We’ve heard it a million times: It’s the little things that matter.
That’s why when it comes to having a more productive, less stressful day, some small tweaks in your daily routine can make a big difference. While larger stress-inducing issues, like finding a new job or moving to a better neighborhood, will take time to resolve, you can make each day run a bit more smoothly in the meantime with these small but impactful steps:
Prep at night. If you’re dealing with a stressful situation, it usually hits you like a ton of bricks as soon as you wake up in the morning. So ease into your day a bit more calmly by taking care of typical morning crunch-time tasks the night before. For example, make your - and the kids’ - lunch, shower and lay out your clothes, and preprogram the coffee machine. That way, at least some of your morning to-do list is already taken care of before you open your eyes.
Get up 15 minutes earlier. Once you’ve gotten into the habit of prepping for the day the night before, set your alarm to get up just 15 minutes earlier each day. This small amount of time won’t impact your sleep significantly, yet it will give you just a few more minutes for relaxing with a cup of coffee, journaling a few thoughts, or meal prep for that night’s dinner. The trade off will be worth it!
Change your first thoughts. Studies show that our first thoughts of the day are the most powerful since our brain is well-rested and in optimal functioning mode. So push negativity aside and put positive thoughts in your mind as soon as you wake up. It may help set a better tone for your entire day.
Spend 20 minutes outside. Research supports the fact that spending just a little time in nature has a bevvy of health benefits and therapeutic value, not to mention the mood-boosting value of the sun’s vitamin D. So whether it’s a quick walk with the dog, eating your lunch on a nearby park bench, or just taking a breather in your backyard or on your terrace, commit to spending a few minutes outside every day.
End the day device-free. While we rely on our mobile devices for a wide range of reasons, it’s critical to silence them or stash them away at a certain point in the day. Disconnecting from email, texts, notifications, etc. is essential for peace of mind. So pick a time in the evening to power down your devices and use that time to focus on yourself and your loved ones instead.