If you’re married, you know it’s hard work to keep your marriage good. Everyday life can make it feel so much harder to be happy together. On an average day, you need to get up, eat, shower, dress and you’re off to work. When you get back you eat and chill and go to bed. There is no special time to spend with your spouse.
So how do you keep your marriage alive besides your everyday routine? Surprises! When you have a spare moment, surprise your husband. It will make him feel like you think about him, even when he isn’t around. It may even make him fall in love with you a little more.
You probably feel like you won’t have the time or money to get a complete surprise ready. That’s why I made a list of 15 awesome surprises! You don’t need a big budget or a lot of time. No matter what you have available, you can make your hubby jump with joy!
1. Write a Note
Really? Writing a note? That sound boring! But trust me, it’s not. Take some paper, maybe even in color, and a pen, preferably red, and write that note. Make it as romantic or sexy as you can. Put it somewhere he looks every day, like his wallet or the pocket of his pants and let the magic happen.
2. Chore Date
What do chores and dates have in common? Not much. But… Imagine telling your man he needs to get you some milk from the store after work. He goes to the store and walks into you! And what do you have? Tickets to that movie/game he wanted to go to! Now that’s a good surprise.
3. King’s Day
I’m not saying you should be a slave, but give him a day of everything he wants. Write down a list of things he would love to do or eat or see and do it. Try to do as many things as possible off that list. You enjoy when he helps you out, so he will surely enjoy a day for him.
4. Try His Hobby
Your man probably has a hobby that you’re not very keen on. For example, my husband loves gaming. Now it is not my kind of entertainment, but to everyone his own. Most of the time when he does it, I’m doing my own thing. So for this surprise, try his hobby. Go with him and do it together. Try to see what he likes about it. It may not be your cup of tea but he will appreciate your effort.
5. Lunch Break
Simply put, go to his workplace and surprise him for lunch. You can keep it simple and just make a delicious lunch at home, or you can fancy it up and take him out. It’s up to you!
Yeah, I know that’s not a real word. There are a lot of websites, such as Groupon, where you can get deals on cheaper getaways. Subscribe to get emails and when a good one comes along, surprise your husband! Nothing better than saving money and spending time together.
7. Scottish Lord
This idea is not the cheapest, but I had to add it. When I read it, I was so amazed! So on this website, you can buy a plot of land in Scotland and then be get the title Lord or Lady. Don’t just say Lord to surprise your hubby, get him the official title! He’ll feel real manly then.
8. Surprising Surprise
Surprise your husband by putting a surprise in a surprising place. When he’s asleep, leave a note on his skin with wash-off marker, or put a little surprise in his underwear. He will be more surprised by the location of the surprise than the surprise itself!
9. Exploding Love Box
So I found this idea of an exploding love box. You can make it at home, which is easy and cheap. And it’s full of your love! Add in pictures, quotes, ideas, and everything you can think of.
10. Sing Along
Go out for a date and surprise him by singing one of his favorite songs. Who cares if you sing well or not? He’ll be smiling the rest of the night!
11. Year of Dates
This idea is super cute and gives him a bit of say too. Think of 12 different dates you want to go on. Write them down and put in envelopes. Then let him choose. That way you have a date for every month, doing something different every time.
12. Little Black Photobook
Go to a local photographer and get some sexy or artsy pictures taken. Get a black photobook and add all the pictures you like. Surprise him with it, so any time he wants a peek, he’ll have you right there with him.
13. Get sweaty
Find a dance studio and take some hot dance classes together. Go to a dance club and show off the steaming steps you learned. If others aren’t impressed, I’m sure your hubby will!
14. Unexpected Dare
Think of the one thing you’d never do… Now do it! Go out with your husband and do something he didn’t expect. It’ll give you a real rush. He’ll be really impressed once you’re doing that one thing that scared you.
15. Classic: Simple and Sweet
The simplest and sweetest ideas can just be the perfect ones. Write a letter and put some red kisses on it. Have a dinner with candlelight. Or, if you want to spice it up a little, put some rose peddles on the bed and wrap yourself in a big bow! Use your creativity. He will love every gift that truly comes from your heart.
You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.
Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:
1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically
According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.
“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor
Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:
If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.
If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.
Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:
Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.
Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.
To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.
Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.
Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.
Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.
Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.
Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:
2. Focus on your goal
One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.
Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’
Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.
Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.
If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.
3. Convert negativity to positivity
There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?
‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’
It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.
Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”
Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.
Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:
4. Understand your content
Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.
However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.
“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor
Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.
Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.
One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.
5. Practice makes perfect
Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.
In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.
Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!
6. Be authentic
There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.
Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.
Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.
To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.
With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.
Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:
7. Post speech evaluation
Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.
Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation
We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.
You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.
Improve your next speech
As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:
How did I do?
Are there any areas for improvement?
Did I sound or look stressed?
Did I stumble on my words? Why?
Was I saying “um” too often?
How was the flow of the speech?
Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.
If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too: