As someone who suffers from bouts of anxiety, I've found my mornings to be a huge source of solace (or sometimes stress). When I wake up with a jolt, have work to finish, my clothes are everywhere, and I'm already running late—my anxiety is all but debilitating. However, when I give myself time in the morning to unwind, stretch, shower, and slowly run through my thoughts, it all seems doable.
Still, I'm only human, and sometimes I need a little bit of help. For that reason, I turned to 30 readers. Below, six helpful women explain their morning routines and the rituals they use to soothe their own anxiety. Since then, I've been trying each one, taking my anxious thoughts day by day and slowly learning to work through them. Keep reading for their helpful advice.
1. Set an intention
"The most important part of my morning routine is setting an intention for the day, which is just a simple motivational quote to stay on track. I also receive a text from Shine every morning—it offers a daily quote. So, if I don't have my own, there's always one ready for me. Throughout the day, I'm able to remember whatever quote I chose, reference it on my phone, or view it in my work journal. It helps me combat negative thoughts. I managed to get a few friends with anxiety to try Shine as well, and they love it. Washing my face is the second most important. I find washing my face to be extremely therapeutic, as it's my moment of peace. I make sure I do this alone with music in the background. If my face is glowing all day, and not from excess oil, I'm happy." — Denise
2. Wake up earlier
"I have to manage my anxiety by waking up early almost every single day (mostly weekdays). I know a lot of people need their sleep, but I'm a morning person, so I'm the most productive [when I] wake up early. I go to the gym, catch up on news, or get up and clean my room. It's so calming to walk away from my apartment knowing everything is organized.
"Once I'm up, I find myself doing everything else in a productive way: my entire beauty routine, taking all my vitamins, drinking water, making tea, and then most importantly, going to the office, and getting my work done. I think my co-workers can tell because I'm in a better mood the rest of the day, and I'm more willing to take on challenges." — Rebecca
3. Allow for some quiet time
"Quiet time in the morning is really important for me. It gives me the opportunity to reflect, breathe, and set intentions for the day. I like to light some incense, make tea, and write down my dreams. Depending on the day, I may decide to light some palo santo instead of incense or meditate. I find that this helps to start the day with a clear head and a positive, calm energy that hopefully carries on into the rest of my day." — Jenny
4. Eat a breakfast that fuels you
"I always make sure I make breakfast. I know it sounds simple, but starting my day with food that fuels me helps me to feel less stressed about my food choices later in the day. I have MS (an autoimmune disease), and I'm a holistic health coach. I have my earl grey tea, and I write down my to-do list. I organize my day according to what I need to get done, including time for meditation and working out. Making myself a priority helps me feel more in control." — Marielle
Zena, another reader, agrees: "Having a breakfast I love and taking time to sit and enjoy it (especially with friends or family if you don't live alone) is a great way to start off on the right foot. I try not to have anything that will spike my blood sugar and put me on a craving roller coaster for the rest of the day. My favorite breakfasts are a shake (with protein, fiber, fat, and greens) or eggs. I don't eat high-sugar fruits or grains in the a.m. I'm a health coach and a trained chef, so I've had a lot of time to perfect my recipes."
5. Listen to music (instead of the news)
"A morning routine is so important for managing anxiety. I like to wake up to natural sunlight well before I need to leave the house. I listen to upbeat music and don't turn on the news first thing." — Mia
6. Put your phone on Airplane Mode
"I have ADHD, and I tend to hyper-focus. I get up early with warm water and lemon juice—it really wakes me. Then, I put my phone on airplane mode until I leave the house." — Patty