I have been receiving the Action for Happiness newsletter for years. I usually read it at the beginning of the month, glance at the included calendar, and occasionally I refer back to it a few times over the following weeks.
Here’s the ‘Self-Care September’ calendar:
This month, though, something made me give it a closer look and I finally noticed that Action for Happiness is on Instagram and that they have an app.
And even though I usually avoid letting apps send me notifications, I impulsively agreed to let them interrupt me. And I am really glad I did.
I am now on my third day of being bossed around by this app and I LOVE it.
It’s such a cool thing to get a reminder of one simple way to be kinder to myself today (I mean, that’s my kind (ha!) of thing anyway but it’s fun to get a prompt that I didn’t come up with.)
For example, here’s yesterday’s prompt:
When I got that on Thursday morning, I actually took a moment to think about the fact that I’m good at remembering everyone’s schedule and that I was happy with the drawing I had made the night before. Without the prompt, I still would have known those things but I probably wouldn’t have taken the moment to consider them and I would have missed out on that feeling of satisfaction.
I’m looking forward to a whole month of being bossed into moments of happiness.
I think it will be really good for my brain and that has to be good for the rest of me too, right?
Wakeout, which bills itself as ‘Exercise for busy people,’ delivers exactly what it promises – short, fun workouts to do in a variety of settings.
As you probably know, I find it challenging to decide what exercise to do when and how long to do it for. Wakeout helps me sidestep those issues because I can set a reminder in advance (always useful for me!) and then I only have to choose the location and duration of my exercise.
The duration choices are short – one, three, or six 30-sec exercises (although you can do multiple Wakeouts in a row) and the settings are limited – you can choose home, office, travel, or outdoors and then select different categories within each. Even though there is a lot of possibility contained within each category, I find the process of choosing to be quite straightforward in this case.
I really like that the exercises are done in 30 second bursts instead of by reps – I love a timer but I hate counting reps. I appreciate just sinking into the movement and not having to focus on counting.
And I like the types of movements the app gets me to do.
It’s not just bicep curls or squats, it’s movements on all sorts of different planes. For example,
In a recent Wakeout, I was holding a pillow and moving sort of sideways figure eight with my arms – as if I were in a pillow fight and had an opponent on either side of me. This exercise had me moving my arms in a whole different way than I would normally do and I felt like my range of movement increased over all.
I am much too used to working forward, sideways, or up-and-down and I forget about making more circular sorts of movements. Wakeout’s prompt to move different, helped me to engage different muscles or at least to engages the same muscles in different ways and that really really felt great.
One of my favourite exercises that I had to do involved standing in front of the counter in the kitchen and reaching upward into a high cupboard. That specific movement felt great for my arms, my back and my legs and I have repeated it often even when I wasn’t doing the app – sure, sometimes I was just reaching for something in the cupboard but mostly it was for a little extra stretch.
The app keeps track of your workouts and tells you your accumulated minutes and how many minutes it will take to reach the next level. I also enjoy this encouraging feature and it’s rewarding to push a little hard to get that visible (on the screen) result. One of my ongoing challenges with consistent exercise is how hard it is to SEE the benefits of my efforts. This small visual makes a big difference for me.
Often, I will shy away from short workouts because of the decisions involved – trying to figure out what is ‘enough’ to do is especially tricky for people with ADHD. The Wakeout app removes some of my obstacles to bothering with a short workout – I can just open the app and do what it says and not have to think too much about it.
Obviously, I would have to either do a lot of Wakeouts to become seriously fit but I find these small bursts of activity encouraging and rewarding and they really feel great.
I haven’t been through all of the workouts yet, of course, but from the ones I have seen so far, I would like to see a greater variety of body types/sizes and abilities represented in the demos. (To be fair, though there may be greater variety than there currently appears to be. I may just not have seen everyone yet.)
I like that the demo models aren’t all white but not having seen the entire range of workouts yet I cannot comment on whether the diversity of the models is truly representative or just a nod to inclusion. I am hoping that it is the former rather than the latter.
Overall, I really enjoy the workouts and features in this app. I didn’t it like it much when one of the reminders made me feel entirely responsible for our sedentary society but that’s on my overdeveloped guilt reflex, not on the makers of the app!
I don’t know if it would be helpful or frustrating for someone who already spends a large part of their day exercising. It might be enjoyable to try some different movements – especially if any part of their day was spent at desk work – or it might be annoying to do these small exercises that might not work their bodies hard enough for their liking.
As far as I can tell, Wakeout is only available for Apple products so far. You get a 7 day free trial and then you can purchase a monthly plan for $6.99 which you can share with up to 6 people. I enjoyed it enough to sign up for the monthly plan but I wish I could include my family members who use other non-Apple devices.