Browse Category: Blog

How to Become a Morning Person

Hello Badgers!

All of you are familiar with the unwelcoming sound of your alarm. It’s early and you spent the night either partying or binge-watching Netflix.  Either way, you were up late and now you are exhausted and have to drag yourself out to that 8 AM class. It appears, that in the life of a University student, sleep tends to be “optional”. As I’m sure you know, sleep is crucially important to our overall health and studies say that early risers tend to be more productive, happier and, of course, sleep better than those who are late owls. As much as you may detest it, waking up earlier on a more consistent front is beneficial. Here are nine tips that will help you become a morning person (or at least as close to one as you can get!).

1. Stick to a Schedule

The reason why early risers tend to feel more refreshed and energized in the morning is because they stick to a regular sleep schedule. Prioritizing a good sleeping routine will allow you to determine how much sleep your body needs (adults tend to need 7-9 hours of sleep per night).

If you are finding sticking to a particular schedule more difficult than expected, try gradually adjusting your bedtime. Start going to bed a few minutes earlier than normal. After a week or so, aim for being in bed an hour earlier than originally. That added hour of sleep can make a world of difference.

2. Prepare Your Surroundings

It’s truly hard to have a well-rested sleep when you are distracted by the chaos that is your room. Make sure to keep your surroundings clean and uncluttered. Huge piles of dirty laundry and old plates of food will only hinder your ability to achieve a good night’s sleep. If you can, try and decorate your area in soothing colours (cool tones) and smells (lavender or chamomile). Make sure you have absolutely no artificial lights such as your television or computer on when you are trying to sleep. Any kind of light, even the light from a phone, can throw off your body’s natural clock and cause wakefulness. Lastly, open up your curtains, unless of course you live in the basement (I’m sorry). The natural light in the morning will help wake you up.

3. Avoid Caffeine at Night

Avoid eating or drinking caffeine at least 4-6 hours before bed. Unfortunately that means coffee, chocolate, and even some types of tea. Caffeine is a stimulant and will only cause you to  feel restless. Try having a cup of decaffeinated tea instead!

4. Calm Down

Practicing a relaxing pre-bedtime routine is a guaranteed way to prep your mind and body for sleep. Stress can easily prevent you from getting your zzz’s so make sure you take the time to calm down before bed. Try some light exercise such as yoga or practice meditation. Have a warm bath and listen to soothing music. Also, make sure to turn off all technology at least an hour before bed. I know this is easier said than done but you need to give your brain some time to cool down after all that technological stimulation. Read a book instead! Find whatever strategy works best for you. Going to bed will soon become a treat rather than a burden.

5. Skip Snoozing

We all do it! The snooze button is probably the best and worst invention in alarm clock history. Yes, it gives us 8 more beautiful minutes of sleep but trust me, the snooze button is not our friend! Pressing snooze will disrubt your sleep cycle, and cause you to feel drowsy for a longer period of time.

6. Move Your Alarm Clock

Such an easy tactic and yet so effective! Move your alarm clock (more likely your phone) across the room so that when the irritating chimes begin, you have to get up in order to turn it off. This also helps us avoid hitting the tempting snooze button. Just try to resist slipping right back into bed after getting up.

7. Exercise

Ah, good ol’ exercise. A morning workout will not only energize you but it will release happy endorphins, which will make for a good day! It will also make falling asleep later that night easier. If you are not the exercise in the morning type person (I know, me too), then try something light such as a walk or quick stretch. Even a small round of jumping jacks in the morning will make quite the difference to your day!

8. Pump the Music

What better way to start the day than by pumping yourself up with some tunes? Headphones may be required if you live with other people. Put on some energetic music that will get you moving and ready for the day! Here’s a playlist that is guaranteed to wake you up. Remember dancing is always optional!

9. Fuel Up

We’ve heard it a million times; breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Make sure you eat a nutritious and balanced breakfast not too long after waking up. A healthy breakfast will kick your brain in gear for those early morning classes!…

Expectations vs. Reality: Reading Week

The week before reading week, and you’ve got a million assignments and midterms due so you call your parents like:

Calling from Hell
But not to worry badgers! Reading week is now upon us and HALLELUJAH!

Reading Week: Expectations vs Reality

What you Expect to Do:

But after 5 Minutes of Homework…

What You Really Do:

And then all of a sudden you’re like:

While you’re shirking your responsibilities in order to spend time with Netflix, deep down in the back of your mind you know you have homework and things you need to do over reading week….
SO, here’s a few tips on how to maximize your reading week:

1) Spend time with your family

Believe it or not the first weekend of Reading Week is Thanksgiving! So whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, make sure to take a day or two to spend time with your family. Do not under estimate time spent with the people you love. It could just be the rejuvenation you need after a hard first half of the semester!

… OH and who could forget the pumpkin pie and all the delicious goodies that come with Thanksgiving!

2) If you’re going home, book some appointments!

The dentist, the eye doctor, or for your doctor! Have a car? This is also the best time to get your car checked up whether its an oil change, or tune up. Before it gets too cold make sure your car is functioning properly. Or if you need to get those eyebrows done or your hair dyed, this is also the time to do it, especially if your hair dresser is in your home town.

3) Most importantly, take a day or two to simply relax.

Chances are you’ve had a lot of assignments due before reading week and if not, you’ll have them due after. So take advantage of these few days to relax and get ready for the second half of the semester.

4) After you’ve relaxed, devote a few days to homework

If you work best during the day, get up early and make a plan to do your homework during the day and then relax at night. But if you work best during the night, take time during the day to either sleep or do errands and then plan to do productive work during the evening.

5) Before it starts, make a list of things to do over reading week

Whether its appointments, or homework, prioritize what’s important and use it as a motivator to try and get done as much as possible! So be productive, make use of your time off but don’t forget to enjoy your week at home and your week away from school!

Because before you know it we will all be back to school Monday morning like:

And to all you people going on vacation:…

Volunteer Opportunities in St. Catharines

Hey Badgers!

Hope you all are having a wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend! Speaking of giving thanks, today I am going to talk about a few organizations we have here in St. Catharines that we should be thanking by volunteering our time. There is a lot of value in taking the time to volunteer for your community.  I know some of you may feel as though you hit your 40 hour requirement in High School and therefore you’re done. But volunteering has a lot of benefits; connecting with new people, building upon your resume, feeling accomplished, making an impact…the list goes on!

You should consider a few things before selecting a volunteer experience. Keep in mind your interests. You’ll enjoy volunteering so much more if you choose a volunteer opportunity that allows you to do what you are passionate about. Pick a cause or organization that you care about, and follow your gut. Don’t select a volunteer opportunity that will have you outside most of the time if you hate being outside. No brainer, right? Once you’ve figured out what kind of volunteer experience you’d like to have, you need to pick an organization. In addition to larger organizations such as United Way, our community has a number of great local organizations you may be interested in getting involved with!

1. The RAFT

The RAFT is a community organization that provides support and programs for at-risk and homeless youth. Their aim is to empower youth, while providing shelter. There are many things that volunteers can do to help, assisting  in everything from administrative support to organizing events and activities, as well as teaching life skills.

2. Food Not Bombs – St. Catharines

If you like eating and supporting your community, then come out to Food Not Bombs, a non-profit organization keen on recycling good food that would otherwise be thrown away. All food is vegan friendly and all are welcome. Food Not Bombs is in Montebello Park  every Sunday from 3-5 PM till Oct 27.

3. Lincoln County Humane Society

The LCHS is a not-for-profit organization, committed to the humane treatment of animals, that provides rescue and rehabilitation for animals in need. You can help by offering up some of your time to socialize cats in the kitty corner or take one of their loveable pups for a walk. You can also help with other tasks at the humane society or get involved with one of their many events. These animals are in need of some tender loving care and for those of you who need their cuddle fix, this is the perfect solution.

4. Community Care of St. Catharines & Thorold

Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold provides services and support to individuals and families in need. The type of volunteer positions they have are warehouse staff, special event volunteers, food and clothing sorters, front desk receptionist, and more.

5. Suitcase in Point Theatre Company

For those with a theatrical heart, Suitcase in Point may be the perfect place for you to volunteer. They are an ensemble theatre company and official partner of the In the Soil Arts Festival that provide laughter, insight and warm hearted story telling about the people of our community to our community. They are always looking for volunteers to help out with events such as In the Soil held every April.

6. YWCA Niagara Region – Emergency Women’s Shelter

The YWCA Niagara Region provides support, shelter and food to women and families living in poverty. They need women volunteers to do kitchen work, maintenance and housekeeping, front desk work, events and fundraising, Bingo support, as well as blog writing and social media.

Also, the YWCA is hosting the Niagara Leadership Summit for Women held at Brock on Oct 24, 2015.

7. Gillian’s Place

Gillian’s Place is a safe place for abused women and their children to go when in need of shelter, food and support. Volunteers are needed for many different things including donation sorting, shelter care and maintenance, fundraising, etc.

8. Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Catharines – Thorold and District

Interested in mentoring? Join Big Brothers Big Sisters which pairs interested volunteers with children and youth from the community. As a Big Brother or Big Sister you spend one or two afternoons a month doing fun things together such as going to the park, baking, doing crafts, all while providing mentorship. Being a Big Brother or Big Sister can result in a life changing relationship for both of you.

9. Habitat for Humanity Niagara & ReStore

Habitat for Humanity Niagara aims to provide affordable housing for people in the community. There are many ways you can volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Niagara. You can be a restore volunteer, which consists of preparing donated materials to be resold, sorting and pricing merchandise, and customer service. Or, you can work on the salvage team, removing kitchens, bathrooms, windows and other items that can be sold from the homes being renovated. You can also be an event volunteer, office volunteer, or committee volunteer. You can also join a house build. Lastly, you could volunteer abroad! Take reading week to travel to El Salvador with other Brock students and participate in a home build through Habitat for Humanity. For more information on the Brock trip check out Brock Cares Alternative Reading Week.

10. Greening Niagara

If you are passionate about the environment and feel strongly about climate issues, Greening Niagara is a passion project start up that you’ll want to get involved with. Their aim is to make this world a greener place through educational outreach, programs and resources, and promotion of green lifestyle changes. They need volunteers for gardening, tree planting, fund-raising and events, communications and conservation education.

You can get involved with any of these community organizations by contacting them through their websites. And of course there are so many other amazing initiatives that you should get involved with. Check out Experience BU, careerZone, Student Life and Community Experience and Niagara Volunteer Connections for more volunteer opportunities! If you know of any, please tell us in the comments below!…