I am a stress head. I’m honest enough to admit I get stressed about silly things. But I also have a busy life. I have two jobs and work an average of around 55 hours a week, I’m normally away from my flat for about 16 hours a day during the week and I don’t get much down time at the weekend either. Looking at it this way it’s not surprising I can sometimes feel highly strung. So when I see a simple idea or suggestion of how I could reduce stress I’m open to give it a go.
The idea of rising early to reduce stress sounded a bit bonkers to me on face value. Getting less sleep – how can that help? But the theory goes that it both gives you more time to get the things that are important to you done (exercise, all those little admin tasks, whatever is important to you) and means you are more likely to get into a fixed routine. So I considered it.
I start work at 7 am Monday to Thursday so I already get up at around 5.30 am – and when I thought about it by I realised that by the time I get to the office at 9 am I normally feel pretty good because I’ve been up a few hours, I’ve worked out and I feel awake. In contrast a lot of my colleagues who have just woken up and rushed in feel more (not less) frazzled than me. The theory could be right.
So I’ve started trying to get up at 5 am some days. That extra half an hour means I rush less, sometimes have time to do some housework, and leave for work calmer than when I grab that extra half an hour in bed. Of course some days I need that extra bit of sleep and don’t feel guilty about taking it, but it’s a simple habit to get into that can help make your day feel less rushed, make you feel more accomplished early on (which in turn sets you up for a good day) and can help you be more productive – all of which does help reduce that feeling of stress.
Do you have any simple habits which can reduce stress? Does rising early work for you or do you need as much sleep as possible?