Scroll through your Instagram feed, and you’re bound to find a host of productivity hacks, “easy healthy recipes,” and mindful morning routine ideas for less stress touted by successful entrepreneurs and CEOs. If self-proclaimed seven-figure earners can be mindful, then it must be doable, right?
Though $15 superfood salads and the latest biohacking gadget promising more mental clarity aren’t in everyone’s budget, scientists and wellness gurus agree on one thing: Taking time to be mindful in the morning can make a big difference in reducing stress levels. And all you need is five minutes.
PWRBLZR might earn a small commission from affiliate shopping links within this article. Our product recommendations are always genuine, though!
Doing these three easy morning tasks will make you feel ready for the day, but why stop there? Here, find five stress-reducing activities you can do after you wake up instead of hitting the snooze button. You can focus on just one or opt to combine a few to create a customized five-minute morning routine that feels aligned with you.
Your morning workout doesn’t need to be a sweaty HIIT session to work wonders on your mental clarity. It doesn’t even need to be long — again, five minutes is all we’re talking about here.
To make a walk even less stressful in the morning, don’t pressure yourself to change into “workout” clothes if you don’t want to. Skip the wiggle into Spandex and just get your body moving.
This walk doesn’t need to be complicated, either. You can walk down the block and back, to your local park, or even around your house.
The goal is to get your blood pumping, which, according to scientists, can reduce the amount of adrenaline and cortisol — aka the stress hormones — in your body. Keep it simple so you actually look forward to walking and staying mindful in the process rather than having it feel like a chore.
Stretching is important for your overall health, but it’s also a great way to wake up your body and prevent injuries. And for people hunched over computers all day (tech neck is a real thing), it’s particularly important to open up the neck, shoulders, and hips first thing in the morning.
If you already have a stretching routine memorized, by all means — keep doing that. Just keep in mind that the American Heart Association recommends holding each stretch for 10-30 seconds and repeating each at least three times.
But should you need a little extra inspiration, England’s National Health Service (NHS) website features physiotherapist Nick Sinfield’s “wake-up workout.” Sinfield’s routine incorporates some light cardio (hello stationary walks) and lots of stretches. The best part is, it starts in bed. Snooze, who?
Pro tip: Keep stretching intermittently throughout the day to keep your body from holding on to too much tension from any stress that might arise.
It’s easy to forget about breakfast when you’re busy, but mindfully eating something without any distractions could be the self-care you didn’t know you needed before work.
Quick and easy breakfasts for busy people require little to no cooking. Emphasis on no for those of us who love to ignore our alarms.
Fruit is a great no-cook and nutritious option, especially considering only 12 percent of American adults eat the recommended 1.5-2 cups per day, according to a 2017 report by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Plus, enjoying them first thing means you’re well on your way to meeting the daily goal recommended by MyPlate.
To make things even more balanced and MyPlate-approved, consider adding some nut butter, muesli, and/or yogurt. You could also toss your go-to fruits into a blender with said nut butter and a dairy alternative. Blend it all together, and bam — drinkable fuel for the day. Delicious.
Remember the key here is to practice mindfulness as you enjoy your breakfast. Use this time to really taste your food, reflect on how you want your day to go, and visualize less stress.
Instead of browsing headlines on your phone, go analog with a physical book and your stress levels could dip by up to 68 percent, according to a study conducted by the University of Sussex in 2009.
Whether you crack open a self-improvement book for leaders or that bestseller you’ve been meaning to read, there’s something to be said for turning real pages. And that something is that it’s relaxing as hell.
Reading without the blue light of a screen is much gentler on the eyes, because we can forget to blink regularly when we look at screens, experts at The American Academy of Ophthalmology say.
If you do read on a screen, however, they recommend “the ‘20-20-20 rule:’ Every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.” Blue-light-blocking glasses aren’t yet formally recommended, but if you notice a difference while using them, there’s no harm in adding extra protection.
It has a borderline woo-woo reputation now in the online space, but breathwork is a thousands-years-old practice from India. Sorry, the white wellness guru you follow didn’t invent breathing on a retreat in Thailand last year.
Deep, slow breathing naturally relieves stress by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system and potentially calming us down.
There are lots of breathwork techniques, but you can keep it really simple with belly breaths: Breathe in through your nose for three and out through your mouth for three, engaging your diaphragm the entire time. Repeat this process for as long as you’d like. If you accidentally yawn, you’re doing it right!
To get the most out of your breathwork practice, it’s best to either sit up or lay on your back (yes, you can do this one while you’re still in bed, too).
This type of breathing is also beneficial when you speak at work. Speaking from your diaphragm and breathing while you speak ensures your voice is projected and commands respect — even if you’re shy.
No matter how you choose to start your morning, if you approach your new routine from a state of mindfulness, you’re bound to feel less stressed.
But don’t let your mindful habits stop there. Drink plenty of water, take breaks to stand up and look away from your screen, and unwind with a self-care routine like End of Day Society’s sensory method, CHILL, before you log off for some Offleisure™.
This article isn’t meant to be medical advice. Always consult your doctor before making major changes to your routine and listen to your body.
Photo: Samson Katt / Pexels
Macy Daniela Martin is the Founder and Editorial Director of PWRBLZR.
We're still zhuzhing things up around here. Put your email down, below, to be first to know when we officially launch this Fall. You don't wanna miss it!