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Mornings can be a source of unnecessary stress, and starting your day with your body already red-lining is bad for both your physical and mental health. In this article you will find all my tips and tricks for stress-free mornings, which will help you start your day in the right mindset and alleviate a load off your shoulders. What more could you want?
You work long hours. You come home and want to relax and maybe binge watch your favorite Netflix show. Next thing you know, you haven’t had dinner and you should have been asleep 4 hours ago. You drag your gorgeous butt to bed, set your alarm for next day only to realize you only have 4 more hours to sleep. Finally, you fall asleep and out of nowhere you hear that annoying alarm clock. You hit the snooze button. You’re so tired you hit it again. And again. Until you finally look at the time and have only twenty minutes to get ready and leave your home as you are already late to work.
You haven’t had time to choose a proper outfit, you haven’t even had time to have breakfast. And the worst part? You don’t feel rested, you feel tired, annoyed and cranky.
Any of this sounds familiar?
I thought so. Because that was me a few years ago. You see, I have never been a morning person. I always wake up in a bad mood, I can’t even tolerate loud noises or someone talking to me. I would rather wake up later in the morning than really early.
But since you can’t always get what you want and there are days when I have to get up really early, I realized I couldn’t get on with it and devised a plan to ease my mornings.
I proudly share with you the tricks I use every day that allow me to leave home feeling rested, beautiful, full of energy and purpose and ready to take on the world.Are you ready to feel like the fierce, confident girl you really are?
1. Setup a morning schedule
This seems silly, but think about it. How would you know for sure how long it takes for you to get ready in the morning without any rush, if you have absolutely no idea how long it takes to complete each individual step of the process?
Pick a day you won’t have any responsibility or plans (like a Sunday if you don’t work on Sundays) and get ready to leave the house. As you do it, write down how long it took to complete each tiny little task of getting ready, like this:
- Making breakfast
- Having breakfast
- Brushing teeth
- Choosing an outfit
- Getting dressed
- Brushing hair
- Applying make-up
You get the point. Once you have all tasks lined up and the correct time it takes for you to do it, you will have a clear picture of everything and it will be much easier to plan your morning while having time to prepare for your day without hurrying. You will even be able to set you alarm clock accordingly.
Remember to account for how long your commute is!
2. Hydrate before going to bed.
Your hydration level can alter how you feel throughout the day. A dehydrated body can lead to you feeling irritable and sluggish, can affect your concentration and increase water and fluid retention, which leads to bloating. Apart from that, your hydration level also interferes with the quality of your sleep.
Dehydration affects the nasal, throat and mouth mucosa, which becomes dry and increases the chances of snoring. Also, it is much more likely that you wake up with a hoarse throat in the morning. Lack of fluids can also affect the way your muscles relax while you are asleep, which leads to leg cramps.
Although you should have a glass of water or a chamomile infusion (for example) before going to bed, your fluid intake should be spread throughout your day. Don’t even think about chugging a whole bottle of water before bed to compensate for what you haven’t drunk during the day, because that will only lead to multiple bathroom trips during the night. And we don’t want your beauty sleep to be interrupted.
3. Go to bed early
Now that you have established your morning schedule and have a clear idea of how much time you need in the morning, you can now know for sure at what time you have to go to bed to have that acclaimed 8-hour sleep everyone talks about. Account for how long it usually takes for you to fall asleep.
Personally, I have a bit of trouble turning off my brain and falling asleep, and what I like to do is to read a little until I’m ready to fall asleep. I know that it usually takes me at least half an hour of reading for my brain to be tricked into shutting down, and I account for that time when going to bed.
Remember, if it also takes you half an hour to fall asleep, go to bed eight and a half hours before the time you have to wake up.
4. Plan your outfit the day before (or save time in the morning for that)
We have all heard the phrase ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have.’ Besides its obvious direct meaning, this phrase can be also interpreted as investing some time and effort into dressing nicer than how you feel, will boost your spirits into rising up for it.
Don’t allow feeling down to become stronger than you. You have to fight it, every day. And one of the things that really helps is an outfit that makes you feel powerful, that boosts your confidence. Even if you work from home, put some meaning into it. Wear something nice. Consider investing in new clothes.
Furthermore, your appearance defines how people will treat you, sadly. If they see you in a sloppy set, people will assume you are not strong enough. I’m sorry to say that, but it is what it is. People live on appearances and impressions. Which is why it is also said that first impressions matter.
Dress up! Dress nicely. Comb your hair. Wear a little make up. Pamper yourself. Even if you don’t, it will give everyone else the idea that you have it all together. And, who knows? That idea may latch on to you too.
Bonus points if you get ideas from the Fiercely Balanced Pinterest Board Power Outfits.
5. Make breakfast in advance
You know what they say: “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. And here is why: our bodies have a natural self-regulation system (scientifically called homeostasis – I’m sorry, I have a background in health – can I get a gold star for complicated words?) and one of the processes of homeostasis is the fasting and eating system. Breakfast is the first meal of the day; it comes right after the longest fasting period and it helps to kickstart our metabolism. When we wake up, our blood sugar levels are low. If you skip breakfast, you will feel drained of energy, you will have trouble concentrating and will feel slow overall. And the worst part? You will be much more likely to overeat throughout the day, which leads to gaining weight.
Having breakfast has been linked to better memory and concentration, and lower chances of high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, heart disease and being overweight.
Have I got you convinced?
Breakfast also gives you the chance to intake a few vitamins and minerals from food you don’t usually eat at other meals, like dairy, nuts, seeds or grains. If you skip breakfast, you are already sabotaging yourself and preventing your body from absorbing all the different nutrients it needs.
Lucky for you, I have 16 quick and easy breakfast recipes compiled into a single blog post with nothing but healthy and nutritious ingredients to boost your metabolism and keep you feeling full for longer, while fueling your body with the vitamins and minerals it will need throughout the day.
Give it a go!
6. Have coffee at home
This one speaks directly to my frugal side. Have you thought about how much money you spend on coffee every day? Now multiply it by 30 days and you have the amount you spend in a month. Multiply that by 12 and you have your entire coffee expenses for the year. It’s crazy high, right? And you could spend that somewhere else!
Consider investing in a coffee maker. I have had a Nespresso coffee machine for over ten years and I couldn’t be happier about it. I use it every day, multiple times a day, and it has saved me a lot of money and time over the years. But any other brand works just as fine, go with what tastes better and feels easier to you.
Exercising can lower the risk of heart disease, prevents and controls the blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity, helps to lower the stress levels, boosts the energy levels throughout the day, improves the quality of sleep and digestion, and promotes an overall healthier lifestyle.
Cardiologists recommend a minimum of 20 minutes of daily exercise for people over 18 years old. And that is vigorous exercise, like jogging or playing basketball. If your exercise routines aren’t that energetic, you should consider 30 to 40 minutes of powerwalking, or cycling, or even swimming. Anything slower than that, like yoga or stretching should be done for at least an hour.
You will start to feel the benefits of exercising in the first week: your blood pressure will decrease, making you feel more energized and relaxed. In three months, you will start feeling healthier, will have better posture, stronger muscles and bones, your body mass will begin to change and you will begin to have an uptake on life.
8. Leave anything you have to take with you by the front door the night before
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but it really touches me to my core. Usually, I say that I work on auto pilot. And by that, I mean that my head is already so full of little details that I cannot afford to forget, that a single shift in any process I don’t have to think about end up forgotten. I don’t even think of what I’m doing in the morning, my muscle memory ends up doing it all by itself, which leaves my head free to think ahead on the problems I’ll have to solve that day.
That being said, if there is something different that I have to take with me and usually don’t, I have to leave it by the door, or else I end up leaving home without it. If it is a small object, I stuff it in my purse, but if it is something larger, either I leave it right next to my purse or really hang it on the front door handle so it’s Right. There. In. My. Face!
9. Make your bed
Imagine you are staying at a hotel and you come to your room, exhausted, after a long day of walking around a city, and visiting a ton of museums and the bed isn’t made. How does that make you feel? Maybe angry. Maybe frustrated. But mostly you will not feel like staying in your room, you would want to leave.
That is exactly why you should make your bed in the morning. Not only will your bedroom become instantly tidier, you will feel more relaxed just by looking at a tidy bed. And when you come home, at the end of the day, you will thank morning you for doing it.
It literally takes 30 seconds to make your bed and leave your home a little tidier. Just do it.
10. Open all windows and blinders
Let the sunshine in and aerate your home to help get rid of molds, mildew and overall humidity smells. Allowing natural light to enter your home in the morning helps your body to know it’s time to wake up and your body’s alert responses will kick off. That means you will feel less sleepy and more energized.
Plus, did you know that morning sunlight is linked to lower depression levels? Go on and soak it all in!
11. Check your to-do lists and goals for the day
Before leaving the house, make sure you are aware of all the important tasks you will have to perform that day. It will give you a chance to plan your day accordingly. Since you are prepared for your day, there is no need to fuss about it and it is much less likely for you to miss some deadline or important task you should be doing. Prepare. Plan ahead. You will realize your day will run smoother and a lot less stressful.
12. Send a text to a friend
Remember to connect with someone you love. It is easy to postpone getting in touch with someone, thanks to our busy lives, but a simple message goes a long way. Tell someone you love them. I promise you your day will become instantly brighter and all adversity will be much easier to go through.
13. Set a timer to Social Media
This is the era of communication. We are all connected through Social Media Networks and I am not here to interfere with your habits, who am I to do that? What I mean is: limit your Social Media browsing in the morning to 10, 20 how many minutes you think is fine, but stick to that time limit. Don’t lose yourself in any platform or you will end up having to hurry up again and all the hard work you have done so far will be pointless.
Besides, we tend to compare ourselves and our lives to what we see daily on Social Media and forget that what people post (whether it is a celebrity or someone you know) is mostly fabricated happiness and comparing our not-so-perfect lives to a lie will eventually lead to higher levels of depression and anxiety. And that’s what we are trying to avoid.
14. Practice your gratitude
Have you heard about the law of attraction? Basically, it states that if you focus only on the negative part of life, you will never come out of that. On the other side, if your focus is on positive thoughts and goals, you will find a way to achieve whatever it is that you want.
Remember to practice your gratitude. Not just in the morning, but throughout the day. You have so much to be grateful for. If you don’t have a habit of acknowledging what you are grateful for, set aside some time in the morning to list all the things you are grateful for and how far you have come. You will start to have a change in perspective when you start to focus on the good parts of life and notice an instant boost in your spirit and morale.
15. Create a small self-care routine for busy mornings
Remember back in bullet point 1 when I told you to set up a morning schedule? Leave an open space for a small self-care routine. There is nothing better than starting the day by pampering your body and soul. Practice meditation for 10 minutes. Exercise for another 10 minutes. Practice your positive affirmations. Do a face cleansing ritual. You name it!
16. BONUS: Remember to let go of what you can’t control throughout the day
This is something I personally have been working on for a very long time, and once you train yourself to do so, you will find that there is nothing more freeing as letting stuff go. Try to worry and solve only the things you can control. There is a lot of stuff going on in our lives at the same time, so why focus on the bad things that we cannot change? Instead, try to think to yourself ‘can I solve this? Can I change this?’ If the answer is yes, then by all means, do it right away and get on with it. If the answer is no, then worrying about it won’t change anything, so the best thing you can do is to get it out of your mind. I promise it will get easier as you get accustomed to letting go.
These are my tips and tricks for stress-free mornings, that I personally abide by and that are tried and tested by me every day. In our chaos-cluttered lives, I find that a sanctuary-like moment in the morning helps to relieve the weight off of our shoulders and allows us to carry on doing what we do best: living!
Let me know which tips you have tried and what works best for you in the comments.
Until next time.