Life can be stressful, and no doubt during stressful times we struggle to remain motivated and happy. Fortunately, there are small, actionable ways to ease our overwhelming feelings and reduce our stress. What you do first thing in the morning can impact your entire day. Here are 10 things that you can do every morning to help you start your day on a positive note, ease your stress, and promote your well-being.
1. Get a good night’s sleep. Start your day fully rested and energized. This can be achieved by going to bed 8-10 hours before your scheduled “alarm. Lack of sleep often makes individuals irritable and increases stress levels, making it difficult to conquer the day.
2. Express Gratitude. Get a gratitude journal and before getting out of bed document one thing you are grateful for. It can be as simple as, I’m grateful for a good night’s sleep to something more complex, such as I’m grateful for my kids.
3. Positive Affirmations. Write one positive thing you like about yourself on a post-it note and stick it to the back of your bedroom door, inside of your closet door, or anywhere you feel comfortable. You can also write in a journal something you like about yourself every morning. When we feel overwhelmed we often beat ourselves up for small mistakes. This technique is a great way to feel better about yourself, and it is something to look at in the middle of the day when you begin to feel overwhelmed or begin engaging in negative thoughts.
4. Social Media. Stay off social media for the first and last hour of every day. It’s a mindless habit that does not help you get into a healthy mindset. Social media has been tied to negatively impacting an individual’s mental health. Try engaging in a self-care activity, such as yoga, stretching, exercise, watching TV, reading, meditating, etc., a half-hour to an hour after you wake up.
5. Eat Breakfast. Make yourself a healthy breakfast. Make sure your breakfast includes healthy proteins, carbs, and fats to give you the energy you need to conquer your day. A helpful tip for eating breakfast every morning is picking a new breakfast recipe to try every week so there’s something new to look forward to when you wake up and keep you motivated.
5. Alarm. Change your alarm sounds to a soothing tone so you’re not waking up startled. Do not snooze your alarm, wake up on the first one, and sit up immediately.
7. Don’t Rush. Get up with enough time to engage in self-care activities and get ready. Rushing starts your morning on a stressful note and that can follow you into your workday.
8. Pets. Have a pet? Cuddle or play with your pet first thing in the morning. This is a self-soothing technique that will help you relax and feel loved, as well as give love to your loyal companion.
9. Podcast. Listen to an inspiring podcast or a podcast with a storyline as you get ready. A podcast that helps you relax, or gets you excited to conquer your to-do list and make the most of your workday.
10. Tidy Up Your Space. Coming home after a long workday to a messy home is not a good feeling. Make your bed, put away clothes, clean your dishes or place them in the dishwasher. Coming home to a tidy home creates fewer things for you to take care of when you get home after a long workday, as well as allowing you the opportunity to relax rather than head home to do more chores.
11. Mind-Body Connection. The mind-body connection is the link between our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and how they impact our physical health. Stretching your body, doing yoga, or meditating first thing in the morning can improve your physical and emotional health by reducing physical symptoms associated with your mental health and improving your mood and well-being.
12. Drink Water. Skip the coffee first thing in the morning. Drinking a full cup of water first thing in the morning gets your metabolism going, helps you stay hydrated, and makes you feel full of energy.
13. Exercise. Complete an effective workout in the morning. This will release the happy hormones in your body and help you feel good and energized throughout the day.
14. Plan your day. Take some time in the morning and look at your calendar and your to-do list, and plan out when each task will be completed. This will help you take the stressors out of your head and put them onto paper, and give you time and space to create a plan to conquer your day.
15. Prepare the night before. Do your meal prepping the night prior. Place your keys in their proper location so you can ensure leaving on time. Pack your work bag. Essentially, do everything you need to do in the morning the night prior to reduce stress and reduce the risk of running late.