Fun Fact: I hate to be rushed. Loathe it. If I feel crunched for time, I am the most irritable person in the world, and it takes a while for me to come down from the unwanted, unnecessary stress.
For this reason, I spend quite a bit of time investing in my morning routine. Starting my day off right truly does set the tone for the rest of the day and I’m sure you feel me on this. How many times have you had a hectic morning and felt frazzled the rest of the day? I’m sure it’s more than you could count!
Over the years, I’ve implemented different morning routines to adapt to my changing lifestyle. From being a full-time student working two jobs to working full-time from home, the techniques used to set the proper stage for my day have been all over the place. Here are my seven favorite tactics to ensure I start the day stress-free.
- Make Time for What’s Important – Take time determining what’s important to you to get done in the morning. There are the obvious hygiene-related tasks, but maybe you’d like more time to walk the dog or water your plants. Figure out what would make you feel good accomplishing in the morning and how long it would take you to do. Then – the hard part – change your alarm time to correspond with your goals. You may need a few days to adjust to your new schedule, but if these tasks are truly important to you, you’ll make it work. If you aren’t willing to make the time, it’s not that important to you. Just the way it is.
- Treat Every Day Like the First Day of School – Do you remember the night before the first day of school and you’d set out everything you need for the next day? Do that every day. Pick out your clothes for the next day (and maybe a back up if you’re indecisive like me). Make sure your purse, work bag, gym bag, backpacks, whatever are fully packed to reduce hunting for items in the morning and possibly forgetting something. Like your work laptop (you know you’ve been there).
- Exercise – We hear this all the time and it’s for a good reason. Workout in the morning. Not only does it jump start your metabolism, it also wakes up your brain and sets you on the path to make healthier decisions throughout the day. You don’t need a ton of time or equipment. There are plenty of 30-minute or less workouts you can do with minimal to no equipment. Take time away from your Instagram scrolling and get your booty moving.
- Meditate – I don’t meditate regularly. However, I’ve found that during particularly stressful times meditation has truly balanced me. I’m not talking anything crazy. You don’t even have to do a guided meditation. Set an alarm for five minutes to just sit still and focus on breathing. Five minutes – that’s all.
- Delegate or Reallocate – When looking at your list of things you need or want to get done in the mornings, you may be able to identify items that either another person in your household can do or you can do at another time. If you need to pack lunch for yourself and/or your kids, carve out time to do it the night before (or join the hoards of people doing meal prep on Sundays). If you want to make sure you walk the dog every morning but also want to do a full yoga session, consider asking your spouse to walk the dog instead or schedule a yoga session later in the day.
- Have a Full Breakfast – If I hear one more person say, “I don’t have time for breakfast,” I may lose my mind. It’s eating! You don’t have time to eat?! How do you not waking up starving and think, “Food is a good idea. I should get food.”? Make time for breakfast. Have a quick bowl of healthy cereal and some fruit or meal prep frozen breakfast burritos to heat up and eat on the go. Food is fuel people. Don’t start the day with an empty tank. And no – coffee is not breakfast.
- Set Your Daily Priorities – This is one of my favorite and most-valued morning activities. I may not exercise every morning and I may forget to gather my stuff for the next day, but every morning I make time to evaluate what I absolutely have to get done that day. Some people do this the night before. At my current stage of life, I do this over breakfast. I simply pull out my handy-dandy planner and write down my top three personal to-dos and my top three work tasks that have to get done that day. Some days it’s less than three items, but anything that lands on the list becomes top priority over other items that may pop up during the day (within reason). Not only does this keep me focused, I feel so accomplished at the end of the day when I’ve completed everything I set out to that day.
Do you have any activities you swear by in the morning to keep your stress level low?