Here’s how to beat stress and set yourself up for a great day
The night before
1 Make a packed lunch. And don’t stop there. Lay out your clothes for the morning, and make sure you know where everything is, like your wallet and keys. Not only will it help by preventing last-minute panics, but research by psychologists at Tel Aviv University also found that having rituals and routines can help reduce stress by making you feel more in control. You’ll start tomorrow feeling calm and stress-free.
2 Check your calendar for tomorrow
That way, you know you’ll wake up ready for whatever the day holds. If you have to do something unusual, like travel somewhere different, decide how you’re going to do it now. Making decisions can be stressful and exhausting, and so it can help to take these out of your morning equation and instead make them in the evening – when there’s less time pressure on you. Make sure you eat dinner first – a study found that taking a break helped court judges beat decision fatigue.
3 Have a bath or shower
And then have another one the next morning too. Showering or bathing at night can help with stress, lower blood pressure and generally nodding off . But you’ll sweat while sleeping, releasing toxins. So have a quick freshen up in the morning to rinse these off as well as perk you up.
4 Go to bed at about the same time every night if you can
Sticking to the same bedtime can regulate your body clock, or circadian rhythms. It can also promote more restful sleep, which may help you have a good morning.
5 Wake up to birdsong
Set your alarm clock for the morning, and aim to give yourself a cushion of 15 minutes just in case anything happens to slow you down. If you can, use calm music or birdsong to wake you up rather than an alarm, or try waking up with the natural light – it can help make you more alert first thing If the sunrise is at the right time, leave your curtains slightly open and wake up with the light.
In the morning
1 Don’t press snooze
It can trigger a feeling a bit like jet lag, which can take hours to shake off. Do our sleep quiz to see what kind of sleep persona you have. Instead have a cuddle with your partner, kids or the dog. A hug is a great way to protect yourself against stress. Then get straight up. ↑
2 Make your bed
You’ll feel like you’ve done something productive already – and you’ve only been awake 10 minutes. It’s going to be a great day!
3 Drink water. You haven’t had a drink for the last eight hours so your body is pretty dehydrated, plus you need fluids for your energy levels. Everyone needs six to eight glasses of water per day, according to the NHS, so it’s a good idea to start hydrating as soon as you get up. You could have a green juice or smoothie – make it mostly with green vegetables like kale or spinach, with just a bit of apple for flavour – if you want to pack in some extra nutrients.
4 Get moving. Even better, get moving in the fresh air. Researchers at Stanford University showed that walking can boost creativity so don’t duck out of walking the dog – or you can even turn part of your commute into a walk.
5 Have breakfast with your family if you can. Studies show families who sit down to eat together enjoy a more healthy diet and are better at communicating, and your children and are less likely to refuse the food on offer – so why wait till dinner when there’s more chance your days will have taken you in different directions?
Kiss everyone before you leave, including the cat – it’s a great stress-buster!
Read more: Get a better night’s sleep ; Beat stress now! ; Stress-proof your body with these stress management tips
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.