CollegeEducationWellness

Finals have finished up (hopefully) for students across the nation, and during the beginning of this New Year adult coloring books have become a hot new present to get for young adults. They’ve quickly rose up the ranks of what to give a stressed out adult, or better, to just get one for yourself. Coloring books are bringing back a childhood favorite to adults looking for a better way to relieve stress and anxiety that comes with being a grown-up. As a trend that started in France and found a wide range of success in the United States, these coloring books are often filled with pages of intricate patterns designed to destress the mind and bring about the concept of mindfulness while also playing into a simple, youthful activity.

Here are five compelling reasons to give a loved one – or even yourself – a coloring book.

The Rhythmic and Repetitive Patterns Help Relieve Stress and Anxiety

How often do you see a stressed out seven-year-old? Not too often, I’m sure. And how often do you see a seven-year-old happily coloring in his or her coloring book? Quite often. Bringing this coloring craze to adults was not originally intended to act as a study on the correlation between coloring and stress, yet its trendiness has proven that there is some connection to the rhythmic motion of coloring that helps you shut your brain off to focus on nothing more than deciding what color to use next. Its repetitive patterns, especially the mandala-filled books, give your hands something to do when being mindless, such as watching TV.

They’re a Form of Art Therapy

In 2010, the American Journal of Public Health came out with a review that supported the connection between the impact of art on healing and health, with over one hundred studies to back it. Creative therapies – such as performance, writing, and yes, coloring – have been proven to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and negative emotions, along with improving mental flow, expression, spontaneity, and positive emotions. These coloring books are the perfect way for people who do not find themselves to be quite artsy, but need or enjoy a creative outlet.

They’re a Creative Outlet for Non-artists

Somewhere along the line people might lose their creativity from their childhood. These coloring books give adults a path back to that creativity in a non-threatening manner. It could be just what someone is looking for in terms of creatively choosing whether to color a flower red or green, or it could be a step into a more creative path and creating their own art entirely. For whatever type of person out there, coloring books give adults a good excuse to be creative in their own way.

They Bring us Back to Our Childhood

Nostalgia is a strong tool, and coloring is a perfect example of that. A trend as of late, especially amongst Millennials, is to revert back to their childhood experiences, such as adult summer camps and now coloring books. The adult aspect of it – not coloring in your favorite cartoon characters but rather intricate design – gives adults that guilt-free excuse to go back to an old and partially forgotten hobby. It’s also a low commitment – there is no need for batteries, you can stop at any time, and you don’t need to take classes to learn this skill. Its simplicity speaks for itself.

They’re a Unique Way to be Social

Gather around your closest friends, a couple packets of colored pencils, and color together! With each new trend, there’s bound to be a way to make it a social event – and maybe that’s not a bad thing. Since it’s not a very active activity, coloring can be done while chatting and relaxing with a group of friends.

College students are known for be constantly stressed during the semester, but oftentimes cannot find the best outlet to relax, zone out, destress, etc. These coloring books are becoming more readily available, both in bookstores and online. So if you are stressed out or know someone that is, here’s a great way to mellow out for a short while and zone out – in the most adult fashion, of course.

Image: Flickr

EducationSkills

There’s always that point in the semester when you’re feeling burned out and no longer motivated. There’s so much on your to-do list that you don’t even know where to start. Procrastination puts you in a loop – you’re not in the right mood to do work and feel unproductive, so you decide to do it later. “I’ll do it tomorrow,” you say. Instead, you’re busy doing things you don’t need to do in order to avoid everything you’re supposed to do. Netflix? A nap?

Here are some tips on battling procrastination:

1. The best way to get something done is to begin.

We tend to overthink large tasks that we have to accomplish, but once we actually start, we lose track of time. Don’t shoot for completion in one sitting. Just begin. After completing some tasks, progress will follow.

2. Assess the task.

Divide the task into smaller pieces. It is easier to tackle smaller chunks than one huge task. For example, do you have a 10-page paper to write for next week? Make a plan to write 2-4 pages every day. The quality of your work is going to be much better than writing it the night before and you’re not even going to notice that you’ve reached the tenth page.

3. Schedule work sessions.

Make an hourly schedule for things you have to accomplish. Progress adds up and gives you confidence that you can finish the task. Set goals for each session, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t finish something, just move on to the next thing.

4. Eliminate distractions.

It’s so easy to get distracted by your cellphone or social media. Set your phone on airplane mode or put it to the side out of view. You probably don’t realize how much time you waste browsing the Internet when instead you could be doing work.

5. Find a (good) study partner. 

I’m sure you’d love to hang out with your best friend, but what if she/he is a distraction to you? You have so much to discuss that studying goes to the side. Find someone who cares about his or her academic performance even more than you do. It’s good to hang out around people who inspire you to try harder.

6. Be reasonable.

Don’t beat yourself up trying to make your project perfect. People revise multiple times. Put your best effort and complete the task on time. You’ll have hundreds of project assigned to you during your career and not all of them are going to be perfect.

7. Reward yourself.

You’re probably your own biggest critic – give yourself a break sometimes! No one’s going to treat you better than you do. After completing a task, reward yourself. Get a latte, a movie ticket, call your best friend, or play a sport that you enjoy. Have an incentive, something to look forward to while you’re completing the task.

Procrastination might seem like a challenging battle to win, but you can do so by taking small steps, like finding the right study buddies. The most important thing is to begin, and you’ll get through the semester with flying colors!

Image: Gratisography

EducationSkills

Have a big test coming up? Working on a project with others? Study groups can be a very effective – and fun! – way to further your education. Studying with others provide the opportunity to make sure you didn’t miss out on any pertinent information and to learn from one another if a certain topic is confusing to you. It also allows you to explain concepts to others, which helps you better remember the information.

Run a productive study group with these techniques:

Create a Study Guideline before the Meeting

Email everyone in the Study Group an outline for the meeting. If there’s a topic you’re focusing on, or if it’s a broad overview of everything that might be on a test, break the meeting down by half hour or hour so that you can all stay on track. This way, people know what to expect when they come to the study group. Also, if there are any missing topics or terms, they can be filled into the guideline before everyone meets.

Pinpoint Confusing Concepts

Utilize the Study Group time to focus on confusing concepts. Go over the class lessons as a whole, but spend more time on topics that are more challenging. Try explaining the concepts to each other – saying what you need to know out loud will help you remember it later on.

Arrive Prepared

Don’t show up to Study Groups not having looked over the material. You want to be a participating member and offer your knowledge. Avoid joining the study group just to sit back and check your notes. Help others on topics they might be fuzzy about. Arrive ready to have a conversation and to prepare for the upcoming test or project.

Divvy Up Responsibilities

Before everyone meets for the Study Group, dividing responsibilities is a great way to relieve some of the burden of studying. Each week someone can take on the responsibility of being the leader of the Study Group, or you can designate just one person, and he or she can break down the topics that need to be covered and who is in charge of each one. If one person in the Study Group is more knowledgeable in the History of the Atomic Model, another person is better at explaining the Periodic Table, and you understand the Ionic and Metallic Bonding, you can all work together to teach other these topics. Play up your strengths to help yourself and others.

Limit Study Group Size

To prevent too much socialization and to make sure everyone has a chance to participate, limit the Study Group size to four to six people. This way everyone’s voice can be heard and it doesn’t become too overwhelming. Study with classmates who share the same goal of earning good grades. This isn’t social hour or a gossip group, so choose to study with people who want to focus and learn.

Make the Timing of Meetings Manageable

In order not to get burned out, overwhelmed, or easily distracted, make the Study Group meetings no more than two hours, with a ten minute break. It’s better to meet for two hours twice a week than four hours once a week. You’ll all be more productive and more time to study and sort out what questions you have. Meet in your school’s library, a local coffee shop, in an empty classroom, or outside on the grass – somewhere that is conducive to paying attention and being able to hear one another.

Eliminate Distractions

This isn’t the time for everyone to be on their phones texting or listening to music. Put phones, laptops, and other devices away. Use the time you have to stay focused and on target. This is the time to pick each other’s brains about confusing concepts, so make the most of it!

Bring Snacks

During your short break, it never hurts to have a granola bar or piece of fruit on hand. Stay energized during this power hour(s) of Study Group.

What tips do you have for running productive Study Groups?

Image by Breather

LearnSkills

Procrastination is that bittersweet friend of yours who dumps you when you need him or her the most. It is not the act of procrastinating per se that is most troubling. Delaying assignments by using Snapchat or watching cat videos is quite enjoyable. It is what happens ‘after’ that leaves us at our wits’ end. It leaves us with more worries, more stress, and more workload. Can this be contained? Yes, of course. Here are a few effective tactics you may use to do so.

1. Break the Bulk

Overwhelming work is a driving force for procrastination. Hence it would be in your best interest to break the workload into smaller components. For example, if you have a large project that needs to be completed, divide your work into sub sections such as Introduction, Topic 1, Topic 2, etc. This way it will be easier to digest how much work you have and you will be far more motivated to complete your tasks.

2. Set Artificial Deadlines

Deadlines help us keep pace. Our working senses get activated when we have a near deadline looming over our heads. Making your own deadlines before the actual deadline is a good way to get you on your feet. But they would be void without incentive. Make a penalty for not following deadlines and reward yourself for completing tasks on time. Make sure to not reward yourself too heavily, for you will get carried away and miss your next deadline.

3. Alternate Your Tasks

Boredom is procrastination’s best source of fuel. Don’t stick to one task as it will soon become tedious and the distractions around you will suddenly become more inviting. Alternating your tasks will keep you focused. I mix dull tasks with enjoyable ones to complete my work faster and more efficiently.

4. Stay in a Conducive Environment

Make sure you’re in an environment that is conducive to completing work. This entails doing work free of distractions. In my own experience, I switch off the Internet modem whenever I have homework to avoid WiFi-related distractions. Having friends who are motivated and supportive also helps. They will push you back on the right track when you feel like quitting. Tell your friends about all of your goals so that you become more accountable to fulfilling them.

How do you tackle procrastination?

Image: Jan Vašek

Education

Autumn has finally rolled around, which means that in addition to leaves, sweaters, and the smell of cinnamon and maple in every coffee shop, we are also about to be hit with hard deadlines, stacks of work, and plenty of assignments with overlapping due dates. That calls for a playlist that can get you settled in and ready to accomplish your looming tasks.

If you’re anything like me, you like to get work done in different kinds of environments. Sometimes I need complete silence, other times I perform well when there’s a miscellaneous ambiance of strangers, and once in a while I like to throw in some headphones and mark off my to-do list with the help of an awesome playlist.

The playlist below has been carefully curated by yours truly (but I won’t be offended if you switch out or remove any of these selections). I like these tunes because they all have a steady but upbeat vibe, and flow together well when I don’t want to be distracted by the sudden jolt of a Top 40-get-up-and-dance jam.

(Click on the photo to view in full screen.)

workplaylistcarpe

Good luck with your exams, papers, deadlines, and meetings this season. You’re doing amazing things!

For more daily inspiration, follow Carpe on Twitter. See you there!

Image: Death to the Stock Photo

Education

When it comes to packing up our bag for school, the main motto is: Less is More. When you’re lugging your backpack around all day from class to class it’s better to focus on the essentials rather than extra stuff that seems necessary at first but is actually just a pain in the neck (literally) later on. Focusing on the most important tools also helps you keep clutter at bay, leaving more time for fun and productivity rather than stress over a bag full of, excuse our French, crap. So what exactly are our essentials?

Take a look and get packing!

1. Backpack

Okay, this seems so obvious it’s silly but stick with us. The type of backpack you carry matters. Even though side bags are popular we prefer to stick with a traditional, two-strap backpack that goes around the shoulders. It’s better for your back, neck, and shoulders, especially when you’re probably carrying more than 18 pounds of weight around.

2. Two pencils, two pens, two highlighters

It might be tempting to bring an entire case of writing tools with you because well, they’re fun. But please, for the sake of your sanity, don’t do it. Bring one or two of each and focus more on the assignment than what you’ll be using to write it with. Plus, studies reveal that the less small decisions we have to make in a day the more energy we have for big things that matter.

3. Small bag for personal items

This could include a contact lens case and solution, personal hygiene products, Chapstick, hand cream, Advil, allergy medicine, a small Kleenex pack –whatever you always seem to need but never seem to have. If you aren’t totally sure what those items might be jot down what you keep reaching for during the first week of school.

4. 16 oz. reusable water bottle

You can refill this as often as you want and leave it in your locker before heading home. If you play on a sports team it’s also a great way to stay hydrated throughout the day without realizing it! Plus it’s nice to have right after gym class.

5. Laptop and charger when necessary

Every school is different when it comes to the laptop and electronics policy but if you’re allowed to bring your laptop to school it could be a great tool for getting work done in between classes or during a free period.

6. Planner

You already know that Carpe is old-school when it comes to planning. High school is where you’re learning to juggle multiple schedules at once (academic, athletic, extra-curricular, personal) so it really helps to have a quality planner that you can keep track of everything in.

7. Cell phone

Just make sure to keep it on airplane mode during class.

8. Wallet

This is the ultimate place to keep basics: $15 of cash, debit card, driver’s license, and student I.D. Done and done.

9. Keys

Car keys, house keys, bike keys, locker keys, you name it.

10. Headphones

Headphones are great. Whether you’re relaxing before an exam or jamming out while doing homework, headphones can be an awesome tool for focusing in or purposefully zoning out. Library tip: Even if you don’t have music playing h a red flag that you don’t want to be bothered.

What do you keep in your backpack? Did we miss any essentials? Let us know on Twitter @carpejuvenis #backpackessentials

Image: Flickr

SkillsTravel

Short line at security? Flight delay? Layover? Don’t let extra time you have at the airport or on the plane go to waste. Whether you want to sleep to regain energy, make new friends and contacts, catch up with your sister on the phone, or complete your work tasks, there are various things you can do to stay productive and still have an enjoyable flight. View traveling as a blessing in disguise to do things you wouldn’t normally have time for or to cross tasks off of your to-do list. Have safe and productive travels!

1. Read Magazines or Books

Catch up on magazines you have been wanting to read all month. Finally finish that last chapter. Reading on the plane or during a layover is a great way to escape the stress of traveling.

2. Journal

Always bring a notebook with you so you can jot down your thoughts, travel experiences, or the things you are grateful for.

3. Network

If you sense that the person sitting next to you at your gate or on the plane is willing to having a conversation, ask him or her how they are. You never know who you’ll meet on the plane, and it can be a fun way to get to know people from around the world.

4. Organize Files and Photos

If you brought your computer, organize files and photos on your computer. No WiFi necessary to complete this task!

5. Write Your To-Do List

Now that you have a lot of time to think, write your to-do list for the week or month. When you are out of your normal work element, you might have a better sense of what needs to be done. Better yet, use this time to get some of those tasks completed and crossed off!

6. Watch a Documentary

Pre-download a documentary on your laptop or see what movies the flight has to offer. Now is a good time to watch a movie you didn’t have the chance to see in theaters, or to learn about a cool new topic.

7. Call a Friend or Family Member

If you’re feeling chatty, call up a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Your mom might also enjoy hearing from you.

8. Take a Walk

Depending on the airport, there can be some pretty great stores or cafes and restaurants that you can browse. Walk around and see what you can find. It can even be entertaining to circle the newsstand kiosks to people watch or see what’s out there. If you really have a lot of time, you can walk the lengths of the terminal to get some cardio in before you have to sit for a long time.

9. Get Your Meal at the Airport 

If you have enough time, sit down for a meal or snack. Even if you need to grab your meal to go, it’s better than airplane food. Don’t forget to pick up a bottle of H2O!

10. Write Letters

The art of the handwritten letter is making a comeback. Take 15 minutes to write a friend a letter.

11. Complete Your Work

Now’s a great time to focus on homework or work that you need to complete. Finish up a blog post, draft an email, or finalize that strategy you’ve been working on for the past couple of weeks. These are all work items that don’t need WiFi.

12. Sleep

Sleep deprived? There’s no better time to catch up on your zzz’s. Tip: sleep on the plane and not in the waiting lounge. That way you don’t have to watch your stuff or worry about anyone snatching your backpack. Also, don’t forget your eye mask – it’s a life saver when people are walking past you or reading with the overhead light on!