I meet many people who say they start their day feeling anxious or stressed – even before they’ve got out of bed. Some say that by the time they start their day they already feel exhausted and can feel the pressures of life bearing down on them. Often, when we feel like that we look to the quality of our sleep – wondering how we can wake up feeling more refreshed and more resilient to stress.
The advice we find often focuses on getting a good “sleep habit” - preparing for sleep by getting our evening habits arranged to increase our chances of a deep, refreshing sleep. Strangely there never seems to be much written about the importance of our “waking habit”. Yet, I suspect, the way we wake up which sets us up for the day at least as much (if not more) than how we go to sleep.
For example, many of us wake to a fairly raucous alarm – a beeping, buzzing or ringing sound that jolts us awake. Well, that’ll get the stress response going straight away. We then put the radio or tv on. As we often we wake up just as the news is coming on – stories of death, despair and arguing politicians fill our ears, eyes and minds. Our stress response increases. Then, to top it all we often have a couple doses of strong coffee just to get us going.
Sound familiar? So, maybe it’s our waking habits that set us up for a stressful day, getting our stress response up and running before we’ve even left the house. If this sounds familiar to you, why not consider the alternatives:
• Wake to pleasant music –get an alarm clock which plays your music, or set your phone to play music instead of a ringtone
• Delay listening to the news until later. Continue with the music instead or listen to an audiobook if you’re commuting
• Decrease your morning caffeine intake. A single coffee (or even a decaff), or a different drink altogether.
Starting your day more gently lets you begin with a lower level of stress. You can’t guarantee the rest of the day will be so calm, but at least you’re starting off better.
I work with many clients to enable them to become more resilient to stress and, as a result, more motivated and productive with their time - and able to enjoy life much more. If you would like to work with me to become more stress-resistant then contact me to find out more.