Morning Routine to Ease Stress

This morning routine is designed to help you start your day off on the right foot and ease tension and stress that can build before you even leave your home. By practicing this routine each morning (feel free to tweek it to better fit you personally!), you’ll be able to get your mind and body into a strong, flexible, and pleasant state first thing in the morning.

Prep the night before.

Having a stress-free morning starts the night before! By taking a few minutes before bed to prepare for the following day, you can eliminate a lot of running around and anxiety filled moments the next morning when you don’t have anything to take for lunch or just can’t find your keys.

A few ways to set yourself up for a stress-free morning the night before include making & packing your lunch for the next day, prepping your breakfast (chopping fruits and veggies, setting out the skillet, etc.), finding your keys and setting them by the door, and putting all of the dishes away. Walking into a clean kitchen can make all of the difference in the world! Clutter in our environment leads to clutter in the mind.

Getting into bed at a decent time is crucial to waking up on the right side of it the next morning. Ensure that you get enough sleep each night by picking a bed time and sticking to it. This can be easier to manage by creating and keeping a schedule for each day of what you need to get done and by what time.

Stretch.

When you first wake up, maybe while you’re still laying in bed, stretch your limbs, twist your torso, and touch your toes to get your blood flowing and energize your body. Our blood tends to settle slightly and our muscles contract when we lay in one position for hours at a time. By stretching the body first thing in the morning, we can prevent injury, sluggishness, and crankiness due to discomfort.

Drink warm lemon water.

Pour yourself a warm glass of lemon water before you eat or drink anything else. (Don’t make it too hot! This can cause damage to the esophagus.) I simply turn the kitchen faucet all the way to the left; no microwave necessary! If you’re under 150 pounds, use half a lemon. If you’re over 150, use a full lemon. The seemingly endless list of benefits it provides can be found in my post devoted entirely to my love of this super beverage. But for now just trust me, your body and mind will be jumping with joy.

Practice pranayama and meditation.

Pranayama (breath exercise) is a powerful way to connect the body, breath, and mind to calm the body and reduce anxiety. A simple and effective practice you can start with is Sama Vritti or Balanced Breathing. Sit in a comfortable, cross-legged position with a tall spine and close your eyes. Begin noticing your normal breathing pattern, and when you’re ready, start inhaling on a count of 4 (keeping the breath even), then exhale on a count of four (again, keeping the exhale even). As you get comfortable with this rhythm, extend your count to fit your breath, but remember to keep each inhale and exhale even in length.

Once you feel your body and mind have relaxed, move into a simple meditation by choosing a word or a mantra to repeat over and over in your head. For example, you can repeat “peace” or “my mind is at peace”. At first, try to meditate for 3 or 4 minutes. As you become more comfortable, let yourself sit in meditation 5-10 minutes or as long as you are comfortable.

Eat a balanced breakfast.

Eating a healthy, nutritionally balanced breakfast helps to nourish your body with exactly what it needs to operate at its highest potential throughout the day. An added bonus: it will leave you feeling strong and energized rather than sluggish and uncomfortable which helps to keep your mood lifted all day long. My go-to balanced breakfast is:

  • ½ cup of egg whites
  • ¼ cup of steel cut oats
  • all the blueberries you can fit

Cook them together like an omelet, drizzle a little honey on top, and you’ve got yourself a protein-packed breakfast complimented by complex carbohydrates and antioxidants. What’s even better, it is absolutely DELICIOUS!

Create a Gratitude Journal.

Once you’ve finished off your yummy meal, clean up your dishes and turn your attention to a gratitude journal. This can be any notebook that you keep with one page dedicated to each day. Write down at least 1 or 2 things you are thankful for that day. If you’re feeling extra grateful, keep on writing! We all have so many wonderful things in our lives, but they’re easy to take for granted. Reminding ourselves of all of the beauty in our lives and in the world is a truly powerful way to start your day. (Bonus: come back to this journal at the end of the day, right before bed. Write down all of the things you are grateful for from that day on the same page. You’ll fall asleep feeling thankful and relaxed rather than falling asleep anxious and stressed from the day.)

This whole routine can take as long as you’d like. It is practical to set aside an extra hour in the morning to fit it all in. But remember, if you’re going to wake up an hour earlier, make sure you’re compensating on the other end by going to bed sooner! Stick to this routine and notice how your days begin to feel lighter and more joyful.

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