Stress sucks! That’s something we all know. It can cause acne, hair loss, weight gain, weight loss and a host of other health problems. Put simply, it can make you feel crazy and overwhelmed at EVERYTHING! But, there is a way to combat stress.
Routines and organization is the best way to deal with stress throughout the day. What better time to start with a routine, then first thing in the morning! Setting the tone for the day starts the minute you open your eyes. If you aren’t careful, stress can rear it’s ugly little face into your sights before you can do anything about it.
So just how do you combat stress first thing in the morning? Well. I’ll tell you!
Here are my top tips to get you started in creating your own morning routine to help alleviate stress.
Stop Hitting Snooze
If you’re one of those people that keep hitting the snooze button in an attempt to get more sleep, you’re probably not going to like what you’re about to read. When you press that snooze button over and over again, you are causing yourself to have less time to prepare for the day. That alone can cause some stress. I am fortunate in that I very seldom, if ever, have to set an alarm for morning unless I am up super early for a flight or something. If you need five or six alarms timed to go off 15 minutes apart, try setting them a little earlier than when you actually need to wake up. This will allow you to be able to hit that snooze button (once or twice – not 10!) and still get up on time. Having to rush in the morning is a breeding ground for high stress levels throughout the day. That snooze button is just not worth it.
Don’t Constantly Check Your Phone
Constantly checking your phone, whether its social media or emails, can cause those stress levels to heighten. Checking your phone right after waking up, and in some cases before you even get out of bed, overloads your brain causing stress by trying to wake up faster. Try not checking your phone until you’re up and having a healthy breakfast. It will allow your mind the time it needs to wake up on its own and do it calmly.
We often forget, but good quality breathing is so important. Learning to calm yourself through breathing exercises will help fight away the stress that hits in the form of panic attacks and anxiety attacks or plain old stress. Take in deep breaths while counting to five and then exhale counting to five. Doing this helps to gain control of the situation which alleviates the feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed by everything going on around you. Doing this in the morning before you even get out of bed is a great way to prepare your mind for all the tasks you need to tackle.
Repeat An Affirmation
I am not a big new age or touchee feelee kind of person, but sometimes saying kind things to yourself about yourself will definitely make you happy and keep those pesky stress levels at bay. We also tend to be our own harshest critics, so it helps quiet your inner critic. It can be anything that makes you feel positive like “I am grateful for my life”, “I begin my life today”, “I am kind”, or “I am beautiful”. It really just depends on you and what you need/want to hear. The moment you start to feel like you’re being flooded with too much and become overwhelmed, take a breath and repeat your affirmation. This will help calm you and also help keep you positive and motivated to get through the day.
Eat A Good Breakfast
You heard me say this before but it’s a fact that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but there is science and plenty of studies that can prove it. In fact, A British study taken in 2012 found that “people who ate breakfast reported feeling 89% less anxious in challenging situations later that day, and were able to deal with dilemmas 7% faster than on days they skipped their A.M. meal” (“12 Morning Tricks To Set Yourself Up For A Much Less Stressful Day”). So, make sure you not only eat breakfast, but that you eat a HEALTHY breakfast. A healthy breakfast does not mean grabbing a coffee and a breakfast sandwich as you rush to work. Having a healthy breakfast and taking the time to enjoy it will increase your brain function and reaction and allow you to focus more on the tasks you need to tackle each day.
Make A List for Productivity
Early on in the morning, try to focus on all your high-concentration tasks. This includes things like writing reports, seeing patients, managing finances or anything else that might require more focus and/or creativity. The best way to put those things in order of how much concentration they require is to make a list. After you complete one of the tasks, cross it off. Doing this will alleviate the feeling of being overwhelmed and flooded with tasks throughout your day.
This also applies if you are a stay home mom or dad. Having a list will still help you get more done. Looking back at a completed checklist will make you feel like you actually accomplished something today, and that can help reduce stress in itself.
So, there you have it.
If you are fighting stress each day or even every once in a while, you can decrease the amount of stress you feel just by sticking to a good healthy and quality morning routine.
Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!