Mornings are tough – there are a million memes to attest to it. With the day’s plans swirling in your head, getting out the door can be a challenge. In fact, physicians have even discovered an anxiety relating solely to the stress that happens in the mornings.
Identifying your personal morning stressors is the first step to better tackling them. Consider what pushes your buttons in the morning and plan ahead for them. If you pay attention to small morning dramas, you can also learn how to head them off at the pass.
Streamline Your Morning With These Tips
Tackling what you know brings on stress can mean an easier transition into your day. To stay sane and productive after waking, know what to expect and be honest about your shortcomings.
For instance, if you are inclined to spend time in front of the make-up mirror, give yourself a few extra minutes there.
Here are 5 morning stressors that stump even the calmest morning person – along with some strategies for overcoming them.
1. Clothes and Getting Dressed
Getting up is hard enough. Worrying about what to wear can truly be a stress. A few ways to battle this anxiety are by:
Clearing out your closet. Put away seasonal clothing. Fall’s here and winter is soon approaching. Pack up the sandals, shorts and sundresses until spring, and give your closet room for warmer gear.
Sorting what’s left. Organize your closet and make it personal. Put the most comfortable, work-appropriate clothes where they are most accessible. Consider pairing complementary pieces – like blouses and jackets.
Picking out your clothes the night before. Workdays are long, and the last thing you want to do is think about tomorrow, but this little step can improve your day. Spend a few minutes in the evening choosing your clothes to streamline your morning. Consider encouraging children in the house to do the same.
Closet sorting works wonders because it helps clear your mind. Also, looking into a cluttered closet can amp up anxiety. When your closet is put together, the final task of picking out clothes for the next day – or the morning, if you forget – is much easier.
Having a bad hair day can sour a great morning – fast. Like the weather, hair drama is unpredictable – and sometimes weather-dependent. You know your hair better than anyone, so always be ready for a coif-crisis. Keep newer hairbands around – they’ll have stronger elastic – and throw your hair into a stylish ponytail or bun. If your hair is too short to pull back, invest in trendy headbands and clips. A fashionable hair accessory can cover most hair crises.
3. Deciding What to Eat
Eating in the morning can be a challenge for some, but skipping breakfast is poor choice. Unfortunately, so is eating doughnuts and croissants. When your body first wakes up, remember that it has been busy the night before – give it some nourishment. Here are some ideas for quick, easy breakfasts:
Start with fruit and nuts. The combination of fruit and nuts offers the sugar you crave balanced with protein. There’s no cooking, blending or prep.
Keep boiled eggs around. Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrition, especially if they are cooked without extra oils and fat. A boiled egg is an excellent way to get filling protein and neutralize your fasting blood sugar.
Stock protein-rich granola bars. Most granola bars are about as healthy as a Pop-Tart, but there are nutrient-rich, high-protein options. Keep these handy for days when you need to grab something on the go.
Food actually tempers anxiety, especially if it’s nutritious. After sleeping and fasting for seven or eight hours, your blood sugar is low. Your body feels deprived until it gets the sustenance it needs. Even a small breakfast will quell your morning stress. And eating within an hour of waking boosts your metabolism – helping you get a better start in the morning.
4. Deciding What to Drink
Coffee is crucial to some people’s mornings rituals – the grinding of the beans, the dripping of the machine, the smell of energy. It would be nice if you had coffee before you had to make it. What if there was another energy drink that could help you? There is – water.
There’s a reason we drink coffee instead of eat chocolate first thing – our bodies are naturally dehydrated during sleep. They need liquid. Why not give your body what it most wants? Water will help ease your transition into wakefulness and prepare you for what it takes to get out the door.
If you are properly hydrated, toxins are flushed, your body stays cooler and joints work better. All elements that work to make the day easier. You’ll be cool, stay calm and move through your morning easier. Consider this: Brain tissue is 85% water. Without adequate hydration, both your mind and body become more anxious.
5. Traffic and Commuting
It would be great if all stress was controllable, but some things just aren’t. Traffic is both uncontrollable and unpredictable. After repressing all their morning anxiety, many people let loose once they get on the road — one reason for the increase in road rage over the last few years and the 66% of traffic fatalities that are caused by aggressive driving.
To stay in control, know what’s coming. One great app for helping with this is Poncho. Not only does it provide weather updates and an alarm, but it also displays information for your morning commute. Don’t get stuck in an angry traffic mob. Know alternate work routes and plan your drive depending on the traffic.
Plan Ahead for a Stress-Free Morning
In sum, planning for your mornings can reduce your morning stress. Whenever possible, get things ready the night before to avoid late-night worries about the next day. And if it’s possible, give yourself an extra 10 or 15 minutes of quiet time in the morning – time and headspace to reflect on the upcoming day before the rest of the household is up and moving. Handling as many of your worries the day before will make every morning feel just a little bit easier!
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