The day has hardly started and you already feel defeated. Don’t let these things drag you down.

By Jessica Migala
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Cranky Kids

Your precious angels woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and they want you to know it. Breakfast is filled with tears and, no, they won’t get dressed. You probably can’t fix their crummy mood, but you can change your own perception. “We get upset when we think it’s our problem to help them through, but it uses up our energy,” says Janet Lansbury, parent educator and author of No Bad Kids. Not to mention it can actually prolong their angst. As hard as it can be to let your kids’ emotions roll off you, it’s exactly what’s necessary. Let them know you’re there if they need you, but allow them to deal with their funk—by screaming while getting dressed, freaking out about their toast—and repeat to yourself that while it may seem intense, it’s a normal way for them to express their independence. To get them out the door faster, offer either/or options. Let them choose between two shirts or pick either vanilla or berry yogurt. They’ll feel like they have some control over the situation, which is empowering to kiddos.

Stressful Emails

Even a five-minute phone check can suck you in, draining your mental energy, notes Julie Morgenstern, author of Time Management from the Inside Out. “Technology is constantly trying to pull you off course. If you start your day on your device, you’re starting it out in a reactive way,” she says, adding that emails can set off your internal alarms. Claim your morning as yours, and keep your device off for the first hour you’re awake.

Nothing to Wear

That pair of pants no longer fits. The dress you want is stuck at the dry cleaner. Nothing ever looks right with that one sweater. Morgenstern often sees her clients feeling frustrated early in the morning simply because getting dressed is so annoying and time-consuming. Planning out what you’ll wear the night before can save several minutes (or more) of grief, but a bigger step is to set aside time one weekend for cleaning out your closet and throwing away or donating the items that just don’t work anymore. “It’s a bold move, and people are afraid to do it, but it delivers a huge emotional lift,” says Morgenstern.

Losing Everything

Where the heck are your keys? We don’t usually have the luxury of time in the morning, so rushing around trying to find what you need becomes overwhelming, says Morgenstern. Take five minutes at night to gather your things: Put your keys next to your purse, your shoes by the door, and your jacket where you’ll find it. If you like to bring lunch or snacks, get your food prepped and packed, too.

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