Advertisement

Stop Morning Stress With These Healthy Habits

Stop Morning Stress With These Healthy Habits

Start your day on a happier, more productive note by automating your a.m. routine.

Do you dread mornings? If the wakeup routine at your house resembles Black Friday, 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 Idris Elba. Suddenly it’s 6 a.m. and OH NO! It’s an air raid! It’s your toddler! It’s an air raid of toddlers! Nope, it’s your blaring alarm clock, triggering the release of cortisol and escalating your heart rate and blood pressure.

Try a calmer transition with a lighted alarm clock that slowly brightens until it’s time to wake up. Or, try an app that awakens you at your lightest sleep, within your set wake-up window or even with a less “alarming” alarm tone. Sadly, none of those bring back Idris.

Shrink 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 or 20 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 or 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 smartphone 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 once you're fully awake and your brain is more alert.

Medically reviewed in August 2019.

Where to Turn Your Eyes for Stress Relief
Where to Turn Your Eyes for Stress Relief
Next time you feel like you're about to lose it, switch off your computer monitor and take a look out the window. New research shows it might be just...
Read More
When does stress begin?
Elissa Epel, PhD, MSElissa Epel, PhD, MS
How we respond to stress is developed while in the womb, says Elissa Epel, PhD, associate professor ...
More Answers
5 Surprising Ways You Are Stressing Yourself Out
5 Surprising Ways You Are Stressing Yourself Out5 Surprising Ways You Are Stressing Yourself Out5 Surprising Ways You Are Stressing Yourself Out5 Surprising Ways You Are Stressing Yourself Out
Stress is a normal part of life—but some is within your control. Find out which habits—an unhealthy diet, skimping on sleep—cause stress overload.
Start Slideshow
How Does Stress Affect a Man's Sex Drive?
How Does Stress Affect a Man's Sex Drive?