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Do these 5 things every morning to de-stress

Posted by Nic Florido on 15th Jul 2021

‘Win the morning. Win the day!’

There’s certainly no shortage of motivational morning quotes out there and as I write this on a cold winter’s morning heading into my third week of lockdown (caused by the most recent COVID outbreak in Sydney) I could certainly do with all the morning motivation I can get.

However, if you’re like me, it’s going to take a bit more than a mid-nineteenth century quote to get me to crawl out of my nice warm bed before 6:30am. Lockdown, winter, homeschooling and working from home can make mornings feel like a battle with stress, but the good news is, there’s simple things you can do to keep calm and carry on.

Here’s my morning tips to set yourself up for a productive, stress-free day:

1. Preparation is key

It all starts with preparation the night before. It might sound obvious, but how you end things the day before is going to be a pretty good indication of how the next day is going to start.

If there are things playing on your mind when you go to bed, odds are you’ll still be worrying about them when you wake up. Journaling is a fantastic tool for de-stressing at the end of the day that is cheap and easy to do. Write down all the things that are bothering you before you go to bed and try to come up with a plan to tackle those problems the next day.

A study done in the Journal of Experimental Psychology suggests that just five minutes of writing out your to-do list for tomorrow helped people fall asleep on an average of nine minutes faster compared to those that didn’t. More importantly, they also reported having lower levels of anxiety when they woke up.

2. Plan it out

Schedule to do something you love as soon as you wake up and get loved ones involved.

I love to surf and every time I make the effort to to go catch a few waves I always find myself saying ‘why don’t I do this more often?’. Realising how a morning surf makes me feel invigorated and ready for the rest of my day, I’ve made a commitment to a good friend who also loves to surf that we’ll go surfing first thing in the morning three times a week.

My thing is surfing, but yours could be anything so long as it brings you joy and calm first thing in the morning. Find something you enjoy doing and can invite a friend to participate in too. Maybe it’s going for a walk or a run, doing a yoga class or reading a book (yep, wake up to meet a friend at a cafe and read together for 30 minutes). Including a friend on your morning activities means you’re less likely to skip that yoga class for a sleep in.

3. Find some zen

10-15 minutes of meditation. Of course, I’m going to recommend this being a meditation teacher and all, but don’t just take my word for it. Researchers agree that people who start their work every morning after a brief meditation session felt more in-tune with themselves and could ward off stress more easily throughout the day.

4. H20, H20, H20!

Hydrate. Our bodies are made up of 60% water, which means we need a ton of it to survive. A study found that 80% of Australians suffer from symptoms typical of dehydration, which can lead to higher levels of stress and fatigue.

Reaching for a tall glass of water before coffee is something I’ve started implementing in the mornings, followed by one or two Nexba Kombucha’s and a further 2 liters of water throughout the day. By adding a few extra glasses of H20 and healthy probiotics to my day, I’ve been able to up my energy levels and be more productive throughout the day.

5. Reach for the sky!

The last part of my morning routine before I hit the work desk now is to do 10-15 minutes of stretching. I’m not getting any younger and the benefits I’ve felt with stretching, particularly in the morning, have been incredible.

Stretching is one of the best ways to increase your blood flow which is essential to keeping stress a bay throughout the day. Some of my favourite stretches include the half pigeon (great to open up the hips), child’s pose for my lower back and some type of chest opening stretch. Hold each for a couple of minutes each and don’t forget to breathe.

There we have it! This routine may not be for everyone however, I would encourage you to explore how you can make the most out of your mornings as the benefits are just too great to ignore. As it turns out, the early bird does get the worm!

Luke McLeod

Luke McLeod, founder of Soul Alive, Australian online meditation platform