10 Things To Start In 2017

10 Things To Start In 2017

Resolutions that are so easy you have to do them
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So, here we are in a new year and everyone seems to be pretty excited and hopeful about it, making the usual new years resolutions that either last the whole year or last this first week. These resolutions do not have to be all they are cracked up to be, I mean you can make them as fun or as serious as you want. One of the hardest parts of a resolution is sticking to it, and I get it, making a new habit or trying to break an old one can be difficult. But, I think this list can help you make your own resolutions that are fairly easy to uphold and have a little fun too.

1. Walk every day

Most college students walk in some form each day whether from the dorm to classes or to some extracurricular activities, so this resolution is an easy one. Last year, I started going on runs a few times a week and noticed I felt so much better in terms of my health and energy, so exercise definitely is a good resolution to make. And, since most of us walk around each day, why not take the long way to the parking garage or take some "you" time and see some nature?

2. Eat more fruit

Healthy eating is a popular resolution too, but since most college dining halls offer some form of fruit, it should also be an feasible resolution. Now I totally understand those who really do not like eating fruit, I am right there with you. But, you do not have to eat actual bananas, strawberries, or grapes, I have orange juice about every day with breakfast. So, it is a resolution that is doable, it just takes some effort.

3. Read more for pleasure

As college students, most of what we read is for classes or assignments, and not that those readings are bad, but I think reading for pleasure is so much more valuable. Not only are you reading a book or magazine you are interested in, but you are improving your vocabulary and exercising your mind at the same time. Academic readings can be fairly difficult in terms of comprehension, and so taking time to read literature that is not so dense is good for you. This resolution is not as easy as it sounds for college students, but hopefully would turn into a habit.

4. Smile more

One of my favorite quotes is from Legally Blonde when Elle Woods claims exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy, so of course, happy people do not just kill their husbands. Elle Woods is right, but you do not have to commit to exercise to feel happier because smiling also releases endorphins. A resolution that sounds simple but will also help you feel happier and healthier at the same time.

5. Take time outside

Sunshine is a source of vitamin D and should be a part of our daily routine, but being a student often leaves little time to go outside other than to class or to eat. Even in the winter season, walking for leisure or being outside is important to our health. This resolution can be difficult for those who do live through winter weather, but taking time to go outside and think is also an effective study break as well as good for you brain.

6. Use less technology

As college students, technology is almost essential, but if you limit your time spent on Netflix and read a book for pleasure or go outside, then you will put less of a strain on your eyes and feel energized too. I mean we all have those days when you just need to binge watch a show on Netflix, but too much screen time can affect your eyes and sleeping pattern. Of course, social media is a large part of technology too, and taking time away from those sites can be relaxing and good for you. This resolution is hard because we use technology so much, but it is one to attempt.

7. Good deeds and small acts of kindness

People tell me chivalry does not exist, but I have to disagree because people hold the door open for strangers, pay for the person in front of them, and other random acts of kindness that make me think otherwise. Of course, these small acts of kindness and good deeds start with people being nice, but nice people make others feel nice too. A resolution to make empathy and kindness important character traits, and to become a better person.

8. Snailmail

A friend from high school sent me a letter in the first semester of college and I still have his letter in my college room. Mail is not as popular today because we have the instant communication, but I think sending and receiving letters is a cool resolution. Plus, writing a letter for fun is so easy and so much fun.

9. Hydrate

As students, we can become pretty busy and sometimes forget to drink water, but water is so important for our health. But I am seeing a lot more people carrying reusable water bottles and plastic ones to class, so keeping up with hydration is the key here. This resolution sounds obvious, but many do not drink enough water, so we should make it a habit.

10. Treat yo self

Everyone needs some "me" time once a day or a week, and even though we can be pretty busy this time is necessary too. Treat yo self is a phrase a lot of people like to use sort of ironically, but I think treating yourself is good for you. And, I mean, it should be every once in a while so when you do feel like you need some "me" time, the time is beneficial and has some worth.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.journalismfund.eu/sites/default/files/_original.jpg

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.
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It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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'13 Reasons Why' Is A Show That NEEDS To Be Talked About More

It brings light on issues that so many people avoid, which is exactly why it needs to be talked about.
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There aren’t a lot of shows out there that show the “ugly,” raw, real side of things like sexual assault, depression, suicide, drug use and violence.

This may be because these things are hard to talk about, so not talking about them is a solution, which isn’t ideal.

Both seasons of "13 Reasons Why" on Netflix cover these topics, and despite the backlash, it has gotten, I fully believe it is a show that needs to be seen and talked about more often.

Because of season one, there are trigger warnings in some of the episodes in season two. These warnings advise of depictions of drug use, sexual assault and more. There are even excerpts of the cast talking at the end of each one with a website to go to if you or someone you know needs help.

Sexual assault is one of the bigger pictures that is touched upon in this series, from both female and male perspectives without giving anything away. This is SO important, especially including an incident involving a male because it shows that sexual assault can affect everyone, regardless of who you are.

Even though none of the characters came right out and said they were struggling with mental illnesses, many of the signs and symptoms are there.

I see it way too often on social media and in some movies and television shows; depression and other mental illnesses are romanticized and make it seem as if these issues are not a big deal, but the truth is, they are.

This show explores the side of mental illnesses that aren’t often seen, and even though it can be hard to watch, it needs to be shown in order for us to start a conversation about it. By talking about it, it can help end the stigma that surrounds mental health and hopefully encourages people to get the help they need.

By showing Hannah’s suicide scene at the end of season one, it’s understandable that it may be triggering to those who have survived suicide attempts, but again, it’s important and serves as a conversation starter for those who may not know how to talk about it or their feelings.

It also touches base on not only how Hannah herself feels, but how others are affected by her suicide. We see how Clay, Jessica, Alex and so many other characters deal with the loss, mostly in season two, but we also see how her parents are handling it.

I think diving deeper into the feelings of others after a loved one has committed suicide is important and can show that one’s decision to end their life may end their pain, but passes it onto their loved ones. It’s hopefully an eye-opener to those who are struggling and shows that their loved ones will be left with pain and questions that may never get answered, just like some of the characters in the show.

Again, without giving anything away to anyone who’s yet to see the second season, there are some instances of drug use which can also be a trigger for anyone who may be recovering or comes from a family that uses drugs.

"13 Reasons Why" shows a side of drug use that is frightening, nauseating and heartbreaking all at once with the intention to show what can happen if you fall into a life of drugs. It also shows that no matter how long you are clean, you relapse sometimes, which is all apart of recovery.

It’s no secret that violence plays a big part in this show - and a lot of stems from anger, nervousness and many other emotions and events throughout the show. A lot of times there are consequences that follow these instances of violence and can show that your actions can come back to bite you.

If you are sensitive to the subjects mentioned above, then "13 Reasons Why" may not be ideal for you to view alone, but if you want to see how these subjects are portrayed, I highly recommend watching it with a trusted friend, parent or adult.

I’ve seen way too many times where these subjects were not talked about because it’s hard to, because people don’t know what to say or people can’t find the words to say, and that’s not okay anymore.

There is a negative stigma surrounding all of these issues that need to be broken, and it starts with "13 Reasons Why."

It’s ok not to be ok. It’s ok to be hurt, sad and angry. There are people out there who love you, care about you and want you to get the help you need.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to someone you trust or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The Lifeline is available 24 hours a day. Your call will remain confidential.

Cover Image Credit: 13 Reasons Why Official Instagram

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