Do you bolt out of bed and bounce frantically from task to task (Blow out hair! Pack gym bag! Check BlackBerry!)? "The way you start your morning informs the way you spend the rest of your day," says Christine Louise Hohlbaum, author of The Power of Slow.
In other words, when you begin the day at breakneck speed, you’re more likely to feel frazzled and zapped come 3 p.m. Here’s how to make the a.m. less hectic.
"Every little task you can get done the night before can save you a world of stress the next morning," Hohlbaum says. That means laying out what you’re going to wear (down to the undies and bangles) and pre-grinding the coffee beans (just flip the switch!).
Being jarred out of bed by an alarm clock "raises your pulse from a resting to an alarmed state," Hohlbaum explains. Instead, awaken peacefully with an alarm clock that simulates nature—like those that imitate a sunrise or chirp like birds. (We dare you not to smile!)
Before you jump in the shower, work in a good stretch. "Clasp your hands above your head, inhale deeply and then, on the exhale, stretch to the left," Hohlbaum advises. "Then inhale as you raise your torso and exhale as you stretch to the right." It will give you a chance to pause and approach the day with a sense of calm.