EducationSkills

As much as we hate to admit it sometimes, we can’t all be Superman or Superwoman. Finding the time to get daily necessities done, as well as doing things just for pure enjoyment and relaxation, can be difficult. Here are some ways I multitask with my busy college schedule!

1. Work Out Between Loads of Laundry

Believe it or not, having to do your laundry can actually be a useful way to manage your time. Instead of being that one person who leaves their load in the washing machine for hours on end until you’re finally out of class, set a timer for each load that you do. You’d be surprised how much you can get done in a 30-45 minute load. Personally, it’s usually a toss-up between napping and working out, but I usually like to try to get a little exercise into my day which can be difficult when piles of homework are calling your name. Try splitting up your workout to give you plenty of time to get a few sets done and take a breather. I try to split my workout into sections and do legs during one load and abs during another!

2. Brew Your Coffee While You Get Ready

The simplest trick is the book is over-looked way too often! I can’t survive my 8:30 AM class without a hot cup of coffee, but it can be difficult to find time when you’re rushing to get there because you wanted to sleep late. Instead, make your coffee first and go about your daily routine. This will also give your coffee some time to cool off so it isn’t boiling when you go to take a sip!

3. Call Your Family While Walking To Class

That 15 minute walk across campus can really make a difference. It can be difficult to find the time to keep your family up to date on your life while being away at school, but a quick catch up here and there while walking to class can easily make your day and their day and fit into both of your schedules. It also makes the walk there a little less lonely!

4. Your Cell Phone’s Speaker Is Your New Best Friend

Whenever I’m in my dorm room eating takeout, cleaning, or doing homework, I’ll try to call or FaceTime a friend to catch up! It’s the easiest thing to do and is multitasking at its finest. Plus, if you don’t understand something on your homework you can ask away!

5. Review Notes While Catching Up On Your Favorite TV Show

We all dread that night of studying before the next-morning-quiz. To make it a little more bearable, try binge-watching that show you’ve been meaning to catch up on and review your notes at the same time. During breaks you can quiz yourself on what you just went over!

Image: Startup Stock Photos

Travel

Welcome to the home of the Tastykake, Rocky Balboa, Wawa, and, of course, the cheesesteak… I am taking you to Philadelphia! Growing up, my family and I would travel from my hometown of Collegeville, a suburb of Philly, into the city nearly every weekend to explore museums, eat wonderful food, and check out other hotspots. For you, dear traveler, I have come up with the perfect itinerary to help plan your first day trip to this lively, multi-dimensional city. Welcome to The City of Brotherly Love!

Morning

For breakfast, try one of the Green Eggs Café locations. This trendy, eco-friendly restaurant is dedicated to serving locally produced foods at reasonable prices, while allowing their customers to support the movement by using only recycled paper and dishware. I highly recommend the Smoked Atlantic Lox Omelet or the “Kitchen Sink” (think a skillet of eggs, cheese, potatoes, peppers, biscuits, and gravy everywhere). The portions are rather large, but don’t worry because you can ask for a biodegradable take-out container.

After the amazing meal, you are surely going to want to walk off the food coma. Spend a few hours browsing the collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Located at the end of the scenic Benjamin Franklin Parkway, this massive museum holds the most beautiful European, American, and Asian artwork. Don’t forget to run up the museum steps in proper Rocky fashion!

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Afternoon

From the museum, walk through the bustling Center City neighborhood to reach Reading Terminal Market. You’re going to brave some lines and crowds here, but this market is a prime location to eat and browse. The market carries nearly everything you could imagine, from local and exotic produce, Amish specialties, meat, seafood, handmade confections, flowers, to cookbooks and other trinkets. The delicious aromas will make you hungry for lunch here, so head over to my favorite vendor in the market and favorite cheesesteak joint in Philly, Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagie. If this is your first visit to Philly, order a classic and prepare yourself for a serious mouth party. After all, President Obama ate here, so you know it’s good.

By this point it’s time to say goodbye to the market and get ready for a little history lesson. Make your way to Philadelphia’s Historic District, which is full of museums and historic buildings. Philadelphia was the first capital of the United States and birthplace of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and Betsy Ross’ home and first American flag. Stroll along the grassy squares and cobblestone streets, making sure to pass by the Liberty Bell, and imagine what life was like while the United States was young.

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Evening

The fun-filled Philly day trip is sadly coming to an end, so it’s time to wrap up with a glorious dinner. There are few options here. For the Francophiles and wine-lovers, try the quaint Vintage Wine Bar & Bistro near Center City and make sure to order the Beef Bourguignon. If that is not your ideal cuisine, right next door is El Vez, known for their funky rock n’ roll atmosphere and tasty enchiladas. Finally for the sports fan, go to Chickie’s and Pete’s, the Philly sports fan’s go-to stop for crab fries. I guarantee after eating at any of these restaurants, you’ll be more than ready to head back home and recoup after a great day of eating and exploring.

Time-Permitting

If you have a few extra minutes to spend in the city, be sure to stroll by the water at Penn’s Landing, shop around Rittenhouse Square, or bike in Fairmount Park.

And there you have it – a whole day of activities for your eventful day trip to Philadelphia. Time to grab a friend and make it happen!

Image: Aysia Woods

Skills

As some of us get back into the routine of daily classes after the much needed holiday break, we have to start thinking about and planning out when we will wake up to start our days of studying and going to class. It is very easy to form a nocturnal habit over winter break; you want to stay out late with friends from your hometown in order to catch up. Nevertheless, this action usually funks with people’s circadian rhythms, so when they return to school and face the dreaded eight am classes, they go into the day with negative predispositions. However, as you get back into the swing of things, take into consideration these benefits of adjusting to waking up early:

1. Our society is structured around a 9-5 system. We head to work or classes early in the morning and sometimes do not get back until around dinner time. So learning to become more of a morning person puts your daily routine in sync with this construct, leaving you with time to get enough sleep to feel happy and healthy for the day ahead.

2. Working out is a tough feat for most people today, especially college students. Between school, possible jobs, and the unlimited freedom over choosing your own dietary habits it is easy to forget diet and exercise. Waking up a few hours earlier on a day that you might have slightly later classes allows you the time to get in necessary exercise and also to prepare for your day. In a study by SLEEP 2014, they actually found that night owls found it more difficult to squeeze exercise into their daily routine, leaving them more sedentary than their counterparts.

3. Lastly, two studies found very important skills held by early risers: proactivity and more of an immunity to depression. In the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, scientists found that early risers tended to agree with statements that encouraged action and confidence (i.e. “I spend time identifying long range goals for myself”). Tie that in with the 2013 German study that found a link between late sleeping and depression, and you can make the argument that adjusting their sleeping schedules to wake earlier can lead to a happier and more productive lifestyle.

Regardless of whether you wake up at six in the morning or ten, adjusting yourself to being awake more during the day rather than at night can prove to be extremely beneficial to your health and productivity in school and work.

Image: Flickr

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?

Image: Unsplash

HealthWellness

Morning, kids! The school semester has officially started. Whether you’re in high school or in college, I’m sure you’re having a great time hitting that alarm and rolling out of bed. I’m not. I think it’s awful.

As a senior in college, let me tell you now: it doesn’t necessarily get easier as you get older. But you figure out ways to trick yourself into believing it does. Something I like to do when I first wake up is think about what tea I want to drink the morning. Yes, tea.

Lying in bed, I’m still enjoying the comfort of my pillow and blanket. But I translate that into a good cup of tea, and that makes me want to get up more. Some people drink coffee, some drink tea, some drink orange juice or a smoothie. Whatever you like, let that be what helps you get up in the morning.

Here are some things to think about when you’re getting your tea and coffee, especially if you’re just starting a routine:

1. Find something easy on your stomach. I know some people who can’t have cold things in the morning, and then there are people who drink iced coffee in the winter.

2. Drink something that doesn’t make you crash. Some people can handle their coffee intake, but then they’re knocked out on the desk or drooling in front of a professor five or six hours later. Take everything in moderation, including your caffeine.

3. Switch it up. A different milk, a latte, Earl Grey. I usually get English Breakfast with milk and sugar, but sometimes it’s good to break the routine and try something new. The morning cup of joe, like college, can provide a routine and stability. But sometimes changing things up can be healthy and refreshing.

Tea and coffee may seem like a small thing, but small things can make life easier and enjoyable. Once winter comes, it will be comforting, and during the spring, it will be reliable. Have a good semester!

Image: Unsplash

CultureSkills

It is difficult in this day and age to find an individual who isn’t connected to one account or another. It’s surprising if someone can honestly say they don’t have at least one social media account. I was born into a generation that has never experienced a world without social media. I opened my first social media account at the ripe young age of 11 on MySpace (not the required minimum age of 13…shhh).

Since then, I’ve always had something. But it hit me this summer how dependent I’d become to social media. It was scary, to be honest. My usual morning routine always included checking Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook before heading out for the day. It isn’t fair to say that social media isn’t important because it definitely has its uses. Social media connects people in ways that never would’ve possible 20 years ago. Twitter, Facebook, and other social media accounts can be used not only for personal reasons, but also as a way for potential employers to learn more about you. A well-managed social media account can say so much about a person. However, it’s nice to disconnect for a while. The longest I’ve lasted is a week without checking any of my social media accounts. I realize a week is not actually a long time, but short as it was, it was extremely refreshing. So give it a try! Who knows what you’ll learn about yourself.

A few tips for managing a successful social media account:

  • Show your personality, but be wary of what you post. Don’t anything that you might be ashamed of later.
  • Be sure you have permission when posting anything involving someone else.
  • Post a variety of things! Even the most artsy shots of any specific thing can get boring after a while.

The dangers of social media:

  • Customize your privacy settings. Some accounts, like Facebook, connect you with not only associates and co-workers, but also family and friends. You may post something intended for close family members to see but not anyone else, or vice-versa. Make sure your settings are air-tight.
  • As I mentioned before, just because a picture of you and friends having a night out might be of interest to others, that doesn’t mean that it should be posted. If maintaining an account with only one privacy option (like Instagram – either private or not private), be extra, extra picky with what gets posted.
  • To put it simply, don’t post anything that may come back to haunt you later. Our parents don’t have to worry about an impulsive tweet posted at 2 am when they were 18 coming popping up somewhere. We do.

We’d love to know – do you tweet?

Image: DeathtotheStockPhoto

Skills

For as long as I can remember, I have been a morning person. I drag myself out of bed even if I am tired because I can’t stand the thought of wasting my morning. At least that what it feels like to me…wasting. For some people, sleeping is a great use of their morning. It differs for everyone. Not only are mornings great because of the beautiful sunrises, but also because there are so many things that can be accomplished before the busy day begins.

Though no morning is exactly alike, I try to keep some consistency to my mornings. When I was in high school, classes were scheduled pretty early, so my mornings weren’t as flexible as college or post-college life. Therefore, I would spend my afternoons doing the majority of my hobbies, activities, and school work. Once I went to college and had more schedule flexibility, I was able to either choose classes early in the morning or spend my morning however I desired. I find that my mind is clearer in the morning and I have more energy overall.

Nowadays, my mornings look a little something like this:

6:30am: Rise and shine!

6:45am: Catch up on overnight news, blog posts, promote my own blog posts, and read through emails.

7:15am: Eat breakfast. I love mornings because I love breakfast. Put any type of breakfast food in front of me and I’ll eat it.

8:00am: Start or finish a project (for school or work). My focus is sharper when the world is quiet and people are still sleeping so I try to do my more challenging tasks during this time.

9:30am: By this time, it almost feels like the afternoon. I’ll switch gears and work on another task, take a little tea break, and check my social media channels.

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Want to improve your mornings? If you don’t do these already, try them:

1. Eat breakfast. When you wake up, you haven’t eaten for 8-10 hours. Eating will give you the energy you need to power through the first half of your day.

2. Tackle your most difficult task or top priority. Again with the focus and the quiet environment. Take advantage of the silence when your roommate or family are sound asleep.

3. Personal time. In addition to accomplishing a task, take some time for yourself. The rest of your day will be spent studying, in class, or working, so you might as well do something to boost your positivity. This could mean going for a run, practicing yoga, reading, or skimming new blog posts.

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In 2012, author Laura Vanderkam wrote a book called What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. The title is pretty self-explanatory, but the book provides steps on how to be more productive in the morning. By making little changes here and there, she shows us that we can change our overall behavior, better utilize our mornings, and further enrich our lives. Even if you are already a morning person, there might still be some interesting points that you can implement into your daily routine.

Are you a morning person? What is your morning ritual?