You know that blissful moment of peace, as your eyes melt open, and a stray flicker of sunlight dances on your windowsill? Floating in a paradise of sheer delight, you balance on the border of a dream, til the blissful illusion comes crashing down. And the weight of the world bellows on your chest, once again.
Am I being slightly dramatic? Possibly. But I believe this is a phenomena that needs to be spoken of. Morning anxiety can completely throw my day off track, resulting in an unproductive mindset, and heaps of unnecessary stress. For me, my anxiety begins when I think of the list of things I have to complete for the day. From doing laundry, to taking an exam, the endless stream of tasks boils in my belly, till I am rendered paralyzed by my passions.
Rather than improving my ability to function, my anxiety distinctly impairs my productivity. I’m too caught up with the prospect of my responsibilities, and am unable to adequately see them through. This can lead to a self-fulfilling, self-destructive cycle. My anxiety worsens as I recognize my failure to effectively work. Over time, I’ve developed some habits to stop this train wreck before it begins. Below, I’ve listed my 5 top methods to overcome morning anxiety!
1. Shower first thing.
Right as your feet hit the floor, hop in the shower! It doesn’t have to be a steamy, exfoliating shower: just a rinse to clear your thoughts. I’m a firm believer that a fresh body = a fresh mind. By showering first thing in the morning, I deny my brain the chance to catastrophize my impending responsibilities. I focus on restoring and clearing my body. While in the shower, I often visualize myself completing different tasks. This provides me a sense of calm and relaxation, as I feel prepared to embark upon the day.
2. Avoid your phone for the first 30 minutes of the day.
Your phone acts like a time warp, sucking you into the endless abyss of social media. Before you know it, the entire morning has disappeared, and you are anxious because you “wasted” your day. While your phone may provide a momentary reprieve from the morning jitters, it is best to avoid this quick fix; It will come to bite you in the butt. By staying off my phone for the first 30 minutes of the day, I can focus on slowly embracing the morning, and preparing myself to be productive. I’m definitely not an alarm-and-go type of girl; I need time to transition from sleep into daytime. However, during this period of time, it is critical to remain phone-free for your mental health!
3. Move your body.
I often find that anxiety enjoys paralyzing both my mind, and my body, simultaneously. Once I feel incapable of working, I feel incapable of doing practically anything! I learned that fighting the instinct to curl up into a little ball is the most important thing I can do for my mental stability. I’m not saying you have to become a marathon runner or Peloton enthusiast; a simple walk around the block is enough to de-frazzle those nerves, and jumpstart your day.
4. Limit your caffeine intake.
Sipping on coffee early in the a.m. is addictive and delicious. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a fresh cup of joe! Unless that one cup of coffee magically turns into five, and you’re bouncing off the walls with unlimited energy. Coffee is definitely one of my remedies for sleepiness, and fuels for my anxiety. It’s a delicate balancing act, but you have to learn to limit your intake!
5. Write a (realistic) list of to-do’s.
This one is my all time favorite hack for overcoming morning anxiety. Oftentimes, the day can appear overwhelmingly intimidating, with all the tasks piling up. It’s important to set a realistic goal for your day, and write it down, to externalize your anxiety, and create a productive plan. I normally limit myself to five work related tasks, and two non-work related tasks (like laundry and cooking).
Morning anxiety can take a toll on your life, and set you up for difficult days. But this obstacle is quite surmountable! Simple changes to your routine can melt those jitters away, and prepare you for a productive day. However, if after making changes, you still find your anxiety to be overwhelming your ability to function, it may be time to seek medical help. There is no shame in caring for your personal needs!
Written by: Brianna Rauchman