If you want your mornings to be more productive, there’s a lot of talk out there about how people “do” their mornings to start their day right. Some recommended activities, like exercising and sitting down for breakfast with the family, can be helpful and healthy, but psychologist Han Ren warns, “If we get too rigid about certain rituals in our day, that’s when they can become more toxic.”
Being too focused on what we “should” be doing can actually stress us out if we don’t reach these self-imposed expectations and we may end up feeling like a failure, according to marriage and family therapist Athina Danilo. Experts say these morning habits may be causing anxiety and share what we can do about it.
- Eating a slow breakfast- It’s supposed to make you feel relaxed and centered, but if your mornings are already hectic as you try to get the kids fed, dressed and ready for school, a long, leisurely breakfast may only add to the chaos and your stress levels. And if you don’t have kids, getting an extra 20 minutes of sleep might leave you in a better mental state than a long meal.
- Hitting snooze on the alarm- Procrastinating getting up may feel good in the moment, but you’re not getting quality sleep during those snoozes and may feel rushed afterwards. If you’re a chronic snooze-presser, try setting the alarm half an hour later to get uninterrupted, deeper sleep instead.
- Making a to-do list- Jotting down tasks you need to do can free up brain space, but Ren warns that it can become stressful if you’re overly ambitious and write down more than you can realistically do.
- Eating breakfast with your family- Sharing meals with the family definitely has benefits, but this kind of bonding may be better appreciated when there’s no rush to get out the door, like at dinner.
- Getting right out of bed- Some people think they need to hop out of bed and tackle the day as soon as they open their eyes, but if waking up and staying in bed as you scroll through your phone or watch the news leaves you feeling energized and in a good mental state, Danilo says go for it.