When that alarm sounds and you're all cozy in bed, slapping the snooze button seems like the only reasonable thing to do. But before you doze off for the third time in a row, consider all you can do if you woke up–not only on time, but one hour before you normally do. You could get more done, feel and look better, and lessen your day-to-day stress and anxiety.

As per Elite Daily, "Studies show people who get up early are generally happier than their late-sleeping counterparts." And Business Insider adds, "(Early risers) say they feel healthier than their friends who prefer the night life."

Here are 10 things you can achieve by waking up one hour earlier. Just be sure to hit the sack at a reasonable hour to assure adequate sleep, and tomorrow will be the start of a new you.

Exercise

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No more excuses for not having enough time in the day for working out. Rise and shine and get moving right away. You will feel proud that you're working on your fitness, and the energizing boost will keep you in the zone all day. As per Huffington Post, "Working out boosts endorphins and other mood-elevating substances that can help lift your spirits as you take on the day. Morning workouts result in better energy levels throughout the day and give you more mental alertness and sharpness." Once you start seeing results, you'll appreciate your early wake-up call.

Check Email

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Why wait until you get to the office to check your email? It will interfere with other pressing tasks at hand and you may wind up rushing through them – missing vital info and perhaps replying without having a chance to reflect on your responses before hitting "send." Wake up and review your email carefully, weeding out the junk and thinking out your replies. Even if you don't have a chance to respond immediately, at least you know what's lurking in your inbox, so you can organize your thoughts and prioritize.

Prep Healthy Food

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When we're in a rush, healthful eating can go out the window. It's much faster to whiz through the drive thru than to fix our own meal at home. But with a whole hour free for culinary adventures, you can prepare healthy meals for the full day. Go ahead and chop a fresh salad for lunch and get some chicken or salmon marinating for grilling come dinnertime. Cut up veggies and portion out nuts and dried fruit for snacking throughout the day. Whip up a protein-packed smoothie for a go-to drink that's filling and good for you. Your healthy eating will not only do your body a service, but you'll have the fuel you'll need to conquer your day. For some menu inspiration, check out PayPath's A – Z guide to mind-boosting foods.

Catch Up on News

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There are times, especially in the current climate, when we want to avoid the news altogether, but staying up-to-date with what is going on in the world is important. You want to be in-the-know of worldwide and local happenings, so you are aware of and engaged with the status quo. Aside from gaining knowledge and perspective, you will be better equipped to participate in meaningful discussions with co-workers and friends. Read the paper, tune into the morning news, pop on the radio, or search online for the latest coverage.

Get to Work on Time

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Showing up late to work is not only irresponsible, but it causes undo stress and an air of chaos. Wake up earlier and you'll have plenty of time to get things done before heading out of the house, allowing you to leave yourself ample time to account for any heavy traffic or other commuter issues. You may even arrive early, providing quiet time to get your day in order and to settle in without disruption. Plus, if you get in early, your boss may allow you to head home early too.

Have Some Alone Time

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We can all benefit from some time to ourselves. "Me time" is recharging and a great way to reflect on ourselves and those we interact with. If you have kids, be sure to rise while they are still sound asleep or else you alone time is sure to go out the window. During this peaceful time, consider meditating, going outside to watch the sunrise, or simply enjoy a hot cup of coffee or tea. Entrepreneur suggests keeping a journal. "Journaling helps process previous events, clarify thinking, understand life's context, notice feelings, record significant lessons and ask important questions."

Do Household Chores

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After a long day at work, the last thing anyone feels like doing is tending to the household chores. Loading laundry, vacuuming, and washing the dishes are not exactly welcome home gifts. If you wake up earlier, you can get these nuisances out of the way and they'll be off your mind. Not to mention, coming home to a spic and span house is a pleasant way to end the workday.

Eat a Wholesome Breakfast

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With an entire hour free, sitting down to a healthy breakfast sounds tempting. No more sticky granola bars or fattening muffins for you. Now you can not only eat healthier, but actually have the time to enjoy a decent meal. Consider a protein-packed omelet, slow-cooker oats, whole wheat pancakes, or a fresh fruit salad topped with seeds and nuts. If you aren't quite ready to eat so early, you can prep an on-the-go breakfast to take to work. These three easy-to-make recipes will have your mouth watering.

Read a Book

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You've been itching to get back to reading but can't seem to find the time. Your friends are all discussing their latest read, but all you've had time for was the blurbs on the back of the cereal box. Not anymore. Wake up an hour earlier and have time for that page-turner you've been hearing about. And you don't even have to get out of bed. Keep your book on your nightstand and read until it's time to get up.

Plan Your Day

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Waking up in a frazzle is no way to begin a productive day. Give yourself a full hour to plan your day from morning 'till night. Make a calendar of events, set reminders for meetings and appointments, and be sure to schedule family and social activities too. Keep your planner on your smartphone or on paper -whatever works best for you. You won't forget important to-dos and you'll be able to set up the day, so you are able to accomplish everything you wanted to.

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What do you do when financial hardship hits and you can't make your monthly mortgage payments? This is a question on many homeowner's minds as nearly 17.8 million Americans are reportedly unemployed during the coronavirus pandemic.

When homeowners face financial hardship, such as the loss of a job, they often look to obtain a forbearance agreement from their lender. A forbearance happens when your lender grants you a temporary pause or reduction in monthly payments on your mortgage. Forbearance is not the same as payment forgiveness, in that you still have to pay the entire amount back by an agreed-upon time.

Mortgage lending institutions differ on their mortgage relief policies and qualifications; however, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act were signed into law in late March of this year to protect government-backed mortgages.

Federally backed mortgages include:

  • Fannie Mae
  • Freddie Mac
  • The Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
  • The US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
  • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Under the CARES Act, homeowners with a federally backed loan who either directly or indirectly suffer financial hardship due to coronavirus automatically qualify for mortgage forbearance.

Even if your mortgage is not secured by one of these agencies, you still can call and see if you qualify, as many lenders will still offer the option in order to avoid foreclosures.

Under the CARES act, homeowners can claim mortgage forbearance due to financial hardship from COVID-19 for up to 12 months without requiring any documentation or verification. During the forbearance period, mortgage lenders cannot charge late fees or penalties.

Additionally, as long as your mortgage is current at the time you claim forbearance, the lender is required to keep reporting your mortgage as paid current throughout the entire period.

At the end of the forbearance, the CARES act protects consumers from having to make a lump sum payment. Instead, you will be given a repayment plan from your provider. Since repayment options vary, it's important you ask your provider about all of your repayment options.

Possible Repayment Options:

You may be eligible for a loan modification at the end of your forbearance. With modification, the mortgage terms are changed in order to add payments that were missed during the forbearance onto the end of the loan, extending the term.

Another option that may work for some is a reduced payment option. This allows you to keep paying monthly payments at a reduced amount. The amount missed is usually added back into the monthly payments at the end of the forbearance.

For example:

Regular payment: $1000 per month

Reduced payment: $500 per month

Payment after forbearance period: $1500 (until caught up)

Balloon payments, or lump sum payments at the end of the forbearance, are prohibited under the CARES Act. However, mortgage lenders may require homeowners who are not protected under the CARES Act to make a balloon payment at the end, so again it is best to check first with your provider.

Mortgage forbearance should only be considered in true financial hardship. In other words, just because of the pandemic, you should not take a forbearance on your mortgage if you can still afford your payments. Likewise, if you are able to start making payments before the forbearance period is up, it's best to do so as soon as possible.

The Next Steps:

Before you get in touch with your mortgage servicer, save time by gathering as much documentation about the mortgage as you can. Also, be ready to list your income and monthly expenses. Due to an influx in calls, financial institutions are experiencing extremely long wait times right now, and having your information at the ready will help.

Have questions ready to ask. Here are some questions you should be asking:

  • What fees are associated with the forbearance?
  • What are all the repayment options available to you at the end of the forbearance?
  • Will you be charged interest during the forbearance period?

If your forbearance is approved, make sure to keep all documentation pertaining to it. Make sure to cancel any automatic payments to the mortgage during the forbearance period, and keep tabs on your credit report to make sure your lender doesn't report the loan as unpaid.


For more information on forbearance, contact your lender and discuss your options. If you need more assistance with understanding your options, you can contact a local agent for the housing counseling agency, or call their hotline at 1-800-569-4287.