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3 Quick Morning Routine Habits to Manage Stress for Busy Professionals

Stress is an inevitable part of anyone's life. As health care professionals, however, you face a higher risk of stress and anxiety than most other professionals. A survey published in Forbes showed that up to 47% of US healthcare workers plan to leave their positions by 2025.

Burnout is not a myth.

If you are overworked, stressed out, and feeling signs of burnout, it might be time to re-evaluate your morning routine habits. During the early morning hours, you might have more time to yourself, which is an opportunity to incorporate a quick morning routine.

Here are three quick morning routine habits that you can implement today.

Set your intention for the day

Your morning intention sets a positive frame of reference for the rest of the day. It could be something mental, physical, or emotional. Here are some examples:

  • Mentally – I am determined to jumpstart my patient care activities today despite being exhausted from yesterday's work shift.
  • Physically – Today, I will drink one more glass of water.
  • Emotionally – I will set aside five minutes to process my feelings when I feel overwhelmed.

An important note: Avoid choosing an intention about not doing something (e.g., "I won't procrastinate"). This puts you on the defensive, making it harder to focus on your intention and easier to get distracted by whatever you're trying not to do. 

Also, you set your intention in the morning because this is when you will actually remember to do it.

Start Journaling

Journaling is an excellent way to decompress. Some of the benefits include helping you focus on the present moment, gain clarity about your life, and make decisions when you are stuck. It can also help you practice mindfulness and track thoughts, emotions, and behaviors to monitor progress towards your goals.

You can use a physical journal or a digital journal. A journal with daily prompts, a gratitude journal, or a bullet journal. There are many ways to get started with journaling, so experiment with different methods until you find one that works for you.

If you are interested in digital journaling on your iPad or tablet, here is a free 30-day journal to get you started.

Practice Gratitude 

Not ready to dive into journaling? Just write down one thing you are grateful for every day.

According to the Harvard Health Blog, research shows that those who practice gratitude regularly are more satisfied with life. People who express their gratitude in a journal or write a thank you letter are also found to have stronger immune systems and sleep better. Finally, writing down three things you are grateful for every day has been shown to help people with depression.

Even if you struggle to find one thing that you are grateful for each morning, your mind is bound to wander onto something positive sometime during the day. If this happens, it is an opportunity for you to take out your journal and write down your thoughts about what made that moment special.

As an added benefit, it will become easier over time as you start to focus on things in your daily life that bring good feelings. By keeping track of all these wonderful moments over time, an impact can be made on chronic stress mitigation and burnout prevention.

Starting your day off with these self-care practices can help you manage stress and improve productivity.

A lot of people are not going to be able to easily erase their stress by starting their day off with some meditation and gratitude. It may help, or it may not. Every person is different and has different ways of processing things. 

Starting your morning off this way is just a suggestion for something that might help you and definitely wouldn't hurt you or cost you much.

If you feel like you don’t have time in your morning to add even these small steps into your routine, try taking them one at a time until they become habits that are easy for you to implement each day.

  1. Set morning intentions
  2. Start journaling
  3. Practice gratitude

Finally, be patient with yourself when it comes to building new habits; it takes time. If possible, use your family or friends as an accountability partner, and make them know the goals you set for yourself so they can support you along the way.