If we fail to appropriately manage our time and health needs, mornings can be the most stressful part of our day. Many of us deal with the dizziness of an unpleasant, hectic rush every morning in preparation for work or school, but it doesn’t have to be this way. With a little sensible time management your morning stress can be drastically abbreviated. Here are 11 simple steps you can follow to proactively reduce your level of morning stress.
1. Create an Evening Preparation Routine – An evening routine in preparation for the morning, that is. Iron your clothes, prepare your lunch, locate your keys, plan a nutritious breakfast, etc. These simple tasks will take you less than 30 minutes to complete each evening and will save you a huge headache every morning.
2. Plan a Realistic Day – Write a short “Must Do Today” list every evening for the following day. Never fill your mind with unnecessary worries in the excess of this list. Write down anything that cannot be pushed off to the following day. Avoid the tendency to overpopulate this list, and thus your schedule, with unrealistic goals.
3. Eliminate Known Aggravations – If your alarm clock makes a horribly annoying sound, the electric razor burns your skin, and your car’s windshield wipers are faulty… fix the problems and eliminate the stress factors permanently from your life. There is absolutely no reason to deal with habitual aggravations that can easily be resolved with a little time and money.
4. Get a Good Night’s Sleep – Make sure you start winding down for bed at a reasonable hour to allow enough time for a healthy night’s sleep. Most people require between 7 and 8 hours each night. If needed, set a bedtime reminder alarm on your alarm clock. Always keep the temperature in your bedroom comfortably cool. Studies from the National Sleep Foundation suggest the ideal temperature for sleeping is somewhere between 54 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, go easy on afternoon caffeine intake. When caffeine is consumed late in the day the quality of your sleep usually suffers.
5. Wake Up 30 Minutes Earlier – An extra 30 minutes in the morning is the difference between peaceful harmony and rapid-fire pandemonium. As long as you get to bed on time, waking up 30 minutes earlier should seem natural after just a few days. Use this time to think, stretch, shower, eat breakfast, and account for any unanticipated bumps in your morning routine.
6. Drink a Glass of Water First Thing – Water makes up between 60% – 70% of your body composition. It is absolutely vital to stay properly hydrated. Even mild dehydration can cause your blood to thicken. This forces your heart to work double-time in order to push the necessary blood to your organs, which will result in noticeable mental fatigue. Also, a hydrated body is more efficient at dispersing energy-building nutrients to all its extremities. Since the average human body becomes slightly dehydrated over the course of a long sleep, you should drink a tall glass of water first thing when you wake up.
7. Do a Light 10 Minute Stretching Workout – Do you feel a little groggy when you first wake up? This is completely normal. All you need to do is get your blood flowing, which will assist your body in transitioning between the sleeping and awake states. Once you do, you’ll feel great. Place a matt or towel on a carpeted floor. Lie on your back and stretch your arms as far as you can in one direction while stretching your toes out in the opposite direction. Then stand up and do some knee raises and toe touches. If you are feeling up to it, add in a few sit-ups and push-ups.
8. Listen to Music and Take a Hot Shower – Music injects positive, motivational influence into your mind. You should listen to music that makes you happy every morning while you progress through your routine. Also, a hot shower can be one of the most soothing experiences early in the morning. The fresh, revitalized feeling you have stepping out of the shower will spill over as positivity into your first few tasks of the day.
9. Keep a Clean, Organized Living Space – Create order in your life and living space. Organize your home so that you always know exactly where your belongings are. Then, consciously put your belongings away in their proper place each time you use them. Doing so will eliminate the unproductive, stress filled moments of searching for something you’ve misplaced.
10. Never Drive Home with an Empty Gas Tank – Filling up a car’s gas tank is so darn easy, but it does take a few minutes of your time. Why then, do so many people procrastinate on filling up their cars with gas until the busy mornings when they can’t spare any time without being late? Never do this! Check your gas tank level on the way home. If it’s getting low, pull into a gas station and fill it up immediately.
11. Schedule Something You Love Daily – Getting up to face a new day is far more satisfying when you have something to look forward to. Life is short. Make sure you manage your time effectively so that you have time to engage in something you love on a daily basis.
There will always be exceptions, but faithfully following the steps above should help you conquer most of your mornings with reduced stress and a lot more grace.