We’re often hassled in the mornings trying to use caffeine to wake up, get our kids and ourselves out the door, and get to work on time. In the spirit of reducing stress, try to think of the “little” things that you can do to set a calming tone for the day ahead. Taking 10-20 minutes the night before work can really help start your day off right. From searching for your shoes to feeling like you need to stop for a donut and coffee on the way to work, just these additional few minutes may make a real difference in the shape of your day.
1) Lay your clothes out the night before. It sounds like maybe something that you used to do in middle school (not for convenience sake, but to make sure that your outfit coordinated with your best friend’s!) but the truth is, this can save you a massive amount of time in the morning. No more wandering around aimlessly looking for that black sweater in your closet full of black sweaters or wearing unmatched socks. Again.
2) Prepare your breakfast and lunch ahead of time. If you don’t have time to make a meal plan for the week, try and at least think the night before about what you may want to have for your meals the following day. Things that you can prepare ahead of time for breakfast: juices (wash your fruits and veggies), smoothies (Put your oatmeal, coconut water, almond butter or other smoothie ingredients out on the counter with your measuring cups ready to go), chia-seed pudding (takes 5 minutes to make and can be refrigerated the night before), or grab some yogurt and berries from the fridge (I love Greek yogurt or enjoy Siggi’s in all different flavors because it has less sugar than some). If you have 2 minutes the morning of, quickly smash some avocado with a little bit of lime juice, pepper and red chili flakes onto a piece of Ezekiel or whole wheat bread. For lunches think about preparing a sandwich with vegetables and hummus, packaging up leftovers from dinner, or sprinkling some seeds and nuts on a salad in a container that you can easily take to work (mine has a built in place for salad dressing so as to keep things mess-free). Keep baby carrots, almonds, air-popped popcorn, edamame, or anything else that you like to snack on stashed in individually-sized ziplock bags so you can just grab it and go!
3) Cook on the weekends: You may not want to spend your whole day inside, especially as the nice weather approaches, but if you plan ahead, this can save you a tremendous amount of time during the work week. Make it a family event and cook some family-favorite recipes together that can be easily frozen, including burger patties, casseroles, enchiladas, and even smoothies (the “skinny-mint” smoothie courtesy of Simple Green Smoothies – find them at www.simplegreensmoothies.com— freezes great with avocado, bananas, almond milk, spinach, dates, mint and cocao powder). Just pop the smoothies out of the freezer the night before and you’re good to go!
4) Make the most of your time on the way to work. Whether you have a 5 minute commute (lucky you!) or a 50 minute commute, remember that we can set the tone for what kind of a day it will be. Starting your day off smoothly with your clothes laid out and your meals already prepared, try then listening to your favorite music or a podcast or a book on tape as you travel. Call a friend and catch up (on Bluetooth!). Try not to start your day with the news. Give yourself some time to ease into the day and to do whatever makes you feel best.