eyes, a splash on the face and viola, instant movie star, or a least a little more decent VIPKid teacher.

    It’s a good idea to get up a bit early. First of all the early bird catches the worm, but most importantly, you have time to collect your thoughts, meditate if you have the desire, and prep for the students. I really like the 15 mins warning belling that the VIPKid phone app does. Gives me the ability to take time to relax and wake up then after the bell, go downstairs to my office for a 15 min last mins look at the materials and student bios to fire up the class, line up the props and put on the happy face.

    Great blog

  10. I will give these a try! I drink lemon in my water all the time, but have never tried it first thing in the morning. The 10 minutes of exercise is a lofty goal- but maybe it will energize me!

  11. I try to get up 45 mins before class begins to get myself ready and not so “bearlike”. I am not a coffee drinker but drink soda so I have been cutting back on that as it is so addictive. I don’t drink a lot of water but I like that idea of lemon water first thing in the morning. I will try that! ~ Thanks!

  12. I also get up 45 minutes before class starts. This way I am always prepared and if there is some connectivity issues with my computer, I have enough time to troubleshoot.

  13. Thank you so much for the tip. I don’t drink coffee. I do try to take naps through the day. Its not bad waking up at 5am for now.

  14. I try to make my area inviting. I have snacks to keep me going incase a class runs over time. Snacks like nuts, dried fruits, etc… Always have a favorite drink and cozy socks, lotion.

  15. Thank you for all the amazing tips! I am going to try all of them!! Hopefully these will help me become a better morning person!

  16. Great suggestions. I get up 45 min. before my first class, have coffee (which I guess I should’t) and then prepare props for teaching.

  17. I don’t drink coffee anyway, so that’s easy. Lemon water, on the other hand sounds great. I do put lemon essential oil in my water, but it is different. I’ll see which works best.

  18. Good take away tips: Lemon water in the morning and holding off on the coffee . . . Mmmm, I’ll give these both a try!

  19. I have been doing lemon water (with fresh mint) in the mornings for a long time and I LOVE it. The sleep cycle thing is what gets me. Going to get an app!

  20. Had no idea about the coffee/cortisol thing. I will have to remember this. I am programmed to go straight to the coffee maker when I wake in the mornings.

  21. Love the lemon water idea – but oh shudder to think of no morning coffee! But willing to give it a try

  22. Great tips! Its been a challenge getting up earlier than normal for me. I will try the lemon water first thing in the morning.

  23. Great reminders! 🙂 I do a few of these! But coffee is a go to with peppermint essential oils from Doterra! 🙂 Yum!

  24. Thank you for the tips! I love lemons and I never realized lemon juice is helpful with metabolism. Interesting. Im not a coffee, so thats not an issue. These may have to go in my routine! Thanks!

  25. These are really great tips. I knew most of these but haven’t put them into practice. I’m really going to try this next week- download a sleeping app, have my lemon water ready and look for an exercise buddy to at least call to help me be accountable.


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