H.O.L.I.D.A.Y: An Acronym to Help You be More Thankful

A few weeks before finals, my mom asked me to send her my Christmas list, for which I laughably responded, “How about some financial stability?” She laughed too, but told me I seriously needed to give her and my dad some ideas for what to get me this year. This made me remember being a kid and writing a 5-page list with every toy, craft kit and weird contraption possible; each being something I, “absolutely needed!!!” Now, I sat there as a dumbfounded adult, not quite sure what I really could need. I ended up writing some ideas down, but nothing stuck out to me in the way little Hannah would have been excitedly scrawling in marker and glitter on her Dear Santa letter. 

This feeling got me thinking during my first few days back home for Winter Break. I started to reflect on how much my parents have given to me and my younger sisters over the years, despite not always deserving it. Like most other parents, they love us so immensely that even though we have definitely misbehaved and let them down in the past, they continue to give everything they can to us. With the exception of doing chores and aiming for good grades, they never expect anything in return. 

Realizing this fact throughout my years being a college student has made me feel so much more grateful for everything I already have; all the things not on that Christmas list. How can I express this gratitude though? I mean, you can’t always say, “Thank You!” and expect the person to truly understand how appreciative you are.  

So, I decided to make an acronym for showing and/or giving more gratitude to the people in your life: H.O.L.I.D.A.Y! In each conversation or situation with another person you find yourself in this holiday season, think, “How am I giving or showing {fill in the blank} in this moment?”

H: Help

How am I giving or showing help in this moment? 

If you’re sitting on your butt and notice your mom needs help cleaning, or your dad needs help cooking, jump in and lend a hand. If it’s not physical help, maybe it’s emotional by being there for someone who needs a friend to talk to. Actively think about how you are giving back to everyone who has given to you.

O: Optimism

How am I giving or showing optimism in this moment? 

Sometimes when around big groups of friends or family during the Holidays, we can become really negative and not realize it. People may try to be humorous when they feel uncomfortable or awkward, and end up poking fun at another’s expense. Little do we realize, we actually can hurt someone’s feelings a lot. That’s definitely not a way to show gratitude, so instead, think about how you are staying positive during conversation. Even if other people are being negative or maybe making a joke about you, still aim to be a better person by focusing on spreading kindness. 

L: Love

How am I giving or showing love in this moment?

Love is something we all appreciate during the holidays, but not everyone we encounter might be receiving it like we have. Try to reach out to those who you’ve lost touch with. Give to someone who is cold out on the streets. Volunteer somewhere that needs an extra hand. Tell your parents how much they mean to you. Send a heartfelt card to a dear friend. Pay for the car behind you at a drive-thru. It could be anything! Just do something to show you are trying to give back that love that you’ve gained over the years.

I: Interest

How am I giving or showing interest in this moment?

It’s easy for us to sometimes stop paying attention to someone or a situation and “check out”. We play on our phones, we think about all of our to-dos, and we don’t give that person or moment our time of day. Instead, try to think about contributing at least one though-provoking comment or expression of interest to this other person or situation. It could be something like, “Wow! I have never thought about it that way!” or “Interesting…How do you think this connects to me as a college-student?” (etc.). Even just nodding along and showing non-verbal cues is a way to show your interest and respect to the other person speaking. 

D: Demeanor

How am I giving or showing my demeanor in this moment?

This is another important one in my book. Especially around the Holidays when you are receiving presents and gifts, demeanor plays a HUGE role in expressing your gratitude for others. Yes, sometimes we get not-so-great gifts, but you don’t need to be the Grinch about it! Be thankful someone thought about you and spent their time and/or money putting something special together. There’s no worse feeling than giving to someone being so excited for them to open it for them to react negatively or show extreme dislike/disinterest in it. That feeling SUCKS, and I know because I have felt it before! Don’t do that to someone this season, so actively think about how you are reacting to opening a card or gift. You should aim to show genuine gratitude no matter what it is!

A: Appreciation

How am I giving or showing my appreciation in this moment?

This seems simple, but we don’t actively think about it moment-to-moment. What are you actually saying to people when you thank them? Think about other ways to say “thank you” by adding more meaning and personalization. Instead, say things like, “Mom, I really appreciate when you do {insert action here} for me. It means a lot and makes a difference for me day-to-day. I love you!” Change it how you like based on the person and situation. 

Y: Yourself

How am I giving or showing myself in this moment? 

This is the very last thing to consider in the HOLIDAY acronym, and personally, I think it’s the most important. Recently, I watched this video online that made me take a step back. It’s definitely worth the watch. We sometimes get so caught up in ourselves that we forget about everyone else. We think the world revolves around “me me me” and thus end up acting that way. Try to think about how you can behave more selflessly each and every day. 

That’s all you need to use this H.O.L.I.D.A.Y acronym this year. Give it a try and let me know what you think. It sure has made a difference for me, maybe it will for you. 🙂

Happy Holidays!!

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 12/21/2017

Advertisements

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.

recipe

  • 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

  • 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.

IMG_5978

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

1280_1OhfCCQu6DFu

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

top-b-l

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

 

 

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

priorities

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

flashcards

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

 

Countdown to Bulldog Welcome Week 2017: TEN DAYS!!!

Can you believe there are only TEN days left until Bulldog Welcome Week 2017 begins?! Crazy right! Summer has flown by so dang fast, but now the real fun has begun. BWW 2017 is going to have some amazing things in store from you to help you transition into life at UMD. This blog series will give you three main posts to prepare you for your one and only Bulldog Welcome Week so that you get the absolute most out of it. Today we’re going to talk about how to stay organized (enough) for all that’ll be going on:

There’s a Mobile App – So Get It!

Look for the University of Minnesota Duluth Orientation 2017 app. It’s downloadable in Google Play and the App Store. When I had BWW back in 2015, I absolutely loved this app because it helped me remember what to do, where to go and when to do it. It has all the options for workshops you can take and their descriptions, the schedule each day right down to the minute, and it even has maps to help you out as you get used to the campus. The 2017 version is even better! So, if you haven’t already, check it out!

Dress Cool & Carry Light

You may think you need to be fashionable and carry absolutely everything during your “first” week at campus, but you’re wrong. Unless the weather suddenly turns bitterly cold, dress lightly in clothing that you can constantly be moving in. Expect to get a little sweaty too, so make sure you always have a water bottle with you to stay hydrated. Wear shoes that are mega-comfy for walking in all day and utilize a small, lightweight bag to store your phone, keys, and whatever else you need in.

Make Sure to Get Your Sleep

Each and every day is going so be jam-packed full of fun, and trust me, you will be absolutely exhausted from it. Know that you’re going to have to wake up a little earlier than you think, so don’t stay up as late as you normally do. You’ll want to be fully recharged for the next day!

Stay tuned for the next countdown series blog post when only FIVE days are left until Bulldog Welcome Week 2017. Until then, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to fill out a comment/question for me to answer by clicking here. Have a great weekend everyone!

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 8/12/2017

 

Meet the Rockstars: Maggie Carey

1. Name: Maggie Carey
2. Hometown: Maple Lake, MN
3. Major(s) and Minor(s): Major in Communication, Minor in Photography
4. Year in school: Senior
5. If magic was real, what spell would you use first? It’s not necessarily a spell, but I would hands down use the undetectable extension charm Hermione uses to have an unlimited amount of storage in her bag! I believe that is any girl’s dream to carry so many things with such ease!
IMG_2785
6. Hands-down favorite place to eat in Duluth: Uncle Louis’s Café! Best breakfast in town, I am never disappointed there!
7. One thing you absolutely need to do before you die: Go back to Switzerland to visit my dearest Swiss friend!
8. What you wish you would’ve known when you began your first year at UMD: Cherish the moments and drink lots of coffee! Freshman year is the best year of college, everything is new and so are you! During my first year, I wish I would have joined more clubs. Get out there and be involved, you have nothing to lose 🙂
Written by Hannah Garrett on 8/2/2017

UMD Transfer Students

Hey everyone!

This will be a very quick post letting you know more about the ah-MAZING transfer student experience you can and will have at UMD. On the university’s main website, you can read updates and news related to what us Bulldogs are up to. One of the most recent articles, which you can read here, talks about how one transfer student not only adjusted to the UMD atmosphere, but thrived in it.

For more information about the transfer student process at UMD, please go to: http://www.d.umn.edu/students-transition/transfer-students

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 7/30/2017

Meet the Rockstars: Megan Sheppard

Written by Hannah Garrett on 7/22/2017

Meet the Rockstars: Kaleigh Nelles

Written by Hannah Garrett on 7/23/2017