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Morning Routines for Stress Relief

26 September 2022

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Mornings don’t have to be frantic. For many people, the alarm clock signals the start to a stressful morning – you’re tired, cranky and don’t want to get up. Instead of staying glued to your phone for 30 minutes scrolling through Facebook, here is a morning routine guide you can follow to boost your productivity and provide stress relief each day.


Importance of morning routines

Many people struggle with their mornings, which tends to set the tone for the day. Repetitive routines create a sense of normalcy and can keep you calm. A good start can go a long way for a great day.

On the contrary, waking up on the wrong side of the bed can lead to stress, inadequate sleep, unhealthy food habits and ineffective time management.

A few simple tweaks to your morning can help you relax and improve your mental health. It will also leave you feeling energized to conquer the day. This energy will last throughout the day to provide a more structured sleep schedule, allowing you to recharge each night. Some simple planning will benefit your health, too. A morning routine with breakfast and some type of activity (yoga, stretching or a workout) can do wonders for your metabolism and state of mind.

Morning routines can help your personal and professional lives. Being in the right mindset can boost your work productivity and confidence in the office. At home, it can help keep you in a better frame of mind when interacting with loved ones – it’s easy to carry stress home with you.

Morning Routines to Decrease Stress

Morning routine ideas

It isn’t necessary to incorporate all of these ideas into your morning. After all, some people only have 15 minutes to spare while others may have an entire hour. Don’t worry about waking up at dawn to complete more tasks than you can handle – not getting enough sleep can place unneeded stress on your sympathetic nervous system and make you more sensitive to situations. If you’re feeling stressed about making enough time, plan ahead the night before and iron your clothes or pack your lunch so you have one less thing to do in the morning.

  • Wake up without distractions. The information on your phone can be stressful. From depressing news on your social media timeline to being inundated with your work email inbox, it’s best to stay off your phone until you are up and have started your day. Reaching for your phone first thing in the morning is also an easy way to disrupt your routine. After all, it’s easy to go down a rabbit hole by watching 30 minutes of videos on Facebook. For those who use their phone as an alarm and are tempted to scroll on their phones, consider using an old-fashioned alarm clock.
  • Grab a glass of water. It’s easy to think of water as a thirst quencher, but it actually serves a purpose. Water is a vital part of many everyday functions – the human body is made up of 50 to 60 percent water, depending on gender. Start your day with a glass of water to help hydrate your body and replenish any fluids lost from the prior day.
  • Set the tone by clearing your mind
  • Affirmations. Positive affirmations are phrases you repeat verbally or nonverbally to set the tone for the day. The phrase comes from the Latin word affirmare, meaning to become sturdy or to strengthen. An example of an affirmation could be, “Today will be a good day. I will give my best in all my tasks.”
  • Deep breathing. Take a deep breath so your stomach begins to extend and exhale through your nose. A quick, five-minute breathing routine can help your central nervous system relax and suppress any feelings of anxiety you may have that day.
  • Meditate. Stress can increase cortisol production, a hormone that activates your "fight-or-flight" response. Meditating for a few minutes each morning can help you focus on the day ahead and calm any anxiety you may have. Click this video for tips on how to use meditation to relax.
  • Stretching. A simple morning stretch can also help get your blood flowing for the day and loosen any muscles that may have tightened up while you slept. Here are some easy stretches to add to your morning routine.
  • Yoga. A five-minute yoga routine can help relieve stress, provide relaxation and even improve your sleep. Read more about basic yoga poses to try at home.
  • Start a journal. Writing down your thoughts each morning in a journal is a way to practice gratitude and remind yourself of what you’re thankful and appreciative of. It can be as simple as being thankful for your family or having clean water to drink. Writing will help boost your creativity for the day.
  • Make your bed. Making your bed takes a few minutes, but the reality is many people wake up and leave the house with their bed in flux. Start your morning with a sense of accomplishment for completing a task – albeit a simple and easy one – by tidying up your bed. Plus, it will make your bedtime routine that much easier and inviting by climbing into a freshly made bed.
  • Plan your day. Write down a list of tasks you want to accomplish for the day. This can be as simple as five important tasks. Be specific and place intention behind your words. Don’t just write down a task without context. Instead, make sure you put a time frame for how long it should last and what time the task should start. For example, if you have a presentation due for work the following day, one of your tasks could be to spend two hours from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. to finish up your project.
  • Read. Similar to journaling, reading each morning helps create a positive environment and inspires your brain to be creative for the rest of the day. Reading can be as simple as a poem or religious scripture.
  • Find motivation. Sometimes, dreading getting out of bed can be a sign you’re lacking motivation. Without purpose, there may not be much of an incentive to wake up for your morning routine. Finding a motivating factor will vary for each person, but examples include walking your dog or getting up to spend time with your children before school.
  • Eat a complete meal. Breakfast can be an excuse for sugary cereals, savory biscuits and fattening processed meats such as bacon or sausage. These guilty pleasures taste good, but they’re mostly full of empty calories or saturated fats that don’t offer many nutrients. Instead, eating a nutritious breakfast will provide energy to power you through the day. Consider eating whole grain toast, fruit, yogurt and a handful of seeds or nuts. When combined, these foods provide a balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins your body needs to operate at a high level.
  • Exercise. Exercise is more than just a weight loss tool – the brain also releases happy chemicals when you ramp up your activity levels. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps you feel pleasure, is activated when exercising. Two other types of neurotransmitters called serotonin and endorphins are also released. These chemicals give you a sense of accomplishment and feeling of satisfaction. It’s a misnomer that exercise has to be a sweaty, high-intensity workout. A morning walk, yoga or even a round of pushups will all get your heart rate moving.

For more healthy living tips and information on wellness trends, visit the INTEGRIS Health For You blog.


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