Hints, Tips, and Things to Try: November

This month has been one of the craziest and rewarding months of the year, I believe. It started out absolutely horribly with losing a group of friends that I had known since elementary school. Some of them also happened to be the people I was living with, so I was somewhat forced to move back home and find a new apartment to live in with someone I do not know. Definitely thought that I was done with the whole living-with-someone-you-don’t-know thing Freshman year, but sometimes things just do not work out the way you planned them.

Because of all that, however, I have been able to form really great relationships with my family who has been absolutely amazing through all of this. I really can’t thank them enough for supporting me through all of this. On top of that, I got back to my blog which I am incredibly happy about. Shout out to you guys for really giving me some encouragement through a really hard time. It may not seem like it, but every view, like, comment, or follow makes me feel so very happy and encouraged. It really does mean a lot!

Things I Like/Think You Should Try

1. Christmas decorations! After Thanksgiving (notice the after part….) I broke out all the Christmas decorations I have for my room. There’s not a whole lot of them, but there’s really something about sitting on my room with a lit Christmas tree beside me that never fails to lighten my mood. I just love Christmas! 🙂

2. Pentatonix’s (that sound weird, but I think it still needs the apostrophe s….) Christmas CD. In particular, I really like their versions of “Mary Did You Know” and “Hallelujah”. They’re really just beyond beautiful, and if you haven’t heard them, you really need to. I really wish I could sing like them….*sigh*

3. Spiced Apple Toddy candle from Bath and Body Works. I actually got this candle a few weeks before Black Friday, so if you’ve read that post, this one will not be on there. This was my first ever Bath and Body Works candle, and I have been burning almost every night since I got it. I absolutely love that it smells like apples and cinnamon since that’s my absolute favorite scent combination (does that make any sense?). It literally smells exactly like apple cider which makes me really happy because I love drinking hot apple cider during the winter months, especially when I’m starting to get a cold or some other nasty bug. My mom also has the gingerbread smelling one (not sure of the exact name at the moment) down in our living room, and although I really didn’t think I would like it, I actually love it where it’s at. It’s definitely not as strong as the Spiced Apple Toddy one. It’s just like a hint of gingerbread every now and then which gets me all excited for Christmas! Plus, like all Bath and Body Works products, the packaging is beautiful.

4. Beating my boyfriend at games. Seriously, I have the high score on literally all the online games we’ve played together, and it is quite entertaining to watch him try his best to beat me. Yes, we’re both more than a little competitive. 🙂

5. Too Faced, Born This Way foundation. I’ve heard so much about this, and then when my friend bought it and let me try it, I knew I had to get my hands on it. I’ve tried a lot of foundations because I really like medium to full coverage, but I don’t like to feel the foundation on my face. This foundation does a really great job of covering up my imperfections, especially the really red spots near my nose, that I almost feel like I don’t even need to wear concealer. On top of that, it really does look perfectly natural and it doesn’t feel thick on your skin at all. It’s definitely the best foundation I’ve found so far.

img_18011

Random Things I Learned This Month

  1. Sometimes it’s best to cut people out of your life, especially if those people are damaging in any way to you. It’s not mean; it’s just necessary.
  2. The bird called Turkey in America is also called an India in Turkey and a Peru in Portuguese.
  3. Winter months can cause you to become depressed. There’s actually a specific name for it, Seasonal Affective Disorder.
  4. Apathy is sometimes a precursor to depression.
  5. The platypus used to be a myth. Sadly, no one believed in the duck puppy. 😦

Bullet Journal

I have been seeing a lot of bloggers (and just random people) talk about something called a bullet journal. I am obsessed with all things journal related, so obviously this peaked my interest. There’s just something about being able to go back and read your most intimate thoughts and feelings from a point in your life that I think is incredibly special. I have a journal I started my freshman year of college, and (especially recently) I love going back and reading through my first battle with depression. It gives me hope that I’ll be able to get through it again.

Anyway, I’m getting off track….back to bullet journals.

Recently, I finally decided to jump in and try the whole bullet journal thing out. When I first started researching it, though, I almost gave up because there didn’t seem to be a clear description of what a bullet journal is supposed to be or how to set one up. Later, I found out that this was because bullet journals are largely what you make of them. They’re somewhere in between a journal and a planner. They’re a place where you can let your creativity run wild while also staying on top of your daily/monthly/yearly tasks. It’s something that you can spend lots of time on to make it just right, or it can be something you only take out a for a few minutes each day. Regardless, just from the little experience I’ve had with them, I think they are very useful and at least worth a try. In case you want to try it out, here’s the basics of how to set up your own bullet journal and some examples of how I did mine.
img_17171

One of the unique things about this type of journal is that it starts off with an Index, which is basically just showing you what is on what page. Going off of that, you will also need to number each page that you use so you can add it to the Index.

img_17181

Next, you need a Key. This doesn’t necessarily have to be right after the Index. It can be before it, after it, or even on the last page. Regardless, I think it’s important to have at least until you get comfortable using it. For the symbols, you can also change those up. I decided to use the ones used on the Bullet Journal website. The key is to use some type of symbol that you can build off of when it’s either completed, migrated, or scheduled. I’ve seen people use triangles and fill them in when the project is completed or draw lines in it when it’s scheduled. It’s just whatever works for you.

img_17191

After that comes the Future Log. This is where you can get a glance at the entire year and generally what you have to do each month. To me, this would be a good place to put events like birthdays, holidays, and breaks so you can start planning for them ahead of time. You’re also supposed to put the dates before the event name so you can easily scan down and see about when each event is taking place during the month…..I kind of screwed that up lol. Using a pencil for the events is probably best for first timers like me. 🙂

img_17211

img_17201

Next comes an overview for each month and then the weekly planner for that month. I actually really like this about Bullet Journals. They start off with an overview of what you have to get done that year and then keep getting more and more specific. It’s almost like using a camera lens to zoom in and out on your life, big picture to small details. One thing I didn’t do to begin with but I’m going to do when I start planning out 2017 is make a section right after the future log where I list my goals for the year, then another section for monthly goals, and another for weekly ones.

So that’s the basics! Keep in mind that this is the bare basics to a bullet journal. There are so many other pages you can add to it. I’m going to add a mental health check in page, a Christmas gift planning page, one for books I want to read, and some others. Pinterest has some really great ideas if you’re interested. Also, going along with the journal aspect of it, if you have an event you want to write in depth about, you can just write it out like a journal entry right after the weekly planner pages. Like I said before, it’s all what you make of it.

*If you want more information about the basics, these sites really helped me out:

http://bulletjournal.com/get-started/

http://www.thelazygeniuscollective.com/blog/how-to-bullet-journal

 

 

Quote of the week

“Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.” -Unknown

I actually first saw this quote in my counselor’s office, and it has stuck with me ever since. I think that this concept is so important, especially when it comes to everything that I’ve been struggling with lately. If you stay focused on your past (especially if that past happens to be very painful), you will never be able to enjoy what is happening in the present. Holding grudges and being unforgiving will only end up hurting you in the end, not the other person. It can also cause you to miss out on some really great opportunities if you tell yourself that you can’t do something because of your past. No matter how hard it is, you just have to keep moving and looking forward.

Implementing Depression Plan

Today I realized yet again why I haven’t gotten much of anything done over the past few months. When I got up this morning (after sleeping the right amount of time but staying in bed for an extra three hours….baby steps 😉 ), I brought up my Depression Plan to make sure that I started working toward the goals I set out in it yesterday, and to be quite honest, I didn’t feel like doing any of it. Even the thought of doing the first one (texting someone other than my boyfriend/parents) made me feel like crawling back into bed, much less getting outside in the sun and exercising.

Another problem I ran into was that I have other obligations, like studying for my anatomy test tomorrow, that makes finding time for everything difficult. That definitely made me want to give the whole thing up. However, the more I decided to make the plan a priority, the easier it became to fit everything in. I just had start thinking about the plan as another obligation not an option. One thing that helped with that was combining points. For example, I need to get 15 minutes of exercise per day, and I also need to get 15 minutes of sunlight each day. If I did my exercise outside, that would knock out two tasks. Also, splitting things up helped. An hour straight of doing something may seem like too much, but splitting it up into fifteen minute segments during study breaks helped me get it done.

IMG_1691[1].JPG

For my exercise, I took my own advice and went for a walk outside while stopping to take some pictures on the way. I live on a road with a lake at the end of it, so it’s incredibly beautiful this time of year with the leaves changing. The only problem was that you have to walk through a path filled with trees, pine needles, and fallen leaves to get to the lake. Since it is an unusually warm day for November, I was afraid that I would meet a snake, so I ended up just walking up and down the street. I’m absolutely terrified of snakes, and I’ve already had to deal with one this year that decided to rest for a couple of hours in front of the back porch steps. That’s one too many for me…. After the walk, though, I felt so great. I felt like I had more energy, and I was just happier over all. It’s crazy how just a little bit of fresh air and exercise will do you a world of good. It just takes you forcing yourself to get out and do it.

As far as spending an hour doing something I used to enjoy, I wrote this entry and spent some time fixing some things that had been neglected on my blog. I also texted a girl from my church who has been trying to reach out to me ever since I got home from college this semester. She’s been having a really hard time the last few days, so I texted her to tell her that I was thinking about her.

IMG_1692[1].JPG

Overall, it was definitely hard to get started, but when I finally made myself get outside and go for a walk, it made me feel so good that I wanted to do everything else on the plan to keep the high going. I feel like it’s still going to be a long road ahead, and I’m still going to have to try and get up the motivation each day to continue moving forward. I’m so encouraged by the way I’m feeling right now, though, that I want to fight again.

My Plan for Fighting Depression

I’m the queen of thinking about things I want to get done and never actually getting them done….I have an incredibly hard time going to sleep, so usually this happens during that time each night where I’m tossing and turning for an hour (or three) thinking of things to do the next day. When the next day actually comes around, however, I would rather do more productive things, like watch Sponge Bob for four hours straight, than do what I had planned the night before. This is why I’ve decided to actually make a plan for fighting my slide back into depression. Some of the things in my plan may seem easy to some of you (like getting out of the house for at least 15 minutes each day), but when you’re struggling just to get out of bed in the morning and change out of your pajamas, you have to start small.

  • Text one person (other than my boyfriend and parents) everyday. If someone texts me, reply to them within two hours.

The problem with depression is that it makes you want to isolate yourself from everyone. Most of the time, it’s not even intentional. There have been a lot of times where someone has texted me, and even though I want to text them back, I don’t because I’m either too afraid of saying the wrong thing or I just don’t have the energy to start a conversation. Because of this, I’ve let a lot of really great relationships fall apart.

  • Spend an hour a day crocheting, writing, taking pictures, baking, coloring, or doing other things I used to enjoy.

One of the worst things about depression is that the things that used to make you happy either aren’t pleasurable or don’t make you as happy as they once did. Continuing to do them despite not feeling like doing anything, though, could help make you feel a little better.

  • Don’t sleep more than nine hours a day.

I’ve found myself sleeping 11-13 hours a day which may seem like the best thing ever, but when I wake up, I feel even more tired than before. I also feel like I’ve wasted the entire day, and I get upset with myself for sleeping too much.

  • Exercise for at least fifteen minutes a day.

Exercise is a really great stress reliever, and I always feel so much better about myself even if I’ve only worked out for five minutes.

  • Eat three meals a day, and eat at least one fruit a day.

Lately, I’ve only been eating dinner because I either don’t feel like getting up to get something to eat or just don’t feel like eating. Even then, my food usually consists of something I picked up at a fast food restaurant unless my mom cooked that night.

  • Get at least fifteen minutes of sunlight.

Being outside always lifts my mood. There have been times where I was too afraid to go outside, and my house felt more like a prison than a home.

  • Be gentle with myself.

I am a major perfectionist. If something does not go exactly like I want it to, I can be very harsh with myself. That also applies to this plan. I want to make an effort to celebrate my accomplishments (however small), and spend less time thinking about where I’ve fallen short.

  • Write down negative thoughts.

I’ve found that when I write out all of the negative thoughts floating around in my head, they seem so much less true. When they’re on paper, I can see clearly that it’s a lie and change it around to be more positive.

My Story: Part 3

Well, what started off as a series I meant to finish in a few days, at most a few weeks, actually turned into getting finished in a few months….sorry about that. This one in particular just has some personal things in it, and I wanted to word it right before I actually published it. If you’ve forgotten or would just like to read the other parts over, here are the links to the introduction, Part 1, and Part 2.

When I left high school, my main goal was to find a college that was as far away from the people who knew me as possible (and still affordable). As most people starting college do, I wanted a fresh start, and I didn’t think I could do that if there were still people around me who knew the girl I used to be. That thought process landed me at a university three hours away from home (Now, I know that may not seem like a lot, but I was an only child who had never been away from her parents before. My parents even worked with the youth group at my church, so I didn’t even go to camp without them.) with no friends, family, or acquaintances close by.

Looking back, I really think that transition would have been good for me had I not already had the beginnings of what turned out to be depression and anxiety. Once I got down there, I tried my best to get involved and do things with my roommates, but every time I tried I would get so scared of being around people who might make fun of me again that I would end up having a panic attack and not be able to go. Eventually, I just stopped trying. Other than the church group I attended every Tuesday/Thursday night, I didn’t leave my dorm room except for classes. I stopped eating because I was afraid to go eat alone at the cafeteria, and I was afraid to ask anyone to go with me for fear of getting rejected.

Determined to stick it out for the full year, I got myself through the first semester and found that the second semester was going to be even worse. For one, the church group was only for the first semester, so I didn’t even have that outlet anymore. Luckily, there was a big/little mentor program with the same group, so I signed up for that, and got two incredibly sweet girls that I truly believe helped me get through that semester.

Another reason the second semester was so difficult was because during the first semester, I had gotten to be good friends with one of the guys in my freshman seminar. I went to lunch with him everyday after class, and we even went out a few times besides that. Second semester, though, for some reason (which I later found out was because he had gotten in with the wrong group of people and started doing drugs) he completely stopped talking to me, to the point of  ignoring me. It absolutely crushed me because until the end of the semester I had no idea what had happened.

Anyway, (first off, I should probably mention that I’m pretty pale and very insecure about it….moving on) one day it was warmer than usual, so I decided to wear shorts instead of pants to class. While walking to the class, I was so insecure about how pale my legs were and had convinced myself that everyone was staring at me and laughing at me in their heads, that I started having a panic attack and practically ran back to my room before I was even halfway to class. That was when I knew something had to be done. I called my mom and told her I wanted to see a counselor. Shortly after that, I met with her, got on medicine, and she advised me to transfer to a school closer to home the next semester.

The following semester, I transferred to a community college, started going to see my counselor every other week, and after two years, I’m definitely much better than I have been in a very long time. There are still days when I feel like I’m slipping back where I used to be, but now I have a support system that keeps me from going back.

I’ll definitely be writing more about this topic in the future (I was just waiting to get this done), but for now, if you’ve experienced anything like this in your own life, I definitely urge you to get help as soon as possible. Getting help was the best decision I ever made. It’s not something you can (or should) deal with on your own. It doesn’t make you weak or any less of a person. It will help you get your life back. Looking back, there were so many opportunities that I could have taken and friends that I could have made that I didn’t because of all the fear controlling my life. My biggest regret is that I let so much time go by before allowing myself the chance to get better. Don’t make that same mistake!

-Alice

From the Raven’s Desk-Love

A while ago, I asked my boyfriend to write something for my blog since I thought he gave really great advice, and, many time, a different perspective on things than I normally would. I think different perspectives are very much a good thing and help you to form a more well rounded opinion. For his debut post, he chose to write about love, and besides the fact that I feel a bit awkward posting something that glamorizes me so much (didn’t know it was going to end up being about me lol), I really love and agree with what he said. Enjoy!


 

Well, hello there, snoopy little one! Looking down the rabbit hole, are we, now? You’ve most certainly heard of me from Alice. I’m the one she keeps referring to as The Hatter, or well, “her boyfriend.” When Alice first wanted me to write on this blog, I was a little hesitant. I mean, this blog, was, after all, always meant to be a way for Alice to help people like she loves doing, an outlet for her creativity, and a place for her to write, meet people, and just be herself. Plus, from what I’ve read on her posts, Alice makes me sound like a nice, helpful person, which I most certainly am not, and it’s going to be incredibly hard to live up to that pedestal Alice puts me on. It brings to mind the saying about never meeting your heroes, although I’m far from a hero, and you’ll probably never really meet me. Anyway, I digress. When I agreed to write a post on the blog, I was thinking about what I should write about, and while there’s a bunch of stuff I could write about, I feel nothing would be as appropriate as talking about the one thing that all of us love: Love. (See what I did there? ;))

I’m going to be honest here and say that I never used to be a big believer in love. While most people are turned away from love because they find the concept of it cheesy, or because they’ve had incidents that have pushed them towards that conclusion, to me, love was always something that I never thought I needed. I have always been incredibly ambitious, and a big dreamer, as Alice will tell you (I don’t really do anything with my dreams, but hey, that’s another story!), and I have, as long as I can remember, wanted to leave a mark on the world, have a page in the annals of history, make a name for myself. Having a happy family, in a house with a white picket fence, and watching kids run around was never something that appealed to me. In fact, I used to think that people who settled for a family were settling for something less than their “purpose” in life. All this, of course, changed when I met Alice, and that’s the reason we’re here today.

How I feel today couldn’t be further from how I used to feel about love. Since Alice came into my life my outlook towards life, and the world in general has changed quite a bit. “It’s love that makes the world go round,” said W. S. Gilbert. While I don’t know if that applies to the whole world, I know that it does to mine. Alice and I met online, on Wattpad, a site for bloggers. We started talking on that site for a while, and then started texting each other, and I still remember the day we had our first Skype conversation. I was boarding a bus to go visit some friends, and found a nice, secluded spot at the back and connected to the Wi-Fi. When Alice told me that she was having trouble getting on her computer as she had just spilt some Coke on it, I thought that I had been getting cat-fished for sure. I hadn’t. Alice really is that much of a klutz. I saw her for the first time, ever, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. She was beautiful, and far beyond what I had expected. I’d seen pictures of her, but they did her no justice, and her personality – a combination of naivety, awkwardness, and general goofiness, was unbelievably endearing. The reason I remember that day so vividly, is not just because it was the first time I “met” Alice, but because she wouldn’t stop talking! I’d been hearing for days about how shy she was with new people, and here she was, telling me about her entire family (this included her grandfather, grandmother, great-grand-uncle, and relatives I can’t even connect back to her now!)

From that day on, I’d say that Alice has changed me in ways that I never thought I’d ever change. I went from questioning the whole concept of a family, to wanting kids with her. From thinking that love was something stupid people did to wile away time, to wanting to spend every minute I possible could, with her. From thinking that long-distance was a sorry excuse for people that were either too shy or too busy to have a “real” relationship, to wanting to beat the odds, and spend a life together. In our own small way, I think we have shown ourselves, and the people around us, that love really does exist. That ‘true love’ is a possibility for even the biggest critic of the concept. That you really can put another person above yourself.

This is my understanding of love. It is far from the “one true way” and I will be the first to acknowledge that love can often take a different form and meaning to different individuals. To me, love is about wanting to spend every waking minute with another person. Love, is about thinking of someone and feeling that warm glow spread through you. Love, is about doing things that you’d never do otherwise, simply because you derive your happiness from another’s. Love, is about being yourself, and knowing that nothing will change. Love, is about going to bed, and waking up, thankful that you get another day to spend with your significant other. Love, is about wanting to watch the stars together, lying in a lush green meadow, holding hands, without a care in the world. Love, is about growing old together, hobbling away into the sunset, hands held. Love, is about Alice.

 

 

 

Advice for Future College Students

I kept putting this post off because I wanted it to be close to the start of the new semester, but I was in Walmart a few days ago and it was packed with kids and parents getting school supplies so I guess it already is close to the start of the new semester! I can’t believe how fast this summer has gone by. It seems like I just started summer semester, but I guess when you’re busy time does tend to fly by. I’m getting off subject….

Three years ago (has it really been that long??) I was starting college, and while I was really excited, I was also terrified. It was the first time I had ever been away from my parents, and, being an only child, I was really close to them. I had no clue what I was doing, and I found myself asking anyone and everyone for advice, so I thought I would share some tips I learned from other people and just through experience.

  1. Get involved!!! Oh my geez, I cannot emphasize this enough. This was definitely the one piece of advice I kept getting from other college students, and it is incredibly important. While it is true that you can meet people and make friends in your classes, it just doesn’t compare to the friendships and inclusion you get from being involved in a group or sport on campus, especially at a bigger college. It’s also a great opportunity to connect with new people and learn new things. My junior year I joined rowing (I had never rowed a day in my life….didn’t really even know it existed) with my roommate, and I ended up really enjoying it.
  2. Everyone there is just like you! For some reason going into college I felt like I was the only shy, scared, homesick girl on campus which couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone going into college is feeling the exact same things that you are. Everyone is looking to make new friends and have fun so use it as an opportunity to put yourself out there, do things, and sign up for things you wouldn’t normally try. College is definitely what you put into it.
  3. Keep up with your studies. I know so many people who started having such a great time living the college life their Freshman year that they completely threw studies out the window….just don’t do it. You may decide later on that you want to go to graduate school, and you’ll spend the rest of your college career trying to get your GPA back where it needs to be which may or may not be possible at that point. Besides, if you’re paying for it you might as well get the most you can out of your classes.
  4. Bring some homey touches. Making your dorm room/apartment homey and comfortable may not seem like that important, but it’s amazing how something as little as this can make being away from family a little more bearable. Make sure to bring lots of pictures of friends and family back home and maybe even your Senior yearbook. I brought mine, and it made me feel better to look through it and read messages from old friends when I was upset.
  5. Bring a pencil and paper your first day…. Yeah, I know this seems obvious, but I got so worked up about getting to class on time and finding the right building that I completely forgot to bring paper. Then I had to awkwardly ask the person next to me for it which was probably one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, especially after the look they gave me lol. This brings me to my next point.
  6. Find your classes before the first day. Yes, yes, yes. You do not want to have to try and find your classes on the first day. It may seem like it’s going to be easy, but I’ve had so many classes where the buildings were just screwed up. Class 201 was on the first floor, they added a wing called F that was between B and C. Just take the extra time the day before to familiarize yourself with the campus and your route to class. Take your roommate along and make it a bonding opportunity!
  7. Have fun! It’ll go by so fast, and since it’s the last stage before becoming a full time working adult, make sure you enjoy it!

And just because, here’s some pictures of my first college dorm room!

IMG_0516IMG_0518

Hints, Tips, and Things to Try: July Edition

So, this is something I want to do every month where I just list out the things I’ve learned throughout the month (some of them are funny, and some of them a bit more serious). I also wanted to list a few things I’ve really been enjoying this month that I think you guys would like as well! Basically, I just want it to be a quick reflection over the past month, and what’s included will probably be different every month. We’ll see how it goes. 🙂

Things I Like/Think You Should Try

  1. Duolingo . My boyfriend actually introduced me to this site when I said that I wished I had more time in my college career to learn a second language. I knew a little bit of French from my two semesters of it in high school and one semester in college, but I was nowhere near fluent like I wanted to be. I immediately checked it out, and I love it. It’s really simple to use, gives you a wide variety of languages to choose from, it doesn’t cost anything, and best of all, you can do it on your own time. According to my little owl on the side of the screen I am now 20% fluent in french. I know. I’ve still got a long way to go, but it’s a start.
  2. Our Q&A a Day I actually found this on Amazon while looking for a birthday present for my boyfriend. I love writing in journals, and I’m always looking for different things to do with him, so I decided to get it. Basically, you find the right date, and there’s a thought provoking question at the top of each page with space for both you and your significant other to answer. Under that, there’s space for the both of you to fill your answers out again the next year and the year after that. Then you can look back at your answers and see how they’ve changed from year to year. My boyfriend and I have both really had fun with it. If you want to go a little longer, there’s also a five year one, and if you prefer not to do it with a boyfriend/girlfriend there’s a similar one for moms, kids, and just one for yourself! I feel like any of them would make really great gifts for any occasion, especially birthdays and anniversaries.

IMG_0675[1].JPG

  1. Sivaji. My boyfriend actually made me watch this movie since I had never seen a Tamil movie before. I can honestly say it was an interesting experience haha. Apparently like other Tamil movies, it was three hours long (much longer than other movies I’m used to watching), and they broke out into singing and dancing quite often. I definitely wish that I could dance like those girls in the movie were….Anyway, the main character was played by a man named Rajinkanth who I’ve been told it quite the celebrity where my boyfriend grew up. Seriously, people go absoluty nuts over this guy. Like One Direction nuts. If you don’t believe me, watch this video and keep in mind that his is just a trailer for one of his movies….which they had to show twice to appease people. Overall, though, I actually really enjoyed the movie. It was lighthearted and fun to watch, and it was nice to learn about another culture while watching it.

Random Things I Learned This Month

  • Dishwashing Liquid is very different from Dishwasher detergent, and should not be used in place of Dishwasher detergent unless you’d like to spend a good chunk of your time cleaning up a very wet and soapy floor….IMG_0188[1].JPG
  • Always leave a pair of running shorts in your car in case you happen to spill coffee on your crotch right before class starts.
  • Also, it’s okay to skip class if you’ve spilled coffee on your pants. In fact, it’s much better than the alternative.
  • When green lizards pop out that red thing under their neck, they’re trying to mark out their territory.
  • Don’t ever take Organic Chemistry, Biology, and Medical Terminology together in the summer….

Combating Stress

In one of my earlier posts, I talked about some of the destructive paths that constant stress, worry, and anxiety can take. I think most people struggle with them, and I am definitely not any different. Especially since I started college, I’ve found that I struggle with them even more than before. I think that it’s incredibly hard not to worry when you’re in college. There’s a sense of urgency to try and decide exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life….which is kind of a big decision….one that I still haven’t completely figured out.

I’m not really sure that being completely stress free is possible. After all, things are always going to pop up in life that cause you to worry and introduce a little bit of stress into your life, but I think that you can get close with lots of practice and effort. Even just taking baby steps to relive some of it and make it manageable, can go a long way. I definitely haven’t figured out the path to stress free living (if you have, please share it with me!), but here are some things that have helped me reduce my stress load….

  1. Coloring. I have literally been obsessed with adult coloring books since they got really big around Christmas. I have about three now, and I probably spend more time than I should with them. I have to say probably more than anything else, though, they are the best at getting me to relax and concentrate on something other than my problems. Most of them, I believe, are actually made for stress relief as well.
  2. A hot shower/bath. Especially with summer classes, I’ve found it increasingly harder to find time to do other things that could help me relax. Turning the heat up a little and taking just a little extra time in the shower honestly can make me feel like a new person. I’ve also found myself taking baths more than usual (which isn’t saying much sense I never used to take baths) which has also been incredibly relaxing. Usually while I’m laying in the tub, I’ll read a book or listen to music. Add in some bubble bath, and it’s the perfect end to a stressful day.
  3. Spending time outside. At the beginning of the semester, I had over an hour gap in between Biology and Organic Chemistry. Originally, I would sit in one of the desks in the Biology building and read or study. One day, on a whim, I actually went outside and sat at one of the picnic tables just outside the Biology building. I was still studying, but I actually discovered that I was enjoying myself a whole lot more. When I got bored, I would just look over and watch a lizard or a chipmunk. It made studying a lot more fun.
  4. Reading. I used to love reading, and I’ve very recently gotten back into doing it more often. I think I love reading so much because you can easily be transported into another world where you can be and do anything you want. While reading, you don’t have to focus on your own problems or struggles.
  5. Working out/walking. I have definitely forgotten just how good you can feel after a workout (other than the sore muscles). Instead of feeling exhausted like you would think, I end up feeling way better about myself and my situation, am able to go to sleep much easier, and most of the time eat healthier after. It doesn’t even have to be a long, hard workout. Just going out and walking for a while can still give me the same feeling.
  6. Herbal tea. I have just started drinking herbal tea in the last week or so because I really didn’t think I’d like it (I grew up drinking iced, sweet tea). Finally I gave in and tried it, and after a day or so, I really started enjoying it. It does a really great job of calming me down right before bed.
  7. Spa night. On the weekends, I’ve started taking more time to get ready for bed and pamper myself. About a month ago, I got the Skinvigorate cleansing brush from Mary Kay, and I’ve added that to my skincare on weekends. I also use that time to do my nails, spend extra time with my hair, and use sugar scrub on my hands and feet. In the end, it just makes me feel a lot better about myself.
  8. Spending time with friends and family. After a hard week, spending time with my close friends and family always makes me feel better. Other than just being there to support me and make me laugh, they’re also really great at showing me a different perspective on my situation.
  9. Decide is it worth it? Are there unnecessary things, people, or events in your life that are causing you stress? Get rid of them! I’ve had to do this a couple of times, and even though it was hard at first, I ended up being a lot better for it.
  10. Sims…..yeah. I just love Sims haha. It’s one of those games where you can just make a version of yourself, use some cheat codes, and their life is perfect. Nothing more relaxing than that.

These are just some of the ways I try and get some stress relief after a long week (or day). If none of these work for you, I think the important thing is to keep trying until you do find something that works for you. Let me know if you have any different ideas!

-Alice