5 Reasons To Make Your Bed Every Morning

There are two kinds of people in our universe: people who make their beds in the morning, and people who do not. For the latter category, mornings are the worst. We barely have enough energy to get out of our beds, let alone make them. As a kid, whenever my Mom told me to make my bed my instincts would kick in and I would reply ‘Why? I’m getting back in there in a few hours anyway’.

Besides the fact that your mother told you to do so, there are 5 good reasons to keep your sheets neat:

6a00d8341c5e0053ef0191023524dc970c-800wi

  1. It gives you a feeling of accomplishment.
    Simple as it may seem, keeping your sheets neat first thing in the morning gives you a kickstart to being orderly and efficient. These two minutes of work set the tone for the rest of your day. It may be small, but it’s mighty!
  2. It keeps you motivated.
    Keeping your sheets neat gives you a feeling of success. This in turn keeps you motivated to take on other challenges over the course of your day. Quoting Emmet Fox, “a small spark can start a great fire”.
  3. You learn to manage your time more efficiently.
    Making your bed literally takes two minutes. By squeezing in this simple task between the time you turn on your kettle and the time it starting whistling, you learn to become more efficient with your time management skills overall, getting you used to accomplishing smaller tasks between your bigger ones.
  4. It keeps you healthier and happier.
    Unappealing as it may seem, every minute your skin sheds over 30,000 dead cells; over 50% of the dust at your place is actually dead skin. By straightening up your bed in the morning and giving it some air to breath, you prevent dirt and dust from joining you under the covers at night. You are in control of your own space, how it looks, and therefore how it makes you feel. A tidy space is very calming and can help you create your own soothing sanctuary at home.
  5. It’s a minor commitment.
    For those of you who, like me, are not big fans of commitment, making your bed is a small morning ritual that builds momentum for a greater positive change. Picking one little task to improve your life, and doing it regularly, will help you get in the habit of progressively dedicating yourself to smaller, and gradually bigger, commitments.

If I haven’t convinced you to make your bed already, watch this short video by Admiral McRaven, who claims that changing the world starts with making your bed!

 

Dorm Room Fitness: Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred

LI-JILLIANMICHAELS Personal trainer Jillian Michaels of The Biggest Loser fame was at Goodlife gym at Yonge and Richmond to promote her new high-intensity class, Monday, February 11, 2013. (Galit Rodan for the Toronto Star)

 

This is no ‘Sweatin’ to the Oldies’! Get ready to lose weight, gain superhuman strength, and feel great about your body – all for only 27 minutes a day.

While there’s no doubt that Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred is targeted towards women, men have also been known to benefit from it. However, if you’re a man and it makes you uncomfortable to have a lady lead your workout, just adjust your speakers’ treble and bass until she sounds manly enough for you. Instant Jack Michaels.

Jillian Michaels advocates a special kind of circuit training which she calls her ‘3-2-1’ method. This method has you doing 3 minutes of cardio, 2 minutes of strength, then 1 minute of abs, on repeat, over and over again until you feel like you are going to die.

The best part about all of this? It’s totally worth it. After doing the 30 Day Shred, I had noticeably more defined muscles, was leaner, and felt great. Find video links to the workouts below!

Level 1

Pros: This level is a great introduction to the Shred. The moves aren’t too intense or difficult to do, although modifications to each are presented for those who haven’t worked out in a while or want to take it a little easier.

Cons: As it was my first time doing some of these moves, I would have appreciated a little more attention to proper form. I can see overenthusiastic exercisers injuring themselves if they don’t pay close enough attention to the demonstrations on the screen. Continue reading “Dorm Room Fitness: Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred”

Maddie’s Picks

My journey with blogUT started before I even came to U of T–  I found the site over three years ago while frantically researching the school and convincing myself further and further that this was where I was meant to be. When I got my acceptance email I couldn’t wait to learn as much as possible about my new city, school, and home– hence where blogUT comes in.

So in honour of university application season and the fresh crop of future U of T students that will soon be upon us, here are some of my favourite pieces that blogUT has ever published. Enjoy this (re)introduction to your school and city.

Continue reading “Maddie’s Picks”

April is the Cruelest Month

First, I’d like to apologize. To poetry fans. To English students. To anyone who’s had any cursory exposure to literature and the search for deeper meaning in words beyond how nicely they fit into blog post titles. And of course, to Mr Eliot.

April is the cruelest month, though, at least for students. It’s exam and final essay time, that moment when the pedagogical procrastination that manifests itself as culminating assignments of obscenely high value rears its ugly head. Or ass. Excuse me; I’m frustrated.

I am frustrated because just yesterday I completed the first of my two exams this semester (the other is on the 29th; go figure) and just this evening I incorrectly answered a Jeopardy question about a topic that had been on the exam. Now, I’m almost certain I got that question right on the test, which means that in the twenty or since, I forgot something fairly important. Something fairly important that I learnt in a class that cost almost a thousand dollars. Something important and expensive that I spent twenty-four hours of class time learning and another thirty or so studying.

Rather than try to project my own experience on to you (I’m honest like that), I’ll ask you to think back to your winter examinations. If you had to take them again, right now, how much lower would your mark be? 10%? 20? “But of course it will be lower,” you say. “That was months ago.” “But,” I say, “why would you take a class if not to learn? And what is learning if not remembering and understanding after the fact?” And therein lies the problem: final exams are not conducive to learning.

They’re not necessarily obstructive, either; there’s no evidence to suggest that culminating exams encourage the forgetting of information, but there’s very little to suggest that they actually evaluate what students will retain. The most common form of preparation is studying all the relevant material at once, over the course of a few weeks or days. This leads to cramming, which, even when it does lead to higher exam grades – which is not as often as you might think – it almost always leads to lower long-term retention. This can be attributed to the distinction between long-term memory and working memory. (Here I apologize again, to psychology and neuroscience students.) Speaking generally, working memory lasts only in the short term, when the mind is focused on a project and the brain is employing all necessary processes and stressors to complete that project. Once that project is done, the memory is largely discarded as it is no longer useful.1

Long-term memory, however, is not subject to the fallacies of short-term methods like cramming, and is activated by studying important material in smaller chunks over a large period of time. Think back to a class that had multiple smaller evaluations throughout the year. How well do you remember material from that course, compared to the others you took that year? I know that I can tell you way more about De Morgan’s Theorem than I can about religious imagery in Skyscrapers of the Midwest, and that I can offer much more insight into the influence of African culture in the Caribbean than I can to um, that Shaw play with the guns. Long-term memory is simply better stimulated through evaluations spread out across the year, rather than only once or twice.

These kinds of observations have not gone unnoticed. At Harvard University, for instance, only 23% of classes end in final exams.2 Elsewhere in the world, universities are slowly turning to alternative methods to final exams, including the obvious choice of fewer, smaller evaluations. Not as always, the University of Toronto is fairly slow to catch up (that’s the closest thing to a compliment that I can give right now.) Although the percentage of classes with final exams is decreasing, they are still the norm and, in fact, mandatory in first-year courses.3 Welcome to UofT!

I recognize that there isn’t any actually useful information in here. Regardless of whether or not you know how effective exam studying is, you probably still have to do it. It probably still sucks. And you probably won’t remember much of it in a short while. Cruel, eh?

Finish Your Antibiotic Courses and Don’t Abuse Drugs

If you are easily grossed out by thoughts of yucky things, just obey the title and we won’t have any issues.

It started last Friday. Wait, no. Too fast.

It started during Reading Week. I got three wisdom teeth removed. I only had three. Two on my right side. It was a painful recovery – as expected – but I survived. I had my medicine and finished my full antibiotic course. I turned into a chipmunk for half a week. The check-up appointment with the oral surgeon went well; he said the recovery looked good. Life was good.

Then it started last Friday. I felt a strange swelling in my lower right jaw. Unsure if I had just slept wrong the night before, I decided it was probably nothing to worry about. Never make this assumption. Continue reading “Finish Your Antibiotic Courses and Don’t Abuse Drugs”

The Hangover – Sans Bradley Cooper, Unfortunately

I must confess that while I have never tried the much-vaunted greasy pork sandwich served up in a dirty ashtray (though it has unbounding appeal), there is nothing quite like fast food grease when battling the aftereffects of a bite from the rabid and snarling boarhound that is excessive alcohol consumption. The combination of an as of yet undeveloped frontal cortex and a freshly-purchased liver with not many miles on it breeds a dalliance between oneself and this pernicious beast and while this sloppy canine may present with wet kisses its bite packs a wallop like a donkey kick, a revelation usually reached at around 11 the next morn. The feeling is the kind common to all zombie movie extras, not the hankering for tasty brains; very few of them will take the method route there, but the disorientation, general queasiness, loss of self worth and the vague feeling your all too stunted brain can only guess is hunger. And as hunger appears the symptom with the easiest cure and your mind is host to deep thought-starved larvae it seems the quickest route to dispelling the regret shaped cloud around your skull.

Although it’s rare that last night will rear its pockmarked face in this way after upwards of 3 hours of unconsciousness, never underestimate a good expulsion of fluids through the mouth. Obviously one should aim for the most sanitary of conditions, ideally toilets or sinks rather than beds or friends, as most dorms won’t boast more than a Swiffer.

Now that yesterday’s abundant nutrition is done with one should continue on to today’s. As was said fast food, a pleasant phrase in and of itself, is a saviour in this instance, as its lack of any nutritional value doesn’t confuse your body into thinking there are worthwhile compounds in need of processing but rather just the daily grind of fats, calories, and other such gremlins that spend their days grid-locking your arteries. Muffins and other inventions of men who live on Drury Lane are recommended as they act like sponges to the hideous things you poured down your throat last night. Energy drinks will taste something akin to what you as a die-hard Harry Potter enthusiast can only assume goblin piss is like but will most certainly clear your mouth of the feeling that a cat has defecated in the back of your throat. Carbonated beverages of all types are encouraged,  bolstering your now near-empty energy bar. Fruit is allowed but not preferred as their textures do little for the fragile state of the stomach. Keeping hydrated is a must as alcohol, despite being one, drains a lot of liquid from the body making it harder to recover than a merciful god should allow. If your brain feels like a bullet train, or an actual bullet, has entered it, then Advil or some facsimile thereof will be much appreciated by your head and anyone within a couple miles of you.

But of all the carbonated beverages, pharmaceuticals, and real food-imitators, the best thing for a hangover is a friend who was there the night before and can commiserate. Misery loves company, but it also likes someone sitting closer to the TV remote who’s horrible at rock-paper-scissors to provide the day’s entertainment.

Skip your morning classes, avoid the scene at the liposuction clinic from Fight Club and anything featuring morbidly obese housewives, and you’ll be good to go (go nowhere that is).

Leah Does Wellness: Gratitude

In this video, I talk about why gratitude is important and how, once you’ve realized that you’re grateful for things, how you can channel your gratitude to better others’ lives as well as your own.
The article I refer to: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/artic… (There are some awesome videos there too!)
’11 Ways To Feel Grateful For Whatever Life’s Thrown At You’:http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7487/1…
Want others to be grateful with?: http://thankfulfor.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJQURLK3PIQ

And here’s a little infographic-esque thing! Click the picture to make it bigger.