Waking up to a blaring alarm, screaming kids, spilled coffee and an unattended bank account can lead to a day filled with stress. Part of this is natural- as you start to wake up, your brain stops producing melatonin- the hormone that calms you down and allows you to sleep. Instead, your brain releases cortisol, allowing you to feel a surge of energy and jump out of bed. However, starting your day in a full panic is like running without stretching first. Your morning routine is essential to the outcome of the rest of your day, so finding time to destress early on can lead to a productive and more fulfilling day.  Set yourself up for a much less stressful day, with these three tips to de-stress your morning routine.

Resist Checking Your Phone Right Away

All of us do this, you roll over to shut off your alarm, and then the first thing you do when opening your eyes is check your phone. All your notifications and favorite apps have been on hold for the past eight hours, more or less and your iPhone is bustling with emails, social media notifications and news alert. According to a survey from the tech analyst company ReportLinker, 46% of Americans will check their smartphone device before rising from bed in the morning. This habit is hard to resist, and many people oftentimes find themselves checking their phone throughout the night restlessly. Some of you might be thinking, “What if work is canceled, and I won’t know because an article told me not to check my phone in the morning? And now I’m stressed thinking about not knowing?!” Breathe. For a more fulfilling nights’ sleep, keep your phone away from your nightstand, to resist checking all night. This will also encourage you to stand out of bed to turn off your alarm in the morning, helping you rise. Then allow yourself 30 seconds to scroll through your phone’s notifications, looking for an emergency. If you find nothing that needs immediate attention, put the phone back down and start your day. Then, when you’re out the door your mind will be more awake and ready to give those emails and news articles your full attention. This is especially useful if your commute to work involves taking a train or bus, where you don’t have to pay attention to the road.

Slow Down Your Breath

Before untangling yourself from the covers, lay for a few more moments to try and focus on your breathing. Give your brain some more oxygen before starting your day, to still your thoughts and prepare yourself for the day ahead. It will lower cortisol levels, lower blood pressure and decrease your heart rate, letting you relax naturally. After the first alarm, put your hands on your stomach and inhale through your nose for four seconds. Then, hold it for four seconds, and breathe out for another four seconds. Repeat until you feel refreshed and invigorated for your day. Slowing things down at the start of your day will help you speed up the productivity later!

Keep the Lights Down Low

Light will help wake up your brain, yet going from dark to bright lighting is not the healthiest way to awake. As you may notice from being under LED lights at a dentist’s office, intensely bright lighting can make your body jolt awake, startling your body and releasing adrenaline. Try to avoid this swift transition by keeping lighting relatively dim and then get brighter as your morning progresses.

We hope that these three easy tips take the stress out of your morning routine and help you kick start your day!