I will be the first to admit, I’m not a morning person. I press that snooze button as often as I can.
So it’s stressful enough to haul myself out of bed.
Add 4 children and another working parent into the mix?
I’m lucky if I can inhale a few nuts and find my keys in the morning, let alone get something healthy on the table for the children, make sure their backpacks are ready and get them out the door without forgetting something.
And a stressful morning means elevated cortisol. More than usual, since cortisol already is highest in the waking hours.
Not something I want first thing … or at any time, really, since elevated cortisol can lead to fat-storage deposits around the middle.
So if anyone needs a way to streamline a morning, it’s me. If your mornings are anything like mine, you might appreciate some advice.
I’ve found 3 surefire ways to make mornings go more smoothly.
1. Do more the night before.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: Everything that doesn’t have to be done in the morning should be done the night before. Pack your gym bag, pick out your outfit and tell your kids to do the same. Assemble all the lunches and put your purse, briefcase, tablet, keys and anything else you need in a prominent spot. And don’t forget to set things up for breakfast.
Try this breakfast smoothie that you can set up the night before. Put all the ingredients in a blender and store it in the fridge. In the morning, you can whip it up in less than 30 seconds for a meal that packs 28 grams of hunger-curbing protein:
- 1 cup coconut milk (unsweetened)
- ¼ cup non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup oats (plain, old-fashioned variety)
- 1 tablespoon walnuts, roughly chopped
- ½ cup strawberries, sliced
- 2 scoops RealMeal GF (vanilla flavor)
- 1 tablespoon RealReds
2. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier.
That extra time can make the difference between a morning full of bedlam and a Zen start to your day. Get into bed a little earlier than usual — develop a non-electronic wind-down routine to help you relax. Keep a book, crossword puzzle or something you love to do on your nightstand.
Then use the extra morning time to complete some simple stretches, or even meditate if you can. That will get your day off to a good start.
3. Take a breath and get perspective.
When you’re going, going, going, all the systems in your body are going rapid fire too. Your adrenaline is pumping, your heart is racing, and your blood pressure is rising.
Not good for your body or your mind.
So just as everyone and everything are racing on fast forward, take a deep breath through your nose, hold for a few seconds, then let it out through your mouth. This will force more oxygen into your body and reduce adrenaline production.
After that, take a moment to ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen if … ?” Will you actually forget to put pants on? Probably not, but if you dress yourself in a red shirt and orange shorts? So what.
Forgot to sign something in your son’s school folder? I have yet to hear about a child who was held back a grade because his parent forgot to sign a report card.
Like any of these tips? Maybe you have another to add to the list. Share them here.
Steven Sisskind, M.D.