7 Tips for a Stress-Free Rocket-Fueled Morning
People who go to bed and wake up early tend to be more productive and feel more optimistic and less stressed than those who tend to follow a later sleeping pattern. If you’re like me and you are not a morning person, this infographic is an excellent resource to get started on becoming a morning person.
Regardless of the time you wake up, you can practice the following seven tips for a stress-free rocket-fueled morning. Try as many of these tips as you would like, but not all at once. It's important to set realistic goals. You are more likely to succeed when you focus your willpower on incremental changes.
Fighting Stress with Routines
Stress kills! That’s something we all know. It can cause acne, hair loss, weight gain, sleep loss and a host of other health problems. Put simply, it can make you feel overwhelmed and miserable! However, there are ways to combat stress.
Creating routines is a fantastic technique to manage stress. And what better time to start a routine than first thing in the morning! Setting the tone for the day starts before you even open your eyes. If you need help managing stress or creating successful stress-reducing routines, check out my Get Zen! program here
Stop Hitting Snooze
If you’re someone who keeps hitting the snooze button in an attempt to get more sleep (I am soooo guilty), you’re probably not going to like what you’re about to read. When you press the snooze button over and over again, you are causing yourself to have less time to prepare for the day. That alone can cause stress.
If you’re like me and set five or six alarms which go off every few minutes, try setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier than when you actually need to wake up, but instead of pushing snooze, sit up in bed. Hitting the snooze button disrupts your sleep cycle and it is not an efficient use of time. Plus, giving yourself extra time in the morning means not having to rush so you start your day at a lower stress level.
Don’t Check Your Phone
Checking your phone right after waking up overloads your brain causing stress. There is also a chance that you'll scroll into something negative which can lead to your day starting off in a funk. Try not checking your phone until you’re about to leave or at a scheduled time. It will allow your mind the time it needs to wake up on its own and do it calmly.
We often forget that quality breathing is important. Learning to breathe correctly is probably the easiest and most effective method of learning how to relax. Although breathing is automatic, people sometimes develop the habit of taking short, shallow breaths.
A different way of breathing is “diaphragmatic breathing,” which requires you to use the muscles in your diaphragm and abdomen. The diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle located right under your rib cage, between your chest and stomach.
During correct diaphragmatic breathing the diaphragm is tightened and pulls the lower part of your lungs down so that more air can be inhaled. As you inhale, the abdomen swells (your stomach is pushed out a little), the rib cage expands and at the end of the inhalation the upper chest expands.
Using the diaphragmatic breathing method, practice taking a few deep breaths, "filling your belly full of air," while counting to five, and then exhale counting to five. Or if you prefer a visual prompt, you can breathe along with this gif, inhaling and exhaling on cue. Practicing this in the morning before you even get out of bed is a marvelous way to prepare your mind for the day ahead.
Repeat An Affirmation
Saying kind things to yourself will keep those pesky stress levels at bay. You can say anything that makes you feel positive like “I am grateful for my life,” “I deserve happiness,” “I am worthy,” or “I am beautiful.” What you say depends on what you need to hear. Throughout the day, when you start to feel overwhelmed, take a deep belly breath (or five) and repeat your affirmation. This technique will help calm you and also help keep you positive and motivated. You can find more affirmations here.
Eat A Healthy Breakfast
We’ve all been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but have you seen the research? According to a 2013 randomized controlled study, Veasey et al. discovered that "the positive health benefits of consuming breakfast include mood enhancement and improvement in some aspects of cognitive performance, in particular, memory." Make sure you not only eat breakfast, but that you eat a healthy breakfast. This will improve your mood and brain function allowing you to focus better.
Make A List For Productivity
Early in the morning, try to work on all your high-concentration jobs first. These tasks include writing, attending important meetings, making phone calls, managing finances or anything else that might require more focus or creativity.
The best way to prioritize based on concentration requirements is to make a list. After you complete one of the tasks, cross it off your list. This process will alleviate the feeling of being overwhelmed throughout the day.
Customize Your Morning
I hope you found these seven tips useful for jumpstarting your day and reducing stress. Feel free to modify or add different steps to your morning routine such as exercise, stretching, mindfulness or practicing gratitude. The key to success is creating a morning routine that works for you on a daily basis and one that you look forward to. To add even more rocket fuel to your morning, I recommend The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.
What does your morning routine look like? Let us know in the Willful Wellness Living private Facebook group, and find out what others are doing!