For most people, mornings are a stressful time full of rush and worry. Waking up earlier than you want to, getting ready, making sure the kids have everything they need for school, shoveling down breakfast, sitting through long commutes … the list goes on and on.
But what if we told you it didn’t have to be that way? What if we told you that while mornings may never be your favorite time of day, with the right mindset and routine, you could transform them into a time of tranquility and calm? You can do it. Here’s how.
Wake Up 15 Minutes Earlier
Research indicates that stress causes fatigue, and in turn that fatigue can lead to more serious health problems. Although you might really want that extra 15, waking up to a less rushed morning routine could significantly reduce stress and raise your energy level overall. Plus, then you’ll have time for everything that felt cramped before … like a real breakfast or a relaxing cup of tea.
Get Some Exercise
We don’t mean you have to go for a five-mile run every morning (though if that’s you, kudos!). Instead, set aside a few minutes to stretch, to do some light yoga, or to walk the dog around the block. Getting out in the brisk morning air and moving gets your blood pumping and your brain working, and fights off the last cobwebs of sleep more effectively than the snooze button ever could.
Have a Ritual Just for You
Sometimes choosing a single act for yourself can make a big difference in how the morning feels. Perhaps you meditate for 10 minutes, or take a hot bath. Maybe your morning ritual is making a cup of matcha tea, which involves boiling water, measuring out powder, a Zen-like whisking process, and drinking while the tea is still hot. Whatever the case, your morning ritual should be calming but unnecessary, so that it feels like a treat.
Not eating breakfast leads to all kinds of not-so-good outcomes. Among them are snacking, sleepiness, irritability, muscle fatigue, and brain fog. Avoid these side effects of hunger by putting protein at the forefront of your morning routine. Try eggs, protein shakes or a matcha latte. If you don’t want to take the time to make a real breakfast, that’s okay too. Eat a few spoonfuls of peanut butter and call it good … just don’t skip!
Enjoy Your Commute
Okay, so that might be easier said than done, but it is possible. If you dislike your commute, try identifying what you don’t like about it. Are you bored? Do you hate listening to other people on the subway? If the former, for example, start renting books on tape from the library so you can make your hours in the car pass faster. If the latter, make an MP3 player and headphones regular elements in your workbag. These are small adjustments, but could make a big difference.
Injecting a little mindfulness into every stage of your morning routine can make your day significantly better. Use these tips to slow down your a.m. habits, and your entire day may feel calmer and more relaxed.