For many people, mornings are the worst time of the day. Time seems to be short and stress levels rise as they try to get themselves, and often their families, ready for the day. I know for us it has taken an effort to get organized to have our mornings run smoothly. Here are 5 helpful tips we have come up with to have stress-free mornings.
Plan Your Time
- Allow enough time: work out how long it takes you, on average, to get ready in the mornings. Add 20% more time to allow for unforeseen circumstances. Now subtract this time from when you need to leave the house. This is the time you need to set your alarm. If you have trouble waking up when the alarm first goes off, set it an extra 5 minutes earlier. If you are a die-hard snoozer, put a loud alarm across the room from your bed (I did this for 6 months before I broke the snooze habit).
When you know you have sufficient time to get everything done in the mornings, your stress levels are automatically reduced. By allowing 20% extra time, you will be able to handle any emergency that comes up, without stressing, knowing that you have allowed for any eventuality.
- Be prepared: there will be some things that you can do the night before or even on weekends, to reduce your workload in the mornings. Work out what you can do ahead of time and be certain to do them. Organize breakfast the night before; if you prepare lunches, do it at night; put a load of laundry into the washing machine the night before to pop into the dryer or out on the line in the morning. If clothes need pressing, have them all done before you go to bed or get another family member to do this job. Even deciding on what you are going to wear the day ahead of time helps. I always check the weather and lay my outfit out the night before.
- Have a to-do list: mornings are much less stressful when you have a list of all the things that need to be done. This list must be prepared the night before so your mind is already in gear when you get up – you know what you need to do first. Prioritize your list so that the most important jobs are at the top of the list. Anything that could be left till the evening or some other time, put at the bottom of the list. Work through your list in order of importance and cross jobs off as they are done. Your list is also a good place to jot down things you need to remember for the day.
The to-do list also applies to your morning at work. Before you go home in the evening, start a list of tasks that you need to do the next day and prioritize them. When you get to work, you know exactly where to start, you waste less time and are more productive.
Create a Team
- Delegate: if you have other members of your household, delegate some of the jobs. Even small children can be responsible for simple tasks that can help to ease the stress of mornings. Take the time to teach the children how to do the job properly and explain the advantage of them helping out – you will be less stressed, won’t get angry, might have time for a short game, etc. You will need to follow up with kids to make sure they complete their tasks but they soon come to accept the situation. Teach your children and spouse to prepare the night before. Note: I am still trying to get my hubby to be as prepared as me. It’s a work in progress.
Catch Your Breath
- Breathe: if you feel your stress levels rising, stop and take 3 slow, deep breaths. Deep breathing has the effect of slowing your heart rate and calming you down. If the kids are driving you mad, leave the room for a couple of minutes to calm down. You will be more effective and organized if you can stay calm and in control of your emotions.
Follow these 5 tips on how to have stress-free mornings and you will be able to start the day in a calm and relaxed state of mind. You will find that you enjoy mornings more and might even have time for an extra cup of coffee!
So, what do your mornings look like? Are they hectic and caotic, or smooth and relaxed? Please share.