In today’s busy world, no one has time for “11 things you need to do” lists. Most of us are lucky to accomplish the heroic act of getting ourselves up and ready to face a new day. That being said, there are three things every woman looking to be less stressed needs to have a ritual for each morning:
- You need to wake up.
- You need to fuel your system.
- You need to have a plan.
Read on to find the best ritual for your lifestyle and needs…
Waking Up is Hard to Do
Sometimes, waking up can be a real drag. There are days when I can jump out of bed ready to rock and roll, while on other mornings I feel like there’s a ball and chain on all my limbs, pinning me to the bed. Either way, I still need to manage to get going on time so I can avoid being stressed out by running out of time.
No one needs the stress that comes from having overslept. And no one needs to start their day with a nerve-jangling shriek from a conventional alarm clock. Well, thank goodness it’s the 21st century and there are apps as well as other devices for that! As always, One Size Does NOT Fit All, so check out all of the different, but great, ways to wake yourself up and choose the one that fits you. So if…
If You Need to Start Out Slowly
The Phillips Wake Up Light: The Phillips Wake Up Light is a scientifically proven way to wake up more naturally and with an improved mood. In fact, 92% of users reported that this light made getting out of bed easier. The light, which features a colored sunrise simulation and 20 brightness settings, gradually increases 20 to 40 minutes prior to your alarm time. You can also choose to wake up to one of five different nature-inspired sounds.
Check out Wake or Timely apps: The Timely alarm app for Android or Wake for iOS has a simple time screen where you can tap to set your alarm. Turning the alarm off is as easy as flipping your phone over, and the music you choose to awaken you starts low and increases over time to make sure your up and at ‘em on time.
If You Need a Kick in the Tush to Get Out of Bed
The Walk-Up Alarm app for iOS: If you are one who tends to hit the snooze seventeen times before getting up, you’ll need an app that keeps you on target. The Walk-Up app makes you take a predetermined number of steps before it shuts off — that’s enough time to shake the sleep from your eyes and make sure you won’t fall back into dreamland. If you are an Android user, try the Alarm Clock Extreme app that will make you solve a math problem or two before turning off.
The Sonic Boom – with or without Bed Shaker: For those who never even hear their alarm and need extra incentive to throw back those covers, the Sonic Bomb is a 113db wonder that is sure to wake the (almost) dead. Some models are available with a 12-volt bed shaker that will help shake you up and out of bed. It even uses 60% less energy thanks to its green power technology.
If You Want to Maximize Your Sleep
Try the Sleep Cycle. This intelligent app works on both iPhone and Android and uses your phone to analyze your sleep cycles by tracking motion. The alarm, which has a 30 minute window, automatically wakes you when you are in your lightest sleep phase. Being awakened during this time in your cycle insures you wake refreshed and alert rather than groggy. I use this one myself to determine my sleep quality.
Breakfast — To Eat or Not to Eat
Again, One Size Does NOT Fit All. Some people can’t get going without eating something in the morning. Others, (and I fall into this category) can’t think of eating anything before 10 am — and trust me, I need to take advantage of any period of time in the day when I am not hungry! There’s science that confirms that both sides have a point. This study shows that eating breakfast is important to get your metabolism revved for the day. However, fans of “intermittent fasting” know that it can also be good for you to restrain yourself to eating only 8 hours a day, which generally means not beginning to eat until 11 am.
Listen to YOUR body. You know what makes you feel best. If you feel sluggish after eating in the morning or have to force yourself to have something, then eating a big breakfast might not be in your best interest. On the other hand, if you feel ravenous by 9:30 if you haven’t fueled up, then intermittent fasting is not your friend.
Whatever you choose to do for morning fuel (I must start each day with a cup of tea or I am useless), you need to decide this ahead of time so you can be sure that you have time in your morning to indulge.
Are you a “breakfast like a king” person? Then have all your cookware and serve-ware set out the night before so you don’t feel rushed in the kitchen.
If you just need a little nosh, consider making things in advance (like these breakfast muffins or breakfast sandwiches) so you can just “heat and eat” with no muss or fuss, making your morning more stress-free.
If you don’t like to eat in the morning, you still need something to get your body’s systems up and running. Perhaps a green smoothie (here’s a link to my favorite) or vegetable juice will be just the ticket, but if that’s too “heavy”, many people swear by hot water with a squeeze of lemon to revitalize their liver and get digestive juices swirling. Others prefer a simple glass of fruit juice, cup of tea or cup of coffee in the morning. You can also use this food-free time to take any vitamins, supplements or medication that should be taken on an empty stomach.
Make a New Plan, Stan
Your final, and perhaps most important, step in gearing up for a less stressful day is to have a plan. Don’t worry — it’s not going to take much time at all. The night before, just write down three things you need to accomplish the following day.
These can be anything — from something you need to accomplish at work, to taking your kids to music lessons, doing a load of laundry, or meeting a friend for lunch.
Make two of them high priority items or things that can’t be put off — like paying a bill or attending a meeting. For the third thing, choose something that is easily accomplished like unloading the dishwasher, sending a birthday card, or taking out the trash.
Keeping a list is important in helping maintain a sense of accountability and accomplishment, and keeping it short and sweet is essential to holding stress at bay, especially if you have a busy schedule. Ending your day knowing that you have accomplished what you set out for yourself in the morning is a wonderful feeling!