What do I do now? A post-finals question we’re all wondering

YOU DID IT!! You worked so hard for so long and now you can finally sigh that breath of relief. Ahhhhhhhhhh. It feels like a piping hot kettle releasing all of its built-up steam. Instant gratification. You might look around for a second and smile, finally getting to relax. But then…this itchy, questionable feeling may spread through you saying…what the heck do I do now?! 

We go and go and go all semester long until we all reach our final destination of winter break, only to then be stumped on this irritable feeling of “too” much leisure time. Yes, that sounds ridiculous, of course college students LOVE our free time!! However, when you’re accustomed to doing so much for so long, you can start to feel antsy by the thought of three weeks of doing nothing. It feels “off”.

So…what do you do? Whether you’re going home for the holidays or clocking in a few extra work hours here and there, there are plenty of things you can accomplish over winter break. Here are some of my latest ideas for ultimate productivity:

reading winter

  • Read that Book
    • *cough*cough*, the one you’ve wanted to read for forever but haven’t given yourself any time to do so. May sound boring but will improve your ability to concentrate on something for an extended period of time.
  • Send Personalized Holiday Cards
    • Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or just a simple Season’s Greetings, handwriting cards to those who are important to you during this time of the year can make a huge impact. Thank them for all they have done for you in 2017 and how much it means to you.


  • Try Out a New Recipe
    • We’ve all seen those delicious food videos plastering Facebook from time to time and tagging our friends in them…why not actually make the dang thing?! Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Dessert, Holiday “thing”, you name it….just try one out!
  • Reflect on Your Year
    • How did 2017 go for you? What did you like about it? What could you have changed? How do you want 2018 to be different? Brain dump it all on paper and see what inspiration you can draw from there to create some new goals for yourself.


  • Volunteer Somewhere with an Old Friend
    • Sometimes we get in the habit of not meeting up with old friends over break., and if we do it can be dull conversation over coffee. Why not make your time with them meaningful by volunteering somewhere together? There are hundreds of ways to give back during the holidays, so here’s your chance!
  • “New Year” Cleaning
    • Take time to sort through all your “stuff”. What’s valuable to you? What is junk? What can get donated? What can get sold? Organize and divide things up to start the year off fresh and finally toss things that are taking up too much space in your life.

Dance Ur Ash Off

  • Try a New Workout Class
    • Okay, I’m a little biased here of course as a Group Fit instructor, but SERIOUSLY this can be so much fun! Practically everywhere you go there’s some sort of gym or fitness studio that offers new client deals like free first classes, free weeks, or discounted trials. You don’t need to commit yourself to a membership anywhere! Plus, if you drag along a family member or friend, it can turn out to be a really great way to bond.
  • Treat Yourself to Something
    • ANYTHING! What’s something you have wanted to do for forever but never had the opportunity or time to? Here’s your chance to indulge a little bit. It could be a massage, pedicure, haircut, shopping trip…whatever! You deserve some you-time.
  • *Lightly* Prepare for Next Semester
    • I do mean lightly when I say this. It’s not time to frantically stress over the next classes you have to take, it’s about organizing the things you need to get or accomplish before heading back to school. Slowly start to gather new pencils and stationary and decide where you’re going to get your books. Little things like this can help you start off next semester strong and less worried.

If this list doesn’t include at least one thing that interests you, make your own! Jot down some ideas that you think may fill up your time over break in a positive and productive manner. Everyone is different, so finding your own niche can help you thoroughly enjoy your time.

Again, happy end of Finals!!!


Written by Hannah Garrett on 12/16/2017




Give Back this Holiday Season with UMD Students’ Soks Co.

If you’re anything like me, you may have no idea what the heck to ask for this Holiday season as a college student. Maybe some extra soap? Grocery store gift cards? Financial stability? I have no clue!

Here’s an idea for all of you though…socks. Not just any socks, ones with a true purpose and ties to our community. Started up by a few friends here at UMD for a class project, Soks Co. should for sure be on your gift list this year – regardless if you are giving or receiving! 

Soks Logo_2-01

Soks Co. is a company run by undergrads Austin Nelson, Patrick Wolf, Jon Eastlund, and Eric Smedsrud. Patrick and Austin grew up in Duluth, and although Jon and Eric are not Duluth natives, they have all found that Duluth can easily become a tight-knit and supportive community. A home away from home, essentially. Along with the harsh winters we can endure up here in the Northland, Duluth’s amazing community is the main reason why they established Soks Co. and its mission. 

“For us, it started with a problem”, says Austin, “Homelessness. And above that, what is lacking in support for them. After doing some research we realized socks are among the least donated items for shelters, and that goes for across the country. But even more so in our city, not having socks, or nice socks, [can] be the difference in surviving a bad winter.” They established Soks Co. as a way to give consumers quality, comfortable socks with that extra purpose. Austin goes on to explain that there is a growing need for businesses to be more than just the products they sell, and for him and his friends that was a no-brainer.


For every pair purchased, we donate a pair of our Merino Wool Original Socks. They are super comfortable, thermal socks that are perfect for use outdoors. The fabric blend is moisture-wicking and breathable, meaning both in the winter and summer they help alleviate some of the problems that come with having to spend hours and days outside,” Austin says.

Soks Co. has also been fortunate enough to partner with the Damiano Center to ensure that these socks go directly to people who need them. Austin goes on to say, “For us it has been so amazing to have their support in our mission. And that leads us back to the community. We have received so much support from people and small businesses who embody that sense of togetherness Duluth has. We truly wanted to make a difference in the community, something local that affects people right in our city.”

Soks Co. is currently only selling through the website www.soks.shop and are working on eventually expanding the company to be even more accessible. Go check them out if you haven’t already – they’ll definitely KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF 😉

Happy Thursday!


Written by Hannah Garrett on 12/07/2017

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


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


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



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


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


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


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


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


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!

Written by Hannah Garrett on 10/17/2017


3 Easy Back-to-College Tips

Happy August everyone!

That’s right, I said AUGUST. It’s here now, which means the chaos of “back to school” is too. Unfortunately, next you feel like strolling around Target looking at things you didn’t go there to buy, you’ll start encountering everything marking the end of summer (*tears*).

Although you probably don’t want to be thinking about it at all right now, I have a few ideas for you to slowly prepare ahead of time for going back to school…specifically, back to college. Sure, you could wait ’til the last minute to get on top of things, but why when you have all of the time in the world right now? Soon, your schedule will feel overwhelmed again with full-time class, extra-curricular activities, and maybe even a few part-time jobs if you’re like me. Nothing feels better than going into your first day of class fully prepared to take on the semester, so consider the following to help you stay on a successful path:

Start Planning Out Your Semester


Investing in a nice, organized planner is seriously worth it if you always have a lot going on, or have a horrible memory like me. Giving yourself an easily accessed visual representation of what is coming up in your life keeps you focused and attentive to what you need to be preparing for.

If you already have dates for family events, get them in your planner. If you already know about what times and days of the week you’ll be busy or have class, write them all down.

You’ll feel more productive and less flustered at the start of the school year (which is 27 days from now, eek!) when crunch time starts to kick in. Also, take a look at UMD’s academic calendar to help you note important dates throughout the fall.

Do Some “Fall Cleaning


I’m not referring to cleaning your house here. I’m talking about purging your closet and junk drawers of all of the “stuff” you’ve been collecting but not using. Start with one category at a time (clothes, shoes, old books, school stuff, random items) and make three piles: Sell, Donate and Throw.

Some things you’ve been hanging on to could still turn you a profit via a consignment store, garage sale, or a Facebook marketplace post. It may not be much, but having some extra cash for when school rolls around is always a perk.

Other items you have you may not necessarily be able to sell, but you don’t want to throw them in the trash either. Donate them to your local shelter or Goodwill so that they can actually be used by someone else.

Last but not least, throw away some of the stuff that is just down-right gross. Pair of dirty sneakers you haven’t worn in a few years? Toss. Half-eaten bag of stale Cheetos you find under your bed? Garbage. That pile of coffee-stained papers from your 10th grade writing class? Throw it away! (Well, actually you should recycle it if it is paper but…you get the point). Stop using up your precious space with things that hold no value anymore.

Organize Your Backpack


Your backpack may look exactly how it did on your last day of spring semester classes, and you probably don’t want that for this fall. Go through it, organize your supplies, and toss the stuff leftover you really don’t need.

Buy a few things from the store for classes. You’ll want to make sure your backpack is stocked with at least one pencil so you’re not that person asking to borrow one on the first day of school. Have a couple of notebooks, and your handy-dandy planner.

Also, it might not be a bad idea to throw together a small “emergency” pack to keep in your bag. This can include all the stuff you wish you had with you during school in a pinch, like different medicines, a mini-umbrella, facial tissues, a pair of extra socks, back-up headphones and non-perishable snacks.


Hopefully these ideas come in hand when thinking about what you need to do before school starts. And whatever else you think may help you prepare for this fall semester, do it! You’ll thank yourself later.


Written by Hannah Garrett on 8/01/2017




Make the Best Out of Your College Summer

Happy Friday, everyone! I am sure you are just as relieved for the end of the week to be here as I am. Whether you’re still coming down from the adrenaline rush of last week’s finals like me, or you’re already kicking back at your lake relaxing, all of us are pretty happy with knowing that sweet summertime is here.

So what are your plans this summer? Going home to work 40+ hours a week? Got an awesome internship to keep you busy? Taking a long trip around the world? Or catching up on your year’s sleep for three months straight?

Summer is an interesting time. A lot of college kids end up working a ridiculous amount of hours, experience the ups and downs of a challenging new internship, or travel around with family or friends and having fun. But, are you able to balance all of these things? Are you truly making the best out of your college summers?

Do you work to live or do you live to work?


Remember to make memories as well as move yourself forward in life. Last summer I worked two demanding jobs. I was so stressed out about saving money that I gave a very open schedule to both companies, and thus I worked practically every single day, including weekends. Sometimes I’d get a day or two off if I planned well in advance, but other than that I worked and worked and worked. And that was fine! I was being a mature adult straight out of her first year at UMD trying to save money for my upcoming time living in a house and paying rent and utilities. Nothing wrong with that, right?

The problem that I realized with this insanely busy work schedule was that I had no time for enjoying an actual summer. I got scheduled to work at both jobs, one in the morning and the other in the evening, on the fourth of July. It’s not that big of a deal, right? Plenty of people miss holidays with their families to work, I’d think to myself. I could have been at the lake with my parents and little sisters and grandpa watching fireworks and eating s’mores though. Instead, I started off my day selling clothes and ended it scrubbing out coffee-stained sinks.

Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with working hard to earn your keep in life. But…are you balancing out the other things that matter? The things that make you happy? I can confidently say that last summer I basically did nothing but work. I made almost no fun memories with my family and friends because I never had time for it. I didn’t do any of the things that made me happy.

Are you making time for this aspect of your life this summer? Are you allowing yourself to take a break from the clock and spending quality time with the people you care about? Or, are you a workaholic, driven mad by financial obligations?

What things can you do to make your summer more than just the “fun stuff?


On the flip-side, what if you are unknowingly planning to have too much fun this summer? Are you somebody who is ready to just sit back and relax all day, every day? Are you just going to work sometimes because you don’t really need to buy much when living at home? Are you excited to party every single weekend with your high school buddies and then lay in your bed all day afterwards?

Remember that this summer is a chance for you to gain a ton of opportunities and experiences helpful for college, if you choose to. Is there somewhere you can volunteer to boost your resume as well as your moral compass? Is there a place you can shadow a prospective career path you might like? Can you work somewhere that will give you much more related experience to your goals for your major? What more can you do?

Nobody is perfect, so maybe you do what I did and work an insane amount of hours over the next few months. Maybe you binge-watch every single season of Grey’s Anatomy or Parks and Recreation…twice. Whatever you do is up to you. But just know that it doesn’t hurt to think about how to evenly balance all of the things that are important to you. You might just get the best out it this summer.

Now go get some sunshine!


Written by Hannah Garrett on 5/12/2017

Why It’s Okay to Be Overinvolved (& How to Do It Right)

Hello everyone! I hope you are out enjoying the slightly chilly but absolutely beautiful weather we are having in Duluth on this wonderful Tuesday.

So, today’s post is about something I feel like is important to talk about when you’re finding your way through college and all of the opportunities it can give you. Recently, I was just elected as the Secretary of Attitudes Dance Association and the President of UMD Yoga Club. On top of that, I am the Scribe for Phi Sigma Sigma, I work two on-campus jobs, I was just certified as a NETA Group Fitness instructor, and not to mention I am an Exercise Science major striving for Physical Therapy school (which has requirements such as 100+ hours of PT shadowing). Talk about busy, right?

I am not alone though, and I know that for a fact because EVERYONE in my life right now is always insanely busy! I’m not the only nut cramming every last ounce of time in my color-coded planner to all of the things I’m involved in (Thank God).

So…is this a good or a bad thing?

The other day I was thinking this exact question to myself. Have I found myself to be a better person overall by being overly involved? I contemplated it for a moment, and I drew three big conclusions:

            a) I have always been someone who has a fear of missing out (FOMO) when it comes to opportunities. I have always been someone doing everything and anything, ever since I was little. So this just comes naturally to me.

b) By being so busy, I have to re-prioritize my time to be able to handle it all. And since I want to do it all, I have to make it work with what I’ve got. Otherwise, I have to cut my losses (i.e., what do I need to cut out that I don’t really want or need in order to have time for the ones I do?)

c) Being busy always trumps being not busy for me, as I feel extremely motivated by needing to complete certain tasks because of a time limitation or due date. If I do not have anything to do or time to spend lolly-gagging, I feel like I am absolutely unproductive and lazy.

When you read these two statements, do they apply to you? Whatever your answer may be, there’s one thing I want to explain. Being involved in a ton of activities and obligations does not mean you have no time, and it does not mean you can’t successfully “do it all” – you absolutely can.

Right now, maybe you’ve been stuck in a rut and feeling like you can’t handle all of the commitments you’ve made it college. Maybe you’ve been so close to being on top of everything, but you can’t quite play catch-up. Maybe you’re reading this and like “WTF I could NEVER be able to handle all that!” and thinking about exiting out of the screen. Whichever one you may be, LISTEN TO ME! I have some extremely helpful tips on how you can truly be successful with trying to handle it all.


Real time photo of my week last week; color coded and everything!
You seriously can’t remember everything. I don’t care if you think you have a photographic memory – ya don’t! Get a snazzy planner, use your google calendar, open your iPhone calendar, and WRITE IT ALL DOWN! Important dates, reminders, whatever your heart desires so that you know well in advance and don’t play the, “Oh crap, I didn’t know!” later on. You’re an adult now, start behaving like one who’s got it all together!

Cut Out The “Crap” that Doesn’t Bring Joy to Your Life

If it doesn’t make you happy, why the heck are you doing it?! (*Disclaimer, sorry, you can’t consider school as an example for this, we are all in H-E-double hockey sticks too with that one and it’s the one exception to this rule). If you are working at a job you absolutely loathe, GO GET A NEW ONE! If you are in one too many organizations and one of them just doesn’t seem to be fitting you anymore, SEE YA! If you are wasting all of your time and energy on someone who sucks the living soul out of you, straight up tell them BYE FELISHA! You get the picture. If you want to handle it all, you need to stop spending your precious time on things that really don’t matter.


People always ask me, “Hannah!! Why didn’t you open my snapchat from THREE hours ago yet?!” or “HANNAH!! You didn’t text me back within 10 minutes!”. Well guess what, friends? I am currently BUSY juggling all of my priorities, and the very last thing on that list is checking my phone every two seconds. If you honestly think you can handle everything you want to have in your life AND be on your phone 24/7, I don’t think you sleep. Ever. Cause that’s insane. Un-glue yourself from that tiny electronic and get s&%! done! Why waste your time scrolling through Facebook when you can be completing 5 assignments in one sitting and then have time later to screw around?

I could go on and on and on about how to be successful with multiple commitments and an abundance of priorities. But, those are the staple influential factors that help me “do it all” that I think anyone could apply to their current lives. So what are you waiting for? GO GET TO WORK!


Written by Hannah Garrett on 4/11/2017


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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