Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Like there’s a huge burden you are carrying around.
You are not alone. Our days are jammed packed with things to do. Being busy is a heavy weight we all live under.
And the stress that comes along with this is no joke. Overtime stress can cause exhaustion, health issues, and even depression. You can chip away some of the negative effects of stress by exercising more, eating healthier, and possibly taking meditation. But those are huge lifestyle changes.
Is there something easier to help you manage stress?
Morning routines do a lot to lower the pressure and feelings of overwhelm throughout the day. Here are five simple strategies you can put to work today to keep the stress beast at bay.
Start your day the night before
No, you don’t need to work all night to catch up with work, social media, and emails. But you can plan tomorrow tonight and reap many benefits. When you plan your next day the night before, you won’t be stressed rushing out the door trying to figure out what you may be forgetting.
You’ll know when your meetings start, if it’s your day to pick up the kids from soccer practice, or if it will rain and you’ll need to bring an umbrella. In a nutshell, you’ll be prepared. The chances of unexpected things coming up as you leave your house are minimal, and that gives you great peace of mind.
The added bonus? Did it ever happen to you that you found a solution to a problem while you were asleep? Brilliant solutions are not going to pop up in your mind if your brain is wrapped up in a million little things you are hoping to remember tomorrow morning. Planning your day ahead helps you clear your mind and start the day less stressed.
Refuse to read or listen to the news
Unless you are in the news industry, you don’t need to feed yourself with the news first thing in the morning. Have you noticed how few of those articles are positive? Headlines are designed to catch your attention and entice you to read on. And writers know that a headline which creates strong negative feelings will do the trick.
Your mind is somewhat like your stomach. If you have donuts for breakfast, you can expect to have less energy than if you have a balanced nutritious breakfast. If you feed your mind with negative news first thing in the morning, you can expect to start the day negative, pessimistic, and stressed.
Choose to delay reading the news till the afternoon, and you’ll see your upbeat self shine longer during the day.
Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier
Does more sleep help you create a peaceful morning? Not necessarily. When you cut short the time it takes you to get ready, you kick start the stress cycle.
Instead choose to start your day at a slower pace. You won’t need to rush to get ready, have breakfast, and be out the door in record time. These extra few minutes in the morning will help you stay calm throughout the day.
You’ll be able to leave the house five minutes earlier. And you won’t frantically honk your horn at the first sign of slow traffic on your way to work.
Create a Zen working space
A messy, cluttered, and unorganized working space is a great recipe for stress. Your workspace doesn’t need to be 100% minimal, but the more stuff you have, the more distracted you’ll be.
Clutter overloads your senses. It creates opportunities for distractions and makes you feel like you always have things to do, even when you are done with work.
Of course we all have different tolerance levels to clutter. You need to find what works best for you. But when you notice that your eyes often get fixed on the pile of unfiled papers instead of the task at hand, it’s time to put those papers away.
Radically reduce your options
Be boring. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be boring all the time, just first thing in the morning. When you have fewer options, it’s easier to choose.
Breakfast is a great opportunity to be boring. It may not be exciting to start the morning with the same meal every day, but you won’t have to give it an extra thought. It’s fast and frees your brain power to work on more important things.
Clothing is another great option where you can be boring. I know, not sexy. But, did you notice that Steve Jobs always wore the same outfit? President Obama only had two colors of suits to choose from. These were big public figures. If they were okay to wear the same outfits every day, so should you. It’s about cutting short the decision making process in the morning so you can create a smoother, more relaxed, and peaceful day.
You can conquer stress
We live in fast-paced times and we have a lot on our plates. It’s easy to fall prey to stress.
You know how pernicious stress can be for your health.
And you know that if you don’t make a decision it won’t magically disappear. You have to be proactive.
You won’t ever fully control what happens throughout the day, the last minute requests, delays, or emergencies.
But you can control how you start your day, and how much the day’s curve balls affect you.
Decide today to eliminate stress by starting your morning right.
Corina Semph is a mom, project manager, and blogger on a mission to help people transform their homes from chaotic to peaceful and uncluttered, even if they struggle to get rid of stuff. Download her FREE Ultimate Cheat Sheet to Transform Your Closet from Crazy to Blissful in No Time.