How to Create a Powerful Morning Routine to Lower Your Anxiety

We’re so excited to share this guest post from podcasters Kyle and Jeremy, The Social Ninjas!  They talk about the power of a good morning routine and how it can lower your anxiety and boost your life satisfaction.  Anyone who suffers from anxiety or depression can benefit from having some type of routine in their lives.  Starting the day off right sets the tone for the rest of the day, so a morning routine is a great tool to have for better mental health.

Create a Powerful Morning Routine to Lower Anxiety
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

What is Decision Fatigue?

Decision fatigue is something that social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister discovered. It is the idea that you have a limited cognitive ability to make good decisions. The more decisions you make, the more the “gauge” on your brain for cognitive energy decreases. Questions like “What should I wear?”, “What should I eat?”, “Should I go to the gym today?”, etc. all have an impact on that “gauge” by making your brain process different decisions it needs to make which uses up that energy. The goal is to keep your limited cognitive ability as long as possible throughout the day.

Decision Fatigue Might Be a Source of Anxiety

Think about it. According to Dr. Annabali, brain scans show that those with anxiety have too much activity in the basal ganglia (the part of the brain responsible for worry, feeling anxious, fear, etc) and the amygdala (the part of the brain responsible for survival fight or flight reactions of what you fear). Now, think about how decision fatigue might impact your basal ganglia and amygdala. The more decisions you are making the more stimuli your brain is processing, which is straining your brain more than it needs to. Now you just have to learn how to limit that decision fatigue, but how can you do that?

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Create a Morning Routine!

Everyone who knows me well knows that I am a huge advocate for morning routines. This is probably the single best thing you can do to reduce decision fatigue. By creating a morning routine of self-care and doing the same thing every morning, you eliminate so many decisions that you would normally have to make.

I start by waking up at the same time every day so I don’t have to ask myself what time I should wake up. I eat the same thing every morning, so I don’t have to figure out what I want to eat. I do the same things at the same times every morning so there is no decision at all for me to make. Right now, I have my morning routine created to where I don’t make a single decision for the first 3 and a half hours. This helps my brain stay at a high energy level and keeps any anxiety I might usually have to a minimum.

Eliminate the Unnecessary Stimuli

Pick Your Clothes the Night Before

This just eliminates another decision you must make in the morning. I have even heard of people buying the same colored and style of hangers so that they all match in their closet. This helps make it easier on their brain to process the stimuli involved in picking out the clothes.

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Clean Morning Area

Wherever you are going to be spending your morning, make sure it is spotless clean. It helps your brain and makes you feel so good. Think about the last time you went to a hotel and the feeling you got after walking into the spotlessly clean room. You probably felt good and relaxed. Keeping your brain relaxed can help your decision fatigue and anxiety decrease. Now think about how you feel when you eat breakfast at your table with tons of junk on it. This increases your decision fatigue and anxiety and you miss out on that “clean-hotel” feeling.

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No Social Media or News

Stay off the social media and news channels, especially in the morning. Think about what you do when you wake up. What’s the first thing you do? Most people check social media, turn on the news, check email, etc. This increases your decision fatigue so much by doing this! You are forcing to process so much stimuli and follow-up thoughts. After the first hour of being awake after doing this, you have already used a ton of your mental energy and have very little left to manage your anxiety.

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Add a Healthy Practice to Your Morning Routine

My morning routine changes from time to time depending on the environment or situation I am in.  For example, I had to tweak my morning routine when I had a newborn in the house and also when COVID came about, but here are a few of the key things I ALWAYS keep in my morning routine.

1) Meditation

According to Dr. Annabali’s book Reclaim Your Brain, “Meditation helps to eliminate feelings of anxiety and anger. Using MRI scans, researchers at the University of Wisconsin looked at the brains of meditators and discovered that during meditation their amygdala (the part of the brain responsible for the fight-or-flight impulse) switches off, and the prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain responsible for feelings of peace, compassion, and happiness) lights up.”

Ever since I learned that I started meditating 10 minutes a day every morning as soon as I wake up.  This helps reduce stress, promote emotional health, improves sleep, enhances self-awareness, and so many other benefits!

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2) Practice Gratitude

Gratefulness is more than just a nice or polite thing to do. It actually has been proven to improve mental health. A study was performed of almost 300 adults who were seeking mental health counseling to see if gratefulness had an impact on their mental health. The divided the participants into 3 groups. One group wrote a letter of gratitude to one person every week. Another group wrote about negative experiences and feelings. The last group did nothing. After only 4 weeks, the participants who wrote letters of gratitude every week reported much better mental health.

Gratitude does more than we think. One insight that the study showed from this was that gratitude might actually be impacting our brains. They took MRI scans of brains and showed that people who express more gratitude “showed greater neural sensitivity in the medial prefrontal cortex”. Something as simple as gratitude can actually have a MAJOR impact on your brain and your anxiety.

You now know that gratitude does well for your prefrontal cortex but there are also seven other benefits of showing gratitude, according to Forbes’ Amy Morin.

    1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
    2. Gratitude improves physical health.
    3. Gratitude improves psychological health.
    4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
    5. Grateful people sleep better.
    6. Gratitude improves self-esteem.
    7. Gratitude increases mental strength.

I like to practice gratitude every morning by writing down five things I am grateful for that are relevant to the last 24 hours of my life. This quick and simple practice has been so beneficial to me and those around me.

3) Learn

Feed your brain with knowledge.  I like to read self-help books or take online courses about things I want to improve upon or just to learn something completely new.  There is something about learning on a daily basis that really gives a boost to my self-confidence. Being someone who struggled with self-confidence in the past, I always keep this in my routine.

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I challenge you to take the time to build a morning routine for yourself.  Start small with one thing or maybe start with just eliminating toxic decision fatigue factors for your morning.  Try it out for 1 week and I can guarantee you will feel much better about yourself and your life.


Author Bios:

Listen to the social ninjas podcast: https://www.thesocialninjaspodcast.com

KYLE MITCHELL  is a mental health speaker, podcaster, advocate, and social media influencer who is passionate about solving the problem of poor mental health in the world and the impact that mental health has on people, especially the youth.

Kyle graduated from Indiana University Southeast in 2015 and received a Business Degree with focuses on marketing and management. Soon after graduating, he realized that his purpose in life is to help people understand what mental health is, why it is important, and what we all can do to improve our own mental health as well as help others improve theirs.

Kyle is a member of NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illnesses) Louisville and is a certified Ending the Silence Speaker for NAMI where he goes to schools and spreads his message about mental health. Kyle is very effective at connecting with his audience by being vulnerable and sharing the struggles he has had with his own mental health.

Further, Kyle Mitchell currently resides in Indiana, loves to run Spartan races, travel, read, and spend time with those who matter most, especially his beautiful wife Paulina & their three kids Braileigh, Avalynn, and Kadyn.

Find Kyle:


JEREMY GREENE is a social coach, podcaster, and influencer. Growing up, Jeremy struggled with severe social anxiety. To overcome this, he decided to become a Social Ninja and now shares his knowledge and experience with others that seek help connecting with others.  To attain his skills, Jeremy searched far and wide. Completing a degree in Communications and Psychology, he continued with numerous training, such as a silent 10-day mediation retreat and facilitating other’s growth in The Mankind Project.  

In the middle of this transformation, Jeremy was offered a gig interviewing celebrities on the red carpet. Terrified, he set out to practice by recording interviews with the general public. This turned into Jeremy Talks to Strangers, an Instagram account profiling the many strangers-turned-friends Jeremy has met. This pivotal moment, led to Jeremy realizing his mission in life: facilitating more self-love and strengthening human connection.

Jeremy’s journey includes coaching others to overcome social anxiety, being featured on ABC News, and traveling the world to offer free hugs. Transforming from social anxiety to social ninja wasn’t easy, but he wouldn’t change it for any other dojo.

Find Jeremy:

100 Self Care Ideas That Are Social Distancing Approved

Anyone who isn’t currently practicing social distancing is putting others at risk.

With the COVID-19 Coronavirus on the loose, many people are retreating to their homes and avoiding large groups, i.e. social distancing.  Not all are finding this is easy, with the Millennials and Gen Z’s getting most of the blame.  Whether you’re currently serving a 14 day self isolation, or you’re still working and living life, you’ve likely noticed an increased level of boredom.  Most places are closed, events are cancelled, and even hanging out with friends is frowned upon. So what are you supposed to do during this quarantine? 

Well, my friends, it sounds like the perfect time to practice self care!
100 Self Care Ideas that are Social Distancing Approved
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

Pamper Your Body

With the added amount of stress due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, your body is likely in less than optimal health.  Social distancing provides us with an unlimited amount of time for self care without feeling guilty.  We don’t have to sacrifice time for self care because we suddenly have an abundance of it.  (Besides, with all the frequent hand washing and cleaning, I’m sure we could all use a little extra pampering.)

1. Soak in the bathtub with a bath bomb or Epsom salts.

2. Take a thermotherapy shower by starting hot and finishing cold.

3. Give yourself a manicure or pedicure.

4. Deep condition your hair. 

5. Apply a face mask.

6. Dry brush your skin

7. Exfoliate.

8. Moisturize.  

9. Give yourself a massage

10. Try acupressure

11. Get plenty of sleep.  

12. Do a detox. 

13. Drink lots of water

14. Make a smoothie or fresh green juice.

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Work on Your Mental Health

The media coverage on the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic has us all stressing out.  All of the stress and anxiety is bound to have a detrimental effect on our mental health.  Plus, having to stay isolated can exacerbate those symptoms. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to use this time of self isolation and social distancing to work on improving our mood and mental health. 

15. Try online cognitive behavior therapy.  

16. Sign up for talk therapy via video conference 

17. Practice meditation.  

18. Listen to music.  

19. Do yoga. 

20. Write in a journal. 

21. Light incense or diffuse essential oils.  

22. Listen to a podcast.  

23. Find a way to help a charity.  

24. Read a self help book

25. Nurture a house plant.  

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Laugh and Play

Self care should never be all work and no play.  In fact, laughter is a great mood booster and we should find all kinds of ways to laugh and be playful, even while social distancing.  

26. Play a video game or app. 

27. Play a board game.  

28. Work on a large puzzle.  

29. Doodle a mandala. 

30. Watch your favorite movies. 

31. Laugh along with some stand up comedy or a funny movie. 

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Keep in Touch

We often think of self care as being alone but taking care of ourselves means doing good things for others, spending time with those we love and sharing pieces of who we are.  This might seem hard to do while practicing social distancing, but there are still ways to keep in touch with others. 

32. Call a friend.

33. Video chat with someone.

34. Make a YouTube video.

35. Write someone an email.

36. Send a letter.

37. Mail a care package.

38. Deliver gift baskets to neighbors.

39. Decorate your front window.

40. Host a Netflix watch party.

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Spend Time Outside

We need to spend as much time outside as possible while social distancing.  Of course it’s important to stay away from crowds and limit our interactions as much as possible, but accessing fresh air is so important for our bodies both physically and mentally. 

41. Sit in your backyard.

42. Take a nap outside.

43. Lounge in a hammock.

44. Do yard work.

45. Go for a walk around the neighborhood.

46. Go for a drive in the country.

47. Eat a meal outside.

48. Pitch a tent in your backyard and camp out for a night.

49. Paint your fence or deck.

50. Make a fairy garden.

51. Paint some rocks.

52. Have an outdoor bonfire.

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Declutter Your Space

Decluttering is a form of self care because it’s something that we tend to put off doing.  Then the clutter sits there, reminding us of our failures and causing undue stress.  Use this time at home to deep clean, declutter and minimize possessions. 

53. Deep clean your kitchen and bathrooms.

54. Repaint or redecorate a room in your house.

55. Sort through your wardrobe and donate any clothes you don’t wear.

56. Organize your home KonMari style.

57. Clean out your closets.

58. Sort through your shoes.

59. Sort through your accessories and jewelry.

60. Declutter your cabinets.

61. Clean out your makeup bag.

62. Clean the garage or basement.

63. Go through all your old electronics, DVD’s, CD’s, cables, etc.

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Tap into your Artistic Side

Art therapy is a super important way to practice self care while social distancing.  Being creative means using our brains as well as developing hand eye coordination.  Even if you don’t consider yourself an artistic person, you might be surprised with what you can come up with.

64. Draw or paint a picture.

65. Sketch something outside your window.

66. Color in a coloring book.

67. Create your own story book.

68. Make a craft completely out of recycled material.

69. Build something out of wood.

70. Make your own dough and sculpt something.

71. Build a bird house.

72. Bake cookies, cupcakes or some other type of delicious dessert.

73. Cook a hearty homemade soup or stew.

74. Start an indoor herb garden.

75. Sew, knit, crochet or macrame.

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Learn Something New

Use this opportunity to learn something.  Learning is a way to improve our brain health.  Plus it offers a distraction from anxiety and loneliness and can boost our self esteem.  As adults, we often refrain from learning new things, or we start them but never seem them through.  Learning a new skill or hobby is truly making the most of social distancing.

76. Take an online class.

77. Watch YouTube tutorial videos.

78. Read an instructional book.

79. Watch a documentary.

80. Find a new way to utilize something you don’t use anymore.

81. Take an online photography course.

82. Practice hand lettering or calligraphy.

83. Learn how to play a musical instrument.

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Get Your Heart Pumping

Exercise is one of the most important parts of self care.  There’s no excuses while locked up at home with nothing to do.  If your local gym is closed, check to see if they’re offering online workout videos instead.  And don’t worry if you don’t have a home gym, there are so many different ways to stay physically active at home. 

84. Ride a stationary bike or run on a treadmill.

85. Try some online workout videos.

86. Stretch.

87. Dance.

88. Plank.

89. Run up and down the stairs.

90. Focus on improving your pelvic floor health.

91. Work out with an exercise ball.

92. Skip rope.

93. Climb a tree.

94. Do squats and/or lunges.

95. Jump on a trampoline.

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Be Present 

The world looks a little scary right now.  Try to focus on the positive aspects instead.  We are living in a moment of history, so document it.  Take photos, write about it and enjoy every single moment.  Use your time wisely and continue to have hope for the future.  When this is all over, will you come out of it a better person?

96. Take at least one photo each day.

97. Cuddle with your spouse, kids, pet or even a stuffed animal.

98. Sit peacefully and do absolutely nothing.

99. Work on your bucket list.

100. Make a list of everything you miss doing and plan to do again once this global pandemic is over.


100 Self Care Ideas that are Social Distancing Approved
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Why Every Woman Needs a Day to Themselves: 6 Essential Self Care Tips

Women need to practice self care because they take on a lot. Whether it’s a mom juggling the kids’ school and activities or a college graduate in the thick of their thesis paper, life can be quite exhausting. All of this overthinking and overworking can have a real impact on our mental health.  That’s why every woman needs a day to themselves from time to time.

To get you started, here are six essential self care tips for that special day all to yourself!
Why Every Woman Needs a Day to Themselves: 6 Essential Self Care Tips
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

Get Good Sleep

Sleep deprivation can have multiple compounding effects on the body. So without it, our bodies fail to repair damaged tissue, metabolize hormones, and even create memories or simply retain lessons learned. So, while women are stressed at work or worried about their kids in some way, it’s hard to shake it off before heading to bed.

To combat this, one essential self-care tip is to change your bedtime routine. Avoid foods with caffeine and sugar and, instead, drink some soothing chamomile tea. Another nasty habit women tend to have before bed? Checking their phone and watching television. For many reasons, it’s important to put these devices away or turn them off and on silent. Not only do they stimulate your brain when you should really be unwinding, but the blue lights screw with our melatonin hormone, which, in turn, confuses our circadian rhythms and disrupts proper REM. Instead, read a self-care book or write in a gratitude journal.

Other than your phone, keep bedroom lighting to a minimum to achieve proper sleep. Use blackout curtains and avoid using a nightlight, even in conjoining bathrooms. To get the best rest of your life, it should be perfectly pitch dark!

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Be Mindful of What You Digest

This goes for food and everything that goes along with it—like nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Food is such a crucial role in how we feel, mentally and physically, and it can be affected on a daily basis. Reach for high-nutrient foods such as fatty fish, dark leafy greens, and brassicas (think broccoli and Brussels sprouts). The best way to be more mindful of what you digest is to know precisely what your body is absorbing. When you eat fast foods or takeout on a hurried day, you rarely stop to question what’s in it or from where it came. Instead, make sure you get the proper nutrients by creating a healthy meal at home, for family dinners or to carry into work for lunch.

Even if you don’t have time to go grocery shopping, you can have your local supermarket deliver weekly produce and ingredients straight to your doorstep. Not to mention, there is practically an endless variety of boxed meal delivery services from which to choose. Supplements can also improve our physical and mental health enormously. While it’s always best to first consult your physician or nutritionist, several supplements that could be beneficial are Vitamin D3, iron, omega-3, and even digestive enzymes.

Probiotics can especially enhance your gut health. Called the “second brain,” our gut plays a significant role in mental well-being, as our digestive tract is responsible for 90% of serotonin, which plays a major role in our mood and mental state.

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Spend Time Outdoors

Fresh air does more good for your body than you realize. So, it’s essential to remember to take a step outside every now and then. Seasonal Affective Disorder rears its ugly head in the winter as we tend to stay indoors, plan for the stressful holidays, and experience nothing but a cloudy gray haze. But it’s still important to get some sun and nourishing Vitamin D, which can be a real mood-booster.

You don’t have to go for a run—just a leisurely stroll in the park is enough. And, in doing so, you will also be getting some physical exercise, which will help clear your head and allow you to sleep sounder and deeper.

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Organize Your Home and Thoughts

Sometimes, even the clutter we leave lying around can affect our mental state. It’s important to reassess the home every so often, declutter, and organize. Whether that means donating boxes to secondhand stores or gifting items to friends and family, tidying up your living space can leave you feeling refreshed. And that, in turn, can improve your mental clarity. Brightening up your space with new home treasures and décor can drastically change the look and feel of your home, bringing you a refreshing new outlook to your day to day!

When it comes to your thoughts, those need to be organized too, but in a different way. There are several ways to bring clarity to the mind. You can create lists as a way of “brain-dumping,” which can center or ground you, leaving you less overwhelmed about all the tiny menial tasks, and even big ones, too! Here’s a fantastic brain dump exercise to help guide you.

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Slightly different than a brain dump, one essential self-care tip is to create a gratitude journal. It seems simple enough, but, by acknowledging the small moments and accomplishments you feel grateful for, you can let go of regrets and learn not to be so hard on yourself. You can start with morning affirmations and end with what you enjoyed about the day.

Meditate and Learn to Breathe Again

Chronic stress can lead to depression, anxiety, and a whole range of mental and even physical health issues. However, according to some studies, meditation has been proven to alter our heart rate and blood pressure, reducing these stress-driven health issues.

And this lies in the relationship between our diaphragm and our sympathetic nervous system’s “fight or flight” response. Breathing exercises that accompany meditation engage the parasympathetic nervous system, which essentially tamps down the “fight or flight” response that chronic stress brings. And, by breathing through the diaphragm, women can trick the mind and body into this parasympathetic response. Here are some beginner tips for developing a meditation practice.

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Create a Self-Care Reminder

Every once in a while, a woman needs a day to themselves. And, with our hectic lives, it’s important to pencil it in, guard it, and cherish it. Make it a regimen and schedule it once a month, at least. But, until that day, also be sure to practice a little self-care in your everyday routine.


Author Bio: Carolyn Eberhart serves as the Digital Marketing Manager for Natural Life. Carolyn oversees all digital marketing efforts relating to Paid Social Media and Email Marketing remotely from Redwood City, CA. During the week she is passionate about her career, cooking, exercising and hanging out with her family and on Sundays you can find her cheering on the Buffalo Bills!