-Set out everything you need the night before
The key to a stress-free morning is minimizing your to-do list. Prepare whatever you can the night before: lay out clothes, set out or pack everything you need for the next day, or get your work-from-home station ready to go.
You can even meal prep your breakfast beforehand, with plenty of easy to go ideas online, your spoiled for choice, and while you’re at it, make sure the dishes are cleaned and put away, your house/apartment/room is tidy before you head to bed, so you can wake up focusing on the day rather than cleaning up from yesterday.
-Don’t check your phone for 30 minutes
We’re all guilty of the morning scroll before getting out of bed. If you check your texts, emails or Instagram feed within the first 30 minutes of the day, your mind immediately jumps to your to-do list or goes into work mode. Even just innocently scrolling through Instagram or TikTok can put your mind in a state of FOMO. Instead, leave your phone out of the bedroom (or if you use it for your alarm, leave on your night stand), spend the first 30 minutes of your day doing something that makes you feel good. After your relaxing routine is finished, then you can email to your heart’s desire, but it will make all the difference having 30 minutes to yourself.
-Wake up 15 minutes early for “selfish time”
If your mornings feel more like a race against the clock, consider waking up extra early to have a slow, calm start to your day. You might have limited control over your mornings (like an early work start time, or a child or two that you need to take care of), so waking up just 15 minutes earlier than you need to will help you feel more in control and calmer throughout the entire day. Whether you spend your time meditating, indulging in a luxurious skincare routine, or just brewing a cup of coffee with a moment of silence, having that 15 minutes could make all the difference to your day.
-Start the day with gratitude
Gratitude can improve relationships, boost happiness, and reduce stress. When you start your day with gratitude, you’re setting yourself up for a calmer and less stressful day. Include gratitude in your morning routine by writing down five things you’re grateful for in your daily planner, listening to a meditation on gratitude, or gratitude journaling. Keep it simple and think about how grateful you are to be alive when you wake up.
-Don’t hit “snooze”
While the “snooze” button is how many of us start the day, it can have a negative impact. When your alarm goes off, you’re usually nearing the end of your REM cycle. When you hit the snooze button and go back to sleep, your throw yourself back into the REM cycle, and when your alarm goes off again, you wake up in the middle of it, which can result in you feeling groggy, disoriented and grumpy. So when your alarm goes off, just get out of bed. You might not feel like it but as soon as you do, you’ll start your day right.
-Get some sunlight
Getting sunlight first thing in the morning tells the body that it’s time to wake up by suppressing melatonin production, giving you more energy. As soon as you wake up, open the blinds and turn on the lights to get your body energized and ready for the day.
-Move your body
Getting your body moving in the mornings has many health benefits like better focus, less stress, and more energy. The most important part here is to listen to your body. If your body is energized and ready to move in the morning, schedule workouts before your day gets started to reap the benefits of a morning workout. However, if your body wants to wake up slowly, don’t force yourself to exercise. Moving your body in calming ways, like a walk outside or some yoga stretches, will give you all the same benefits for a much calmer morning.
-Make a morning playlist
A morning playlist should be a combination all of the songs that energize you, destress you, or make you want to dance. Turn up the volume while you’re making breakfast, taking a morning walk, or sipping coffee and remind yourself that the purpose of the day is to enjoy it.
-Make your bed
At the risk of sounding like your parent, “make your bed”. Not only is it easy and takes less than a minute, it will set the tone for the entire day. Making your bed may be a minor accomplishment, but it will encourage you to accomplish more throughout the day. Small changes make a big impact, and making your bed can have a huge effect on your day.
A calmer day means not having to decide if you’re going to work-out at 10am or at 5pm, or stare at your fridge at every meal, contemplating what to eat. Either the night before, if your mornings are crazy, or in the morning (only after your “selfish time”), schedule out everything for the day.
Plan your meals (and what’s needed from the shops), schedule time blocks for everything you have to get done, including breaks (which should be taken as breaks), but also leave 10-15mins intervals between tasks, in case there is an overflow or protentional breather time, if needed.
Before you dive into your workday, make a to-do list, ranking from the most important to the least. Plan how to time batch tasks (like spending 30 minutes in the morning and afternoon answering emails, instead of checking your inbox every 5-10mins), and don’t forget to schedule one thing you’ll look forward to (like dinner with your significant other or playtime with the kids).
Scheduling out every detail of your day will not only reduce decision-making (therefore reducing stress) but will help you feel in control of your day.