Back to school: 8 hacks for stress-free mornings

ATLANTA — The school year isn’t just stressful for students, it can also be stressful for families who help get them started for their day.

And the school year isn’t just stressful for families with children, it also impacts commuters, who have to pack extra patience when they hit the more congested roads.

Here are some ideas that you can do in the mornings to help get you started out right and relaxed.

1. Meditate

This may sound a little hokey, but it actually does work and it’s a lot easier than you think. And it takes just 5 minutes. Here’s what you need to do: Find a quiet place and sit cross-legged on the floor. Focus on your breath by feeling it move from your lungs and out through your nostrils. Stay focused on that for several minutes and it will make you calm, cool and prepared for your day.

2. Prep breakfast the night before

What ever you or your kids have for breakfast in the mornings, get it ready the night before. It can be as easy as moving the ingredients to the front of your fridge or pantry just so you're not fumbling around like a sleepy zombie. Maybe set out a bowl and spoon so all you need to do is pour your cereal and milk. Also, overnight oats are popular, easy and delicious. Here's how you can do it.

3. Set your coffee the night before

We know many of you rely on coffee to start your day. It’s one of the first things you look for when you roll out of bed. So make your life easier by having the coffeemaker do the most of the work. Many coffee machines can have it pre-programmed to start brewing when you wake up. Or if you have a Keurig-type coffee maker, just place the pod in the machine so all you have to do is close it and press on.

4. Set your favorite music to wake you up

Why not wake up to your favorite song to get your day started? Be it "Eye of the Tiger" to get you motivated or something more along the lines of Beethoven’s "Symphony No. 5" – just makes sure it’s YOUR song.

5. Eat a well-balanced breakfast

Yes, sugary cereal, Pop Tarts and bacon are more delicious than, say, whole grain toast, bran flakes and eggs but they will not make you or your kids feel good throughout the day. Doctors say eating breakfasts high in protein, fiber and vitamins will make you and your stomach in a much better mood.

6. Wake up 30 minutes earlier to gather yourself

This may be hard to swallow, but allowing yourself that extra time will make your mornings so much easier when you’re not rushing around. When you’re not rushing around, you leave your home more relaxed. When you leave your home more relaxed, you arrive at work or school more calm. Get the drift?

7. Exercise

We know, this is the last thing you’d want to do in the morning. But that extra 30 minutes you allow yourself give you time to do some simple exercises before you go out the door. Try push-ups! Try going up and down stairs. Go for a walk around your home. Or just stretch out. Anything you do for your body in the morning will reward you in the evening.

8. Prep you or your kids' clothes out ahead of time.

This can sometimes be the most time-consuming part of the morning. Picture it: You’re half-awake, groggy-eyed staring into your closet. You grasp for something that you think, at least, looks and smells clean. Then, you stroll into work or school only to find what you picked out is wrinkled and has an old ketchup stain. Why not do the hard work before you go to bed and pick out what you’re going to wear and lay it out. So all you have to do is just put it on.

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