If you consider yourself a member of the stressed-out crowd, it's time to rethink your mornings.
One of the best stress-management techniques I've discovered in both my personal life and coaching practice is changing what you do in the morning, before your day really begins. You’ll quickly notice that how you start you day plays a huge role in how the rest of the day will unfold.
For example, the snooze button is your worst enemy in these matters. It means you end up in a manic rush to get ready. And since you don't want to be late, you end up skipping breakfast, barreling out the door, and arriving at your destination hungry, cranky, and a hot mess. Needless to say, it’s downhill from there.
Worst way to start the morning, ever. I know, because I've been there too many times. It's an exhausting and high-stress way to live.
You deserve more than that. You deserve mornings that provide the frame of mind and physical stamina that a sense of serenity and purpose will provide and that will see you through your complicated days.
It's possible to have a totally kick-ass day by setting up a morning routine that keeps the early hours smooth and you in control. It takes some getting used to — but believe me, it’s well worth the effort.
Here are seven easy ways to start your morning for a stress-free, successful day:
1. Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier than your usual time.
Wake up to meditative music or another gentle sound (it's a big relief from the screech of an alarm). Think about it literally: A fire alarm clock sound is a much more stressful way to start your day than ocean waves.
Choose your sound wisely: This extra half-hour will allow you to ease into the new day. Next up:
2. Name five things out loud that you're grateful for.
These could be things that happened the previous day or more general parts of your life. The point is that an attitude of gratitude will automatically shift the way you see, feel, and do everything throughout the day to a better place.
3. Ignore your devices.
Emails, texts, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest will still be there after you've had time to really be with yourself. Social can wait.
There are a number of forms of meditation including Vedic, which I do, and Transcendental Medication. What's most important is that you find the practice that works best for you.
5. Enjoy a glass of warm water with fresh lemon juice.
6. Write down a daily intention for yourself.
For example, commit to making one healthy change, whether it's having a green smoothie or salad, taking a long walk, or cutting back on your caffeine intake. Hold yourself accountable to sticking to your one healthy habit.
If you'd prefer, instead of writing it down, choose to say your intention out loud while looking yourself squarely in the mirror.
7. Prepare for the next morning the night before.
In the evening, select your outfit and shoes for the next day and set them out where you can quickly slip into them. Put a lemon on the counter, ready to slice. Prep your lunch and healthy snacks such as carrots, pepper sticks, or apple slices, so that you can grab and go.
Life is precious. Our bodies are our temples. Make sure you have the best day possible by giving yourself and your body the respect they deserve in the morning.
Amy Kurtz is a health and wellness coach, author, Pilates instructor, and detox specialist based in NYC. She is the author of the new book, Kicking Sick: Your Go-To Guide for Thriving with Chronic Health Conditions (Sounds True, January 2017). Having experienced a variety of chronic health issues from a young age, Amy realized that the only way she was going to recover was to become an active participant in her own well-being. Amy deeply believes in the power of self-care, and it is her mission to teach people how to truly take care of themselves and heal. Amy coaches clients who strive to get healthier while also helping those with chronic health conditions thrive. She coaches people on how to become advocates for their own well-being and provides a framework to find harmony between their mind, body, and soul. Visit Amy on the web to find out more, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram for daily tips, inspiration, and motivation.