CollegeCultureInspirationMusic

Everyone has a playlist that gets them pumped up for a workout or to wake up early in the morning, but not all soundtracks are built for the perfect study session or relaxing at the end of the day. Finding what gets you going in the morning and what keeps you happy as the day goes on can really affect your mood throughout the day. If you don’t know where to start, here are some ideas from the experts.

Waking Up:

Some people need coffee to wake up, and some people need music (I need both!). Whether it’s a jolt of a song to shock you awake, or a slow, relaxing one to arise any sleepyhead, finding the right song so you wake up on the right side of the bed can really affect your mood for the whole day. It can be your favorite song that makes you smile every time you hear it, or it can be something that is scientifically engineered to get you up and out of bed. Spotify partnered with music psychologist David Greenberg to create the ultimate wake up playlist of twenty songs. Today.com has the playlist written out, and can also be accessed on Spotify here. His belief is that, instead of using the loudest songs possible, it’s better to listen to songs that gradually wake us up, preferably with positive lyrics.

Working Out:

When working out, you need something to keep you pumped up and keep going to push yourself even when you want to quit. When putting together a playlist, come up with a list of songs that get you moving naturally (i.e. songs that make you want to get up and dance!). For some, it’s some of the best sweat-worthy rap and R&B that pushes them to finish up the work out. For others, it can be Top 40 divas hits that get them going. If you’re doing a workout like Zumba where it’s all about dancing and shaking those hips, you’ll find yourself with some upbeat tunes that just keep you moving. Fitness Magazine and Six Pack Fitness both provide links to Spotify playlists so if you don’t have the time or desire to make your own, they’ve got you covered. Just be careful when you’re running: oftentimes your body naturally tries to match your step to the beat of the music, so if your music is too fast, you might tire out too quickly. Don’t forget to include some slower songs for when you reach the cool down of your workout, and breathe easy.

Studying:

We all know how studying can be a bit of a drag when you don’t have the right music to listen to. While some prefer to study in silence, a vast majority of the current generation finds themselves more productive when there is background noise to nod their heads along to. Studies in the past have shown that listening to classical music can improve cognitive function. Other studies have suggested that listening to music with lyrics can be distracting, so finding a playlist that’s instrumental-based works better than having Top 40s on repeat. However, not all of us might find that classical music gets the creative and studious juices flowing, so experiment yourself and find what fits for you. As everyone studies differently, music affects us differently too. Buzzfeed came out with a list of songs they find to be helpful while trying to get work done. Spotify also has plenty of playlists under their “Focus” tab, within Genre & Moods. ESM (Electronic Study Music) is my personal favorite.

Relaxing:

Don’t get me wrong, everyone’s version of relaxing is different. However, some songs are scientifically known to be calming to the human mind and are better to listen to when you’re in the mood to unwind. In that article, Ryot came out with the top 10 most relaxing songs – be careful though; as explained in the article, it did mention how the first song, “Weightless” by Marconi Union, was so calming that the women in the study found themselves drowsy, and thus listening to this song could be problematic when driving.

One of the easiest ways to shut the world out and completely change your mood is by putting headphones on and listening to your favorite music. Your mood throughout the day changes so many times, and is affected by the schedule you have that day and by your environment. As you go through your day, try switching up your music and see how it affects your mood.

Image: Flickr

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

The Girl Scouts is an incredible organization that turns young women into leaders. Becka Gately, one of these impressive young women, has always been involved in sports. Therefore, when it came time to choose a project for her Girl Scouts Gold Award, planning a health and fitness night in her community was a perfect fit. Becka established partnerships between the Kent School District, health organizations, and more than 40 volunteers, and she pulled off an event with more than 25 booths about nutrition, physical exercise, cardiovascular health, and more. Over 400 community members attended!

As a high school senior, Becka is involved with many extracurricular activities, including student government, National Honor Society, and DECA, a business leadership development program. She has a passion for business and helping her community, which she has had the opportunity to do through the Girl Scouts. Having been a Girl Scout since Kindergarten, Becka is no stranger to helping others and being a leader. Becka shares what she learned from the Girl Scouts, how she stayed organized when working on her project, and how she defines success. We’re so impressed with this ambitious young woman!

*The Girl Scouts Spotlight Series is an exclusive weekly Youth Spotlight on amazing young women who have earned their Gold Awards, the highest award that a Girl Scout can earn in the Girl Scout organization.

Name: Becka Gately
Education: Kentwood High School

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth”?

Becka Gately: I think “Seizing Your Youth” means taking every single possibility you have and taking advantage of it. Never in your life will you have the time or the freedom to join any group you want or any team you want. I think “Seizing Your Youth” means to find your passion and run with it.

CJ: What are you studying at school? What led you to those academic passions and why did you choose to study them in a formal setting?

BG: This year I am taking classes that I need to graduate, but in college I want to study business. Since joining DECA I have had an interest in business. I am also heavily involved in leadership in my school and I think both business and leadership correspond with each other. I am definitely a people person so I found that business was not only my interest, but also something that I am pretty good at.

CJ: During your senior year of high school you will serve as Vice President of DECA (a business leadership development program). How did you get involved in DECA?

BG: My brother actually encouraged me to do DECA. He participated in it his junior and senior year. He told me that I didn’t have a choice and that I had to do it because it would be something that will help me with the rest of my life.

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CJ: How did you get involved with the Girl Scouts, and what did you love most about being a Girl Scout?

BG: I got involved in Girl Scouts when I was in kindergarten. One of my friend’s mom was starting a troop and my mother put me in it. What I love most about being a Girl Scout is the opportunity to help my community. Being a part of Girl Scouts has given me so many opportunities to not only help the community, but to also meet more people in my community.

CJ: What are the top three lessons you learned from being a Girl Scout?

BG: 1. Respect everyone. You never know where being nice and respectful might take you.
2. Giving back is better than receiving.
3. Your life is what you make it.

CJ: To earn your Gold Award in Girl Scouts, you planned a health and fitness night in your community. By forging partnerships between the Kent School District, health organizations, and more than 40 volunteers, you pulled off an event with more than 25 booths about nutrition, physical exercise, cardiovascular health, and more. The night proved to be a huge success—with more than 400 community members attending. Amazing! Why did you choose this topic for your project, and what did the process of putting it together entail?

BG: I chose this topic because I have always had a love for fitness and sports. I have played soccer since I was five-years-old and played basketball and volleyball for a couple of years. A year of playing tennis made me realize that I would rather hit a ball with my feet than with my hands. I grew up watching baseball 24/7 because my brother played and my dad coached. I was surrounded by sports and fitness all growing up so being active became natural for me.

When I started to look into what I wanted to do for my Gold Award project, it was around the time where some of my younger cousins where getting to the age of having an interest in electronics. I noticed that not only were they not playing any sports but that they would rather sit on an Ipad then go outside and play. Another thing that I realized was I didn’t have the knowledge about nutrition compared to exercise. This was one of the reasons I added the nutrition part to my event. Not only did I want to help the community learn about being active, I wanted to learn about nutrition and what I can do to be healthier.

Once I had this concept an amazing opportunity came about. My mother’s school at the time had been chosen by Molina Health Care and the Hope Heart institute to sponsor a health event at their school. After meeting with both Molina and Hope Heart, the event really started to come together! After that I just had to come up with some activities and get donations.

CJ: How did you keep your project organized as you were working on it? How did you balance your workload with school, extracurricular activities, etc.?

BG: When working on my project, I stayed organized by holding weekly meetings. I had a meeting every Friday afternoon with my advisor and my mother. I really enjoy being busy and giving my time to others, so for the majority of my extracurricular activities I spend time at school. During the school week I usually spend two hours after school being involved with Associated Student Body (ASB), DECA, National Honor Society (NHS), or leadership. Then I play soccer and have dinner. I try to have one night during the week where I can just be home. I also try not to plan things on Sundays so I can spend time with family and get homework done.

CJ: Do you have mentors? How did you go about finding them?

BG: I have two mentors. One is my DECA advisor and marketing teacher Mr. Zender. I have known him since my brother joined DECA. My other mentor is our school athletics and activities director Ms. Daughtry. I meet her when I decided to join ASB. She has really encouraged me to put myself out there and make a difference. She has also given me so many opportunities to expand my leadership skills and learn more about myself. Now I get the opportunity to work with her every day as I am the ASB president.

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CJ: To you, what does it mean to be a good leader?

BG: I think a good leader is one whose actions speak louder than their words. There’s a great quote by John Quincy Adams that says “If your actions inspire other to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” I believe a good leader does not just tell people what to do but also shows them and inspires them to become better leaders.

CJ: How do you define success?

BG: I think success is giving 100% of what you have into something. I think everyone has different successes in their life, but you can’t compare other successes to yours. To be successful you need to believe in yourself and be happy with the effort that you are putting into your passion.   

CJ: Will you be going to college next year? How do you plan on tackling the college application process?

BG: I am planning on attending college. My plan is to start early on the application process and follow my gut.

CJ: What is a book you read in school that positively shaped you?

BG: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

CJ: What are your favorite books?

BG: Divergent, The Great Gatsby, and The Art of Racing in the Rain.

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

BG: I would tell my 15 year-old self two things. First, join as many teams and events as possible. You never know the people you will meet and the experiences you will have. Second, that some people come and go but the ones that stay are very special.

Becka Gately Qs 

Images by Becka Gately

Health

As a college athlete, health isn’t something I’ve ever been able to simply ignore. Though it can be frustrating at times to always carefully plan meals and workouts, I’ve seen the ways in which my active lifestyle has taught me important lessons about my health. Here are some of the tips that I’ve implemented over the years to keep me happy and healthy:

1. Do something active every day.

Even if it means going for a brief walk before breakfast. I find that it’s much easier to complete a workout if I do it first thing in the morning. This isn’t just good for your body, but good for your mind as well. The days where I’m not playing tennis or lifting, I’ll go for a hike or do yoga. I always find that cross training and stepping out of my comfort zone is more fun anyway!

Don’t beat yourself up if you only complete half of what you thought you could do. The hardest part is getting up and doing something. If you really take it one day at a time and work toward a small goal each day, you’re more likely to reach your bigger goal in the long run. Not to mention that the more you work out, the more you want to work out. Similarly, the less you work out, the less motivated you will be to start.

2. Document what you eat.

I want to clarify that I am not a calorie counter. But there is a difference between counting calories and writing down your meals. I, personally, don’t like looking at a list that reads: chocolate croissant, white mocha, and chicken Alfredo. I would much prefer to see a list that says: berry smoothie, grilled salmon, and quinoa.

For some people, it works best to write their meals down ahead of time. However, if you’re someone who has the tendency to cheat (guilty!), then sometimes it helps to write down what you eat after you’ve already eaten it.

This may be a bit of guilt tripping, but it forces you to take a serious look at the way you’re treating your body. You not only become more aware and health-conscious, but you can pay close attention to the way you feel after you eat certain foods.

Nonetheless, it does help to have a food schedule for the week. If you have an extremely busy schedule and very little time to cook for yourself, dedicate a couple hours on the weekend to prepare your meals for the week. Not only is it harder to cheat on meals you’ve already made, but it also saves a lot of cash.

3. Adopt the buddy system.

Not every friend you have is going to be working toward the same goals as you. However, it does help to have someone keep you accountable. Even the most disciplined people can’t maintain that discipline 24/7.

For example, if one of your goals is to keep track of your indulgences, make a pact with a friend to text each other every time you eat something sweet. Even if you promise yourself one small treat each day, you’ll feel obligated to let someone else know when you cheat. (Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.)

4. Don’t focus on the numbers.

Weight, calories, reps…they’re all just that: numbers. Weight fluctuates, calories are deceiving, and there are days when no one feels like working out.

As an athlete, I’ve learned to focus on three things: how I feel, how my clothes fit, and how I move on the tennis court. How you feel is always most important. Often times the healthier you eat and more active you are, the less groggy and more motivated you’ll become. Nutrition is energy. Exercise is a healthy and satisfying way to release that energy.

Nonetheless, it’s good to pay attention to other factors as well. If exercises that used to seem easy for you now seem difficult, that may be a sign that you haven’t been doing your body justice. If you’d reached a healthy weight, but now find that you’re swimming in your clothes or can’t button your favorite jeans, that may be another sign that you haven’t been paying close attention to your health. The busier you are, the more these little signs matter.

As most of us enter into adulthood and begin to lead busier lives, our health tends to fall on the wayside. Though my health was something that I was required to pay attention to, I admit that there were times I didn’t do my best at maintaining it. All in all, paying attention to your health will make you feel better. It will make you a genuinely happier person, fighting depression, anxiety and other mental health issues that kick in when school and careers become stressful.

So when you wake up in the morning and don’t feel like working out that day, do it anyway. Wake up an hour earlier if you have to. Skip the croissant and have some granola. To this day, I’ve never regretted a workout and I’ve never regretted eating my vegetables. The hard work is always easier than the regret of not living up to your potential.

Image: Julia Caesar

HealthProfessional SpotlightSpotlight

After experiencing the magic of rehabilitation in high school, Vikash Sharma decided to pursue a major in Exercise Sports Science. Vikash went through many years of schooling and a residence experience that ultimately led him to open up his own physical therapy practice, Perfect Stride. As a runner, Vikash has first-hand experience with what his patients are going through, and he and his team work hard to help their patients fully recover.

Vikash gave Carpe Juvenis an exclusive look into his business, his top running tips for preventing injury, and why meditation and exercise are the keys to maintaining his happiness.

Name: Vikash Sharma
Education: Major in Exercise Sports Therapy and Minor in Philosophy from Elon University; Doctor of Physical Therapy from The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences; Orthopaedic Residency at Temple University
Follow: Perfect Stride Physical Therapy / @PerfectStridePT

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define ‘Seizing Your Youth’?

Vikash Sharma: Seizing your youth is about taking risks and understanding that there is plenty of time to learn, grow, and recover. As you begin to move further into your life, these opportunities to take risks diminish as responsibilities and commitments take priority.

CJ: You majored in Exercise Sports Science and minored in Philosophy from Elon University. How did you decide what to major and minor in? 

VS: My decision to major in Exercise Sports Science came due to the fact that it was the degree that would allow me to fulfill the most pre-requisites for Physical Therapy School. It was a decision that I had made fairly early in my undergraduate career due to the numerous hours that I had spent rehabilitating various injuries in high school. I just loved the casual atmosphere and positive interactions that I had with my Physical Therapist (PT). It always remained in my mind as a career option.

My minor came as a result of wanting to delve into something that I didn’t have much prior experience with. After I took a few classes, I couldn’t stop. It made me think differently and opened up my mind to looking at the world in a new light.

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CJ: You also received your Doctor of Physical Therapy from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. What inspired you to go back to school to receive this degree?

VS: It was something I had known that I wanted to do since selecting my major in undergraduate. Working with my PT in high school and seeing how they were able to spend quality time with each of their patients and really unravel the mystery that is each and every person’s body sparked an early interest in me.

CJ: You were an Orthopaedic Resident at Temple University. What were your experiences as a Resident like?

VS: They were amazing; coming out of my doctoral program I had a great scientific and theoretical understanding of what should happen. However, as we all know, that’s not how things always happen. This is where the residency experience was extremely helpful. It bridged the gap between being a novice clinician without any direction and guidance and being a skilled practitioner who is able to recognize various patterns and draw upon clinical experience.

CJ: You co-founded your own physical therapy practice, Perfect Stride Physical Therapy. What does your role as physical therapist entail, and how do you balance those duties with your role as co-owner?

VS: My role as physical therapist entails working with my patients to help them return to their optimal level of function; essentially get them moving as well as they possibly can. I do this through careful assessment of each individual’s unique body structure and ability to move. Based on these findings a plan of care specific to that individual’s need is developed.

These duties as a physical therapist are balanced with my duties as a co-owner through very careful planning and execution with my team at Perfect Stride. We all work very well together towards ensuring that our clinic remains at the forefront of physical therapy practice and is running efficiently. My business partner Daniel Park, our office manager Austin Shurina, and our Director of Operations and physical therapist Joseph Lavacca are all to thank for the success of Perfect Stride.

Perfect Stride -1

CJ: You specialize in sports rehabilitation. Why is this topic of interest to you?

VS: As a youth I spent a great deal of time participating in a number of sports and with this love for sport came injury upon injury. Spending time in physical therapy for sports rehabilitation piqued my interest in this specialty early. I was always fascinated with the human body and how it is able to heal from injury and bio-mechanics.

CJ: What have been the greatest lessons you’ve learned in opening your own physical therapy practice?

VS: As cliché as it sounds, you have to be willing to take the risk to make your dreams come true. I have always known that I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps and open my own business. However, moving outside of your comfort zone and taking a risk on something that isn’t guaranteed takes a lot of passion and dedication. Looking back, I can say that it has been one of the best risks that I have taken in my life thus far. It has opened countless doors for me and also changed my personality for the positive as I am much more confident stepping outside of my comfort zone.

I have also learned that you have to be a salesman, you have to always be looking for opportunities to further yourself and your business because they arise with each and every interaction that you have.

CJ: You have been an avid runner for most of your life. For those who are interested in running and preventing injury, what tips do you have?

VS: Most of the running injuries that I see walk through my door are a result of not allowing the body to adapt to the loads that are put on it (doing too much too quickly). The body has an amazing capacity to heal stronger than before. However, many people are too eager to get running and don’t acclimate their body to the loads and stresses appropriately.

Cross training also comes along with this adaptation process. By properly training your tissues under loads similar to or greater than what running demands on the body (forces up to 2.5 times that of ones own body weight), you are conditioning your tissues for success. Coupled with a proper nutrition plan, training schedule, recovery plan (the most underrated aspect of training in my opinion), and equipment, you are laying all of the groundwork to ensure that you are setting yourself up for success and avoiding a trip to see me for a running related injury!

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CJ: What is your favorite running shoe?

VS: Saucony Kinvara – I love the heel to toe drop and feel of these shoes.

CJ: What is your favorite running warm-up?

VS: I have a few depending on the situation but I like this one presented by Dr. Mark Cucuzzella.

CJ: Every day in your life must look different depending on your projects and the time of year, but what does a Monday look like for you?

VS: Before I even get the chance to step out of bed I am usually responding to emails and planning the day. My mornings are usually a mix of breakfast, making phone calls, working out, running errands, answering more emails, and getting into work.

CJ: What should a young adult who wants to be a physical therapist do now to set him or herself up for success?

VS: I would highly suggest gaining some experience as a PT aide or getting some observation hours under your belt at an early age. I would also recommend looking at particular schools’ pre-requisites for admission as they can vary from school to school. Make sure that you are covering all the necessary courses during your undergraduate studies.

CJ: What are some books, resources, and websites that have influenced you – either personally or professionally (or both)?

VS: In terms of professional resources, there definitely isn’t just one. I can’t stress the importance of communication and consultation with my peers. Getting a better idea of how others think and gaining perspective on the bigger picture has allowed for me to grow infinitely as a practitioner. This, along with getting my hands on any text or web-based resources that are evidence-based, have gone a long way in my growth as a practitioner.

CJ: When you’re having a bad day, what do you do to reset?

VS: Meditation and exercise are the keys to maintaining my happiness. My meditation practice is mainly based around focusing on and controlling my breathing. I have had some formal training in Buddhist meditation; however, my practice comes largely from what I have found to personally work best for me over the years. I have always found that getting in a strenuous bout of exercise is a great physical and mental reset; it makes me feel more alert, increases my energy levels, and most importantly gets my body moving!

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CJ: What are you working to improve upon – either personally or professionally – and how are you doing so?

VS: Personally – I am always looking to be decrease stress in my life and this is something that I heavily rely on my meditation practice to help me with, in addition to remaining physically active.

Professionally – Currently my focus is on learning more about what I can do to get all of my patients moving and feeling better than they ever have. This is done through taking continuing education courses (that we also host at Perfect Stride) and reading as much as I can possibly get my hands on.

Another big goal professionally is growing Perfect Stride Physical Therapy to better service the needs of our patients. This is accomplished through patient feedback and careful planning and trouble shooting with the rest of the team.

CJ: What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

VS: I would tell my 20-year-old self that failure is an option, failure is acceptable, and that failure is welcomed with open arms just as long as it is learned from. There have been countless instances where my fear of failure has stopped me from doing what I wanted in my youth and now looking back on those instances I can say if I had taken the risk I would have either succeeded and/or learned a great deal from whatever endeavor I pursued.

Vikash Sharma Qs

Health

  1. Dance in the rain
  2. Drink hot chocolate
  3. Watch a movie
  4. Catch up with friends and family
  5. Sleep late
  6. Relax by meditating
  7. Read a good book
  8. Cook a meal
  9. Bake from scratch
  10. Bring out an old board game
  11. Try on clothes and create new outfits
  12. Experiment with different makeup looks
  13. Take an artsy Instagram
  14. Read articles about your favorite inspirational person
  15. Paint your nails
  16. Spend an hour on Pinterest
  17. Plan a weekend adventure
  18. Listen to new music
  19. Make a mix CD
  20. Jump in a puddle
  21. Order takeout
  22. Try some new hair styles
  23. Paint
  24. Make mac and cheese
  25. Solve – or attempt to solve – a Rubix cube
  26. Update your photo album
  27. Take a hot bath (with a bath bomb!)
  28. Go through old yearbooks
  29. Search through Instagram
  30. Online shop and see how expensive your cart gets
  31. Watch your favorite YouTube star
  32. Practice an instrument
  33. Play balloon volleyball
  34. Workout
  35. Play videogames
  36. Write in a journal
  37. Brainstorm new business ideas
  38. Organize your closet
  39. Walk around your neighborhood
  40. Take a 20 minute nap
  41. Refresh by brushing your teeth and washing your face

Image: StokPic

CultureHealth

Nestlé is infamous for many products; I will never forget the excitement I would feel whenever my mother would whip out a container of Nestlé’s powdered chocolate milk. However, it is not chocolate milk or even baby formula that is putting Nestlé at the forefront of health news. The company recently released news about “Exercise in a Bottle” and if it does what they say it can do, this product could mean great things.

The Scientists at the Nestlé Institute for Health Science have found that working on a specific enzyme, AMPK, that, when controlled, stopped the liver’s production of fat. These scientists have coined this enzyme the “metabolic master switcher,” but still reiterate the idea that regular exercise along with use of the product is the best option.

This product will most likely be marketed to people with Type 2 Diabetes, obesity, and other metabolism related issues. Nevertheless, the scientists explain that this will most likely be safe for normal use instead of a constant exercise routine after research has been completed on the product. So who’s to say that people with functioning metabolisms cannot use them? After reading this article, one of my friends suggested selling these bottles post-holiday feasts like Thanksgiving. Once you have filled up on stuffing, mashed potatoes, and turkey, instead of feeling lethargic and guilty for a few days you could just down some “Exercise in a Bottle.” Jokes aside, whether or not this product will become geared towards public use is still up in the air, but the fact that scientists have figured out a way for people to regulate their own metabolism and possibly cure their infirmities is miraculous.

Image: Pedro Angelini

EducationHealth

Stress: it’s a way of life for most students. The ever-present nudging of worry against an unsteady conscience, the realization that there’s always something that hasn’t been accomplished or adequately prepared for.

Stress is not a pleasant state of being, yet it’s one of the most common in the world – everyone has felt that twisting in their gut at some point in their lives. Yet the world continues to function despite the pressure constantly bearing down on everyone. Sometimes, however, it can feel like a lot to cope with, but with practice and a few simple strategies, it’s much easier to handle.

First and foremost, throw procrastination in the trash – as soon as you’re rid of that rushed feeling you get when it’s midnight and OH MY GOD that paper is due in SIX HOURS, you’ll be a lot calmer.

Another strategy is to have something that you know will calm you down. It can be anything from working out to endlessly Googling acapella groups (that would be me). Of course there are the old favorites – get enough sleep or enjoy a snack.

If you keep these tips in mind, stress will slip away, and you’ll find yourself calmer, and happier.

How do you de-stress?

Image: Silvestri Matteo

Health

You think you’re healthy, but have you ever wondered what it’s like to have a stress-free morning? Many times, we don’t realize that being healthy goes further than being physically healthy; it has to do with being mentally healthy, as well. There are many do’s and don’ts: do exercise, do eat plenty of fresh greens, don’t go near processed foods, don’t munch on late those night snacks, and do check out that yoga center that’s just around the corner! Although these are all great things, we must not neglect to underscore the importance of maintaining a stress-free morning routine.  Consider these few tips to help keep your morning game on!

Avoid Technology First Thing

How to not check those morning streams of Instagram posts, flips of late night Snapchats, or the urge to text X friend about X morning thought?  However, resisting technology and avoiding grabbing your phone or touching that computer for the first hour of waking up will allow you to hold the peace of mind to focus on just yourself. It also decreases your reliance on technology and you will be able to concentrate on other important things. Morning texts, e-mails, appointment alerts, and social media feeds spark the first dose of mental stress. It’s best to simply stay away from white noise, artificial bright lights, and overall technology in order to focus on yourself for that first hour.

Drink Water

There is nothing more revitalizing that chugging a glass of water at the break of dawn. Studies have shown that water cleanses your blood from toxins, which in turn, makes your skin glow and renews your cells by increasing the rate at which new muscle and blood cells are produced. Also, nutrient absorption is boosted by purifying your colon. It also helps balance the lymph system and fluids in your body. But the best part? It spikes your metabolism by 24% which means that this is great for weight loss! Who knew that simply gulping down water could do such wonders to your body? Try a cold glass of water, or warm water with lemon.

Meditate and/or Exercise

Every person is different, and there are different ways for each person to meditate. Meditation can consist of doing yoga, sitting in silence, showering with essential oils, or even take a quick trip outside to be with nature. Walking outside, watching the sunrise, and even going for a run on the dawning beach is a great way to clear your mind. Also, meditation is for a great way to begin the day in a peaceful surrounding and to encase your mind with positive thoughts.

Exercising first thing in the morning is also a great way to start your day. Whether you exercise inside or outside, increasing your heart rate does wonders for your body. Working out first thing in the morning is a smart way to get your daily sweat out of the way. If the weather is good, get your fitness on outside. Studies show that you will be a happier person if you are outside. In the University of Essex, they have studies that have shown that “green exercise” or exercising outdoors can improve your self-esteem and mood. I would say this is an excellent way to start your day!

Avoid Rushing

Rushing is an integral part of American culture. America is constantly running to get to work, school attendance, an appointment, an event, a meeting, a flight etc. The point is, we never want to be late, yet we are always on the verge of it. This is perhaps one of the most stress-inflicting things that the body can go through. You can avoid this by picking out your next-day’s clothes the night before, making a to-do list in the evening so you won’t forget anything in the morning, and the most effective one, I think: wake up extra early. This will give you the peace of mind that there is no way you can be late since you’ll be able to avoid rush hour or any other incidents that may impede on timeliness.

Shower with Cold Water

Turns out, there are more health benefits to cold water than just drinking it! Showering with ice cold water is incredibly beneficial for your body, as painful as that may sound. It increases your metabolism fifteen fold! After exercise, cold showers also help your body recover by reducing soreness. Heart rate increases when exposed to a surge of chilled water which in turn, causes faster blood flow which will up your energy big time and help you avoid hypertension and the hardening of arteries. There was a study at Virginia Commonwealth University showing how cold water stimulates the main source of noradrenaline, or a chemical that may be used to decrease depression. All in all, starting off your day with a cold shower is a stress reducer and yes, I will repeat, very healthy.

Any of these tips will be great to implement into your current routine. It feels great to start your day off on the right food! How do you maintain a healthy morning routine?

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HealthSkills

Everyone’s goal seems to be to stay in shape nowadays. Of course, talking the talk is so much easier than walking the walk, so here’s a little help for getting on the right track.

  1. Find a Workout Buddy – Everything is easier with a friend, after all! Having someone there to support you on that last mile, or doing that last set where you literally feel like your limbs are going to fall off, can make a world of a difference. A little moral support can go a long way! If you want to go even further, join a sports team or fitness club. With so many people backing you up, working out will be downright easy.
  2. Start Slow and Make it a Habit – As the saying goes, nobody just goes out and runs a marathon. Don’t expect to show up one day and be able to lift the heaviest weight, or run ten miles. Start simple, and when the improvements start showing, up the ante. As long as you stick with it, you’ll be seeing results in no time.
  3. Get out of the Gym – Who needs treadmills when you have the whole world out there? A workout doesn’t necessarily mean slogging away in the gym. A hike, a trail run, yoga in the neighborhood park; all those count as well. The great outdoors is your fitness oyster, so don’t be afraid to step out of the gym.
  4. Manage Your Time Effectively – In this day and age, there’s always something pressing to spend time on, whether its homework, a job, or the season finale of your favorite show (and then it ended in a cliffhanger, so of course you have to start the next season on Netflix, and this season looks so good and…) However, just as there is time for Netflix, there is time for exercise (and studying should fit in there somewhere, too). Block your days out so you have a specific time where you can set everything aside and just go for a run. Chances are, you’ll feel much better having done it (and your show will be waiting for you when you get back).
  5. Give Yourself Days Off – Results don’t happen in a day, but injury and bad attitude can. If you’re sick or sore or just feeling like the world is crushing you, take the day off. Carrying the weight of the world can be just as much of a workout as carrying dumbbells. When those days hit, don’t force yourself through a miserable workout. Go for a walk instead, and give yourself a break if you need one.
EducationHealth

College is pretty expensive and not just because tuition is ridiculously high or because our wallets cry every time we purchase a textbook. Being a college student requires us to spend a lot of money because there are other expenses that tuition and scholarships don’t cover. For those of us who are dead set on avoiding the freshman 15, the sophomore 20, and any other amount of weight gain that comes with the mostly sedentary college life, then one of the most important things to have on campus is a gym membership. But for those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to go to a university that allows free access to the gym, I’m here to give you some alternatives.

  1. Walking/running: The good thing about living on or near a college campus is that there’s a lot of ground to cover. It doesn’t matter if your campus is huge or small, you can easily use the layout of the land to your advantage, and walk (or run) a few laps to get some cardio in. Bring a few friends along with you both for safety reasons and so you won’t get bored on your walk.
  2. Buy weights/kettlebells: You can easily find deals on personal workout equipment online or at any store that sells weights, dumbbells, kettlebells, etc. Whatever you end up paying for weights will be a lot less money than what you’ll pay purchasing a gym membership at a university. And if you’re not sure what to do with the weights or whatever equipment you chose to buy, this next alternative will be of use to you.
  3. Workout DVDs/YouTube: There are many $5 dollar workout DVDs that are available to rent or purchase. Or if you don’t want to buy one just yet, get on YouTube and search for some workout videos there. They have a variety to chose from and a lot of them will get you started using any equipment that you bought. If you’re interested in yoga, you can find a variety of yoga videos and workouts that help target a specific area that you want to work on.
  4. Bike riding: Remember that bike that collects dust in your family’s garage? Not only is it a great form of transportation, especially on a large campus, but it will put those leg muscles to work.
  5. Sports: You don’t have to try out for an official team if you don’t want to, but you can get involved in club sports and intramurals to stay healthy and in shape.

Choosing any combination of these alternatives will get you into shape in no time and, more importantly, it’ll save you money in the long run. Exercise with a friend both for support and for safety, especially if you choose to walk or run around campus. Also, drink plenty of water and remember to stretch before and after every workout. Working out outside of a gym might take a little more effort, but that’s okay. Your health and body will thank you at the end of the semester.

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HealthSkills

Maybe you’re having a bad day or maybe even a bad week. It can be hard to stay positive when life just seems as though it isn’t ever going to go your way, but here are some tricks to keeping an optimistic mind!

1. Reminders

Having inspirational and motivational quotes as a daily reminder to maintain a positive attitude can be extremely helpful! Whether that’s putting Post-It notes on your mirror that you can look at as you get ready in the morning or having an alert on your phone for a middle of the day pick-me-up, adding positive sayings to your daily routine can brighten your day!

2. Exercise

Exercise is proven to make us happier. Not only does it relieve stress, but the results of exercise cause us to feel better about ourselves on the inside and outside, giving us a feeling of accomplishment and an attitude that wants to accomplish more!

3. Your Diet

Yes, that chocolate cake may give us temporary happiness, but eating healthy has a similar effect on us as exercising! Taking care of ourselves on the inside makes us feel better on the outside and gives us a more positive outlook!

4. Socialize

Spending time with people will boost your mood as well. We love to be around company, and being around others to talk and laugh with is an easy way to put a little pep into your step.

5. Surround Yourself with Positive People

If you’re with people who have a positive outlook on life, it will help you to do the same. Being around negative people can cause us to be negative as well. Of course, it’s important to be there for your friends, but being around people who are negative 24/7 will only do harm to yourself.

6. Take Time for Yourself

Take time for your own hobbies and interests. Try learning a new song on the guitar or pick up the book that’s been sitting on your bedside table. As important as it is to be around other people, it’s just as important to take time to do the things you love.

7. Pamper Yourself

Sometimes a thing as simple as changing out of your pajamas and putting on a pair of jeans and a cute shirt can boost your mood. If you look good, you feel good. Feeling put together on the outside makes us feel put together in other aspects of our life and gives us the boost of confidence we need to conquer other activities.

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EducationHealth

We’ve all heard of the horrifying myth of the Freshman 15 and unfortunately—it’s real. Juggling classes, internships, and a social life can make it hard to find the motivation (and time) to hit the gym, so here are some tips to avoid the Freshman 15 even with that busy schedule!

1. Monitor What You Eat
You can’t always be eating healthy, especially with the sometimes limited options given to you on campus, but you can keep track of what you’re putting in your body and how much of that contributes to a healthy diet. Apps like MyFitnessPal really allow you to monitor what you’re eating based on your individual height and weight. It gives you a daily calorie intake based on this information and lets you keep track of the foods you eat and how many calories they contain. It also gives you other helpful information such as showing a pie chart of the carbohydrates, fat, and protein percentages you have consumed throughout the day. It also allows you to put in any exercise you do and the amount of calories it should make up for!

2. Have Healthy Snacks in Your Dorm
Having healthy foods in your dorm for midnight snacking is vital. When you’re craving something sweet, reach for fruit snacks instead of chocolate. Foods such as Goldfish, Cheerios, granola bars, and trail mix are snacks you’ll be able to eat at your heart’s desire without worrying about their nutritional value, or lack thereof.

3. Treat Yourself Once in a While
It’s okay to have that chocolate ice cream you’ve been craving—just don’t make it an everyday habit! Try making junk food a reward for doing well on a really hard exam or finishing a great workout. Also, an emergency stash of chocolate for times of need never hurt anyone!

4. Drink Plenty of Water
Water is the life saver of staying healthy and in shape. Make sure to drink a surplus of it and to drink water in place of soda and other beverages as often as possible. Drinking a lot of water will help curb the munchies for unhealthy food!

5. Find a Gym Buddy
Having a friend to go to the gym with will make working out and staying healthy way easier! A friend will help give you the motivation to stick with it, as well as make you feel more comfortable going to the gym rather than walking there alone. Take advantage of your schools facilities!

At the end of the day, don’t stress over the weight you may or may not gain in college. Do what you can to stay healthy and try to make more good decisions than bad ones. Enjoy the experience and the yummy food that comes with it!

SkillsTravel

The jet lag struggle is real. Jet lag is a temporary sleep disorder that occurs when you cross two or more time zones. When we travel quickly and go from one time zone to another in a short time frame, the rhythm of our biological clock is thrown off. Jet lag can be overwhelming, exhausting, and frustrating, especially when all you want to do is get out and explore new cities and sights. Instead of sitting around in a hazy state of mind, use these tips to prevent and get over jet lag during your travels. This is the time to seize your youth and explore new cultures, landmarks, languages, and to meet new people. You’ve come this far and traveled great distances; you want to make the most of your time traveling. Don’t let your valuable time be monopolized by jet lag.

Pre-Trip Prep

Make Small Adjustments

Figure out what time it is in the country you will be traveling to. A week before you leave for your trip, start slowly adjusting to that time zone. Go to sleep earlier or wake up earlier and schedule your meals for later or earlier in the evening. Small adjustments like this will get your body used to doing things a bit differently, so when you are all of a sudden functioning to a new clock you won’t experience as much shock. When you advance or delay your body clock ahead of time, studies show that you will adjust faster and can reduce the effect of jet lag.

Hydrate

This is just good advice for every day of your life. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. While you can’t bring liquids through security, as soon as you make it to the other side, purchase a big bottle of water or fill your water bottle up. Planes can be very dehydrating, and you don’t want to have to wait for the drink cart to roll past to get your fill of H20.

Use Plane Time Wisely

If you are traveling somewhere far away, use this long plane ride to catch up with the time zone you are flying into. As soon as you sit down in your seat, set your watch. If where you’re going is midnight, sleep on the plane so when you arrive in the morning you feel fresh and awake. Use a sleep mask and earplugs if the light and noise bothers you.

If you need to sleep on the plane, avoid caffeine and sugar as best you can. If it’s the daytime, even if you are tired, try your best to stay awake and keep yourself busy. Get up and walk up and down the aisles and stretch. You can sleep when you arrive, since it will then be nighttime.

During the Trip

Make Wise Food Choices

During the first couple of days of your trip, make wise food choices. Your body will already be trying to catch up with a different time zone and won’t be metabolizing as efficiently, so go easy on spicy foods and large meals in the evening.

Prepare Your Room

Before you drift off to sleep, prepare your hotel, hostel, guest room in a way that will be conducive to a great night’s rest. Shut down your electronics and television an hour before bedtime, close the curtains or blinds, dim the lights, turn the temperature down if you can, wash up and get ready for sleep, and get cozy in bed with a book, magazine, or your gratitude journal.

Schedule Activities

When you are exhausted and feeling jet lagged on a trip, it is unbelievably tempting to just sleep until you feel awake and ready to explore. However, this temptation might get the best of you, one hour turns into five, and then all of a sudden your day of exploring is gone. If you purposely schedule activities at times you want to try to stay awake, you can mentally adjust faster than if you know you have the entire day free. Scheduled activities are a great way to keep you going because you are held accountable for paying and showing up.

Get Moving

Try to exercise as much as you can when you travel. By keeping your body active, you’ll feel much more alert and ready for the day. Exercise first thing in the morning or when you feel sluggishness coming on midday. It can be as simple as walking the block a few extra times, slipping a jump rope into your suitcase, or doing some push-ups and crunches on the floor. Anything to get your heart rate up will be sufficient.

Enjoy a Breakfast of Champions

Start your day with a breakfast of champions. Water, protein, and fruit are great breakfast staples. Don’t forget to try some of the local food if you’re abroad. Just because you’re not hungry now (maybe back home it’s the middle of the night), try to get something in your system so you can start the day on an energetic note. Live by the rules of the time zone you are in.

How do you prevent and overcome jet lag?

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Skills

The holidays are not just a great time for seeing family, listening to Christmas music, or enjoying time off from your studies, but it is also a great excuse to get ahead and use that time wisely. When on holiday break, create a healthy balance for yourself by lounging and doing absolutely nothing so you can recover from the late nights school often requires, but also spend some of your days taking advantage of not having work to accomplish some other things you may have wanted to do. Here are 10 ways you can be productive this holiday season:

1. Get active.
If you’ve been swamped with school work and haven’t been able to find time to workout, this is the perfect time to start an exercise regimen that you can take back to school with you. You can test out new exercises that work best for your schedule and body so that you can maintain an active lifestyle when school and work picks back up.

2. Evaluate the past year and set goals. 
Now that you don’t have to worry about finals, take some time to think about how your past year went and what things you can improve upon. What goals do you have? Are there any bad habits you want to break?

3. Pick up a new hobby.
When academics, extracurriculars, team sports, and side projects take over your weekdays and weekends, it can be hard to fit in a fun hobby when it isn’t something that might “look good on your resume.” Use the holiday break to learn a new hobby and try an activity that you have been dreaming of doing.

4. Reach out to people.
Use your time to re-connect with old friends, or to make new connections. Set-up brief informational interviews to get ahead during your time off. The holidays are a busy time for many, but you never know, people might have a spare fifteen minutes to take a phone call to answer questions you have about the industry they are in, their job, or advice they have for getting your foot in the door.

5. Read. 
It can be as simple as that. Read a book that isn’t required. Spend your afternoons relaxing and catching up on great literature.

6. Do a Winternship.
Depending on how long of a break you have, you may want to use these couple of weeks or month to shadow a professional in an industry that you are intrigued by, or to try to get a winternship. Even though the winternship or job shadowing would only be for a couple of weeks, you can still get a good idea of what a certain job entails and if it is still something you are interested in.

7. Volunteer.
During this time of year, there are many organizations that can use a pair of extra hands. Volunteer at a toy drive, soup kitchen, animal shelter, or book drive. There are endless opportunities for getting involved, and your time will be greatly appreciated.

8. Sleep.
You’re probably exhausted from working so hard during the quarter/semester, so why not use this time to catch some zzz’s? Sleep in, go to sleep early, take midday naps – anything that will give your body the rest it needs.

9. Be a tourist in your own city.
It is so easy to take your city for granted. Spend a day going to visit the local museums, tourist attractions, and walking around the city parks. Who knows what you’ll learn or discover. Maybe you’ll even grow to love your home even more.

10. Make plans.
When school picks back up, you won’t have as much time to plan for the months ahead. Get a head start on summer internship or job applications, spring break plans, service trips, and family time. Even if they are brief notes jotted down on a piece of scrap paper, get your ideas onto paper. This is the first step in making your ideas come to life.

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