Morning anxiety is very real. We generally feel anxious about things we fear, which his why many of us become anxious first thing in the morning. But very often, these are what-if scenarios that haven’t even happened yet.
Acting out a particular scenario then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. But how to we stop the cycle and feel calmer instead? Here’s some advice.
1. Assess your anxiety
Begin by working out whether you’re experiencing genuine anxiety, or whether other social factors might be to blame. ‘Sunday night dread’ is a real thing in our culture. It’s natural to feel sad the weekend is over, but that’s very different to feeling never-ending knots in your stomach and constantly dreading the week ahead.
2. Identify the cause of your anxiety
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, it’s useful to try and identify any potential triggers. While anxiety disorders aren’t usually caused by one single factor, they can often be brought on by certain things. Sit and think about what you’re feeling especially anxious about. It’s a good place to start.
3. Be honest
However you’re feeling, being upfront and honest with close friends is likely to improve it. Acting like you’re not anxious, sad or depressed requires a huge amount of energy, and you’re denying yourself with some potentially invaluable support from people who care about you.
If the morning journey into work is causing anxiety before you’ve even left the house, speak about it with a colleague you trust at work how difficult you’re finding things. A bit of support can go a great way.
4. Start small
If you’ve identified the triggers to your anxiety, the next step is implementing the change. Make active choices such as unfollowing people on Instagram who make you unhappy, or preparing your lunch/dinner for the day the night before. These are only little changes, but they add up and collectively go a long way to helping you feel calm and in control.
5. Try meditation and mindfulness
Anxiety is often triggered by our thoughts rushing ahead, so having a mindful practise each morning can slow down those thoughts before they spiral. If neither is for you (although don’t knock it until you try it!), try to declutter your mind – whether it’s going for a walk or doing some drawing. Try it for a week and you might be surprised.
6. Switch up your schedule
The worst thing about morning anxiety is those few hours being wasted by dreading what’s to come. You should spend those hours enjoying not being at work. So instead of dreading it, do something fun! Begin your day with something relaxing. Whether it’s a lovely breakfast or a dreamy bath, try making positive associations during those few hours you’d normally spend feeling anxious. Even just flicking through a magazine or calling a loved-one can serve as a great distraction technique.
7. Get sweating
If there’s one thing experts unanimously agree on, it’s that exercise is a real winner when it comes to our mental health. Establishing health habits through diet, exercise and self-care is very important.
But when we’re anxious we’re less likely to give much thought or attention to those good habits, just when we need it most. Focus on establishing a regular exercise routine to set yourself up for the day – there’s a good chance you’ll notice your mood improving too.