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7 Ways to Wake Up Happy

7 Ways to Wake Up Happy

For most of us, waking up is hard to do. The internet is full of articles encouraging us to embrace our inner early bird, imitate successful tycoons who are rising at the crack of dawn, and increase our productivity by getting in a full day’s work before our actual day has even begun! You probably already know the classics: putting your alarm clock far away from your bed; getting a full night’s sleep, but here are some lesser known ideas that just might make your start of the day so much happier!

1. Laughter

Laughter isn’t just the best medicine; it’s the best wake up call as well. When I was paying my way through university, I once had a total of 12 part-time jobs along with a full degree course-load. One of my regular jobs had me home at 1 a.m. every morning, whilst my next shift needed me up by 6. Needless to say I was in desperate need of some way to jerk my brain into action. The trick I found was to switch on my computer and stream some YouTube videos of my favourite stand up comedy. As I was getting ready, the jokes I was hearing would invariably provoke a chortle, then a chuckle, then an all out peal of laughter and before I knew it, endorphins were racing through my system and I was good to go! If you can’t muster the strength to laugh, try thinking of something that makes you smile.

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2. Light & Fresh Air

If you live near the equator then natural sunlight is your best friend. Those of us further north or south can utilise the early morning sun during the summer months, but have to make do with artificial light in the winter. Whatever its source, exposing yourself to light as soon as you get out of bed will trigger your body’s natural tendency to associate daylight with being awake and alert.

If you’re feeling really groggy, there’s nothing like a breath of fresh air to clear your head and your lungs. If you can, go for a walk, but make sure you’re not too covered up. Colder, slightly bracing temperatures are better for keeping you awake as they force your heart to work harder to keep the rest of your body warm. If you can’t go out, then opening a window or door to let in some fresh air should do the trick.

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3. Reward yourself

One of the best ways to do something you just don’t feel like doing is creating an immediate, gratifying incentive for doing it. If you’re dreading the sound of that alarm clock every morning, plan something exciting as a reward for obeying its wretched call and actually getting out of bed. Food is one of my favourite rewards, and I usually set up the breakfast table with my favourite china (I’m old school like that), and plan a scrumptious breakfast of pancakes, oatmeal or a classic English fry-up. Other ideas could be a work-out, if you’re an exercise nut, or a nice soak in a luxurious bubble bath… whatever works for you

4. Streamline your Morning Routine

I would imagine this goes without saying but plan ahead as much as you can. You don’t want to associate waking up with stress and last minute panic. Streamline your morning routine as much as you can. Get as much done the night before as possible: your outfit, your bag, your lunch, any items you need with you for the day, kids’ clothes and belongings if you have them. You may find that as your morning routine becomes more of a breeze you might actually begin to look forward to getting up and starting your day.

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5. Get Talking

Talk to someone. Anyone. One of the easiest ways of jump starting the little grey cells is by engaging in conversation, ideally with a responsive participant, although even a pet or a plant will do if you’ve got enough to say! Talking gets you listening, interpreting and responding, all activities which naturally and gently get your brain into gear for the upcoming day.

6. Go to Sleep with a Full Bladder

One surefire way to get yourself out of bed when you feel the quilt has taken you hostage is to let nature play its hand. You should be drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day anyway, but try drinking at least a large glass just before falling asleep. If you’re in good health, you might just find nature’s own call to be the natural alarm clock you’ve been needing.

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7. Make your bed

I’m a fan of gorgeous bed linen. I love the look of a cosy bed covered in throw cushions and a fabulous eiderdown. I feel seriously guilty getting into my bed once I’ve gone through the effort of making it, as I usually make it hotel-style (sheets taut enough to bounce pennies), so I usually avoid napping during the day for fear of messing up my good work! If you can, on any level, relate to that, then try making your bed as soon as you get up. That way, if you’re even a little like me, you might find it easier to resist climbing back in, and you might even get a nice little congratulatory feeling of having gotten something done so early in the morning!

Above all, remind yourself of why it is, you are getting up, whether it’s a personal goal or an unavoidable need, and use that to motivate yourself on those really tough mornings. Experiment to find whatever works for you and you too will surely find yourself waking up happy!

Featured photo credit: Morning Coffee via imcreator.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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