At the very root, the purpose of self care is to pour back into yourself while setting yourself up for success to perform at your best. If you are an anxious person like myself then you already know the benefits behind self care + having a solid routine that works for you.
Morning routines are extremely important in my self care tool kit and for great reason too. Morning routines set the tone for your day + dictate how well you are able to maneuver as changes come throughout the day. This is especially important for people like me who cope with anxiety every single day. Think about the last time you were rushed out of the house? It probably wasn’t the very best feeling + you may even have felt like you were playing catchup mentally for the rest of the day, right?
Part of the reason we feel a bit more anxious in the morning than any other time of day is due to Cortisol, a regulator hormone. Do ya’ll remember the commercial about cortisol and belly fat? Up until recently, that was my full understanding of Cortisol and how it worked 😅🤷🏾♀️.
Whether you know that commercial or not you may have a general idea that stress can have an adverse affect on cortisol function + the body.
Cortisol regulates many body functions, from blood sugar to metabolism. When the body is waking up, cortisol levels are increased. This increase in levels can give the feeling of anxiousness + stress as the body moves from sleep state to waking state.
Selfcare, Morning Routines + Anxiety
Having a self care morning routine will not eliminate anxiety or stress. For those of us that tend to be a little bit more anxious creating mornings that are filled with balance, is a step in the right direction. Starting your morning off balanced gives you the very best opportunity to be mentally prepared for whatever may happen during your day.
My self care morning routine has looked differently over the last few years. Just like the seasons, they change and adjust. I find what works and continue on that path until I need to make a change. Very much a creature of habit, what I have noticed most is no matter how much routines may change in different seasons of my life, a routine is always needed.
How to create a self care routine that suits YOU?
Start by looking at your habits for the portion of your day where you may feel the most anxious. For example if you feel the most anxious in the mornings, take a look at what habits you have in the morning and how you can potentially minimize those habits that add to your stress + anxiety. This may mean setting the coffee pot up the night before or even getting to bed earlier so there is no rush in the morning. The goal is to find balance in time frames that are normally sensitive.
Gentle Self Care Morning Routine Tips
- Gentle Rising + Earlier Wake-up: Opt for a soothing or more mellow alarm. Loud + abrupt noises can really add to anxiety. Using a gradual build type of alarm clock, can wake you while not startling. As simple as this sounds, getting up just 20 min earlier than normal can jump-start your day in a positive way. Getting up earlier can eliminate the feeling of being rushed and can provide you with time + space to add more grounding such as meditation or yoga to your morning.
- Activate the Senses: Using essential oils in the shower or even a diffuser early morning can be a game changer. I prefer to use scents that energize me such as citrus in the morning. If essential oils are not your thing, take extra time picking out body washes or soaps that make you feel energized when you smell them. Activate the senses even more by sitting outside for a few minutes each morning if available. Sitting with nature provides a sense of ease + peace.
- Nourish Yourself: Breakfast may not be for everyone, but there is no denying the benefits behind starting the day with nutrients. There is a direct correlation between the foods that we eat + how we feel emotionally and physically. If breakfast is for you, opt for foods that are light and nutrient dense. Avoid high caffeine and carb heavy food that take longer to digest and leave you feeling sluggish.
- Grounding Practice: As a person who copes with anxiety, meditation has been my saving grace. Taking just 10 minutes a morning to breath + just be allows me the space to clear my mind. Meditation can be done on your own or you can use apps such as InSightTimer for guided meditations. Out of all of my self care tools, meditation is one that is non negotiable. Having the ability to quiet and slow the mind especially when stresses arise is a tool that can be used at any portion of your day.
Be Gentle With Yourself
Now while routines are important especially for those with anxiety, there is such a thing as over doing it. Going to the extremes with routines can also add more anxiety than taking away. Finding a balance that works for you is key. If you are finding that sticking to a routine is causing more anxiety, listen to your body and make adjustments. What works for each person will be different. The main goal is to begin each day being gentle with yourself so that you can minimize any potential anxiety.
What self care routines have you been using lately to ease anxiety?
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