Statistics show the most successful people in the world are folks who optimize their days from the moment they awaken. Life offers us plenty of challenges. Meeting them when we are tired, drained and stressed can make them feel impossible to manage. Here are some of my favorite practices for keeping stress at bay.
BEGIN THE DAY PEACEFULLY
Sitting quietly for 5-10 minutes before you start your morning routine can set the tone for your day. You can meditate or do some simple breath work before rising.
(Pro-Tip: Avoid your smart phone and hold off on checking your email or social media. It can wait.)
Fact: Science has proven time and time again that your morning routine sets the rhythm for the rest of your day.
SET POSITIVE INTENTIONS
Take a few moments to do a daily affirmation or think good thoughts about your day or others. Visualizing your day going smoothly and easily will also help establish a positive outlook.
(Pro-Tip: Visualize yourself from the current moment, living the best version for this particular day. Make it as vivid and detailed as possible. Incorporate feelings of joy, happiness, excitement and gratitude).
Within the first 30 minutes of waking up, perform a quick exercise routine. The goal here is not “fitness”, instead it’s to increase energy and stimulate your mind to elevate mental performance for the day. Furthermore, this quick routine will help release serotonin (happy hormones) during a time where you likely used to produce cortisol (stress hormones). Shockingly, science says if you do this for just 5 days, your body will begin to identify mornings with joy rather than tension and anxiety.
Instead of wolfing down whatever’s closest and most convenient, give yourself enough time to to prepare and notice what your food looks like, tastes like, smells like and feels like. Your digestive system will thank you.
Taking a few deep inhales and exhales can help to manages feelings of stress and anxiety during the day.
(Pro Tip: Learn Ujayi breath, it’s power stress relief tool. Here’s how.)
Staying hydrated with with water and herbal teas is a very kind act of self love and will boost your health and happiness.
The link between water and stress reduction is well documented. All of our organs, including our brains, need water to function properly. If you’re dehydrated, your body isn’t running well — and that can lead to stress.
STRETCH & MOVE
Many of us sit for long periods of time at our workplaces and this can lead to tension and tightness in our necks, lower back and hip flexors.
Moving, standing up and doing some simple yoga exercises at your desk can help relieve tension and help you refocus on your tasks.
SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Eat the elephant one bite at a time. We may get overwhelmed from time to time and have numerous tasks and responsibilities at hand. Plan accordingly, break everything down into small, manageable steps.
We often set ourselves to auto-pilot while we navigate our commutes or our walks. Be aware, turn off your phone and if you have a long commute, consider doing it in silence to let your brain have a break or put on soft soothing music. Classical is a favorite of mine.
If you’re on foot, lift your head up and don’t bury your face in your phone. It’s a great way to avoid being hit by a car or accidentally falling into a sink hole.
When you arrive home, allow yourself to transition from work-mode to home life. It’s important to shift gears and let the day go both physically and emotionally.
What was the best part of your day? Before you drift off to sleep, write down at least three things that went well and that you’re grateful for. It’s a wonderful way to conclude your day.