CollegeCultureInspirationMusic

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

Waking Up:

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

Working Out:

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

Studying:

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

Relaxing:

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

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

Image: Flickr

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

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@deliciouslyellaElla Woodward will inspire you daily to eat healthy

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@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.)

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

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

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Happy cooking and happy exploring!

Image: Flickr

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.

Vikash C

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perfect Stride -1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CJ: What is your favorite running shoe?

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

CJ: What is your favorite running warm-up?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perfect Stride 2 -2

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

HealthSkills

Two steps forward, one step back. Or sometimes, two steps back or even three – and then we’re really lost, asking ourselves how we even got there. The setback comes in all shapes and forms, but always of the same effect. It has a tempting, toxic ability to keep people in a negative state of mind making it more of a stayback than anything else. We feel it when relationships end, whether with a partner or a close friend. We feel stagnant when our career choices don’t reach the expectations we have bred in our minds. We become self-degrading, unconfident, anxious, and fearful versions of ourselves whenever we face circumstances that stunt our flow of life. The sad part about all of this is not the fact that obstacles happen, but rather that our collective response to hardship is to blame ourselves by shutting down. After all, if it’s happening to me then I must be deserving of it, right?

Incorrect. Unfortunate things happen all the time, and a quick reality check can help many of us realize that our problems are not quite as hefty in the big scheme of things. But how do we get out of the mental rewind that keeps replaying the negativity reel? First and foremost, separate your true self from the problem.

STEP 1: You are not the circumstance. The circumstance is happening to you, it is not you. And too often, people feel entirely consumed by the problem almost becoming it.

Tim Storey, world-renowned motivational and inspirational speaker says it best when he describes how people ruminate on their issues. He says that “We nurse it, curse it, and rehearse it.” By doing this, we are conditioning our minds to react to problems by constantly thinking about them and repeating them in our heads. Storey explains in his book Comeback and Beyond that the best way to cope is to “accept the now and take inventory of what is happening.”

STEP 2: Thinking about a problem is different than being aware of what’s happening. When you become aware you are expanding your thought patterns from dwelling on a single issue to seeing the entire picture. Less thinking, and more recognizing. Recognize how you’re feeling and what triggers you to repeat bad thoughts. Knowing how often you nurse, curse, and rehearse will help you work towards stopping those thoughts.

There is great power in what we think. Because of this, we must be very careful with what enters our minds. Setbacks create space in our heads to think negatively, but we can train ourselves to make space in our heads for positivity. It’s about redirecting what we pay attention to. Instead of focusing on what went wrong or what we failed to do, realize that there are unlimited other ways to focus on things that will breed positive thoughts. If you feel like you have nothing, give more. Volunteer, call a friend, help your parents out at home, and experience firsthand what happens when you shift the expected course of action. Your mind is so used to repeating the bad, that when you begin to feed your thoughts with helpfulness and kindness, your emotions begin to change as well.

If you feel lost and confused, be open to getting help from others. It is common for people to think that success is a one person job, and if they can’t do it on their own they don’t know how to be successful. This is twisted thinking. The most successful people understand the importance of mentorship and having a strong team of individuals to support one another in both work and personal life.

STEP 3: Shift your receiver and pick up positive signals. Don’t stay in the setback. Choose to hang out with people that believe in you. Make an appointment to talk to a counselor or therapist. Only read beneficial and substantial articles and follow positive people on social media.

There are so many times in life that we can feel weighed down. A lot of that weight is in what we think and not actually what is happening. Take the time to redirect yourself and don’t forget:

Separate from the problem. Recognize your thought patterns. Shift yourself to get better reception.

“Life is all about course-correcting.” – Arianna Huffington

Image: Raumrot

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

HealthIngredient 101Wellness

squash

When it comes to healthy ingredients, we can’t say enough good things about butternut squash. Though it’s bizarre shape confused us at first, once we found a great recipe to use for this squash we were hooked. Peel it, chop it up into cubes, and mix it in with some olive oil, onions, and chicken stock, and voila! You’ve got yourself a hearty and healthy soup. Here are a few reasons why butternut squash is so great for you:

1. It’s filled with beta-carotene which turns into vitamin A (helps heal your skin, protects your eyes, and decreases UV sensitivity).

2. It is important for bone health and it helps your nervous and immune systems function properly because of the potassium and vitamin B6.

3. If you want healthy hair follicles and a hydrated scalp, butternut squash does just that because of the vitamin E, iron, and omega-3s.

4. Don’t toss the butternut squash seeds! They are an amazing source of tryptophan and dietary fiber. Roast them for a nutritious snack.

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

Health

Fruits are all gems. They’re filling, nutritious, and low in fat.  Most of the time, they tend to be overlooked and sometimes, the popularity of chia seeds and kale has shifted the spotlight. However, there are many benefits in certain fruits that perhaps you were not aware of. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will be able to select the crème de la crème in the fruit department.

1. Blueberries

Like all berries, blueberries serve as a powerful antioxidant. They help fight off cancer and the degeneration of cells. These antioxidants can help to improve better brain function and an increase in memory.  In addition, they contain properties that help protect against UTI’s (urinary tract infections).

2. Oranges

Oranges hold a variety of benefits! Of course, vitamin C is on the list and everyone is very aware that one orange can provide anywhere from 78%-93% of a days’ worth of it. However, they also have a great deal of potassium and the white lining many of us are guilty of peeling off provides hesperidin which can help lower cholesterol. Lastly – according to studies, even their smell can offer a calming effect.

3. Raspberries

Another member in the berry family: raspberries. Raspberries are actually one of the fruits that contain the highest amount of fiber with eight grams per cup. You’ll notice that they are also deceivingly sweet and I say “deceiving” because they are low in sugar (and carbs and calories).  Not surprisingly, they are packed with antioxidants that can help prevent cancer.

4. Apples

I’m sure you’ve heard it: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” And yes, the saying is on point! One apple contains 15% of your daily fiber needs and it contains ample amounts of antioxidants like quercetin, catechin, phloridzin, and chlorogenic acid. They hold both soluble and insoluble fibers which lower cholesterol and keep the digestive tract working properly. The Nutrition Journal has actually claimed that they can help reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and asthma.

5. Grapes

Red or purple, grapes are grapes. They are packed with resveratrol, the mega popular property in wine that is said to be the modernized fountain of youth. One cup of dark grapes could get you as much resveratrol as that of a five ounce glass of merlot.

6. Strawberries

One handful of these could help those that suffer from type 2 diabetes. They also help fight off heart disease and inflammation. They serve as an exceptional dose of vitamin C and antioxidants.

7. Avocados

A personal favorite, avocados are definitely of the richest in nutrients! They have plenty of fiber, vitamin, and healthy fats. Yes, healthy fats. These fats actually assist your body in the absorption of vitamin E, D, and K. If you’ve been worried about inflammation lately, avocadoes inhibit the production of these inflammatory chemicals.

8. Watermelon

Watermelon is the perfect summer fruit! However, this should be your year-round fruit! They are packed with lycopene which is essential for cardiovascular health. It also holds pliantly of citrulline which helps improve blood flow and may reduce the fat in fat cells. And here’s a fun fact: it turns out that the juicy center is not the area with the highest amounts of nutrients – the area beside the skin is! It has the highest concentrations of phenolic antioxidants, flavonoids, lycopene, and vitamin C. In addition, watermelon is incredibly alkaline which calls for numerous health benefits!

When choosing your fruit, try including these in your selections. More importantly, try varying your selection and try fruits you have never had before! You may surprise yourself with a nutritious, tasty delight!

Image: Liz West

CultureTravel

Globe-trotting and sight-seeing may not always be within our reach. Sometimes our travel funds are running low or we don’t have a long enough break to really go anywhere. For those of you fresh off a semester at school or enjoying time off from work, turn your vacation into a staycation. Staying at home to create your own leisure moments is often times the best way to unwind and stay frugal during the holidays. Travel time: zero. Destination: relaxation.

Ramen and Rom Coms

You know you love it. Invite some friends and family over for a cozy night in. Supply the packages of ramen and have your guests choose their favorite romantic comedies to watch. It’s silly, it’s fun, and it’s an easy last minute hangout idea. (Life points to the person who chooses Crazy Stupid Love.)

Easy-Peasy Bath Salts

Here is what you’ll need for a luxurious and silky bath time experience. This does wonders for dry skin sufferers, especially in the winter time. It will calm your skin while the epsom salt can help ease joint pain and muscular aches.

 1 cup of sea salt
 ½ cup of baking soda
 2 cups of Epsom salt
 Mix well in a big bowl
 Add 10 drops of lavender essential oil
 Put your mix into a jar and add a few spoonfuls to your next bath!

Tea Party for One

If you’re looking for some solo time, enjoy a piping hot cup of tea and relax with a good book. It’s always refreshing to read for fun (and not for a grade), but if your brain feels fried from final exams and essay-writing, try audible.com to check out their great selection of audio books. Listen to your books instead and sip on some green tea mixed with fresh mint leaves and a dash of sugar.

Music and Mind

Free-writing is both a powerful and cathartic process. Allow yourself to free your conscience completely with 20 minutes of free-writing. There are no rules or prompts or deadlines, just your stream of thoughts put on paper. Play some music (preferably loudly) while you write to fuel your creativity. You never know, you might get a poem, a letter to self, a letter to a loved one, or the start of a series of journal entries. Tip: listening to music and rainymood.com simultaneously creates a wondrous audio experience that is definitely worth trying.

Image: Mike

Health

It’s sick season, and lots of my friends have had strep. I was part of the strep crew, and it hit me hard. I felt awful – major headache, chills, fever, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, the whole nine. I was bound and determined to get rid of it and still avoid antibiotics.

One solution is Thieves oil; it’s antibacterial and antiviral, and cleans stuff pretty darn well. I’ve never used it for strep or illness, but I’ve heard others attest to its incredible healing powers. Sadly, I didn’t have any Thieves, and I’m on a budget here. So I did the next best thing and found the perfect herbal remedy that contained only three simple, everyday ingredients that I already had!

I made it using the recipe below, and ate the whole mixture twice in one day. The next day my throat had made a massive improvement and I had actual energy, so I made the mixture again the next day, eating half in the morning and half in the evening. I also made green tea mixed with apple cider vinegar, a tsp cayenne pepper, lemon juice and a tsp honey, and drank a large mug of it.

By the morning of the third day, my sore throat was completely gone and I felt normal. I drank another of the green tea mixtures just to be on the safe side, and that was the last of the remedies I made. I was cured!

Here’s the magical recipe, which happens to be way cheaper than a doctor visit and a prescription, simple to prepare, way faster than medicine, totally safe and natural. Whether you have strep or just a slightly sore throat, this is a really fantastic method to try.

1 tbsp raw honey
¼ tsp cayenne
3-4 cloves garlic (chopped as finely as you can)

Mix the ingredients and eat it. Don’t wash out the throat; you want the ingredients to coat it.

I made it twice on the first day, but I’ve read that it’s still incredibly effective if just taking it once. Try the green tea mixture, too.

Now go get better!

Let us know in the comments below if this works for you, or if you’ve got other remedies you like to use.

Image: Anna Gutermuth

EducationHealthSkills

Here we are, slowly creeping into mid-December and that only means one thing: finals week. Sleep is probably the first or last thing on your mind right now. If sleep is not one of your priorities, hopefully by the end of this article it’ll move up a level or two in importance.

  1. The Facts

Today, about 75% of people experience some type of sleep issue a few times a week, and about 50-70 million Americans have a sleep or wakefulness disorder. With this fast-paced, money-making, work-obsessed, change-achieving culture, America is reaching for perfectionism, ignoring the personal stakes that may entail. Lack of sleep is causing unintentional accidents on the road, chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as cancer, and a reduced level of productivity. When I asked a “4.0” or A+ friend what she thinks of sleep, she laughed and noted that most of the time, there’s simply not enough time for it. Is sleep really that underappreciated? Studies suggest that school aged children need about 10 hours of sleep; teens need 9-10 hours, while adults need 7-8 hours. In a survey, only 30% of adults reported getting over six hours of sleep while only 31% of teens reported getting at least eight hours of sleep.

  1. Memory Booster

Receiving the adequate amount of sleep actually helps you remember things after learning a new task. However, it seems as though students are actually skipping out on sleep in order to cram and essentially, remember more information. Next time you cram for your Bio exam, try studying all day, sleeping all night, and rising early the following morning to review – you may have much better results!

  1. Weight Gain

Oh no… college students, the freshman 15 was real. We all know firsthand that this is no myth. And here I am, as a sophomore, trying to shed those painful memories away with the help of my fabulous treadmill. Lack of sleep causes those numbers on the scale to increase. “Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite” says The Harvard Women’s Health Watch. It’s true! Think about it, how many times do you end up grabbing that bag of potato chips when writing that essay at 3:00 a.m., or how often you order delivery because there’s no time or your cravings are at an all-time high? Sleeping not only cuts off all chances of cravings, but it also promotes proper metabolism function.

  1. Morning Crankiness

Sleep deficiency causes irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and the ultimate case of moodiness. Notice that when you have slept plenty, you wake up happy, content, and almost excited to conquer your day. On the other hand, waking up to a firetruck alarm clock when it seems like you haven’t slept enough, makes you want to curl back into a ball sandwiched between those cozy sheets.  In fact, this may leave you only doing the things you need to do as opposed to the things you need and want to do simply because you are just too tired to do them. Get the sleep you need and feel ready to seize your youth!

  1. Health Risks

There are many types of health risks associated with lack of sleep including cardiovascular problems like hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and even an irregular heartbeat. In addition, skipping out on those hours can alter your body’s immune function which can, in turn, modify the body’s natural killer cells. This can call for a more vulnerable body making you more susceptible to infection and sickness. Enough sleep has also been linked with cancer prevention.

Living by that “YOLO” motto can definitely have its pros, but just remember that ignoring sleeping needs can put your psychological, emotional, and physical health at risk and maybe working on time management can help you receive the adequate amount of it. It is important that you put sleep on your list of daily priorities until you find it utterly “unthinkable” to miss out on it. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” you may think, but think again, my friends! Skipping out on sleep may just stop you from doing the things you love and need to do in life!

Image: Tandem Properties

Health

“Treat Yo’ Self” is arguably the most quoted line from the show, Parks and Recreation. It comes from an episode where two characters reveal their annual tradition of spending an entire day doing all the things they like. On this day, money is no object and all negative thoughts are dismissed. You indulge in your desires after being responsible the rest of the year. While this was a compelling episode of television, it also struck a cord with viewers because it is an almost universal fantasy. That said, the concept of getting yourself what you want is possible and important to achieve in real life.

We all have responsibilities. We have chores, school, work, bills, and more that need to get done for our lives to run smoothly. However, we also have to remember to give ourselves a break. With the holidays coming up, I have been saving money. I am mostly diligent, but when time and money allow, I will treat myself to a coffee or a movie. I don’t necessarily need those things but they are little pleasures that can make my day better. Being the best version of yourself does not mean you stop enjoying yourself.

I am not saying there are no rules to treating yourself in real life. You should never do anything to hurt yourself or others. I would also advise against doing anything illegal. You should also live within your means as you will still have bills the rest of the year. Other than that, this day can be your own.

While having a whole day where anything could happen would be lovely, I think the main lesson is to remember to take time to enjoy yourself. Some diets have cheat days, and a budget can have them too. While it is important to be responsible, it’s also important not to make yourself miserable.

It if helps, make it a Treat Yo’ Self day. Here are some ways to do so:

  1. Pick a day where you will schedule nothing. Keep yourself free so you can do whatever you want, whenever you want.
  2. Invite with some friends if you think they’ll help you on this adventure.
  3. Think of all the things you would want to do if you just had the time. Once you know what you want, you can find a way to put your idea into action.
  4. Think positive. Don’t put any limits on yourself. If you spend time thinking about all the things bothering you, you might not be able to enjoy what is in front of you.
  5. Have fun.

Find your passion and pursue it. Even if you can’t spend an entire day doing what you want, you can find a time to do something. It doesn’t have to involve spending money or be a nonstop thrill ride. Just make sure you are taking time for you. You deserve it.

How would you “Treat Yo’ Self”?

Image: NBC Parks and Recreation