So many of us tend to start our days by snoozing our alarm until the last possible second, scrolling through social media while still in bed, or running around frantically to get everything ready for the day. The day has barely started, and we’re already exhausted, stressed, and frustrated – not exactly a great way to start.
But committing to a few small changes can help make the mornings calmer and less stressful, setting us up for a much better day.
1. Set out clothes and other necessary items in the evening.
Nothing creates stress in the morning like not being able to find something you need, whether it’s an important work file or your child’s other shoe. Avoid this havoc by taking some time before bed to set out everything you’ll need for the next day: clothes for you and your family, items for work, and any lunches or snacks that need to be packed, for instance. The morning will be much easier (and you’ll be less likely to run late) when you don’t have to spend time looking for things.
2. Get up early enough to enjoy a few minutes of quiet time.
Starting the day at a hundred miles an hour is a quick path to exhaustion and burnout. Instead, try getting up a little earlier than you need to, giving yourself some quiet time before everyone else is up. You can use that time to do some yoga, read a book, or just sit and enjoy your coffee in silence. Of course, getting up earlier means going to be earlier, so avoid the temptation to watch “just one more” Netflix episode before bed.
3. Avoid looking at any devices while still in bed.
As soon as you look at your phone – and start checking e-mails, scrolling through social media, or reading the news – you almost immediately start feeling more anxious. Postpone that feeling for as long as possible in the morning so you can enjoy the first few moments of the day. At the very least, resist the urge to start looking at your phone while you’re still in bed. You might consider keeping your phone across the room or even in a different part of the house so you aren’t tempted.
4. Eat a nourishing breakfast.
Whether breakfast is truly “the most important meal of the day” might be up for discussion, but here’s one thing that’s not – a sugary doughnut or greasy breakfast burrito won’t do much to help you tackle the day. Instead, aim for a mix of lean protein, nutrient-rich carbs, and healthy fats, and try to incorporate some produce into your morning meal.
5. Don’t overdo the coffee.
So many of us rely on coffee to get through the day, or at least to wake up in the morning. But many of us have also experienced the jitters that come with too much caffeine or the post-caffeine crash that happens when you’re too dependent on it. So enjoy your coffee, but limit yourself to one cup. If that feels impossible, start scaling back gradually – your body will eventually adapt, and that’ll be all you’ll need to start the day.