4 Ways to Create a Stress-Free Morning Routine

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Written by Danielle Hegedus

It’s not that I’m not a morning person. I just like the lazy Sunday morning variety—reading an entire newspaper, watching morning political shows, and lingering over a fancier-than-usual breakfast (hello, frittata).

When I made a list of the things that typically trip me up in the morning it included: making a healthy breakfast and lunch so I don’t waste money (and harm my body) with fast food; choosing an entire outfit (accessories included), and forgetting or losing focus about what was on my docket for the day. This last one was not only affecting me at work—taking me longer to get settled in and actually be productive—but making me lose sleep, too, because I would lie in bed at night, running through lists in my mind, panicked that I had forgotten something.

If you’re like me, you probably want to find a way to prepare for your mornings ahead of time so that you can enjoy them—without having to wake up at the crack of dawn every day. Here’s how I simplified my morning routine, so that I can eat better, show up to work on time, and feel a little more Zen before work each day.

Start with Meal Prep

On Saturdays, I go to the grocery store with a list of the ingredients needed to prepare my breakfasts and lunches for the week. I’ve saved a lot of money by putting so much thought into my meal prep for the week, figuring out where I can use ingredients multiple times, etc. On Sunday, I prep my meals. It takes about 3-4 hours and though I get grumpy about it, listening to a good podcast and having the appropriate containers to store everything really helps make the process painless. Sometimes my friends from work, curious about the delicious-looking lunches I always bring, will stop in and taste-test a dish with me, which can be a lot of fun.

Stay on Top of Laundry and Plan Outfits for the Week

I do laundry throughout the week now. As soon as my hamper starts to fill up, I throw in a load, so by Sunday, it’s pretty easy to look at the weather report and my work schedule to plan an appropriate outfit for each day. I put out necklaces, undergarments, and shoes, too so that no little detail trips me up.

Have One Spot that Serves as Your “Command Center”

I make a list of what I need to do the next day. You could probably plan further, but for me, that gets overwhelming. I have a small desk area in my kitchen that is my “command center.” This is where I keep the notebook that reminds me of the meals I’ve prepped, any important appointments, and a high-level version of my to-do list for that day. I find that just writing this information out before I go to bed helps significantly reduce my anxiety about all that I need to accomplish.

Finally, Tap Into Your Inner Zen

While all of this planning has really kept me focused and organized, I still wanted some time to actually enjoy my morning. After all, once I step out the door, I’m in work mode for 8-10 hours. So, with all the time I’m saving, I’ve freed up some time for the things that make me really happy.

I take my dogs for a longer walk in the morning. It makes me feel a little less guilty about leaving them all day, and they are usually happily snoozing by the time I walk out the door. When the weather is nice, I enjoy my tea on my balcony or in front of my beautiful home windows in my favorite chair. I have also started meditating when I get out of the shower. I’m a bit of an anxious person, and this opportunity to cool down and just focus on my breathing definitely makes me feel more prepared to take on my day. I’m new to meditating, so I use the guided meditations on the Insight Timer app.

Making these changes has been a huge shift for me, and there are definitely still days when I want to watch a full segment of a TV show or hit the snooze button, but they say it takes 66 days to truly form a habit, so I’m in it to win it!

Try out some of these tips and let us know how they work for you in comments below!

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