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How to Make Mornings Less Stressful

For many people, mornings are stressful, even chaotic. Rushing and feeling anxious first thing in the morning can set a negative tone for the rest of the day. Some simple (but important) changes can make a world of difference.

Prepare for the Day Ahead
You can eliminate much of your morning stress by taking care of as many things as possible the night before. Check the weather forecast and pick out clothes and shoes for yourself and your kids. If anyone will need an umbrella, coat or other items not generally worn, put them with each person’s clothes. If you and your kids take lunches to work or school, make them in the evening. Put them in the refrigerator in labeled or color-coded bags. Fill your gas tank in the evening so you won’t have to make a detour in the morning.

Plan Your Day and Week
Make a to-do list for the day ahead, but be realistic about how much you can accomplish. Prioritize items so you get essential tasks done and know which ones can be saved for another day.

If there are any special events, medical or dental appointments, athletic competitions, teacher conferences, or other things that are not a regular part of your weekly routine coming up, write them on a calendar. Check it before the start of the week so that you can make any necessary adjustments to your schedule in advance.

Don’t Stay in Bed Too Long
Many people experience morning stress because they get out of bed at the last possible moment. Resist the urge to do that. Don’t hit the snooze button. You won’t get any more quality sleep, but you could be groggy and fall behind schedule.

Before you get out of bed, take a moment to think about things for which you are grateful, things you have to look forward to that day, and what you hope to accomplish. Don’t check your email, texts, social media accounts or newsfeed until you have gotten ready for the day. Reading about other people’s problems or requests could cause you to begin your morning on a negative note.

Fuel Your Body
Eat a healthy breakfast that includes protein. Avoid sugary foods that will provide a quick boost of energy followed by a crash. If you typically skip breakfast, try eating a small morning meal each day for a week and see how it affects your mood and energy level.

Expect the Unexpected
Build an extra 10 or 15 minutes into your schedule in case you spill something on your shirt, find that a pet knocked over a plant, or hit a traffic jam. Something will inevitably come up at least once a week. Budgeting extra time for those situations can help you avoid becoming frazzled.

Change Your Routine
Mornings don’t have to be stressful. Knowing what you need to do, accomplishing as much as you can ahead of time, and being prepared for last-minute hiccups can make your mornings much more relaxed.