“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”– Marcus Aurelius
While I love Marcus Aurelius’ beautiful sentiment, I’ll admit it, I’m a night owl and a heavy sleeper. Always have been.
It’s always been naturally much easier for me to stay up until all hours of the night than it is to “arise” in the morning. In fact, when I first get out of bed, it’s usually more of a groggy stumble, and my initial focus isn’t always on precious
However, I’ve come to deeply appreciate the morning as a time for quiet reflection, and getting myself into a calm, grounded place mentally and physically before facing everything else in the day.
It really does set the tone for the entire rest of the day. Because of this, I now highly value giving myself some extra time in the morning, rather than rushing out of bed and out the door.
In fact, the time I give myself in the morning is my favorite part of the day now. Spending intentional, restful time first thing in the morning has done wonders for reducing my daily stress levels.
Think about the last time you rushed out the door.
We’ve all probably done this–hitting snooze on your alarm for every last minute of sleep you can squeeze in until you literally cannot delay any longer. You have it timed out perfectly. As long as you’re up by 6:47, you have just enough time to splash water on your face, brush your teeth, throw wrinkled clothes on, grab a snack, get in the car and drive, knowing exactly how long it takes you to get to work or school on time. (It’s not just me, right)?
Now consider what that felt like.
Chances are, you might have been out of breath, tense, distracted–in other words, stressed.
Because you haven’t done anything to prepare your mind or your body for the day but just ran headlong into it, you feel unprepared, unfocused, tired and irritable.
That used to be me, and many of my clients.
In the “Try It” section below, I give some suggestions for specific things you can do first thing in the morning that will help promote a calm state of mind and reduce your stress.
But first, I recommend giving yourself more time in the morning.
If there’s one thing that seems to be at the crux of stress for virtually everyone, it’s time.
Yes, there are dozens of other factors too. But when you do a lot–when you have expectations weighing on you, places to be and deadlines–time (or the perceived lack thereof)
The perception of “not enough time” is one of the main contributors to tension, worry, stress
We all need some time to ourselves. Even the most extraverted people need some alone time. If you’re a parent, a full-time student, a busy professional, (or maybe all of the above!) you’re justified in wishing you had more time to yourself.
As a therapist, I’m here to tell you that having some time for YOU, even if only occasionally, is so important to your mental & emotional wellbeing.
It’s not about being “selfish” at all. It’s just taking care of yourself. And if you never make time to take care of yourself, that’s a very efficient route to burnout.
So you can probably see how making time for yourself becomes especially important if you’re going to carve out any at all. The morning might be one of the best places to start.
Below are some ideas for how you can structure your morning time to reduce your stress, and get your day off to a great start.
These are merely suggestions that
Don’t get hung up on thinking you have to try everything on the list (I’m looking at you, perfectionists!) Just start with one, or do your own thing. It’s all about finding what works for you.
Please share in the comments below!
Liked this blog? You’ll love my new book!
It’s full of practical, transformative skills you can use every day, right away, to conquer stress and enjoy peace & calm like you never have before. Grab your copy HERE!