Alarm goes off. Mind starts racing with the day’s to-do list (how will I get everything done?!). Launch out of bed. Get glance of self in mirror and subsequent huge fright, setting adrenalin into overdrive. Make coffee. Strip off onesie (What? You don’t wear a onesie? Get with the times!). Jump into shower. Brush teeth and clean self whilst in shower. Get out. Get dressed. Do hair. Grab coffee in travel mug. Run out door.
Sound familiar? If this is how you start your morning, then chances are your body has been kicked into fight or flight mode before you have even left the house. You have effectively set your body to up to be in a heightened state of stress for the rest of the day.
Running around stressed is far from something to boast about. You know what I mean – when someone says “how are you?”, you respond with “oh I’m so stressed!” like it’s some badge of honour to show how much you can juggle. I know this because this use to be me. Until it all came crashing down.
Stress is no good for anyone. Check out this impressive list of "did you know's":
- Did you know chronic stress increases your risk of a heart attack?
- Did you know that stress causes the hormone cortisol to increase, which increases inflammation in the body?
- Too much cortisol is also responsible for that belly fat you can’t seem to budge, no matter how well you eat or drink.
- Did you know that chronic high stress and cortisol wreak havoc on your hormones, contributing to problems such as low testosterone in males and amenorrhea and fertility problems in females.
- Did you know that chronic stress can disrupt your gut flora and, in turn, your overall health and wellbeing?
- Did you know that too much stress and cortisol can lead to adrenal fatigue and low energy?
- Did you know stressing all the time can reduce your stomach acid and therefore your ability to properly breakdown and digest your food?
Now who's boasting?
If you are a stress-addict and/or poor sleeper, no matter how hard you try with squeaky-clean eating and smart training, you’re probably not going to get the results you want.
So, what can you do about it? Well, I believe the morning is a pretty good place to start. Try out these 5 ways to get your morning off to a great start, reducing your stress, and energising your day:
1. Take 10 deep breaths. Before you get out of bed. This will only take 2 minutes, so no excuses please. Hold your hands over your belly and feel the rise and fall as you take deep breaths in and out through your nose
2. Have a healthy breakfast. If you don’t have time to make anything, prepare something the night before, such as my Berries Extraordinaire. If you do have time, fry up some eggs and veggies and serve with avocado.
3. Chew your food well, chew it slowly and do nothing else. A little while ago I found myself sitting down to my breakfast with my phone, checking my emails, then Facebook, then Instagram, then Twitter, then wondering where my breakfast went. No good for digestion. No good for stress levels. Concentrate on just one thing – your meal – to allow adequate digestion and to optimize the nutrition you obtain from your meal.
4. On that note – don’t touch your phone until you walk out the door. Trust me, you’re not going to miss anything of importance that the inter-webs has to say in that short amount of time.
5. Let this be your new mantra:
“There is plenty of time in the day to get everything done”
I heard Tim Ferris say he did this to keep him focused and prevent him from becoming overwhelmed and stressed with everything he had to do in the day. He said it made him more productive. More calm. I tried it. Completely agree! You don’t need to say it out loud – just repeat it over in your head a few times, especially when you feel a little frazzled by your to-do list.
6. Yes, I know I said 5, but when do I ever stick to what I say I’m going to do. This was meant to be a short post. Clearly incapable. Right, number 6 (which I think is the most do-able and most rewarding):
Smile at 2 people that you walk past. Complete strangers. Hopefully they’ll smile back (if not, chase them down and ask what their problem is. Kidding! Don't do that). Maybe even say good morning. It’ll give you (and them) a little warm fuzzy feeling to kick-start your day, and theirs.
What’s your best way to start the morning? Let me know if you try any of these and if you notice a difference. I would say number 5 and 6 have made the biggest difference to my day.