Managing morning anxiety: Dos and Don’ts

Posted on April 9, 2021

Managing morning anxiety: Dos and Don’ts

Waking up to worries about the day before and the day ahead can cause many of us to suffer from morning anxiety. Studies have shown that levels of the stress hormone cortisol tend to rise during the early morning and peak around 7am1. When combined with concerns about what the new day might hold, it’s understandable why morning anxiety is common. 


Here is a run down of dos and don’ts to help you manage your morning anxiety and begin your day in a more positive way.


The Dos


Do make time for movement

Tackle stress head-on with some morning movement. Exercise releases the happy hormone serotonin, so whether you are working up a sweat on your exercise mat or enjoying a brisk pre-breakfast walk, getting active will help improve your mood for the day ahead.


Do eat a balanced meal

Many of your favourite breakfast foods have hidden health benefits that can help ease morning anxiety, so make sure you enjoy a nutritious meal before you begin your day. Try opting for whole grain cereals and wholemeal bread which are low in sugar. Whole grains and brown bread naturally contain B vitamins which help boost energy levels and B vitamins have shown to regulate symptoms of anxiety 2. If you like your eggs in the morning, egg yolks are a good source of vitamin B12, which contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.


Avocado is also a good breakfast choice. They contain oleic acid (monounsaturated fatty acid) which is considered as a good fat that is heart healthy. They are a good source of fibre, vitamin C and vitamin E, which contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress. 


Having a healthy, balanced breakfast helps with steady energy levels throughout the day giving you the boost to carry out daily tasks. It can also reduce your need for caffeinated drinks which simply increase the anxiousness. 


Do make time for something you enjoy

Reading a chapter of your book. Stretching out with some morning yoga. Catching up with friends before work. Making time for something you enjoy during your morning routine can help ease symptoms of anxiety and help you focus on the positive things that a new day can bring.


The Don’ts


Don’t hit snooze

When the alarm clock sounds, it’s easy to hit snooze for a few more minutes under the warm covers, but running late will only add to your early morning anxiety. Set your alarm so you have plenty of time to get ready without rushing or feeling stressed.


Don’t skip breakfast

Breakfast is often the first casualty of being too busy in the morning. If you’re relying on coffee alone to start the day, caffeine could be making your anxiety worse. Caffeine can make you restless and increase your heart rate, which are also symptoms of anxiety. Too much caffeine could also set you up for a bad night’s sleep and another anxious start tomorrow.


Don’t dwell on negative thoughts

If you find yourself focusing on negative thoughts ahead of a potentially stressful day, try writing your feelings down. Keeping a journal is a great way to gain a better perspective on problems and can help you process the anxieties of the morning before you get on with your day. Try converting those negative thoughts and words into more positive thoughts and words. This can sometimes make all the difference in getting through the day. 


By following these tips, you should find it easier to manage your morning anxiety and start the day feeling refreshed. Remember that a healthy bedtime routine is also essential to set you up for a good day, so take a look at our advice for improving your sleep to enjoy a more peaceful night and positive morning.



  1. Healthwise Staff. (2020). Cortisol in Blood Test. Available:,the%20early%20phase%20of%20sleep.. Last accessed 8th April 2021.
  2. Young, L., Pipingas, A, White, D. et al.. (2019). A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of B Vitamin Supplementation on Depressive Symptoms, Anxiety, and Stress: Effects on Healthy and ‘At-Risk’ Individuals. Nutrients. 11 (9), 2232.