When your alarm goes off, the first thing you probably think of is your to-do list: Get the kids ready for school. Pick up your dry cleaning. Turn in that presentation to your boss.
But there’s one major thing you’re probably forgetting: the person right next to you.
Sure, you think about your partner. You send each other texts throughout the day, and you both put in the effort for an occasional date night. But do you actually take the time every day to truly pause and connect?
The morning is the perfect time for this—not only because what you do first thing can set the tone for the rest of the day, but because you haven’t already gotten bogged down with other responsibilities.
Plus, during the early morning, your heart rate and blood pressure are typically the lowest they’ll be all day, say Patricia Johnson and Mark Michaels, coauthors of Designer Relationships and Partners In Passion.
“When we’re relaxed, we’re more open to feelings of intimacy and connection,” they say. “Sadly, couples often roll out of bed by ignoring one another because they’re so preoccupied with getting out of the house.”
We get it: You don’t have the time—or the energy—to do something grandiose before brushing your teeth. But the good news is you don’t have to.
These six things are small enough, and worth it enough, to integrate into your morning routine.