When you start your day well, it sets the right foundation for a successful experience. However, it takes intentionality and effort in order to ensure your days go well. From fatigue and stomach aches to depression and problems sleeping, experiencing stress in the morning has several negative effects on every aspect of a person’s life and health. If you’ve tried several involved strategies to reduce stress and the symptoms associated with stress, it is time to take a step back and try something simpler.
The best way to put forth the right effort involves making small changes in the way your mornings go. Consider the following tips to help you make small changes that will make your mornings easier.
Prepare the Night Before
Before you go to bed each night, create a to-do list. Consider the most important items you need to take care of. List them in the rank of importance. Keep it by your bed or on your phone. Once you wake up the next morning, you can look at the list and get a better idea of how to experience peak productivity because you already have your marching orders in place.
Choose One Small, Realistic Goal for the Day
Many busy parents and adults wake up in the morning with an endless to-do list. Instead of focusing on everything you have to get done, pick a realistic goal and accomplish that first. For example, if you have kids, your realistic goal can be to pack them a healthy lunch instead of giving them money for school lunch.
Taking your dog for a five-minute walk before work or choosing to eat a healthier meal for breakfast are a few examples of small goals that you can set and accomplish to start off your day on a positive foot.
Include a Morning Beverage
Whether you like to drink tea or coffee in the morning, set the items out in advance. You can even create your own coffee bar. Instead of running to a coffee shop on the way to work, just keep something like Starbucks K Cup Pods on your kitchen countertop. Use your coffee maker to create the perfect cup to your liking. This one task will save you time and money in the long run. Avoiding waiting in line for coffee every morning will make every day significantly more consistent.
Fit Exercise Into Your Daily Routine
Your doctor may have talked with you about the benefits of exercise and reducing stress. However, finding time for exercise can be an added source of stress. Instead of worrying about creating large blocks of time, find realistic, smaller windows to get up and get moving. For example, if you have a few minutes before you have to leave your home for the day, take a quick walk around the block. If you have the time, you could even consider walking or jogging to work depending on how far away your office is.
Getting your heart rate up a few minutes every day will add up, help you get healthier, and reduce stress.
Consider an Early Wakeup Time
Do not hit the snooze button each morning. Instead, take advantage of the early morning hours by putting your alarm clock on the other side of the room. This will force you to get out of bed, grab the alarm clock and turn it off. Once you’re out of bed, you’ve already achieved the hardest part. Giving yourself plenty of time to complete your morning routine will make your day less stressful.
Giving yourself some extra time in the morning will help your body sleep more soundly the night prior. Sometimes we anticipate waking up in the morning which can cause unnecessary stress at night. Preparing for a morning that you can look forward to will help keep your mornings and nights less stressful.
Maintain a Positive Mindset
Nobody is perfect, and when you make a mistake, are late for work, or simply aren’t living up to the expectations you put on yourself, you can start saying horrible things about yourself. This negativity about yourself and your life can cause unnecessary stress and will make your morning much more difficult. Instead, when you feel yourself saying negative things about yourself, realize it and point out one thing you have done well so far.
For example, if you got all the kids to school on time, congratulate yourself and tell yourself you did an amazing job. Take the time to also say something nice about someone in your life. This will create an air of positivity that can help reduce stress
Find Pleasure-Related Activities
When you wake up early, it’s much easier to take control of your day by including tasks that are important to you. Try to include a task that provides a sense of pleasure. Whether you like to stretch and meditate, read or enjoy puzzles, consider a leisure activity you can enjoy to start your morning on a really positive note.
If you want to make a major impact in your life, focus on small changes. When you try to overhaul your entire life, it’s easy to fall back into the small routine that you had before. Become a creature of habit by consistently working on the smallest changes. When you master those changes, you can move on to the next set of changes. Before long, your mornings will be better. As a result, your life will reflect the impacts of your morning changes.