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Feeling Stressed When You Wake Up? How to Have Calmer Mornings

Have you ever wondered how your mornings have become so unproductive, and messy – truly setting the tone for the rest of your day?

Have you found that your mood has soured before the clock strikes noon?

If you find yourself in this predicament, how you set your mornings, albeit unintentional, can be the sneaky culprit behind how your day starts and ends, affecting everything from a dip in your mood and energy to a drop in productivity levels.

The simple and practical tips below, if implemented correctly, should help to untangle you from having frustrated mornings before you ever make it out the door.

  • Make Your Bed
    A messy bed is a messy head. Your mother might have uttered something like this when you were younger about making your bed, and no adage could be closer to the truth. What she may have been trying to tell you is that if you do not make your bed in the morning, you could be shooting yourself in the foot. Making your bed clean and neat, even if it takes 2-3 minutes in the morning, will give you a clear head to start your day.
  • Meditate
    Simply be and close your eyes upon awakening. You can start for 1-2 minutes daily, and work your way up from there. You can even play some nature tunes, like a water fall, or rain drops if you cannot stand the silence. Just make sure it does not lull you right back to sleep, the opposite effect of your meditative intention.
  • Exercise
    Research shows that engaging in high bursts of activity for few minutes daily, especially in the morning, can help to maximize your energy, and speed up your metabolism. This can include anything from jumping rope, to jumping jacks. Although it is just 10 minutes or so, completed in short bursts of activity, this method will provide you with enough energy to get your morning going. This also can do wonders to maximize your endorphin levels, and feel good hormones before you enter the workplace.
  • No smartphones
    Do not reach for your phone first thing in the AM. Responding to/looking at work emails before getting to work, could be one of the reasons that your stress levels are exceedingly high in the morning. This is especially true when you have the urge to check it immediately after opening your eyes! Unless it is an “emergency,” wait until you get into the office, as your emails and other projects/task oriented things will still be there.
  • No TV, no tablet
    Do not read the news on your tablet, or turn the TV on first thing in the AM. You can look at it later. Just make sure it’s not the first thing you do when you wake up, as that is another surefire way to send your cortisol levels sky high.Remember, you need a certain right amount of cortisol, our natural stress hormones, to stay motivated and start your day off right. Too much of it, too little of it, or too much external and/or mental interference can cause an imbalance that derails you even before you get to work.
  • Make breakfast your goal
    While there is much debate about the importance of eating breakfast, or perhaps skipping/delaying it, the general consensus is that it’s important not to skip it, and to obtain a good ratio between protein and carbohydrate. That can be anything from eggs, or oatmeal to a slice of whole grain toast with a little butter and a side of fruit.People who eat breakfast tend to be more focused at work for longer periods of time, and less obese due to their stabilized blood sugar levels. When you eat breakfast, especially the right kind of breakfast, your productivity levels soar giving you more energy, while improving your short-term memory.
  • Prep your wardrobe the night before
    If you find that deciding what to wear stresses you out the morning of, set aside a few minutes the night before to pick out your outfit, and if need be, iron what needs to be ironed
  • Set your work goals for the week, the night before
    It’s important to be realistic about what you set out to accomplish the next day at work, and your macro goals for the week. Do not bite off more than you can chew, or if there is a lot on your plate, you must learn how to prioritize, and if need be delegate.
  • Gratitude journal
    This might be optional for some. Journalizing or writing down just the top three things that you are thankful for either before going to sleep, or in the morning when you awaken can go a long way to preserving and cultivating your gratitude. This positive mindset can not only help you sleep better, but can better prepare you to have a positive outlook at work amidst the chaos.

If you are having some trouble with your mornings, try implementing a few of these tips. You can even try to incorporate one tip at a time and see how you feel. Your morning(s) might not be smooth all the time, but having a stockpile of built-in routine tips you can resort to when you are feeling stressed can be a lifesaver.

Feeling Stressed When You Wake Up? How to Have Calmer Mornings

Emily Waters

Emily Waters earned her Master's degree in industrial psychology with an emphasis in human relations. She possesses keen insight into the field of applied psychology, organizational development, motivation, and stress, the latter of which is ubiquitous in the workplace environment and in one’s personal life. One of her academic passions is the understanding of human nature and illness as it pertains to the mind and body. Prior to obtaining her degree, she worked in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Presently, she teaches a variety of psychology courses both in public and private universities.

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APA Reference
Waters, E. (2018). Feeling Stressed When You Wake Up? How to Have Calmer Mornings. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 2, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 23 Jul 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.