HealthIngredient 101UncategorizedWellness

Vegetarians and vegans are getting more recognition as of late with their specific dietary choices, but one of the most common questions that they are asked is, how do they get their protein? Protein is one of the building blocks for your body; they break down amino acids and help with cell growth and repair. Protein fills you up and keeps you feeling fuller longer than carbohydrates because they take longer to digest. On average, women should consume about 46 grams of protein a day, and men about 56. Those are baseline numbers, and they fluctuate depending on your diet and workout regime, but for the average person, these are a good estimate. While protein is often considered to just be found in meat, it can actually be found in a lot of other foods that are perfect for vegans and vegetarians. Here’s a short list of foods that can fulfill your protein intake for the day.

Green Peas

While a controversial food among toddlers, adults have found that green peas contain a fair amount of protein – about 8 grams of protein per cup, which is about the same as a cup of milk. Peas can be a side dish, added to a pasta sauce, or even blended into pesto.

Balsamic Pea Salad

Pea Ravioli with Basil Pesto

Nuts (and Most Seeds)

Nuts are high in both healthy fats and protein, which makes them a valuable part of any plant-based diet. Most nuts contain about 5 or 6 grams of protein per ounce. To put it in perspective, about 23 almonds is an ounce. Nuts as a snack are good, both as a form of protein and a way to avoid eating chips or candy. Adding peanut butter on your toast in the morning instead of slathering it with butter both reduces the amount of bad fats you’re consuming, and is a tasty way to start your day with some protein.

No-Bake Almond Joy Bars

Fresh Veggie Spring Rolls with Peanut Butter Sauce

Eggs

For the vegetarians, eggs are a fantastic form of protein. When boiled, there is about 6 grams of protein in them. Great to have during any meal – scrambled eggs for breakfast, egg salad sandwich for lunch, or a salad with egg toppings for dinner – eggs are a great way to get your protein because it can be prepared in so many different ways.

Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Rice and Beans

Definitely the cheapest and easiest way to get protein, rice and beans in a meal is on par with the amount of protein in meat. There’s about 7 grams of protein per cup. Because it’s such a basic form of protein, it can be altered in so many different ways – adding lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, tofu, the list goes on. Many of those foods are also great forms of protein, all mixed into one bowl. There are also so many different variants for both rice and beans that there are thousands of different recipes that cover the simple ingredients list.

India Chickpea Stew

Red Beans and Rice

Seitan (pronounced say-tahn)

Seitan, sometimes referred to as “wheat meat” is made from wheat gluten (sorry gluten-free friends!) and has about 20 grams of protein per half cup. Seitan is chewier than tofu, and generally tastes like chicken. It can be used in any recipe that uses poultry because of its similar taste and texture.

Beef-Simmered Seitan Carnitas

Seitan Fajitas

Milk (soy or regular)

Milk is a staple in most people’s diets, whether it’s a tall, cold glass on its own, or in a bowl of cereal. Milk usually has about 8 grams of protein in a cup, both regular and soy. Be careful with soy milk: there is a controversy amongst soy milks, organic or not. There is conflicting research that regards its effects on cancer, whether it helps cause or prevents cancer from forming. Buying non-GMO, organic, unsweetened soy is suggested to avoid this controversy.

Additional Inspiration

Bembu

Spark People

One Green Planet

Greatist

Health.com

Protein is found in many different foods and can be consumed in so many various ways that it shouldn’t be a concern if you have the capability to do so. Doing the appropriate research should not be daunting whatsoever – in fact, it will surprise you how many common ingredients you probably already consume that contain protein. So don’t fear, vegans and vegetarians, there’s plenty of things to eat and more!
Image: Foodies Feed

CollegeHealthWellness

After a long day of classes, work, socializing, and just dealing with life in general (especially in college), finding the perfect way to unwind can be harder than it seems. Most people turn to Netflix and munch on a big bag of chips, however that type of vegetation can actually be more detrimental to your mental and physical health than you think and cause you more stress in the long run. Here are eight healthier ways to relax.

Go For a Walk

Get away from your home/dorm room and find a patch of nature. Find a bench or a tree to lean on and just breathe in the nature around you. Learning to engage your senses in a natural environment can relax your body and mind. Do not spend this time on your phone – disconnect from your busy life for a while, at least ten minutes, and clear your mind from your daily responsibilities and instead focus on your breathing and senses.

Take a Nap

While this might be more of a mid-day way to unwind, naps can really help turn around your stressed or unhappy mood. It can help rejuvenate the body and clear the mind. Take a maximum twenty minute catnap (nothing more than 30 minutes!) or else you’ll fall into deep sleep and feel groggy.

Journal

Some people find it relaxing to write down their day. Whether you’re writing down what made your day difficult or triumphant, it’s been found that journaling is a positive way to deconstruct your day. Lisa Kaplin, PsyD, is a life coach and she suggests journaling as a method of stress management. It can be multiple pages of pouring out your soul, or just a line or two about your day. However, if it becomes more of a task than a reliever to maintain a journal, skip it; it could just create more stress to keep doing it if it’s not something you have your heart in.

Make a To-Do List (Or Any List)

Some people find that a helpful way to destress is to prepare themselves for the next day or the rest of the week. If time management is difficult for you take a few minutes to write down what homework or tasks you need to finish this week, errands you need to run, groceries you need to get, etc. Writing your must-dos down forces you to get organized, but also it allows you to put a pause on the present and whatever is stressing you out right now. Having everything written down is a physical way to download information you’re trying to remember inside your head onto paper. You can even make a list of what is stressing you out, and that will create a real space to figure why something is stressing you out, and how you can fix it.

Do Some Breathing Exercises

As silly as this might sound initially, sitting or lying down and focusing on your breathing can really help clear your mind and help you think more clearly. Taking deep breaths slows down the heart rate and calms the body. Focus on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth, your stomach rising and falling, and concentrate on your body and how it feels, ignoring outside distractions.

Stretch your Body

Stretching, or even doing some light yoga, before bed relaxes the body and can clear the mind of an overly stressful day. Regardless of your level of yoga or flexibility, stretching can help with relieving stress throughout the body. Many people carry stress in their shoulders and backs, causing them to develop sloped shoulders and poor posture. Fitness Magazine and Shape both have some good stretches to help with these problems.

Have a Cup of Tea

It’s been found that having a hot drink can make you friendlier, according to The Guardian. An experiment done by the University of Colorado Boulder found that the participants who held a warm drink rather than a cold one tended to have a warmer personality and reacted better when introduced to someone. Along with this, the process of preparing a warm drink, and then holding and drinking it can help relax your mind and help you feel more comfortable and relaxed.

Talk to a Friend

Regardless if you’re more of an extrovert or introvert, talking to a friend or someone you’re comfortable with can help you unwind. Going out to get a cup of coffee, fruit smoothie, or even staying in and just chatting on your couch can be one of the best ways to help you stop worrying about your day and let go of whatever is bothering you. You could talk to them to work through your stresses, or just use that time with them to focus on anything else going on in your life and put a pause on your stresses. If you need a distraction from your own stress it can also be nice to refocus your attention and ask them how they are doing.

The Daily Mind has a list of 100 ways to relax and unwind at the end of a long day. The best thing is to find what works for you. While one person might find that hitting up the gym is her best way to unwind,  that might not really be your style, and that’s okay! You might find that rereading a favorite book is your best way to calm down. Another person’s might be meditation. Find whatever works for you and relax for the rest of the evening.

Image: Jay Mantri

CollegeEducationRecipesSkills

Eating well in college is hard. French fries and ice cream are always going to be in the dining hall, so how can you resist them? You’re always in a rush and need to grab something to go. Sometimes the dining hall does not serve the meals that you enjoy (maybe you dislike Mexican food, so Taco Tuesdays are not for you).

Before you get started with the cooking, purchase a mini fridge! Although it is a $100 dollar investment, you won’t regret it. You won’t have to always look for healthy food options in the dining hall or on campus cafes because you can make your own meals. Even if you don’t plan on cooking, have snacks in case you don’t have time to eat. Keep some cheese and meat in your fridge, in case you miss dinner, and frozen fruit and Greek yogurt for breakfast. Raw veggies and hummus are good options for snacks too.

Even though college is the place where you can make the worst eating decisions, it is also a place where you can establish good eating habits for life. Here are some easy recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner:

Breakfast

Avocado Toast With Chia Seeds

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 slice of bread of your choice
  • ½ of an avocado, lightly mashed with a splash of lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • Honey to drizzle

What You’ll Do:

  • Toast up your bread.
  • Top the bread with mashed avocado, red pepper flakes, chia seeds and honey. Enjoy!

avocado

Oatmeal With Raisins and Walnuts

What You’ll Need:

  • ½ cup quick rolled oats
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup crushed walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar (optional)

What You’ll Do:

  • Combine the water and oats in a microwave-safe bowl and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Gradually stir the brown sugar, raisins and walnuts into the oatmeal.
  • Once cool enough to devour, enjoy!

1-Minute Ham & Egg Breakfast Bowl

What You’ll Need:

  • Thin slice deli ham
  • Beaten egg
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese

What You’ll Do:

  • Line the bottom of 8-oz ramekin or a custard cup with a slice of ham. Pour the egg over ham.
  • Microwave on high for 30 seconds; stir.  Microwave until the egg is almost set, 15 to 30 seconds longer.
  • Top with cheese. Enjoy!

Pro Tip: Grab some fruit and nuts, and if you have time, go to the dining hall and have some oatmeal or eggs, which will fuel you until lunch. Instead of a muffin, choose a wheat or whole grain bagel. If you like yogurt, go for plain Greek, because it gives you a lot of protein and has less sugar than vanilla yogurt. If it is an exam day, grapes, berries and walnuts are good for optimal brain health and focus.

Lunch

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wrap

What you’ll need:

  • Chicken breast
  • Medium carrots, shredded
  • Diced red pepper
  • Green onions, thinly sliced
  • Reduced fat Asian-style sesame salad dressing
  • Bibb or iceberg lettuce leaves

What you’ll do:

  • Stir the chicken, carrots, pepper, onions and dressing in a medium bowl.
  • Divide the chicken among the lettuce leaves. Fold the lettuce leaves around the filling. Enjoy!

Chicken Noodle Soup

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 14 ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
  • 1 cup sliced carrots (2 medium)
  • 1 cup sliced celery (2 stalks)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 16 ounce package frozen egg noodles
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley (optional)

What You’ll Do:

  • In a 3-quart saucepan, combine broth, onion, carrots, celery, water, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to boiling and then reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in frozen noodles. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Stir in chicken; heat through.
  • Discard bay leaf.
  • To serve, pour soup into bowls. If you like, sprinkle with parsley. Serves 6. Enjoy!

chickennoodlesoup

Winter Fruit Waldorf Salad

What You’ll Need:

  • Unpeeled red apples, diced
  • Unpeeled pears, diced
  • Thinly sliced celery
  • Golden raisins
  • Chopped dates
  • Mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • Fat free orange crème yogurt
  • Tablespoon of frozen orange juice concentrate
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Walnut halves

What You’ll Do:

  • Mix apples, pears, celery, raisins and dates in a bowl.
  • In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, yogurt and juice concentrate until well blended. Add to fruit; toss to coat.
  • Serve fruit on lettuce. Garnish with walnut halves. Enjoy!

Pro Tip: Instead of getting burgers in the dining hall, eat chicken or lean meats. A salad and a soup combination or a wrap will fill you up and give you energy.

Mid-day Snack Tip

It’s that time between lunch and dinner, but you’re still in class and are hungry. Have a fruit like a banana or an apple in your bag, instead of a pastry. You can’t go wrong with raw veggies.

Dinner

Pesto Chicken Angel Hair Pasta With Herbs

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup basil pesto
  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese

What You’ll Do:

  • Preheat over to 400 degrees F. Cover cookie sheet with foil.
  • Put pesto and chicken in bowl. Toss until chicken is covered.
  • Bake for 20-25 min.
  • Place slices of tomato on top of chicken and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Bake another 3-5 min.
  • Serve with a box of angel hair pasta and herbs and French bread. Enjoy!

Fried Rice with Scallions, Edamame, and Tofu

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 4 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • ¾ cup seeded and diced red bell pepper
  • ¾ cup frozen shelled edamame, cooked according to package directions and drained
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 6 ounces firm tofu, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

What You’ll Do:

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat until very hot.
  • Add the garlic, scallions, and ginger and cook, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the rice, red pepper, edamame, corn, and tofu and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 5 minutes.
  • Make a 3-inch well in the center of the rice mixture.
  • Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, then add the eggs and cook until nearly fully scrambled.
  • Stir the eggs into the rice mixture, then add the soy sauce and incorporate thoroughly. Serve hot. Enjoy!

fried rice

Parmesan Breaded Fish Nuggets

What You’ll Need:

  • ⅓ cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • ⅓ cup crushed cornflakes
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ pounds cod fillets, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Butter flavored cooking spray

What You’ll Do:

  • Combine the breadcrumbs, cornflakes, Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl.
  • Evenly spritz fish cubes with butter flavored spray, then roll in the crumb mixture.
  • Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
  • Bake at 375 ° for 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Enjoy!

Pro Tip: For your biggest meal of the day, go with some chicken, steak or salmon with a side of veggies or brown rice. Going easy on carbs will help you stay focused, and you’ll get higher-quality sleep.

Late Night Snack Tip

Instead of getting a slice of pizza, Van recommends grabbing a low-fat smoothie from an on campus café. It will fill you up, and fruit is high in anti-oxidants, which are great for your skin.

Find food-spiration! 5 Instagram Foodies Worth Following:

When you look at your Instagram and see pictures of healthy food that is aesthetically pleasing, you’ll get inspired and maybe skip a burger that day for a grain and roasted butternut squash mix from the salad bar instead.

@thenakedfigChelsea Hunter finds beauty in simplicity

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 8.34.52 AM

@deliciouslyellaElla Woodward will inspire you daily to eat healthy

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 8.37.17 AM

@jamieoliverJamie Oliver has 3.3 million followers on Instagram (He calls himself a proud dad & chef. Unlike other Instagrammers who focus on a particular type of food, he posts a good range of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and sides.)

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 8.39.30 AM

@sarkababickaSarka Babicka is a professional photographer who makes a plate of salad look like a piece of art

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 8.41.06 AM

@leesamantha: Samantha Lee is a food artist (She makes food that tells a story!)

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 8.42.17 AM

Happy cooking and happy exploring!

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.

Becka 3

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.

Becka 8

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

HealthSkills

The transition from summer to fall can be a little sluggish, especially when many of us are in denial that summer is coming to an end. It’s when the leaves start turning orange and the air becomes crisper that it really starts to feel like autumn. And what better time to reset than at the beginning of a new season? With fall comes a vibrant energy that was lacking in the warmer summer months. People are buzzing around getting ready to head back to school, start new jobs, and plan out the year ahead. Before the official first day of autumn on September 23rd, get a head start on thinking about how you want to spend the next few fall months.

  1. Set goals for fall. Look at your personal life and professional life with a critical eye. What do you want to learn this season? How do you hope to improve? Look forward to what’s coming up and figure out how you can set yourself up for success. Another helpful way to look at the big picture? Create a timeline of the past three to six months and fill in highlights from each month. Compare what you’ve done to what you still want to do, and then add those items to your Autumn To-Do List.
  2. Constantly edit your life. What’s working? What’s not working? Eliminate the negative from your life, whether it’s a bad habit or a toxic person. Add positivity into your life, should that be more vegetables, laughter, or new experiences and travels. Don’t settle for what your life currently is – make it the best it can be.
  3. Clean your space and wardrobe. Now that it’s time to break out the sweaters, scarves, and boots, you might as well go through and de-clutter your space and wardrobe. Clear your desk, donate items you no longer need, go through your kitchen cupboards and toss expired foods – these are all actions that will help clear your mind and allow you to begin the season in a fresh environment.
  4. Get serious about being healthy. As the temperature drops, the drier your skin will get. Hydrate more than you think you need to and take advantage of the vegetables that are in-season. Move your body more, take the stairs, and be more mindful of how you’re treating your body and mind.
  5. Reconnect with friends and family. It’s too easy to check out during the summer and retreat into your own world. If you haven’t been a social butterfly the past few months, strike up conversations with friends you haven’t talked to in months. Right now is the best time to reconnect. Don’t wait for another season to pass you by. Better yet? Make new friends. Join a book club, talk to the person next to you in class, join a sports team – you’re never too old to add new people into your inner circle.
  6. Adopt a positive mindset. It may be easier to have a positive attitude when the sun is shining and the summer days are brighter and longer. But when it starts getting darker earlier and the skies turn gray, maintain a positive state of mind. Surround yourself with positive influences, smile, compliment a stranger or friend, compliment yourself, challenge any negative thoughts that enter your mind, and start saying “I can” instead of “I can’t.” The little changes make a big difference.

How are you resetting for autumn?

Image: Autumn Mott

Skills

We’ve all been there – the weekend finally rolls around but you still have items on your To-Do list and you can’t shake the nagging feeling that you should be doing more. Whether you’re in school, working at a company, or self-employed, there’s always a way to feel like you could be filling your weekends up with work instead of fun (or anything but work). But choosing to let your academic or professional career dominate your life might not be the smartest, healthiest, or most productive way to live.

It turns out that over-working yourself can lead to a higher risk of depression, a disrupted sleep schedule, extreme eye strain, and loads of unnecessary stress. So as tempting as it may be to lock yourself in Friday though Sunday, reconsider that decision using these seven tips.

  1. Prioritize your To-Do list. If your To-Do list is still full by Friday afternoon, take ten minutes to prioritize the items. Consider what must be done that day, and what can wait until Monday. Break your big list down into a few small ones labeled by day, and if you absolutely have to get something work-related done on the weekend limit yourself to just two items. Otherwise, write them in for Monday or Tuesday.
  2. Make plans with someone. Force yourself to step away from work by making plans with another person. The more pressure you put on yourself to fulfill a promise, the more likely you are to follow through with it. Text or call a friend you haven’t seen in a while (and preferably not someone you work with or the conversation might steer back to work and trigger stress) and set a time to walk around outside or grab a meal. You’ll be less tempted to sit inside if someone else is depending on you. Set a specific time and confirm your hangout near the end of the work or school week.
  3. Have something to look forward to. If you don’t feel like seeing other people, you should still find something that you can look forward to. Block out time during the weekend to go to a concert, try a new restaurant, get some errands done, or go to the park and walk a few laps. Actually write down the time and activity you’re going to do in your notebook or iCal.
  4. Pre-schedule emails and posts. Technology is a necessary evil. Luckily there are ways to schedule emails and posts ahead of time so that you aren’t always logging-in to hit “send.” Carve out an extra hour each week to get ahead on writing emails that need to be sent the following week, and pre-write Tweets, posts, and messages that can be scheduled ahead of time.
  5. Figure out your stress-triggers. Think super honestly about the things that stress you out the most. Maybe it’s having a looming deadline for that term paper, or wanting to rehearse your business pitch a few more times. Whatever those triggers may be, address them and write them down in a safe place. Once they’ve been written down you’re less likely to forget what you need to do. Keeping tasks in your head instead of on paper is a great way to bottle up anxiety about potentially forgetting to do something. Be honest about what can wait, and what needs to get done now.
  6.  Turn off your technology. Press the off button. Shut your computer down. Turn off your phone or leave it at home. Even if it’s just for one afternoon, giving your eyes and fingers a break from the screen and keyboard will do you a world of good. It’s the simplest and most effective way to disconnect from your classmates, professors, and bosses. Limit yourself to checking your phone once a day, and shut it off again when you’re done.

It’s not always the easiest thing to step away from our professional and academic responsibilities, but giving yourself a break means you’re making a decision to invest into your long term health. The better care you take of your body and mind, the more stamina you’ll have to succeed.

Image: StokPic

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.

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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

“I will receive as much as I do.”

This simple statement helped me get through my senior year of college, which included an internship, a leadership position in a student organization, a full load of classes, and many other stressors. The simplicity of this one mantra (also known as an affirmation) helped me in times that I felt I was both overworked and not working hard enough.

For all you yogi’s out there, the term “mantra” might be something you’re familiar with. For everyone else: let’s ease into this.

What is a mantra? It’s a simple statement with an objective that you can easily repeat to yourself to help achieve some goal. It can be anything that is useful to you in the present moment or the future.

There are two parts of root of the word mantra. The first is man, which is the root of the Sanskirt word for mind, and the second is tra, which means instrument. Your mantra is therefore the instrument of the mind; it is something that you can use as a tool to redirect yourself as often as needed.

Words are powerful. By consciously choosing what you repeat to yourself throughout the day or in a difficult time, I have found that the “inner critic” inside loses its power. Instead of letting your mind wander, you can redirect that energy towards a more productive direction. This idea is called neuroplasticity, or the fact that our brains can change and be molded based on what habits we form. For me, choosing a mantra helps me focus when I am stressed or uncertain and better prepares me to deal with difficult situations in the future.

How to Choose a Mantra

A mantra can really be anything you want it to be. Think of a positive change you want to make, whether that is to be more receptive to other people’s opinions or more confident in yourself. Whether you have a short-term goal such as staying focused and energized during finals or a long-term goal of becoming more open to opportunity, there is a mantra that can help you.

I found my mantra while doing yoga. The instructor offered, “I will receive as much as I do” as an option for the yoga class, but I found that it applied beyond my practice. It resonated with me in multiple aspects of my life and has become a guiding mantra that I use every day.

How to Create Your Mantra

Below are some tips to find or create the mantra that is right for you:

  • Start with “I will” or “I am”
  • Pick strong adjectives or verbs that will inspire you
  • Choose either one sentence or multiple very short thoughts such as “I am flexible. I am energized.” to repeat in succession
  • If you need to just get through something sort-term start with “Today I will” and give yourself a simple but achievable goal for the day

Examples

My ability to succeed is limitless

I am courageous and I stand up for myself

I will abandon my old habits and replace them

I am bountiful, beautiful, and blissful

I love and approve of myself as I am

I will draw from my inner strength to spread light

Fear comes from the self-image, not the self

I will trust my wisdom to guide me in the right direction

I will see the multitude of options before me and find the right path for myself

I will engage in work that impacts the world positively

Today I am energized and able to conquer anything

I am capable of achieving what I set my mind to

I am deeply fulfilled with who I am

There are really no rules when it comes to mantras or affirmations! Try different sayings until something resonates with you. What’s most important is that you repeat with conviction and manifest your future.

Image: Life of Pix

HealthSpotlightYouth Spotlight

We’ll admit that like almost everyone else with a smart phone, we are completely dependent on and obsessed with Instagram. That includes scrolling through the ‘Explore’ option for endless inspiration. One Instagrammer we always find ourselves gravitating toward is Steph Yu of @happyandhealthy96. Not only does Steph share gorgeous photos of the yummy meals she creates, but she encourages all people to find their own happiness and health in their own way.

On top of that, Steph has written an e-book and runs the website A Happy and Healthy Life where she shares recipes, thoughts, health tips, and even more stunning photographs. Oh, and did we mention that she’s only 19?

If you find yourself scrolling rapidly through this week’s Youth Spotlight to see all the beautiful images, don’t forget that there are words of wisdom snuck in between! But if you look first and read after, we won’t hold it against you.

Name: Stephanie Yu
Education: Studying business at the University of British Columbia
Follow: @happyandhealthy96 | A Happy and Healthy Life

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

Steph Yu: To me, seizing my youth is defined by not waiting to live my life, but rather living for the now and not for my future. So often you hear “Oh I’ll do that one day, when I’m older.” But I believe that age isn’t a limitation but rather an opportunity. It’s an arbitrary definition that society tends to use as a barometer for maturity, success, and expectations, but I just like to do my own thing, and live according to my rules and my authentic passions.

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CJ: What school do you attend and what did you decide to study?

SY: I go to University of British Columbia, and I’m studying business at the Sauder School of Business.

CJ: What sort of living space do you live in and how do you maintain a vegan lifestyle there?

SY: I live in a single dorm room on campus. It’s actually extremely simple staying vegan and healthy. I have a minifridge and blender in my room that I use daily! I make smoothies, banana ice cream, bring fruit monomeals for lunch, etc. And for dinner I always go to the cafeteria and get a LARGE salad, with rice, or some more fruit!

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CJ: You’ve written an e-book called “Living A Healthy and Happy Life.” What was the process of writing that book like for you?

SY: The process of writing my e-book was both inspiring and difficult. I had to face all my fears, vulnerabilities, and mistakes, and open myself up to possible criticism. But when I started writing it, I promised that I would be genuine and authentically tell my story. I share a lot more than I expected I would, but I’m glad I did, I’ve gotten a lot of emails from people who can relate and that makes everything worthwhile!

CJ: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

SY: Follow your bliss.

CJ: To our readers out there wondering how they can take one tiny step towards becoming happier and healthier right now, what one piece of advice would you offer to them?

SY: I would say start with breakfast! That’s really the easiest meal to eat healthy. Have a large fruit smoothie or a fruit meal! Also WATER: drink enough water so that you’re peeing clear. And SLEEP! It’s so important to get enough sleep!

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CJ: You’ve experienced your own incredible health transformation. What were some of the difficulties you faced while beginning that process and how did you keep yourself motivated?

SY: It was really difficult for me to deal with social situations when I fist started. I would get a lot of questions that I wasn’t able to answer, and I really felt attacked. I realize now that most people were just curious, so I’d say don’t take things personally and do your research! Become informed about plant-based nutrition, and cover all the basic questions (where do you get your protein, calcium, iron etc).

CJ: As a self-starter you have to keep yourself on track with goals and deadlines. What tools and organizing methods do you use to keep everything running smoothly?

SY: I have a mac, and I use “Stickies” obsessively! I have daily to-do lists, and weekly agendas.

CJ: You have a huge Instagram following! What kinds of things do you do to engage with your community and how has that virtual growth impacted your real life?

SY: I love reaching out to local companies that support the message I do, and introducing them to my followers. I’ve also hosted fruit lucks, and gone to some vegan potlucks! It’s been incredible to find a community here in Vancouver of plant munching people! As for online, I love following and supporting other health foodies, and I’m constantly inspired by others on Instagram!

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CJ: What has been the most unexpected part of college so far?

SY: University has been just incredible. The inspiring atmosphere, incredible friends, and total freedom has made this year my favorite year yet.

CJ: You’re also great about making fitness a priority. How do you keep yourself energized throughout the day and especially throughout a workout?

SY: I workout in the mornings before breakfast. I love waking up, drinking a liter of water, and then getting my sweat sesh on! One of my favorite things to listen to during a workout is the Rich Roll podcast.

CJ: What is your go-to recipe for when you just don’t know what you feel like eating?

SY: DATE COCONUT ROLLS!

CJ: What advice would you give to your 14-year-old self?

SY: Your imperfections guide and shape your narrative, love them, embrace them, and accept them.

Steph Yu Qs

Images Courtesy of: Steph Yu

CultureHealthTravel

With its long days, relaxing energy, and laid-back natives, I can only describe the small island nation of Fiji as slow. When I traveled to this beautiful country a few years ago, the friendly Fijian workers at the resort I stayed at taught me so much. Not only did they teach me about some of the local flora & fauna of the ocean and how to properly drink kava (more on this later!), but they also taught me about a concept they call “Fjii time.” According to the natives, Fiji time is a sensation felt by everyone who visits and lives on the island – Fiji time makes minutes feel like hours and hours feel like days. It forces people to stop rushing and enjoy where they are at the moment.

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Coming from a fast-paced lifestyle, getting used to Fiji time was an adjustment. If I am being honest, I found it a bit annoying at first. The same way some American east-coasters say that the west coast is too “laid back” for them, I thought Fiji was just a sleepy island that essentially was a giant resort for retirees and ex-pats. Soon enough, I was proven wrong.

One spontaneous night, the resort staff invited me and few friends to join them up at the main building. We joined them and saw about 6 or 7 Fijians sitting Indian-style on the floor and laying shamelessly across the cold tile floor (maybe in attempt to cool off from the heavy Fijian heat). We spent what seemed like hours chatting about Fijian culture and talking about the adventures many tourists – including myself – had been on so far. From values to fears to funny stories, we talked about it all. At some point in this conversation, I remember thinking, “so this is what they mean by Fiji time.” No one was worried about going to bed at a certain time or counting the hours until we had to wake up the next morning. We were all simply enjoying each passing second in the present moment.

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Quick side note: throughout the conversation, the staff was sipping on a drink called kava, a traditional beverage with some serious sedative properties. Naïve to what exactly kava was, I tried some and quickly noticed my tongue was tingling and I felt very calm. I briefly wondered if “Fiji time” was a result of drinking kava, as it is a popular pastime for Fijians, but then dismissed it because I surely experienced Fiji time beforehand… we will never know for sure.

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At this point we have probably all read enough self-help articles helpfully urging us to slow down our hectic lives, but I want to add to this. So much can be learned when you spend time with those of another culture, background, or ideology. While the idea of Fiji time originated in that island country, it is a mindset that can be taken with you anywhere across the globe you might find yourself.

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Fijians value spending their time together laughing, storytelling, and giving advice – something that does not seem to happen as often in person as it should. What I took away from Fiji was more than lovely photos and a few souvenirs, but a reminder of how important it is to pass time – in the moment – with the people around you.

Image: Aysia Woods

CultureHealth

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been extremely fast-paced. I always expect everything in my life to happen instantly, and my strong desire for instant results often leaves me overwhelmed and exhausted.

I’m a highly competitive individual; I always mange to turn everything I do into some sort of competition by setting sharp deadlines to achieve my goals.

Recently, however, I’ve been self-assessing where I am in my life and where it is I am trying to go.

My answers came from a magazine advertisement I was reading one morning on my commute on the London tube.

It read, “Rome Wasn’t Built In a Day, and Neither Were You.” Inspired by the choice of words, I wrote it down in my notes section of my iPhone of things to look into later that week. Having heard the expression in literature and other numerous places before, I decided to research its origins. I learned it was a French proverb from the late 1100s, and it wasn’t translated into English until 1545.

By relating that phrase to my current life ambitions, I was able to further understand my journey of self-development. My interpretation of the phrase was that all things in life take time to create, and substantial things, such as the great city of Rome, take years to complete.

As humans, we should not set expectations to achieve great successes. We need to rewire how we think about our accomplishments. Ancients Rome’s vast network of developed roads, buildings, and modern advancements were not simply erected overnight. The empire recruited people from afar, and spent years developing into the great power it was known to be. Personal growth is essentially the same way. It takes time and lots of strategic planning, but the time logged pays off dramatically.

The constant search for instant gratification is something that, now being 25, I am getting better at channeling and understanding. Nothing in life comes easily, and the most rewarding things in life require work and perseverance. There are three avenues Generation-Y can relate to directly that include our strong desires for self-development and fulfillment:

  1. Professionally

I often feel the past eight years of my life have been extremely rushed, often making me feel unclear of my life plans. After high school, much like my counterparts, I went straight into university. Not knowing what to do after, I enrolled in a master’s program and soon after found myself working a 9-5 job from Monday to Friday in London. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with my choices, but I often wish that I had taken some time to fully explore my life options and develop my soul and inner character.

At the time, I was in a rush to finish my education and immediately start working. I realize I could have taken more time exploring all my options and really focusing on developing and fine tuning my interests while still in school. I was in such a rush to start making money and live a professional independent life that I sometimes fail to enjoy moments and absorb what I was working towards. Take time to fully develop your interests and life goals early on. There is no rush to finish university and immediately have a job lined up post graduation. This time aids in building character and self-awareness, which is essential in life.

  1. Personally

As any young professional living in a large scale global city has probably experienced before, personal development is an ongoing process in life. We are always changing mentally and emotionally, which directly affects how we feel and how we interact. Our social circles can be vastly divergent from spending time with a significant other, work colleagues, or friends.

Working and living in a new city takes time to adapt to. You need to give yourself ample time to set your foundations to achieve new and great heights. Big cities can often become overwhelming, and often you may feel as if you don’t know how you fit in, but self-development is a cycle of figuring out how your personal growth will continue to morph your life ethos.

Don’t rush getting to understand which social scene you think you belong to, or which Tinder match will become your destined life soul-mate. Live life and go with the flow.

  1. Physically

In the last few years, I have become obsessed with staying fit and maintaining my overall health. Though I have yet to adapt a stricter routine, I used to get frustrated seeing guys at the gym lifting three times more then I could.

Since then, however, I have learned to pace myself towards understanding that I will not have a six-pack overnight. Life is a balancing act where you must make continued and conscious health choices towards adapting a plan that is suitable for your busy and changing lifestyles.

If you want to achieve great things in life that garner longevity, much like the city of Rome, then perhaps consider reconditioning the ways you go about your daily life. Better ways of channeling your thoughts and desires are the key factor in establishing and setting yourself up for success. Good things take time, and rushing to reach the end is not the best solution.

Image: Carpe Juvenis

Professional SpotlightSpotlight

We’re always excited to meet fellow bookworms, so you can imagine how fun it was chatting with Jacqueline Clair, who runs the blog York Avenue, about all things blogging, photography, and of course, books! Not only is Jacqueline a blogger, but she’s also an operating room registered nurse. (Pretty awesome slash career, right?) Jackie decided to pursue nursing after earning her degree in Psychology, and she spends her days caring for patients, managing the equipment off the sterile field, and working under pressure.

When she’s not at the hospital, Jackie is exploring New York City with her camera in tow to snap photos of great places around Manhattan. Lucky for us, she also shares interior design tips and book recommendations. Keep reading to find out what it’s like to be an OR nurse, how Jackie balances her job with blogging, and how she makes time to read.

Name: Jacqueline Clair
Education: BA in Psychology, BS in Nursing
Follow: YorkAvenueBlog.com / Instagram / Twitter

CJ: How do you define ‘Seizing Your Youth’? 

JC: I would define seizing your youth as seeking out opportunities and making the most of any opportunities that come your way. I would define it as also enjoying your youth, but at the same time making smart decisions to set yourself up for the future.

CJ: Where did you go to college and what did you major in? How did you decide what to study?

JC: I went for the first two years to SUNY Fredonia and then transferred to Stony Brook University for my last two years, where I finished up my Bachelors in Psychology. Then I went back for an accelerated nursing program and got a second Bachelors in nursing, which is how I became an RN. I decided to study Psychology because I just loved it. I thought all of my classes were so interesting and intriguing. 

CJ: How did you decide to earn your nursing degree? How did you go about finding the right nursing school for you?

JC: I decided to earn a nursing degree because I wasn’t quite sure where to go with my Psychology degree. I wanted to do something active, where I wouldn’t be sitting behind a desk, and I was looking for a career where I could learn something new every day and always be doing something different. Nursing certainly fit the bill! I talked to a few nurses and it seemed like a good fit. I also liked that it incorporated Psychology in a way, since you’re dealing a lot with people.

CJ: You are an Operating Room Registered Nurse. What does your role entail, and what do your daily tasks look like?

JC: As an OR nurse, you’re either the Circulating Nurse during a surgical procedure, or the Scrub Nurse. When you’re scrubbed, you work directly with the surgical team, passing instruments, sponges, and sharps. You’re in charge of maintaining the sterile field, and together with the circulator you’re responsible for surgical counts. As a circulator, you interview the patient at the door, and help position them and maintain their safety during the procedure. You’re the one in the room who isn’t sterile, so you’re responsible for managing the equipment off the sterile field and getting anything that is needed during the procedure, like extra sponges and sutures, extra instruments, additional pieces of equipment, etc. You also do the charting, obtain medications needed during surgery, and discharge the patient from the OR to the recovery area.

CJ: What are the top three skills you need to excel as an Operating Room Registered Nurse?

JC: I would say you need to be adaptable, you need to be able to work well in a team setting, and you need to be able to work well under pressure.

JC A

CJ: What should a teenager or young adult who wants to be an Operating Room Registered Nurse do to set him or herself up for success?

JC: If you’re in nursing school and you think you may be interested in the OR, talk to your teachers and advisors and express that interest. See if they can set you up with any mentors, an OR rotation, or anything else. They may be able to set you up with someone you can talk to about it or interview, to get a sense of what it’s like. They may even be able to secure you a clinical rotation in an OR setting. You could also try volunteering in a hospital and expressing an interest in the OR or the procedure areas. You could also look into volunteering in some kind of outpatient or ambulatory clinic. Your OB rotation is likely to bring you into the labor and delivery area or into the OR for C-sections, so that’s where you really want to focus your efforts if you’re interested in the OR as a career choice.

CJ: You are also the blogger behind York AvenueHow do you balance blogging with your day job?

JC: I work on my blog after work and on the weekends. On weekends I’ll get started on a post or two and edit photos, or I’ll take photos of something I’m baking, something I want to feature on the blog, or places that I visit and am shooting for the blog. During the week, after work, I’ll edit pictures and write posts. Sometimes I use a vacation day to be able to visit a place that I want to photograph for the blog on a weekday, when it won’t be super crowded!

CJ: You have an entire category dedicated to books on your blog. We love that! What are some books that have changed your life?

JC: Well, I’m not sure that any books have changed my life, per say, but I certainly do have a few favorites! Recently I loved The Goldfinch, and some other favorites are The Little Stranger, I am Charlotte Simmons, and The Ruins. They weren’t life-changing, I just loved them.

CJ: What tips do you have for making time to read?

JC: The biggest thing that has freed up time to read for me personally has been giving up television for the most part. I’m not that into TV anyway so it wasn’t very hard, and I’m saving lots of money on cable. I’ll never give up Girls and Game of Thrones though!

CJ: How do you stay healthy and do you have a fitness routine?

JC: Unfortunately I don’t devote as much time to fitness as I should, but I do make it a habit to basically walk everywhere, even in the winter. I actually love walking around the city so it’s not very hard. I basically have been refusing to take cabs as of late, and it’s saving me tons of money and providing me with more opportunities for exercise. I do take the subway though!

CJ: How do you combat really hard days? What do you do to keep yourself positive?

JC: When I have really hard days I usually just think back to other hard days I’ve had, and remember how those were just moments that passed, and so I know the current bad moment will pass. I try to do things I enjoy if I’m feeling down, like go for walks, read, take photographs, or treat myself to a new book or a box of macarons or something. Talking to my Mom and Dad always helps too!

CJ: Is there a cause or issue that you care greatly about? Why?

JC: I get pretty passionate about the food industry. After reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Animal Vegetable Miracle, and some Michael Pollan articles I became pretty disgusted by all of the questionable and unnecessary additives and chemicals that are pumped into processed foods, even seemingly innocuous ones like bread and cereal. I’m not a particularly healthy eater (anyone who reads my blog knows about my massive sweet tooth), but I try to eat sweets that are handmade and small batch, many of which I’ve written about on my blog.

The places that I write about on my blog are usually the small producers that are making high-quality items by hand, with amazing ingredients, like Stick With Me Sweets and Orwasher’s. If I’m going to treat myself to something, I don’t want it to be full of artificial dyes and other weird things made in a lab. I strive to eat mostly organic when it comes to produce, dairy, and meat, and to eat as little packaged food as possible. It’s not easy because I absolutely have a weakness for cereal, but I just don’t trust the food industry at all. So I’m pretty passionate about the whole issue of GMO labeling, which I absolutely think should be required.

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

JC: I’m constantly working on saving, de-cluttering, and paring down. Saving especially is something that I’m really working on. It’s so, so important to have a 6-8 month emergency fund and to start contributing to your 401k the MINUTE you start working. Youth is the biggest advantage you have on your side when it comes to growing a retirement fund – the more time your savings has to grow, the more money you’ll have down the line – and you will need it.

CJ: What advice would you give your 22-year-old self?

JC: Don’t rush things. I thought I needed to have everything figured out and nailed down right when I graduated college, but looking back, that wasn’t the case.

Jackie Clair Qs 1

Health

Have you ever come across that person who is always complaining, gossiping, or making negative comments? Before identifying him or her, it can be very difficult to stay away from responding with negativity. Negative people like negative company. Constantly dealing with people who bring negativity into your life or who never fail to bring you down in some way are the kinds of people you should consider weeding out of your life. If these are people you ultimately can’t escape, there are ways to distance yourself without being harsh or rude.

Law of Attraction

The law of attraction notes that “likes attract likes” and if you focus on positive thoughts you will find yourself with a positive outcome. Now, consider applying this concept in another form. If you openly display certain qualities or interests, you are likely to attract people who are also interested in those same things. This, after discerning that you want to surround yourself with new people, is the first step of attracting people who are likely to understand you and who share similar traits.

Farewell to Your Comfort Zone

This one is difficult but very important. Many of us do not enjoy leaving our comfort zones because, well, it is no longer a comfortable place. However, leaving your comfort zone is the only way to achieve goals and stand out from the conventional – it is vital in life. It also allows you to get comfortable with what was once uncomfortable, therefore making your life a constant cycle that pushes you to try new things. Try joining a new club, traveling somewhere with a program, sitting somewhere else for lunch, or even inviting people you’ve never spent time with (outside of school or work) for lunch. Branching out is essential in trying to make new relationships.

Make Time for Yourself

Aside from trying out new activities, having some time for yourself is also an important component to this transformative time in your life. Allowing yourself to think alone and reflect on your experiences will bring you to identify the parts of your life you wish to alter. It allows you to make calm, well thought out decisions.

Focus on Work or School

Focusing on work or school is a great way to concentrate on the things that are important. In addition, it only leaves time for few people which allows you realize that quality time is meant for quality people. This is an easier method for not only distancing yourself from negative people, but it is also a great way to appreciate the people who matter most in your life.

Start Acting Positive

Almost like my law of attraction point, you can attract positive people if you begin to act positive. After you hear the typical, “I hate Monday, I wish it were Friday,” you can either not respond to it by changing the topic or you can respond with positivity by noting, “Really? I don’t mind them – they’re like any other day.” Like I previously mentioned, negative people like to feed off of other negative people. You will be surprised as to how quickly people will begin to catch on to this mindset. Being positive can: 1. Help positivity flourish in those around you, and 2. Repel negative people. Both of these are helpful for achieving your goal.

Staying positive is not only a mood booster, but it is also necessary for your physical health. Do yourself a favor and begin changing the parts of your life that will help you become a better person. The steps may be unfamiliar but you can’t go wrong in trying!

How do you add positivity into your life?

P.S. Journaling and living inside out can also help you live a more positive life.

Image: Bảo-Quân Nguyễn

HealthIngredient 101

grapefruit

Whether you scoop it out or slice it up, grapefruit is juicy, sweet, and delicious. A perfect addition to breakfast or a tasty midday snack, grapefruit is undoubtedly good for your health.

1. Grapefruits are full of lycopene, which protects skin from UV damage. Eat lots of grapefruit not only in the summer, but also in the winter.

2. Grapefruit helps detox the liver – it’s a very cleansing fruit.

3. Not only does grapefruit provide a boost in metabolism, but it can also aid in weight loss.

4. To get blood flowing to your skin and nails, eat grapefruit. The flavonoids have anti-inflammatory benefits while also improving blood vessel function.

5. Jam-packed with vitamin C, grapefruit helps strengthen your immune system. Eat up!

Image: Carpe Juvenis

Ingredient 101: A weekly column featuring nutritious ingredients that you can incorporate daily to help you live a healthy life and to #SeizeYourYouth. Tell us which ingredients keep you healthy on Twitter by tagging #CarpeHealth and @CarpeJuvenis.

HealthIngredient 101Wellness

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are small but mighty. Chia seeds are tiny black seeds that originate from the Salvia Hispanica plant. You can add them to smoothies, yogurt, salads, rice, or pudding (chia seeds + coconut or almond milk) as a healthy addition. These very small seeds pack a large punch:

1. Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids that can protect your skin from the sun and all its damaging effects, as well as reduce inflammation.

2. Because chia seeds are full of fiber, it helps reduce bloating while making you feel fuller. You won’t feel like eating as much after consuming chia seeds.

3. Chia seeds are high in protein, and have amino acids that aid in healthy hair, skin, and nails.

4. Chia seeds are high in nutrients that are amazing for bone health. If you don’t eat much dairy, chia seeds can be a good way to get your calcium.

Ingredient 101: A weekly column featuring nutritious ingredients that you can incorporate daily to help you live a healthy life and to #SeizeYourYouth. Tell us which ingredients keep you healthy on Twitter by tagging #CarpeHealth and @CarpeJuvenis.

Image: Carpe Juvenis