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?

A New Mom's Guide to Postpartum Anxiety
.

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.

7 Ways Moms Can Look and Feel Good This Spring
.
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.

Is Decluttering the Secret to Less Stress and Better Mental Health?
.
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.

11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health
.
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!

Meditation Tips for People Who Hate to Meditate
.
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.

I tried Online Therapy for 30 Days and this is what happened
.

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:

Two Mental Health Warriors Share What It Means To Be Fragile

Do you consider yourself to be fragile?

I recently collaborated with Katya and Cait, the founders of The Fragile Club.  One thing we have in common is our shared passion for raising mental health awareness.  We recognize that in order to do that, we need to encourage the conversation around mental illness.  The more people who are brave enough to speak up about what they are battling, the less stigmatized it will be.  

On both our sites, those suffering from mental illness are invited to speak up and share their stories, no matter how scary it might be.  The Fragile Club also offers a line of merchandise, with profits going towards mental health organizations around the world.  These simple pieces, including clothing, hats and even an adorable fanny pack, are branded with a single word “fragile.”  

I took the opportunity to interview these two incredible women and find out more about what it means to be part of The Fragile Club.
The Fragile Club
*This is a collaborative post and contains opinions from a third party. 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.

1. What is the Fragile Club?

Katya: The Fragile Club, first of all, is a community. The place where we share our stories and support each other.

Cait: The Fragile Club is a socially conscious brand created to bring awareness to mental health. For every item sold we donate the profits to one of our partnered Mental Health Organizations. We know that everyone has their own powerful story that can impact individuals and we encourage sharing as a core way to empower and support.

2. In what ways does the Fragile Club help raise awareness for mental health?

Katya: We are building a network of people with social influence (celebrities and social media influencers) who share their experiences dealing with mental health-related problems in order to show that it is okay to be open and talk about it. Also, we donate part of the profit from sold products to Mental Health organizations around the world.

Cait: Through our ambassadors, collaborators, partners and community we aim to bring mental health into normal conversation. And it’s through sharing our individual stories that we can raise impactful awareness.

The Fragile Club
Click here to purchase The Fragile Club Sweatshirt

3. How do you two know each other?

Katya: We both work remotely in the area of digital marketing and advertising.  We met not too long ago through friends in common during our travels in South-East Asia and stayed in touch since then. We have a lot in common – modelling, that we both do, remote work, travel, etc. Cait helped me with the content for a few projects and during one of the brainstorming sessions, the idea of The Fragile Club was born.

Cait: As Katya explains, we both have lots of experience working remotely and we met via mutual friends during our travels in South-East Asia and have stayed in touch since then. The first time we worked together I was creating content for some of Katya’s projects and we really enjoyed working together.

4. Aside from the Fragile Club, what kinds of things are you interested in?

Katya: As a full-time job, I do digital marketing and advertising and I’m absolutely loving it! Besides that, I’m interested in fitness, art and travels.

Cait: Both Katya and myself have been in the modeling industry. I love fitness, health, personal growth and content creation.

The Fragile Club
Katya and Cait – The Founders of The Fragile Club

5. What inspired you to start the Fragile Club?

Katya: As an entrepreneur, I always wanted to create something that would bring some value to society. As I personally have experience with depression and anxiety, I want to support people who deal with mental health-related problems.

Cait: Katya and I both are very passionate about creating positive change and our biggest conversation has been around mental health. We wanted to create something in the mental health space and the Fragile Club fell into place.

6. Tell us more about your personal experiences with mental illness.

Katya: I had depression, hypochondria and anxiety. After my first thought that suicide isn’t a really bad idea, I went to the psychiatrist on the same day. Had to go through the therapy and course of antidepressants to get to the point where I am now. I lived with it over 3 years without understanding what’s wrong with me (most of the time I was thinking that I have some kind of disease and I’m dying). I’m happy it’s over.

Cait: My sister’s story has had a huge impact on me and is a big reason why I care so much about Fragile. She grew up a middle child of 4 girls and always felt like the underdog in our religious family. Along with being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, this lead to her drinking and getting into drugs by the age of 12, pregnant by the time she was 16, and leaving home at 17. Years later, when she was 22, my family learned that she had become addicted to heroin two years earlier. This was devastating to my whole family. My mom has been amazing in helping her rehabilitate and she’s been safely on methadone for the past few years.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried over my little sister and how much I just want her to know she is loved and she doesn’t have to feel so alone and outcasted. I want anyone who’s felt the way she has to know that it’s okay to be vulnerable, and for the people around them to know how to help the people they love.

Personally, I’ve been through periods of depression, anxiety, self-hatred and multiple mental breakdowns. I’ve had anemia and endometriosis which both has fed periods of depression. And I know what it feels like to feel like no one supports you and you don’t know what to do.

The Fragile Club
Click here to purchase The Fragile Club Fanny Pack

7. What does being “fragile” mean to you?

Being fragile means that you are human. We want to highlight that everyone around us has gone through situations that we can’t understand, much less judge. Being fragile means that you accept your pain and become stronger by owning it. It also means that we need to remember that the person next to you has struggles and pain of their own, no matter who they are.

8. What do you feel is the biggest barrier to proper mental health care?

There are many barriers, but the biggest we believe is the stigma surrounding mental illness. This is why we care so much about our mission to raise awareness and funds for mental health. We need both community and government to support each other as well as the funds to bring about proper treatment and research.

9. What do you hope to achieve in the future with the Fragile Club?

We want to bring this important issue to the forefront of conversation in society and culture. That is our biggest hope and dream.

The Fragile Club
Click here to purchase The Fragile Club Beanie

10. How can others become involved in your mission?

Simply by making a single purchase donates funds to mental health organizations we’ve vetted and believe in their work. By someone wearing Fragile it helps to bring mental health to conversation in their daily life.

11. Anything else you’d like to add?

By removing judgement, we have room support and encourage each other to be the best versions of ourselves, and that includes understanding and supporting each other in our darkest moments.


For more information about The Fragile Club, to share your story on their site or to make a purchase and support mental health initiatives around the world, please visit http://fragileclub.com.

The Fragile Club The Fragile Club

How to Avoid Frumpy Mom Fashion This Spring

Fashion can be a great form of self care for moms.

The “uniform of motherhood” has been associated with frumpy mom fashion for far too long.  Putting time and effort into functional, comfortable fashion is not a sign of vanity but actually a way that moms can practice self care.  Not only does it allow a mother to focus on herself for a change, but it can encourage good self-esteem and boost a mom’s confidence, which is great for her mental health.  

Check out some of these tips for avoiding frumpy mom fashion this spring.
How To Avoid Frumpy Mom Fashion This Spring
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.
How To Avoid Frumpy Mom Fashion This Spring

Comfortable can still mean fashionable, there is no need to sport frumpy mom fashion this season.  If you are looking for an easy way to spruce up your mom wardrobe here are a few things to try!

“Ath-Leisure” Style

This look is my favorite new trend we are seeing everywhere and it’s already what most moms are wearing anyway.

Think workout clothes minus the actual working out.

It consists of super-soft, comfy, cozy, throw on and go pieces such as leggings and sweatshirts, hoodies and runners. (Awesome right?!)

But “athleisure” is not just for errands.  These grown up play clothes can easily transition to casual dinners out, coffee with the girls, and perfect for travelling comfortably and still in style.  It’s an easy way to replace the frumpy mom fashion, without losing any amount of comfort. 

These super soft shirts from Shine the Light On are perfect for the athleisure style.  And by wearing them, you’re helping to spread awareness about mental health!  Get 15% off using the code RUNINTRIANGLES15.

Athleisure

To implement this look or update your current pieces, look for:

  • Striped, color blocked or patterned tights.
  • A flattering shaped hoodie.  (I personally love a slightly cropped boxy hoodie in a super soft fleece.)
  • A classic notched v sweatshirt. (Either plain or something with a saying is also pretty on trend.)
  • A windbreaker. (Yes, you read that right but this little extra layer is everywhere right now, and its such an easy piece to replace when you would wear a jean jacket.)
  • The fashion sneaker is still a great basic. (Choose either a fabric mix or a slip on.)
Athleisure featuring Grit & Zest
.

Switch From a Purse to a Backpack Bag

It’s been just over 6 months since I converted from a cross-body bag to my leather backpack and let me tell you, there is no going back! Since my youngest is still in diapers, my purse doubles as a diaper bag and endless snack sack. I love that I can throw everything I need in it and wear it comfortably while I chase my kids around. Backpacks are still very popular and I love the convenience.

MATT & NAT – BRAVE DWELL
Matt & Nat Backpack by Boes

Avoid frumpy mom fashion by choosing the right bag so that you can look trendy and still be functional.  My recommendation would be to find one with good zippers and padded straps. Having an outside pocket is also handy to have easy access to keys and cellphone.


5 Spring Fashion Must-Haves for Busy Moms
.

Updated Footwear

Jump in Puddles

The slushy season is about to start (fingers crossed our huge snow hills will actually melt) with that comes PUDDLES! There is almost nothing I hate quite as much as the feeling of wet socks!  Our kids love tromping around in their bright colored rain boots, and what’s better than being able to join them?  I find the taller, standard boots to be too bulky and can come off as frumpy mom fashion.  So instead, I love the look of this sleek shorter rain boot as a transition shoe for the spring.

product photo
Ankle Rain Boot – Old Navy

Sneakers Are fashionable

Tying back in the “athleisure” style, sneakers are perfect with any look. Pair them with, of course jeans or leggings, but don’t be scared to wear them with a dress for a total cool girl vibe (read: I’m not a regular mom, I’m a cool mom)You can never go wrong with a classic pair of Vans.

Loafers Are The New Ballet Flat

Move over ballet flat, the loafer is going to be your new BFF.  In place of ballet flats for a slightly dressier look, these comfortable shoes go great with a pair of skinny jeans!

How To Avoid Frumpy Mom Fashion This Spring
.

Switch Up Your Jewelry

Hoops

For a super long time I was strictly a stud girl when it came to earrings but lately I am addicted to hoops! I feel like they are the ultimate “lazy girl who wants to look put together” life hack.

Wearing leggings and a t-shirt but don’t want to look like you are going to the gym?  Hoops.

Wearing a printed dress that feels a little too cutesy and you want to give it a little oomph?  Hoops!

Small hoops, medium hoops or big ones, I think they look good on everyone.  This is also a super easy way to look dressed up when your hair is tied back in that mom bun or ponytail. Throw on some hoops and lipstick and you are good to go!

Bar Necklaces

I personally have never been a fan of traditional “mom” jewelry. You know which ones I mean, the hearts with MOM in the center or the rings with everyone’s birthstone. I feel like they fall into the frumpy mom fashion category.

But this “be kind” bar necklace takes the trend of dainty and delicate jewelry and personalizes it.  The simple message can make a mental health fashion statement so that you look good on the outside and feel good on the inside.  It’s a great piece to wear with just a T-shirt or layer it with other chains for a fancier look. 

Plus, get 15% off with coupon code FRIENDS15 at sincerelysilver.co

Be Kind Necklace by Sincerely Silver
Be Kind Necklace by Sincerely Silver

I hope that any of these tips or ideas inspire you to try something new this spring season.

Many of us spend time and money making sure our kids have the appropriate clothing and shoes for the new season, but it’s time to put ourselves on that list too.  Find out how to create a self care routine so that you prioritize yourself too. 


.

Jess Sankar is a happily married stay-at-home mother of two young daughters.  She currently manages the Running in Triangles Instagram page @running_in_triangles, where she shares self care tips for moms and creates beautiful content for both the blog and social media.  To learn more about Jess, click here.