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Do you struggle with morning anxiety? Or do you wake up already in an anxious state? Are you afraid to leave the house? It is really common for lots of people, so you are not alone.
Morning anxiety occurs because your cortisol (stress hormone) levels are elevated in the morning because our body uses that hormone to wake us up each day. So, for the first 20 – 40 minutes after waking up, you will be able to feel a considerable rise in your morning anxiety. Furthermore, if you have been stressed or anxious lately that is only going to add to the anxiety.
If you struggle with anxiety in the mornings, it is important to keep your routine simple and do not cause yourself stress with over complicated routines. You hear all about how many things successful people do each morning and how you need to be up at 5am every day. Those morning routines can be great for some, but if you live with morning anxiety, it is better to avoid these routines.
Today, I am going to share a morning routine that will enable you to calm and soothe your morning anxiety as well as have a successful day.
1. Be aware of what alarm you use
The sound of your alarm can not only impact your morning anxiety, but the mood you have for the day. If your alarm is loud, aggressive or startling, it can add to your morning anxiety. Alarm anxiety is a feeling of fear linked to the lack of trust you have in your alarm. We all have things to wake up for and if that alarm doesn’t go off, it can ruin your entire day! So, instead of trusting that it will go off, you toss and turn for a few hours before it goes off; this cause stress and anxiety. How often do you cringe when you hear your alarm clock?
Try switching the sound of the alarm to something softer and less ‘alarming’ like a song that gradually increases in tempo. Remember, when you wake up to a song you enjoy, it puts you in a good mood straight away. So why not set your favourite song as your alarm?
2. Have a slow breakfast
When I was working with the pain clinic, I learned that gut health is important for both your physical and mental health. The foods you eat can affect your health, so it is vital that you have a healthy and easy-to-digest breakfast.
You should take your time when eating your breakfast; sit up straight and chew your food well, without rushing. Putting good nutrients in your body is going to give you the energy you need for the day. Be mindful when you are eating.
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3. Write in your journal and practise gratitude
Journaling is a powerful tool in taking care of your mental health and even your physical health.
When you wake up and you are feeling that morning anxiety, you have a hundred and one different things running around your head and you cannot clear your mind. Reaching for your journal and writing down anything and everything that is in your mind will enable you to declutter your mind and bring you into the present; you are mindful about what you are feeling and writing.
Another great way to use your journal is to practise gratitude. When anxiety kicks in sometimes it is all you can focus on, so sitting for 5 – 7 minutes and writing about what you are grateful for can enable you to shift your focus. During this time, you can also make a simple plan for the day i.e. what you need to do and what tasks you need to complete. By planning your day you take a load off your mind. Some anxiety comes from the fear of the unknown, so by having a plan, you will reduce your feelings of anxiety.
Related to: How to set up your gratitude journal
4. Avoid your phone when you first wake up
When you have just woken up, if you reach for your phone, you are already priming your brain for distraction. If you see or read something negative first thing in the morning, it can trigger your stress response, out you on edge and feed into your morning anxiety.
Similarly, if you wake up, reach for your phone and see lots of email notifications for work, this is going to fuel that morning anxiety and cause you stress. This might even lead you to rush your morning so that you can start that work. A rushed morning routine is going to impact your mood for the rest of the day. You don’t have to have that information overload before you have woken up fully. In your morning routine it is best to do all the intentional and mindful activities so that you can calm your anxiety before you start your day.
5. Make your bed
If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a sense of pride and it can even encourage you to do more tasks.
Whether you experience morning anxiety or not, simple tasks like making your bed in the morning can be overlooked if you are rushing. Slowing down to do these small tasks can make you feel calmer and gives your body the opportunity to work through the cortisol.
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6. Stretch your body
Stretching first thing in the morning can relieve any tension or pain from sleeping the night before. It also helps increase blood flow and prepares your body for the day ahead. With deep breathing, a regular low-impact stretching routine reduces cortisol levels. Taking 5 – 10 minutes each morning to practise deep breathing and mindful stretching can help you start your day with a calm mind.
7. Drink water
Drinking water first thing in the morning flushes out your stomach, cleanses your bowels, improves your hair and skin health.
Drinking enough water is an important step to manage your anxiety. Water has been shown to have natural calming properties. There is a direct link between hydration and stress has been well researched. If you wake up dehydrated, your body is not functioning properly and therefore leads to increased stress levels, which increases anxiety. Drink water in the morning and you will feel the difference.
These are 7 small practices for you to use in your morning routine that will enable you to soothe that morning anxiety and conquer your day.