Gone are the days of consecutive, hangover free all-night parties. It's hello two-day misery after a six-pack of wine coolers and less than 10 hours sleep. Face it, men. We're not 21 anymore, and it's kind of weird if you still hit on 20-year-olds. The silver lining is there are ways to feel good again without drastically changing yourself. Here’s a short list of 10 things every man should do the right way to feel good. We’re not suggesting you become a role model of any kind, but it wouldn't hurt to be a better man and feel good again.
1. Wake Up Right
Find a routine for yourself to get your body into a good groove. Waking up around the same time each day programs your body to get going without overwhelming it, and you won't need to pile on the coffee and donuts just to get through the morning. Even weekend days, though good for rest, shouldn't start too dissimilar to the others.
Start with a good stretch to get your body moving, then enjoy a nice cup of hot tea to set yourself in a good mood. Green tea will help detoxify and oxidize your body, but black or oolong tea is OK for getting a small jump start. Your breakfast should be light and healthy, or else you'll end up feeling gross or tired and right back in bed. You want good fuel in your body for a good day, not jet fuel for a car.
2. Eat Right
Aside from a light, smart breakfast, continue to be conscious of what your body needs throughout the day, as well. Though it's easy to cheat and go for the closest fast food, your body will respond in kind later. Pack your own lunch, or several items in a bag to give yourself options. A lot of the time, your body will be searching for protein, but pay attention to how it feels. Smaller, lighter meals every few hours will deliver consistent energy and nourishment throughout the day, as opposed to two or three heavy meals that leave you comatose and bloated for hours. Try a salad, cottage cheese, peanut butter-coated apples, remembering to have a solid protein intake, like chicken, fish or meat at some point. And don't eat a whole pizza before bed. It'll screw up your digestive process big time.
3. Work Right
Many of us have jobs we love to which we dedicate a lot of time and energy. It's important, however, to step back once in awhile. This is crucial for three reasons, which are to rest, regroup and review. If you go hard, you'll lose your mind and your passion by burning yourself out, so take a moment to breath, stretch yourself out and take your mind off work for a few minutes. Regrouping allows you to collect your thoughts, reenergize your body and get back to it. Regroup by getting yourself a fresh cup of tea, have a short conversation with someone who offers positive vibrations or just go for a short walk. Review your work upon returning, because it's hard to move forward in any direction until your previous work is as good and clear-cut as it can be.
If you don't love your work or what you do, change it, simple as that. Otherwise, you'll be drained emotionally, mentally and physically, which won't help a bad situation get any better. We're here for a brief time, so do something that makes you feel good, even if it's delivering ice cream treats to little kids in a creepy van.
4. Party Right
It's OK to have a good time because life is somewhat meaningless if we can't, but also because we're men, and it's our God-given right to do so. Having said that, there's a right way to party and a wrong way. For instance, going out with good people to a new spot for a night of intelligent conversation, live music and either wine, scotch or craft beers is the right way to go. Notice the use of the word "or" instead of "and."
However, going out with people you can't stand to a douche-filled frat bar with flaming shots chased by vodka-soaked energy drinks served by a pregnant barmaid is more of the wrong way to go. Oh, and fight off those nasty adult level hangovers by filtering in a glass of water here and there, whether you're classing it up, or you're going home with preggers.
5. Exercise Right
Overweight or not, exercise is what keeps us from losing our minds. It also makes you feel good by working with endorphins in the brain to reduce pain and anger. If you let all the negative energy in you build, rather than letting it out, it can manifest into interesting things like panic attacks, anxiety, public bitterness, heart attacks and exciting types of cancer.
Start small by walking more each day. Throw in a few sets of sit-ups and push-ups, and if you really want to feel good, find a routine of something that can balance your mind and body greatly, like yoga or cross fit. Heavens to Betsy, even a bike ride each day can drastically change how you feel inside and out.
6. Think Right
Stay positive, man. Life isn't always going to be easy, but you have to learn to not sweat the small stuff. A good method for doing this is to evaluate just how tiny of a problem it is when something doesn't go just right, which can help you to quickly get over it and move on.
For instance, if there's a small tear in your towel on a cloudless, sunny beach day, or you have more beer in your fridge than you can fit, we call this a champagne problem, situations that simply are not real problems in the world. If you can think this way when the little things get to you, reminding yourself things could be much worse, you'll find yourself laughing more often at what a huge wuss you were.
Positive thinking and not sweating the little things makes happiness more easily attainable. When you're more positive and open to happiness, other people will respond better to your name. Sounds like a fortune cookie, but it's true. No one likes a stick in the mud.
7. Create Something
Some people are wired to create things, and others not as much. Whether you're a regular Picasso or not is irrelevant, because creating can make you feel all sorts of great things, not to mention take you away from the less healthy stuff, like drinking and spending money you don't have.
There's a misconception about art in this world, that it only exists in galleries and picture frames. Art, creativity and craftsmanship can exist everywhere really, whether it's in a mailbox, a treehouse or a to-scale ice sculpture of your best friend's mother in the buff. You take your passions and build from them, and you'll find it's some of your best time spent. If you're not into drawing or painting, find a hobby that fits you. Heck, build a bar and do your drinking from home. Saves you money on expensive drinks for the hussies, and you won't drive your car through anyone's lawn on the way home anymore.
8. Sit (and Stand) Right
Good posture is one of those easily forgettable things people tend to let slip a lot. How you hold yourself says a lot about your lifestyle, your confidence and will say a lot about how crippled you'll look in the future.
Practice sitting up right at work first and walking upright with your back straight, shoulders back and chest out, since you do these the most. You're not modeling a pair of speedos for fashion week, but you are breaking the slouched over, hungover look you've been sporting since high school.
9. Sleep Right
Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? It gets harder to do this when relationships and kids come into the picture, so get it down now, if it's not too late for your poor soul. Adults should get seven to nine hours each day, but be careful of trying to make up for a lack of sleep with naps and coffee. They may offset you from the real world even more.
A good method for sleeping right is to go to bed around the same time each day, just like waking up around the same time starts your body in a good place every morning. Though shacking up with randoms seems tempting, it may be best (in your later years) to spend nights in the same bed. Turn off the electronics and quit watching the boob tube an hour before bed so your mind can calm down and grow tired. Read a few pages out of a good book and listen to a soft song to send you away to tomorrow. Or invite the girl to your place and knock boots until you pass out. Either way.
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10. Pick up Good Habits, Leave the Bad Ones
This whole list is mostly about picking up good habits and putting down bad ones. Go through your days mentally aware of the things that cause you the most trouble. If you haven't before, start now by keeping a post-it note on you that you can mark down things like, "coffee makes me poop a lot after the second cup" or "arguing with the guy sitting next to me makes me want to murder the entire office; avoid him."
When you see you have a few things that need work, you can mentally challenge yourself to make them better, thus making you a better man.