6 Tips for Waking Up Early and Not Feeling Like Garbage

I’ve been waking up early for most of my life, and I’ve FINALLY FIGURED OUT HOW TO NOT FEEL LIKE HOT GARBAGE EVERY MORNING! HUZZAH! #adulthood

A few weeks ago, I started a new job that requires me to wake up early.

Like, early early.

Like, 5 a.m. early.

I know, I know… for some of you, this is old news (I’m lookin’ at you, farmers). But for me, the earliest I’ve ever had to regularly wake up for a job (or school) was 6 a.m. – and even THAT was really difficult for me (you know the drill. Wake up. Hit snooze. Wake up. Hit snooze. Wake up. Debate hitting snooze one more time. Hit snooze. Wake up 30 minutes before you need to leave. Panic. Splash your face with water. Toss on your yoga pants. Sprint out the door, smoothie in hand, regretting every decision that led up to this moment).

Not a great start to the day… right?

Since this new job requires me to be high-energy early in the morning, I needed to find a way to wake up (and REALLY wake up) earlier, consistently.

Two weeks into the process, here are my best tips:

6 Tips for Waking Up Early and Not Feeling Like Garbage:

Tip #1: GO TO BED EARLIER.

Yeah, I know, I know. This one should be obvious. But how many of us actually do this consistently?? I swear, if I could go back in time and slap myself across the face for continuously going to bed at midnight and waking up at 6 for my nannying job, I would. HELLO SISTER, YOU’RE TIRED BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP. DUH. WHY ARE YOU NOT GETTING THIS. SIX HOURS IS NOT ENOUGH. YOU’RE A HUMAN BEING, NOT A FRUIT BAT. GO TO BED EARLIER, YA DINGALING.

But seriously: shoot for 7-8 hours of sleep. Any less or more on a regular basis, and you’ll probably feel like poo. Of course, this number is different for every person – find the amount of sleep YOU need, and get it – regularly. You deserve to not feel like a zombie. Also, the people around you deserve a you who doesn’t feel and act like a zombie. Amirite?

Oh, and if you’re one of those people who really struggles with getting to bed on time (I’m looking at me here), set an alarm on your phone for 30 minutes before you need to be asleep. When this alarm goes off, DROP WHAT YOU’RE DOING (I know. It’s hard. Just do it.), and start getting ready for bed. Your morning self will thank you for it!

Side note: Melatonin also rocks. On nights I need to get to bed earlier (especially after going to bed later for a couple nights – like weekends), I’ll pop a 3 milligram Melatonin before getting ready for bed. By the time my teeth are brushed, I’m ZONKED. Works like a charm! (There are also higher doses, for those of you who might be resistant). You can find this magical stuff over the counter at basically any grocery or drug store.

Tip #2: Break up with your snooze button, for good.

Breakups are always hard. Trust me on this one. But your snooze button? It doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Your snooze button wants you to stay in bed alllllllll day. Your snooze button wants you to start your day with the worst possible decision: “Eh, I think I’ll just go back to bed.” I mean, really?! THAT’S going to be your first decision of the day?!! No thanks. Just, no.

Here’s what happened when I stopped hitting snooze: it became so. much. easier. to. wake. up. early.

I mean, think about it: what’s the actual worst part of waking up?! It’s the initial moment when your alarm goes off and your brain is all “NO. NONONONONO. NOPE. NOOOOOO WAY. NOPE. SORRY. NOT HAPPENING. NUH-UH. NO THANKS. NAMASTE IN BED, BITCHES.”

And what does hitting the snooze button do?

REPEAT THAT MOMENT – OVER AND OVER AND OVER.

RIGHT?! So counter-productive. No thanks, SB. We’re DUNZOS.

One and done, guys. Turn your alarm off, get out of bed ASAP, and get on with your day. You’re too important and amazing to be snoozin’ the day away!

Tip #3: Drink water RIGHT AWAY.

Okay this one is simple too, but it actually blew my mind.

I used to wake up and get ready first thing, which would leave me feeling really sluggish and sometimes with a baller headache (yay, dehydration!).

Nowadays, when my alarm goes off (and I don’t hit snooze 😉 ), I get out of bed, grab my water bottle (which I put on my nightstand the night before), and head for the bathroom. Then, the FIRST THING I DO (okay… maybe I pee first, but you get the idea), is drink 8-12 ounces of room temperature water, before getting ready for my day.

(Why room temperature? Cold water is a little too shocking to your system first thing in the morning. Most experts recommend room temperature or warm liquids first thing in the morning. That’s why I fill my water bottle BEFORE bed, and place it on my nightstand – by morning it’s room temperature. Perfect!).

If you don’t think this will make a difference, just try it for a week. Seriously. You’ll be amazed how quickly your entire body wakes up just by getting a little H2O first thing.

Tip #4: Get better sleep.

Okay – so we know we need roughly 7-8 hours of sleep per night… but what if you get enough sleep, but still wake up feeling drugged?? SO FRUSTRATING.

The culprit could be your actual quality of sleep.

If this sounds like you, try these things:

  • Start sleeping in complete, 100% darkness. No night lights. A little light from the moon is okay, but most importantly, no artificial light! If you need to, buy an eye mask. I use this one from Amazon and it’s AMAZING. Blocks out ALL light, even when my hubby is up late watching movies on his tablet. 😉
  • Buy a white noise machine. My husband & I didn’t use one until we co-slept with our daughter for a year, and now, we’re hooked. We sleep SO MUCH MORE DEEPLY with white noise in the background. First of all, it blocks out tons of noises that would normally wake us up – cars honking, thunder, the occasional yelling hooligan – we are HUGE fans. Secondly, it becomes a sort of Pavlovian response – when I turn on the white noise machine, I immediately get sleepy because my body associates it with sleep. Some nights I don’t even need to take Melatonin, because I can just turn my noise machine on 30 minutes ahead of time and – boom – my body is tricked into getting sleepy. Boss! We use this one, and LOVE it. You can adjust the level and quality of noise to your comfort. It’s pricey, but so worth it.
  • Exercise 2-3 times a week. If you struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep, exercise needs to be your new best friend. Whether it’s yoga, walking, jogging, or weightlifting (really – ANYTHING), you’ll find that just a few short workout sessions a week will konk you out at bedtime. Your quality of sleep will improve majorly. Don’t believe me? Try it. Certainly can’t hurt anything!

Tip #5: Listen to music.

Remember above, when I mentioned that I grab my water bottle and head straight for the bathroom to get ready? At this point, I also turn on my favorite “feel good” playlist (quietly, because my husband is still asleep). Nothing wakes me up faster than my favorite music. 🙂 So go ahead and grab your phone and start making a wake up playlist – make sure it’s full of upbeat, positive songs, so you’ll start your day feeling optimistic and ALIVE!

A few of my fave wake-up-early songs:

  • “Ain’t No Man” by The Avett Brothers
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake
  • “Love Myself” by Hailee Steinfeld
  • “Brand New” by Ben Rector, and
  • Chocolate” by The 1975

and finally…

Tip #6: Ditch the pre-bedtime screens.

Biologically speaking, our bodies are wired to wake up when faced with light. Think about it: our ancestors didn’t have artificial light – for the most part, they would go to sleep and wake up along with the sun’s falling and rising.

When you spend 30 minutes or an hour staring at a bright screen before bed, and then wonder why you can’t fall asleep – it’s because your body is WIRED! (Pun intended?).

Ditch the screens at LEAST 30 minutes before bedtime (an hour would be even better). Get ready for bed. Read a book (yes, an actual paper book! What?! You heard me. PAPER. OLD SCHOOL, SON). This tip, combined with all the others (especially Melatonin & a white noise machine), will BLOW YOUR MIND. You’ll be asleep faster than you can say “Wow I can’t believe how sleepy I a-.” See what I mean?

And you’ll wake up ready to start your day, feeling as bright & bushy-tailed as those “morning people” you usually want to choke to death.

You might even (dare I say it?) BECOME one of those morning people.

GASP! SAY IT ISN’T SO!

Do you have any more tips for waking up early? Comment below, I’d love to hear them!

Now I just need to work on waking up earlier on the weekends… someone help! I am SO bad at this! Does anyone else sleep in during the weekends and end up feeling super gross and messed up?? Please tell me I’m not the only one! Haha.

Until next time!

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4 Fitness Experts Reveal their #1 Secret for Squeezing Exercise into a Busy, Hectic Life

Why is exercise always the first thing I toss off my “to-do” list when I get too busy?! I turned to four fitness experts to find their secrets on staying active even in the midst of this crazy thing called “life.”

We’ve ALL been there.

We all want to be more active, right?

Every year, we make our new year’s resolutions:

This year, I’m going to do yoga 5 times a week.

This year, I’m going to exercise on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

This year, I’m finally going to lose weight, have energy, and feel GOOD!

And for a few weeks, it works – right?

We’re excited. We get up early and make it happen, or maybe we pack our gym bag and stop on our way home from work.

Sure, it’s hard – but we’re starting to feel good, so we keep it going for a couple more weeks!

Look! I’m doing it! A girl really CAN have it all!

Then… life happens.

We get busy.

Something throws us off course.

Our excitement wears off, and we just don’t have the grit to keep pushing forward.

And then what happens?

Guilt. Shame. We look at all the busy people who still have time to exercise (I’m lookin’ at you, social media), and we feel BAD.

So, we minimize.

“Next year,” we say.

“I guess exercise just isn’t my thing.”

“I just don’t have TIME.”

I’ve been there, many a time. I’ve made the plans, tried my best, and given up. And I’ve seen this happen to TOO many of my friends and family. So the question is: what gives?

To dig into this phenomenon a little further, I reached out to four fitness experts in different fields, asking the question:

“What’s your #1 tip for fitting exercise into a busy, hectic lifestyle?”

1

Up first is Johanna Kluemper, a group fitness instructor at LifeTime Fitness.

johanna

Johanna has been teaching group fitness for almost four years, and also has her NASM Personal Training certificate, along with a certificate specializing in Women’s Fitness. She teaches a variety of classes, from C9 to Barbell Strength to Strictly Strength. As a mom of two small children, I’m always majorly impressed at how she manages to prioritize health and fitness! Let’s hear what she has to say:

Plan it out. Schedule it in. Commit. If you know you have it scheduled, if you know the workout you are going to do ahead of time, if you’ve planned a gym buddy date, you are less likely to skip it. Even if you only have 5 minutes or 15 minutes, do something. The less time you have, the more you need to make it count and push yourself. Take it up a notch but keep it simple. So if you have 5 mins, do something like 1 min burpees, 1 min squats, 1 min push ups, 1 min bicycle abs, and 1 min tuck jumps. Boom! If you find you have more time, just take a quick rest and repeat for a few more rounds 😉. You’ll have broken a sweat and pumped that heart rate up in no time! And now, you can go on with your day ✔️

Find more about Johanna at her fitness page, Wine & Abs.

2

Up next we have Destiny Ogden, a personal trainer and (in my opinion) fitness badass living in Florida.

destiny

I’ve been following Destiny’s fit pregnancy journey, and let me just say – she blows me out of the water! Here’s her biggest fitness lifestyle tip:

Fitness/working out/exercise has become a mandatory requirement in my life. There area few phases you go through when you begin an exercise regiment – the beginning will be exciting, but more so exhausting. You’ll find your muscles are sore more often, you’ll find you’ll sleep deeper at night, and you’ll wake up wondering if getting another workout in is really worth it. Then you’ll pass into the phase of enjoyment. You’ll really begin to “fall in love” with your routine. It becomes a habit over time. You’ll feel lethargic on days you choose not to workout, & you’ll feel like you’re missing out. Then eventually, over years, you may pass into the mandatory phase. The phase where working out is just as important as showing up to your job. This is the phase I’ve remained in over the past four to five years. This phase is making exercise a permanent part of your life. It’s the best phase to be in. With all this said, each phase takes its own amount of time. Each phase requires the same amount of dedication, but after you’ve pushed through and dedicated yourself during the beginning phases, you won’t need to convince your mind anymore. Your mind will be there, so you just do. Get to that phase, push through and make workout mandatory.

(LOVE this. Sometimes, you just gotta put on your big girl panties and DO IT, even when you don’t want to. Can I get an “amen?”).

3

Our next fitness expert is my friend Alyssa Serchia, fitness & natural living blogger at Home Field Essentials, “Mommy Strong” fitness class instructor, small group personal trainer, football coach wife, and mom of two adorable peanuts.

alyssa

Alyssa is currently training to run a half marathon, and I’ve loved following her mom-of-two-littles fitness journey (I tell ya, it ain’t easy once you’ve got kids. People always told me but I DIDN’T BELIEVE THEM. It’s the truth, y’all. The truth). Seeing her blog posts keeps me motivated that if she can do it, I can too! Here’s her advice:

Schedule it, and make it fun! If you’re already busy and stressed, exercise should be the part of the day you look forward to, not dread! Find something you love to do and put it on the calendar!

Hallelujah for that – quit doing the stuff you hate! Whether you like dancing in your living room, running outside, or lifting weights – write it down and GET IT DONE!

4

Our final expert is one of my personal girl crushes, Stephanie Davies.

steph

Steph is a badass Beachbody coach who daily inspires her team of almost 2,500 people – talk about BOSS status! Aside from travling 6-12 times a year, she has recently become a mother of two, dealt with a major personal loss in her life, AND bought and moved into a house. TALK ABOUT BUSY – not to mention stressful! Amidst these obstacles, Steph is all about taking care of yourself, busting through limiting beliefs, and remembering to have FUN in the process. I’ve been following her fitness journey for over a year now, and it’s incredible to see the things she has accomplished with grit, hard work, and a positive attitude! Here are her top tips for getting it done no matter how busy you are:

  • Find some accountability! Whether it’s a friend, family member, coach, or your entire social media following, let people know what you’re doing and why it’s important to you so they can support you. Your growth might make some people uncomfortable, if it does, send them love but protect your precious energy. Find people or a community that will celebrate your successes and be there to help you when you’re struggling. I run monthly groups and pull my own support from my customers and clients! Them showing up daily inspires me to show up for myself!
  • HAVE FUN! It’s 2017, there are about a gazillion different ways to move your body DAILY. It’s going to burn, you might cry, you’re going to want to quit, but you can still choose to make it FUN! Mix it up, keep your mind and body guessing, throw on some tunes and be in the moment and appreciate your body for carrying you through! I like to workout at home because as a mom of two it’s hard for me to attend yoga, spinning, or other classes often enough to stay in shape. So I do a little bit of everything and it keeps it fun and fresh and keeps me guessing! Today I went for a morning run and I’ll be doing a yoga flow from my bedroom tonight. Tomorrow I might treat myself to a class. There’s no one size fits all! But you do have to move more days than you do not 💁🏻
  • Remember that there is NO DESTINATION! You have to start seeing exercise as a part of your lifestyle, something you do daily, just like brushing your teeth! When we focus on a destination; a vacation, a number on the scale, etc. Have a bigger vision for how exercise makes you feel! More confident, strong, healthy, and build those values in your daily exercise practice!
  • Balance Balance and more Balance. With your exercise routine and your diet. You can’t out exercise a bad diet, so keep it simple and load your plate with as much living food and as little processed food as possible. I drink a superfood shake daily that helps me get in my daily nutrients, and then sometimes it’s donuts at the farmers market with my children. You don’t have to sacrifice LIVING, and it’s that all or nothing mentality that sabotaged my health for years. Once I surrendered to a lifestyle change and keeping things simple, everything changed and I was able to figure out how to stay happy and healthy for the long haul!

Get it, Steph! I especially love the part about there being “no destination.” Hell yeah! It’s a LIFESTYLE, not a quick fix! Every day is new, and every day is an opportunity to improve.

(You can follow Steph’s journey here, on Facebook).

Do you have a tip for prioritizing fitness even when you’re busy? Drop it in the comments below!

kelsieesther

5 Easy Ways to Lose Weight

You don’t have to be miserable to be losing weight. I swear!

This is not a typical post for me.

Usually, I’m going to focus more on personal health and feeling good before I’m going to focus on weight.

But lately, I’ve talked to a lot of people who want to lose weight – and that’s a valid desire to have.

Healthy weight loss is associated with lots of good things – more energy, greater self-confidence, and smaller risk of many chronic illnesses, to name just a few.

The problem is, I know a lot of people who keep their weight down in very, very unhealthy ways:

Continue reading “5 Easy Ways to Lose Weight”