How to manage time on busy and stressful mornings
From ditching the zombie smartphone scroll to getting a good breakfast, Liz Connor learns the best ways to maximise the start of your day
Some mornings you seem to breeze through the early hours. You've got time to sit and drink a cup of coffee, eat a healthy breakfast and even leisurely catch up on the day's news.
Other days, your alarm goes off and you just about find time to brush your teeth before rushing out of the door.
While having a calm and peaceful morning can feel like a rare and magical occurrence, there are simple ways you can make every early start a bit less hectic - even when you're short of time.
We asked experts to give us their top tips for making a busy and stressful day ahead more manageable.
1. Practise easy gratitude
Rather than rushing into the shower when your alarm goes off, it's important to take time to pause and ease yourself into the day. Happiness consultant Samantha Clarke, speaking on behalf of Dorset Cereals (dorsetcereals.com), suggests doing this by trying a short 10 to 20 minute meditation.
Clarke recommends using an app like Calm (calm.com) or Headspace (headspace.com) to guide you through the process. If you're really short of time, even just listening to a soothing playlist on your commute to work can help to give a dose of on-the-go relaxation.
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2. Have a digital detox
Managing your use of technology can be a real time-maximiser in the mornings. Life coach Danielle North recommends switching out your phone for an old school alarm clock, so you can keep your devices turned off overnight.
She explains: "Once the smartphone is off, it's easier to not grab it first thing in the morning.
"Perhaps you'll even wait until you leave the house to switch it on? Either way, this can really help to ease stress and anxiety as well as lower your smartphone usage."
3. Fuel the body
Breakfast is the ideal opportunity give your body a good start to the day, because you're literally breaking a fast.
Nutritionist Rosie Mullen says: "The body is fasting as we sleep so when we wake up we need to fuel it correctly to give you energy."
Many studies have linked eating breakfast to good health, including better memory and concentration, energy levels and reduced risk of diabetes.
4. Introduce your senses to the day
"This is often overlooked, but it's important to try and let the natural senses meet the day," says comparison coach Lucy Sheridan.
"Taking a shower in natural light reduces your exposure to artificial lighting that can overstimulate the senses, leading to stress and anxiety.
"This isn't always possible in the winter months but it's a habit to try and adopt where you can."
5. Enjoy the little things
Having a moment to yourself is really important, especially if you spend most of the day focused on kids, friends or colleagues.
"Taking as little as 10 minutes to yourself on a morning will set your mindset for the rest of the day," says anxiety expert Chloe Brotheridge.
Whether it's taking a warm shower and appreciating the water on your skin, lighting a candle or taking the scenic walk to work, having this time to create a sense of balance will have a positive effect on the hours that follow.