Did I ever tell you how much I dreaded that morning feeling? The feeling of having to get up feeling tired, groggy, and having to battle through another day with the unlimited symptoms that anxiety brings. I felt like I was always in a never ending tennis match with no changeovers to take a break, just an opponent (who was actually me) that would tirelessly come out swinging relentlessly and giving me all I could handle from the minute I woke up, until the minute I went to sleep. It was an exhausting cycle of fear that takes its toll on millions of people every day.
Weakness is a lack of strength in the muscles and the feeling that extra effort is required to move your body. Fatigue, on the other hand, is a feeling of tiredness or exhaustion or a need to rest immediately due to lack of energy. Both were very present for me and sleep didn’t seem to help out much. I desperately needed to change my morning routine. So, what can you do to begin your days on a better path and not get caught up in this vicious mental cycle that consumes you for the rest of the day? Here are a few things you can do to gain the upper hand in the morning:
#1) Don’t get caught up in anxious thoughts while lying in bed – As soon as you wake up, get out of bed! Don’t think about how bad the last day was, how tired you are, how difficult the day ahead might be. Avoid getting caught up in thoughts that don’t support your overall goal of building positive momentum and directing your mind and body to where you actually WANT to go. Take a shower, grab something small and healthy to munch on, and get to the next two steps!
#2) Create a rule that no matter how bad your symptoms might get, you won’t take an anti-anxiety medication until the afternoon – For years one of my best friends would wake up each day and one of the first things he would do was have a cigarette. I asked him why he did that and his answer was that it was the way he dealt with stress in the mornings. We later worked together to change the way he dealt with stress from waking up and having a cigarette, to finding a backboard near his house, grabbing his tennis racquet and playing tennis for 30 minutes each morning. Relying on any kind of anti-anxiety medication when the mornings get tough will leave you feeling disempowered and full of false hope. You will be hopeful that there is a way of changing your current state with quick fixes, miracle techniques and so on. Believe me, this kind of hope is a bad thing so make sure you apply this rule to your mornings starting NOW and create a new routine in the morning.
#3) Get Moving – What if I told you that exercising was just as effective if not more effective then medicating yourself, what would you think? Exercise is the most underutilized anti-anxiety and antidepressant there is and most of us don’t get started exercising because we feel like it will be too difficult and cost us too much of our time. We’ve been away from exercising for so long or have never really begun and we think that it will take MASSIVE amounts effort and time just to get back into the shape we once were. The truth is, everyone has 30 minutes a day to give themselves the gift of exercise. Why not start the day this way each morning since physical activity sends pleasure signals to your brain, and gives your mind and body a feeling of complete well-being? In my 30 day lifestyle challenge article I outline the many different ways that you can make exercising fun, and give you a plan of attack that adds variety. Variety is the key that will keep you motivated and keep you on track.
Don’t let excuses get you caught up in WHY you won’t be able to implement this new routine to your mornings, everyone who has ever wanted to accomplish anything first started off with voices in their heads telling them multiple reasons as to why they wouldn’t be able to do something, but you are a rare breed. You battle anxiety and panic on a DAILY basis, not many people can say they feel like they go through a brush with death every day and come out unscathed each and every time. So as much as the morning tomorrow will be different and a little uncomfortable because of your new routine, you’ll get through it and in time you’re going to find that love and respect for yourself that might feel like a distant memory right now.