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Stop Morning Stress With These Healthy Habits

Stop Morning Stress With These Healthy Habits

How to set a morning routine that will help you stress less.

Do your mornings suck? If mornings at your house resemble Filene’s Running of the Brides or Black Friday morning, then it’s time to get a handle on it. The best news is that you can. No matter how crazy our mornings, we can all instill a little sanity—and create a positive feedback loop for the entire day.

Try these tips to make them less madcap:

  • Smooth the transition. It’s 5:59 a.m. and you’re asleep, your brain bathed in relaxing melatonin, lost in a dream about Adam Levine. Suddenly it’s 6 a.m. and GAH! It’s an air raid! It’s your toddler! It’s an air raid of toddlers! Nope, it’s your blaring alarm clock, triggering cortisol to be released and shooting up your heart rate and blood pressure. Try a calmer transition with a lighted wake-up clock (that slowly brightens until it’s time to wake up), an app that awakens you at your lightest sleep, within your set wake-up window or even a less “alarming” alarm tone. Sadly, none of those bring back Adam.
  • Decrease the amount you have to think. Make a morning routine that you and your family (with a little luck?) use every day. The brain loves routines. They make mundane daily activities less stressful and free us to focus on more important things. Put items you use every morning in the same spot. Make lists for children’s daily “must-do’s”. Prep lunch and gym bags the night before so they’re grab-and-go. The fewer spontaneous decisions you have to make to get out the door, the better.​
  • Get up 10 minutes early for a morning ritual. This is one of the best ways to control the tone of your own day. Go for a quick walk/run. Do yoga. Take five minutes for some self-affirmations such as “When xxx (something concerning you that day) happens, I will be able to handle it with yyy (a successful response).”
  • Stay out of cell-phone response spiral. You get up. You check email on your phone, see five requests and spend the next 15 minutes responding. Now you’re both late and worried. Try to avoid checking before you get to the office. If you must, respond only to “emergencies.” You’ll save yourself time in the morning and have a better response anyway, once your brain is awake.
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