Motivation Monday: The Non-Guilty Way to Slow Down & Take a Breath

Happy Monday people! Has today been feeling like “a Monday” to you too? Cause…same!

It has become that point in the semester in which it is so incredibly easy to become stressed. Homework piles up, projects are due, and the amount of tests you are taking begin to feel questionably torturous. Sometimes, us college students can feel as this is too much of a “norm” and start forgetting what it feels like to not have so much to do. But hey – it’s time to pause that never-ending tape for a second! In order to confidently finish your semester without running out of steam, you need to give yourself a moment to relax each and every day. I know I say this a lot, but its TRUE! Everyone deserves a break, especially you. Here’s how to do it in a non-guilty way:

Meditate Before Bed

Whatever the word “meditate” means to you, do it for 10 minutes right before you go to bed. I would normally say, “Wake up 10 minutes early and do it!” but I know that can’t apply to everyone, as some of us (myself included) are literal sloths who want every ounce of sleep they can get. So basically, this is an excuse-free version. You can still do it before you get ready in the morning if that is what works best for you, but everyone can do it before climbing into bed (so do it one way or another). Here are some ideas for making the perfect 10-minute mediation session:

  • Dim the lighting so it’s soft and warm (candle-light, twinkly lights, or none at all)
  • Put on some soothing music (whatever helps you chill it, play it out loud or put some headphones in)
  • Begin to breathe as slowly as you can, inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling softly out through your mouth. Imagine you are filling up a circle as wide as it possibly can go as you inhale, and shrink it down into a tiny dot as you exhale. If visualizing waves coming in and out of shore helps you breathe slower, do that instead!
  • Think about what makes you happy in your life. Start to picture all the things you are surrounded by that brings you positivity. Imagine your happy place, wherever that is for you.
  • Send appreciation out for 3 things and/or people in your life. This is especially important for being able to slow down your busy life and actually focus on “the big stuff”. Sometimes we get so frantic about the minute day-to-day details that we let our gratefulness for what we have in our lives go by the wayside.
  • Set a goal for yourself for the next day that is centered around self-care. What can you do to make yourself feel better? Can you make it a goal to go to bed earlier? Can you smile at a stranger? Can you give yourself a pedicure while listening to your favorite playlist?
  • End your meditation by focusing on nothing but your breath. Try to block out little extra noise (that’s why headphones are nice) and just breathe. Feel your chest expand and contract very slowly, letting your heart rate drop. This feels so awesome and will help you fall asleep faster as your body completely relaxes.
  • Don’t want to worry about all this ^ and just listen to someone tell you what to do? If you have Spotify, look up “Meditation Minis” and listen to any of them to help you get into your chill-out zone. Otherwise, YouTube has hundreds of free meditation videos ranging anywhere from 5 minutes to over an hour. Find what YOU like and stick to it!

Send a Card to Someone

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We easily forget to do this in this day and age. People are so glued to their devices that they forget about putting pen to paper. Who in your life deserves a handwritten note? You should be able to find at least one person worth writing for. Take 10 minutes out of your day to zone out and just vent all the reasons why you love this person / are thanking them. Put it in an envelope, slap a stamp on it, and send it off. People love these kind of sentiments – they mean so much more than a text or social media post. It’ll help you feel more connected to someone who means a lot to you and to take a step back in your busy life.

Go for a Walk

Even if it is just 10 minutes around campus, put some headphones in, turn your phone on silent and just enjoy the fresh air. Sometimes all we need is some head space to reboot our boggled brains, and doing this can seriously help. Whether you’re studying for an exam or trying to cram in more “to-dos”, give yourself a break now and then to take some deep breaths outside and move around. Let your brain focus on nothing but the sky, the trees, the ground, the people passing by, and so on.

Spend 5 Extra Minutes in the Shower to Zone Out

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I’m sure a lot of you have done this, but do it more if you’re starting to get stressed! Letting hot water run over you as your mind just blanks out is actually so refreshing (and we all know it). Stop thinking about your work scheduled, homework list, and whether Stacy’s text was passive aggressive or not. This is YOU time!

Give Yourself a Pat on the Back!

Smile at yourself in the mirror more. Tell yourself, “HEY! You’re awesome!” cause you need to hear it. Give yourself a confidence boost by thinking of a few things each day you strive at. Remind yourself you’re doing great things for yourself and reflect on how much you’ve grown since _________. Your opinion of yourself is the most important one!

Go ahead and try at least ONE of these tips this week (preferably each day) in order to restart your head. You need (and deserve!) it.

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 11/13/2017

 

 

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Midterms Mania: 3 Easy Ways To Ramp Up Your Academic Success

First thing’s first; take a chill pill if you need one. Midterms is one of the biggest stressors of the semester, so it’s very easy for everyone to start to freak out a little. “OMG what if I fail? What if I blank on this part of the test? I have three tests this week what do I do? I work 8 hours tonight too…what am I going to do?!” You’ll be okay, you’ll be fine, so relax. Instead of getting all worked up and anxious over what hasn’t happened yet, here are 5 great ways to help you succeed and stay productive over these next few weeks:

1. Organize & Prioritize

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Make a list of all that you need to do and accomplish before fall break (which, if you didn’t know, is next week Thursday 10/26 and Friday 10/27). Writing everything down can help you easily visualize your tasks and give you a starting point. Star the MOST important ones, and then rank them in order of when they need to be done. For example, instead of worrying that you need to study for four tests next week, write a lab report due tomorrow and clean your super messy room eventually, organize and prioritize them! Clearly, you need to get your lab report done for tomorrow, so do that first. Then, work on studying for each test you’ll have chronologically. Worry about cleaning your room some other time, or if you have a study break and want to stay productive.

2. Better Body, Better Brain

The generalized triad of a healthy body in college includes eating well, sleeping enough and staying adequately hydrated. When you’re stressed out, it’s super easy to forget to eat or reach for the easiest, junkiest foods on hand. Try to stick to the “good stuff” that helps you think and feel better. Sleeping enough at night is critical too. You’re way less likely to perform well on an exam if you pull an all-nighter beforehand cramming for it. Relax, go to bed, and wake up early instead if you feel like you need to. More sleep equals better creative and logical thinking for those test questions you get stumped on. Lastly, drinking enough water is especially important when we become caffeine-crazed from mega studying. Caffeine from coffee, energy drinks and some teas can seriously make you dehydrated, and thus make your brain work lousier. For every caffeinated beverage you have, try to drink 2 big glasses of water afterwards.

3. Utilize Flashcards & Mnemonic Devices

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When you’re trying to prepare for a lot of exams in one time period, it’s easy to feel frantic that you won’t remember everything. Chillax. Some great tools to use while studying to help your memory work better are flashcards and mnemonic devices. Flashcards are great for putting your pen to paper and having that mind-body connection of writing different terms. If you’re a visual learner like me, it gets easier and easier to “see” the card over time when testing yourself. Mnemonic devices are also easy to use, and help your brain encode things easier and faster. Here’s a great link for seeing some examples of Mnemonic devices.

Make sure to try out at least one of these tips for going through all your mid-semester tests and projects – they’re sure to help you out in one way or another!

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 11/04/17

 

It’s the Most Germ-i-ful Time of The Year!

So if you’re like me, you probably know this already. Once the air starts to get cool and crisp, your body suddenly decides, “Hey, you know what I haven’t had in a while? A nasty cold!” and some sort of nasty, boogery illness creeps into your every particle. Grrrrrreat, right? I started off the school year battling one cold for a few weeks, only to recently be bombarded with another one. I tell ya, my immune system is probably ticked at me for not doing a better job at cold prevention. 

So, what can you do to avoid being sick during school this fall, or at least, get sick less often? Here are some of the top ways to kick the cold to the curb:

Get Your Annual Flu Shot

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You may have missed UMD’s free flu shots last week, but a ton of places in Duluth offer free or low-cost flu shots depending on your health insurance. Why should you get a flu shot though?! According to the CDC, “Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.”

Some places you can check out for your annual flu shot include any Walgreens, St. Luke Clinics, Essentia Health, CVS Minute Clinics, and many more. Also, St. Louis County public health nurses will be giving out free flu shots to people who are either uninsured or under insured, and are at least 6 months old. Dates and locations include:

  • Nov. 9, 9:30-11:30 a.m. at CHUM, 120 W. Second St.
  • Nov. 15, 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the New San Marco Apartments, 230 W. Third St.
  • Nov. 16, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Damiano Center, 206 W. Fourth St.

Wash Your Hands & Use Hand Sanitizer Often

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This seems like a no-brainer, but we actually don’t wash our hands enough. Think about all the surfaces and people you come in contact throughout the day; it’s a LOT! And with all that contact with other things, you are touching all the germs they carry. Then, you likely will end up touching your face in some way or another, which is how you usually become sick. Not all germs are “bad” and you are likely resistant to the majority of them, but with cold season, you should especially give your hands a good washing here and there for at least 20 seconds in warm, soapy water. Carry around a small tube of hand sanitizer (which you can find at the school store) in your bag to use during or between classes. 

Wipe Down Your Phone

On the same note of avoiding germs, your phone tends to carry a ton! You are constantly touching it with your hands (that have been practically everywhere) and then putting it close or up to your face. Grab a sani-wipe of some sort and give a good cleaning once a week. Careful not to get it wet however!

Drink Plenty of Water Throughout the Day

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Instead of constantly sucking down pop, juice, or some fru-fru coffee drink, try to drink more WATER! We are almost chronically dehydrated in this day and age, and that is not a good thing for your immune system. Drinking more water everyone knows is important in feeling better, but we don’t think about it enough as a preventative measure for the common cold. Try to drink at least one big glass of water with each meal, and 2-3 big glasses or bottles between them.

Stay Away From Your Sick Friends

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This also seems like a “duh” moment, but I am guilty of this myself. You can still be empathetic and comforting to your sick family members and friends, BUT, know that it’s okay to keep your distance. You don’t need to isolate them like a germ prisoner, but just be aware the further you are, the better!

Incorporate Leafy Greens & Fresh Fruits Into Your Diet

When you eat well, you feel well! Avoiding crappy junk food with too much salt or sugar and eating more fresh produce is a fantastic preventative measure against colds. These foods are full of nutrients, antioxidants and minerals that are extremely beneficial to your immune system. On the flip side, junk food is not good for it. Try to eat at least one serving of each a vegetable and fruit with each meal. They also make for yummy, filling snacks!

Wash Your Sheets Regularly

Also something we put by the wayside besides our health; our BED SHEETS! Especially if you are sick or have been sick, wash your sheets! Sheets soak up all of the “stuff” your body sloughs off during sleep, such as dandruff, old skin, makeup, sweat, etc (won’t continue into gross detail). Nothing makes you feel a little bit healthier than a fresh, clean pair of covers when you go to bed at night. 

When To See A Doctor

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In case you do get a nasty bug of some sort, know when you should go to the doctor by identifying one or multiple of the following symptoms:

  • a temperature higher than 100.4° F
  • symptoms that last more than 10 days
  • symptoms that are severe or unusual

Do your best to avoid those icky micro-bugs and STAY HEALTHY FOLKS!
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Written by Hannah Garrett on 10/17/2017

 

5 Things You Can Do Before 8AM to Have a Better Day

As I was laying in bed at 5am this morning, rubbing my barely open eyes, I listened to the birds and the occasional car go by. I was so tired. Every cell in my body was telling me, “Go back to sleep! Please!” Since I have one of the most comfy beds imaginable, I badly wanted to listen to that inner, sleepy voice. Despite the bright sunshine already leaking into my room, I felt like I could sleep for another 10 hours. What a chore, I thought to myself, wishing I could wrap back up into my blanket-burrito. I always dread getting up that early for work.

It got me thinking though. Whenever I have to wake up this early, whether it’s for work or class (or maybe a fitness class if I’m feeling that motivated), I get a lot done. Yeah, I may be extremely tired, but usually my body perks right up after a hot cup of coffee and a list of to-dos I need to accomplish. But, I could be doing a lot better. I usually hit snooze over and over until I absolutely need to get up and rush around to get ready.

I don’t ever have much time between scrambling out of bed and flying out the door. It’s a bad habit that lets me get every last millisecond of sleep I can. Noticing there’s a lot of great articles and books out there about a so-called, “Miracle Morning” or ways to make the most out of that early sunrise time, I decided to brainstorm. What are the top 5 things I could do before 8am to make my days much easier, more productive, and overall, just better?

1. Prep the Night Before

It’s easy to want to just immediately crash once you get home from work, school, the gym, or whatever other crazy schedule you may have (like me). All you want to do is rest, maybe watch some TV or read, and go to bed. The last thing on your mind is likely laying out everything for the next morning. Trust me though, it makes all the difference. Here are some things you can prepare the night before to make your morning so much easier and less frantic racing against the clock:

  • Lay out your clothes you’re going to wear
  • Pack your lunch in its bag
  • Prepare your breakfast ingredients
    • Pre-cook/chop/slice/dice anything you need to make cooking/eating faster
  • Organize your coffee materials
    • Put K-cup in slot or grounds in filter, place mug next to machine, preset the brew timer
  • Pack your gym bag, your backpack, and your day bag/purse
  • Fill up your water bottle and stick it in the fridge

2. Jump Out of Bed to Your Favorite Playlist

One thing that always helps me get out of bed with more pep in my step is by quickly hitting both of my feet to the floor, jumping up out of bed, and blasting my favorite and most energizing tunes. If playing your music out loud isn’t an option, you can still pop in some headphones to get your mind buzzing and your heart pounding. Trying to facilitate more energetic movement into your body and listening to some upbeat songs can help you start your day less grumpy and more positive.

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3. Mentally Prepare Yourself for the Day

This is by far one of my favorite things to do right away in the morning. Whether you do it before or after your mini-music session, it doesn’t really matter. Take five minutes to sit cross-legged on your bed or the floor, lay in child’s pose, or sit up straight in a chair and just breathe. Focus on inhaling and exhaling, and re-center your thoughts on how you want your day to go. Visualizing what you want to do can spark immense motivation to stay productive all day long.

4. Write Down Your Top 3 Priorities

Sometimes it’s easy to get on a productive cycle and want to do absolutely everything you ever have needed to get done. “WOW I’M SO MOTIVATED!” you may think to yourself, “I’M GONNA SEE THE DOCTOR, GET MY HAIR DONE, READ TWO BOOKS AND FINALLY BUILD THAT TREE HOUSE!” Woah, woah, woah…take it easy champ. Don’t drain all of your motivation and excitement to get things done by taking on too much. Pick three things you need to do and make them your priorities for the day. Once you’ve completed them, then you can move on to more. You’ll feel much more accomplished this way!

5. Ease Your Body Into Light Movement

If you ever have worked out early in the morning or attended a 6am yoga class, you know what I’m talking about. Doing some light movement and stretching before you start your day can seriously help you feel a thousand times better. Getting your blood pumping through all points in your body can help you wake up, become more alert and feel just great. Nobody likes it when they feel stiff and sore all day sitting slouched over a chair. I guarantee you that you’ll feel much more active and productive throughout your day by simply moving more. Whether it’s going for a run, doing some pushups, or practicing some yoga, whatever makes you feel good you should stick to it. Here’s a link to a quick, 5 minute sequence you can do right when you wake up.

Maybe not all of these suggestions work for you, but I’m sure at least one of them does. Pick the ones you like and slowly apply them to your morning routine. Work them in gradually, one at a time each week, and you’ll adjust to this new-found habit of getting more done before 8am. It’s not perfect for everyone, but it definitely is a step in the right direction.

Have a great day everyone!

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 6/15/2017

 

Motivation Monday: Utilizing 3 Minutes

Happy Monday everyone!

I hope you jumped out of bed this morning with energy, let your feet hit the floor, and took off running (not literally) into your day. If not – which is probably most of you – it’s totally understandable. Not everyone is as energetic and hyper as I am in the morning. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not absolutely perfect when it comes to getting up and starting my day though. Some days I’ve felt like a human slug, slowly moving out of bed and grumpily making a cup of coffee. This morning, although I was energetic and happy to start my day, I tried the 3 minute technique.

I recently learned about this on a podcast that I listen to. You try to take 3 minutes out of your day to do something good for you mentally to relax your mind, set intentions and keep you thinking positively. We often focus our attention on our physical health, with working out and nutrition, but tend to forget to give ourselves a mental check-up. Here are some ideas for the 3 minute technique for you to try each and everyday. (Cause let’s be honest, we ALL have 3 minutes in our day!)

1. Meditation

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I tried doing this one this morning. It’s very hard to actually vacate your mind from thoughts but it’s very possible to put your mind at ease. Set a timer on your phone for 3 minutes, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Acknowledge any random thoughts that slowly start to seep in about your day, but dismiss them and return to focusing on your breath. This will help you start out your day feeling calm and determined to get things done.

2. Journal Brain Dump

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Even if you don’t have a journal, grab a piece of paper and just start writing everything and anything that comes into your mind. Set a timer for 3 minutes and don’t stop until it goes off. This can help you vent out any unspoken issues you’re keeping locked up inside your mind and release your stress. You can ponder it for a few seconds after your time is up, but continue on with your day knowing you already took time out to ruminate on your life problems.

3. Dance It Out

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Turn on your favorite song (preferably 3 minutes) and dance like CRAZY until it’s over! Sometimes you just need to shake out all your worries and get your blood flowing. Don’t focus on anything else except dancing like nobody is watching (cause hopefully nobody is). Really get into the song and act like you’re auditioning to be Beyoncé’s back-up dancer.

 

Those are just a few simple ideas for this awesome mental trick, but the options are unlimited. Find what makes YOU feel most relaxed and ready to take on your day. As long as you try, you’ll likely feel better about how to handle your busy schedule, stressful classes, and other life dilemmas.

Have a great Monday!!

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 3/13/2017

 

College Cold & Flu Season: Newsflash-You’re Not Dying

So I am absolutely sure this is not the first blog post I’ve written about being sick while also being sick myself. It feels like in the past few weeks, there’s been a nasty bout of illness going around campus – heck, maybe even the entire state of Minnesota. Who knows. I have been sick for what feels like a month, with recurring episodes of waking up with a headache, struggling to get out of bed, blowing my nose incessantly, and trying to figure out how to talk without sounding like a Gremlin.

Being sick in college is tough! There’s no mom or dad to bring you some soup and tuck you into a warm bed. There’s no, “I’ll call you in sick today at school” or mental thought of, “It’s okay, I won’t miss much anyways.” NO. There’s only a big fat smack in the face of sinus pressure when you wake up and the alarm blaring at you saying, “Yeah, um, you need to school right now because you have 17 tests, 49 quizzes and 23 group projects due today…oh and don’t forget you have to work your 12 hour shift tonight at work cause your boss is this close to snapping at you and making you clean toilets.”

Even though that is a ridiculous and over-dramatic scenario, it sometimes can feel that way when we are bombarded with a virus that has us feeling like we’re on the verge of calling up friends and saying, “Just so you know, don’t let Tiffany come to my funeral.” It’s very easy assume your life is crumbling to pieces because your nose is leaking some strange-colored mucus 24/7.

Newsflash – you’re not dying.

As a college adult – which, YOU are – you are going through a critical transition period of your life from dependent teenager to sorta-kind of-maybe-independent undergraduate. You’re not about to jump into the lifestyle of a 25-year-old, but you’re also out of the house and need to be a little more on your own. That means that when it comes to being sick, you should put on your big boy/girl/etc. underwear and take care of yourself. Cause…well…sorry to break it to you but nobody else is. SO, where do you go from here?

1. Stop Stressing Yourself Out

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I could say this a million times and I’m sure you’ve heard it even more. STOP. STRESSING. OUT. YOU’RE GONNA BE OKAY. Whatever it may be about, find healthy ways to minimize or stop it all together. Stress takes a toll on the immune system and if you’re getting sick all the time, you may need to take a step back and take a breather.

2. Don’t Stay Up Late on Your Phone

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Go. To. Bed. Dude. You will never fully recover if you’re staring at your own Snapchat story over and over and over (it’s okay I’m guilty of it too) instead of getting a good night’s rest. Sleep is the time where your brain and body will take over and start to take care of you. Why would you want to inhibit that just to *like* another cat video?!

3. Eat Right, Drink Right & Move Right

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Don’t eat garbage, don’t guzzle pop, and don’t lay around moaning in your bed all day like an injured wildebeest. You’re only prolonging your sickness OR letting one fester for the future. Eating healthy, whole foods will help properly fuel and heal your body. Drinking enough plain water and moving enough throughout the day will do the same.

If you can focus on those three things while you’re feeling gross like I am right now, then you’re on the right track. If not, you’re in for a long recovery process that will feel like FOREVER. But again, you’re NOT dying. You’ll be okay.

Happy Hump Day!

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 3/1/2017

Why You Should Try RSOP’s FREE Group Fit Week

“New Year, New Me” right? Okay, before you go pursing your lips thinking about how much you hate how packed the gym has been for the past week now that everyone’s back (which, you shouldn’t cause dang look at all the people pursuing their goals and trying to make a change! Go them!) listen to this.

RSOP, which stands for the Recreational Sports and Outdoors Program, has a ton of other things to fill your interests if the fitness center is feeling a bit cramped. There are intramural sports, sports clubs, rock climbing, rental equipment and outdoor trips. But most importantly, there’s RSOP’s Group Fit!

Maybe you’re a little unsure about what Group Fit even is though. On their homepage of RSOP, which you can find by clicking here, Group Fit is described as, “for both the UMD and surrounding community. We offer yoga, strength, spinning, pilates, and Zumba, to name just a few. There is most likely a class or two that fits your fitness level and interests. All of our instructors are nationally certified and highly motivated.” Sounds awesome, right?

Maybe you are a workout-a-holic, maybe you’re trying to find time between class to scarf food down before the next big assignment, maybe you’re completely lost when you step foot in a gym. Here’s exactly why you should try RSOP’s FREE week of classes this week in the Gold Room (or Spin Room):

1. You’ll Challenge Yourself to Something New

You might already realize this, but it’s true. A lot of people simply “workout” and that’s it. They may not see improvement because they are doing the same thing everyday. Pushing yourself to get a little taste of different group fit classes can help you venture into an entirely different part of the fitness world. Maybe you realize you are a master at Zumba! Maybe you never knew you’d feel that sore from such a simple but different movement. You’ll learn a lot more about yourself by stepping outside your comfort zone.

2. You’ll See Working Out as FUN

Many people who are new to the fitness world absolutely dread going to the gym because they see it as dull and boring. Guess what? Group Fitness classes are the definition of fun! There is nothing that makes you smile more than getting a good sweat on while with other energized, happy people. The instructors do an amazing job at maintaining a fun atmosphere that motivates you to work as hard as you can.

3. You’ll Meet New Friends

I know. Maybe you cringed at this one, since we’re stuck in a world so used to digital interactions rather than face-to-face ones. BUT, for real, you will find others in these classes that share the same interests as you and BAM, new friends! It’s a seriously good feeling knowing that you can continue to make real connections with others by just trying something new. It makes it easier for you to continue going back to classes, because you have new buddies to pump ‘n tone with.

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4. You’ll See Serious Changes in Yourself

By trying a Group Fit class, you might open the Pandora’s box for what will lead you to your ultimate fitness goals. Although what you’re doing right now may seem great, being “forced” in a way to hold that plank 10 seconds longer or try that new kind of arm movement can let you see real improvements. Sometimes we just need an extra, external force to get us to reach our full potential.

5. You Don’t Have to Plan a Workout

We spend a lot of time in the gym just thinking about what to do. Where should I go next? Is that machine even open? Oh, nope that superhuman just swiped it. Ugh. I don’t even know what to do next. Maybe I should sit on my phone for 5 minutes to get some ideas. Hmmm. When you take away all that and let someone else lead your workout, you cut all the time spent not working out and you get a seriously kick-butt sweat session. All classes are 50 minutes, and they utilize every single one to get you up and working hard.

6. It’s Easily Accessible & Leaves No Room For Excuses

When the place is literally right on campus, it makes it hard for you to have an excuse why you can’t at least try it out. When you want to change yourself, you have to change your behavior. So why not do a test trial this week and see if it’s what’ll work for you to make that change?

Try it out! See what you like and what you don’t! It’s FREE, and it doesn’t hurt to get a taste for something new. Every Friday at 4:30 they have Happy Hour free classes too if you decide a semester long commitment is questionable. Otherwise, enjoy the long weekend and remember to stay prepared for week two.

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 1/15/2017

 

 

The Best (and Realistic) New Year’s Resolutions for College Students

Happy New Year, people of 2017! I hope you all had happy holidays and an even greater New Year enjoying Mariah Carey’s awkward lip-syncing.

Now that it is officially a brand new year, why not set yourself up for some brand new goals? A lot of people negatively reply, “Resolutions fail 99% of the time anyways! Why bother!” Although they pull that statistic from their seemingly not-peer-reviewed mind, don’t let others discourage you from challenging yourself in 2017. You can do anything you put your mind to; whether you start doing it at the beginning of a new year or halfway through it.

As a college student however, it may seem very unappealing to challenge yourself with other goals besides passing classes and making enough money to get by. I totally get it – you already feel overwhelmed, why the heck would you want to stress yourself out more by making “dumb goals”?

The thing is…don’t see them as “dumb”! Simple as that. Making realistic challenges for yourself while at school is healthy when all you do is focus your life on “surviving” through work, class, eating and sleeping. Why not thrive in 2017 and try some of these realistic and fun new years resolutions for college kids:

Start Hoarding $5 Bills

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This is a goal I have for myself during 2017. Every time you get a $5 bill, don’t spend it. Make a little savings box or jar for yourself and save those Abe Lincoln’s away. You’ll finally have the cash for something important at the end of the year instead of feeling like your pockets are always empty.

Read a Book for 10 Minutes a Day

I’m not talking about your textbooks here – I’m talking about a good old-fashioned book. I know you probably have at least one that you’ve been saying, “I’ll get around to”. This is the year where you will give yourself at least 10 minutes to just sit down and read it. So what you’re “busy”? Everyone has 10 minutes. Before class starts, at the gym while on a bike machine, or right before you hit the hay.

Travel Somewhere New

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It could be a new coffee shop in downtown Duluth or it could be a road trip up to one of the amazing places we’ve posted about in our Snapshot Sunday series. Wherever it is, try to get out there and explore more this year. Life isn’t only about studying your butt off, it’s about enjoying the special moments you have with yourself in the world around you.

Say “Yes” More

If you’re like me and leaning towards trying to be more positive in your everyday life, try to say “yes” more than you say “no”. Granted, this can’t be applied in every situation, especially ones that pose a potential danger. Overall, trying to give up your excuses for everything and just going ahead and doing it will help you feel positively empowered.

Spend 1 Hour or Less Each Day on Social Media

I’m sure we’ve all heard from our parents about how we are “those self-absorbed millennials who are addicted to their phones”, but maybe we should take a hint from the older adults around us and look up every once an awhile. Try to aim for spending an hour or less each day on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and all those other apps you may have. Focus on living in the real world with face-to-face interactions. Put your phone away – power it off even!! – when you sit down to have coffee or dinner with a friends. I promise you – everything will still be there on the internet when you log back on later.

Find a Hobby that Keeps You Active

Being a health nut you can understand why I threw this one into the list…cause it’s important! This year, try to pick up a new and fun activity that keeps you moving. Trying something completely different every now and then is great for sparking your life with newfound excitement. If it also involves making your heart pound and breaking a sweat, that’s awesome since college students are so prone to being couch potatoes.

Be Yourself & Love Yourself

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This is a little cheesy, yes, but it’s definitely a good goal to set. Nowadays, everyone wants to be someone else. They see somebody on social media that they desperately want to be like, or envy the person they sit next to in class for their natural ability to succeed. Stop comparing yourself and just be YOU. This year, do what you love and love what you do. Don’t worry about trying to fit any sort of mold. There’s only one unique you out there, and it’s time for you to love them unconditionally.

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 1/4/2017

Last Minute Study Tips for Finals

Although it’s a little late to try to teach yourself an entire semester’s worth of material, you’re not totally doomed. And I truly mean that! Here are some extremely helpful ways to make the rest of your weekend studying before finals productive and effective:

DELETE ALL SOCIAL MEDIA APPS ON YOUR PHONE RIGHT NOW

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Stop whining, it’s easy. Click, hold, delete. Your social media will still be there when you’re done studying, so don’t think it’s gone forever. Getting rid of the temptation altogether is what will really help you stay focused on your work instead of who is posting what. Distractions are your worst enemy when you’re short on time.

READ END-OF-CHAPTER SUMMARIES & TAKE NOTES ON THEM

We all know we are not speed-readers, otherwise we would’ve read all of the 20 chapters needed for a class earlier in the semester. Instead, review the end-of-chapter summaries, review questions, and explanations to get the gist of everything “important” or “need-to-know”. You don’t want to waste your valuable time reading every nook and cranny of the first page. Jot a few notes down and get through it.

SEARCH YOUTUBE & KHAN ACADEMY VIDEOS FOR QUICK EXPLANATIONS

If something is just not making sense from the text, your notes, or diagrams, try searching for a video about it. YouTube and Khan Academy have some awesome videos explaining just about everything from Chemistry to Anatomy to Music History. Another great channel to look up for quick and understandable lessons on anything is “Crash Course” on YouTube by the famous Green brothers. I promise you, these are worth the time.

DRINK WATER & TAKE FREQUENT WALKING BREAKS

Although shutting yourself into the library for the weekend may seem like a great idea, remember to stay hydrated and mobile. If you stare at a computer screen, textbook or notes for too long, your brain will slowly get more fatigued. Give yourself a break at the top of every hour to stretch, walk around, use the bathroom and chug some water. Water is especially important to continuously drink when you’re hopped up on caffeine from coffee, tea or an energy drink. Those might be awesome ways to keep you awake late into the evening, but they dehydrate you a lot.

SKIM OVER ALL NOTES YOU HAVE TAKEN DURING THE SEMESTER

Again, Rome wasn’t built in a day. You don’t need to thoroughly read absolutely every word, but instead brush over old ideas. Re-reading your old handwriting even once is helpful for jogging your memory of things you had to learn back in September that haven’t been talked about since. Even a light refresher is better than none.

GET LOTS & LOTS OF SLEEP – OR ELSE!

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You NEED to let your body and brain rest. Your test performance will be horrendous if you think pulling an all-nighter will help you learn and remember everything you need to know. YOU WILL DO BADLY IF YOU DO THIS. It has been shown time and time again that a lack of sleep leads to poor cognitive functioning in practically everything. You will not be able to critically think or creatively brainstorm when taking your test if you are sleep-deprived. Get 8 hours of sleep every night and set yourself up for success rather than failure.

Remember – if you are sitting there worrying over and over about your final tests, stop. You are only wasting your time that you can be spending focused and productively doing something to help you succeed. You are NOT a failure! You can do this!

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Written by Hannah Garrett on 12/10/2016

 

Motivation Monday: Stress-less Week in the Library

Happy last regular Monday of the semester! You’ve made it this far! Props to you for sticking it out for 14 weeks. Although having your last Monday may seem exciting, you might be feeling conversely nervous and full of trepidation at the same time. You may be thinking,

What if I fail my final(s)?! I am so stressed out! What am I going to do if I don’t succeed? Will my parents be mad at me? I feel like stupid! 

When I say that everyone feels this way, I do mean everyone. Students put a lot of pressure on themselves to succeed at the end of the semester, whether they are already doing well or are barely hanging onto a decent grade. Ultimately, nobody wants to fail.

Knowing that, more students should understand that they aren’t alone when it comes to finals stress. Look around you! Everyone is about to crap themselves too. It’s okay. What’s nice about having enough people freak the hell out at one time is that enough people notice and provide resources to help us out. That’s why I strongly recommend going to the library’s Stress-less Week this week and feeling on top of your game for finals. Here are some of the awesome things they have going on in the Kathryn A. Martin library from today, December 5th through Sunday December 10th.

MONDAY: Free Coffee, Smoothies & Massage

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Start getting some deliciously hot coffee from 8am until they run out at the lib, and snag a thirst-quenching green smoothie from 11am until they’re gone – and they go fast! Also, from 1-3pm get a quick chair massage on the second floor from RSOP staff member Nancy Schwerdt as well as some posture tips to relieve stress.

TUESDAY: Zoomobile Animals & Yoga

Lake Superior Zoo will be bringing small, adorable animals such as hedgehogs and chinchillas from 1-3pm to the first floor. Yoga club will also provide mats if you want to take a break from studying and flow into child’s pose. They practice every week in the spin room of RSOP (on the right side of Romano gym, straight down the hallway) every Tuesday from 8-9pm. No experience necessary so stop by to find your zen!

WEDNESDAY: PAWS (Pet Away Worry & Stress)

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You may have seen these lovable pets a few other times in the semester in Kirby Lounge, and they’ll be back for more furry hugs from 11am-1pm on Wednesday. Representatives from Animal Allies and Humane Educators bring their cuddly dogs, cats and other kinds of fluffy animals to let you pet away your stress.

THURSDAY: De-Stress Fest

From 11am-1pm, stop by the first floor/entryway and choose between five awesome stations to help you relax. Choose from:

1. Make and take Stress Balls, sponsored by Wellness Advocates & Health Services
2. Mindful eating with Dining Services
3. Mindful/meditative art, sponsored by Disability Resources
4. Breathing technique/Diaphragmatic breathing, sponsored by UMD Health Services
5. Meditation, sponsored by School of Fine Arts and Employee Wellness 

FRIDAY: Free Coffee – AGAIN!

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Bring on the caffeine! There’s no such thing as too much coffee, so just as you started today with a free cup of it, end your week on Friday with even more from 8am until they’re all out.

ALL WEEK LONG: Fun Stuff to Put Your Mind at Ease

  • Board games and coloring! Take a break with a board game or some crayons!
  • Arts and crafts: Take a break with some origami!
  • Cute animal videos on a display monitor! On a LOOP! So Relaxing!
  • Coffee-bean counting contest: Guess how many beans are in a jar and win a UMD Dining Services gift card! 

Take advantage of some or ALL of these opportunities to have fun, relax and feel de-stressed this week; your mind and body will thank you! Just know that you will get out what you put in in terms of your tests, so study hard, put the phone down and get your head in the game to rock those finals. YOU GOT THIS!

Check out more information about Stress-less Week in the library by clicking here.

Written by Hannah Garrett on 12/5/2016