11 Things To Be Grateful For This Holiday Season

11 Things To Be Grateful For This Holiday Season

Sometimes we need to remember the things we take for granted.

This last year has been filled with a lot of violence and hatred thrown towards each other. Somewhere along the way, people have forgotten that we are supposed to love each other and care for each other. So, I figured with the holiday season upon us we should take note of all that we have. There is so much we take for granted so I wanted to highlight 11 things that we should be thankful for this holiday season.

1. Health

Whether this be your health or the health of a loved one, we should be grateful for the good health we possess. There are many families that have to spend their holidays in hospitals because of sick children, spouses, or parents and don’t get to enjoy the happiness around them. After a health scare and hospital visit from my dad last week, I couldn’t be happier for him being okay and am very grateful for that.

2. Education

I know, I know, a lot of people don’t like school, but just imagine if you didn’t have the choice to get an education! I’m sure life would be a little bit harder if you didn’t get it. Just think there are kids out there that don’t have the option to get an education and instead have to work twice as hard to get ahead.

3. Culture/Religion

Now, I really don’t practice any religion, but imagine if you were stripped of that right? Many people in the world are and many in the past were. Be thankful you are someone where religion and culture can be practiced freely.

4. Family

This one is easy. I know family can be annoying sometimes, but at the end of the day you love them and they love you. Be thankful you have a family that loves and cares for you. There are some out there that are mourning their family. Be thankful that isn’t you.

5. Friends

I always say that friends are the family you make for yourself. I may only have a few but I am grateful for them every day and so should you. Not having friends would be a drab.

6. Pets

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pets but would be thankful for them if I had them. I mean, could you imagine if you couldn’t have your cat or dog? I know some people that would die if they lost their animal so be thankful you have yours.

7. Food

Honestly, who doesn’t love food? We all love it and need it. Now imagine having barely enough to satisfy your hunger for the week. That is a sad reality for some in the world so be thankful you have enough to fill you up each day.

8. Roof over your head

This one is kind of self-explanatory. There are a lot of people out there that don’t have a home. Be thankful you do, and it comes with power and water.

9. Clothes on your back

This is something we easily take for granted. We just expected to always be able to go out and buy new clothes if we need or want. What if you couldn’t? What if all you had was a single shirt and a single pair of pants? I don’t think you would enjoy that very much

10. Your Favorite TV shows/movies

Okay, so I ran out of serious things to be grateful and wanted to throw in a couple of little things. Be thankful for the fact that you can watch these. Be thankful they can exist. I don’t know y’all, but I think I would die without my weekly dose of "Supernatural" or my occasional Marvel movie marathon.

11. Music

The melodies of your soul. Could you imagine the world without music? It would be a very bleak world. Be thankful you can listen to whatever you want whenever you want (Reasonably speaking, of course).

There is obviously so much more you could and should be thankful this holiday season, but make sure you pay special attention to the biggies AKA the top half of this list.

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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13 New Ways To Inspire Yourself This Spring

Spring out of those post-spring break dumps and into springtime.

As the semester winds down and the weather warms up, our sights always seem to be set on summer break. Most of us are just barely hanging on by a thread to finish out the semester – I’m guilty of it myself. But, let’s not neglect our fleeting weeks of mid-60s, sunshine, and flowers. Here are 13 ways to get out of the post-winter/end-of-semester blues, and into spring!

1. Spring cleaning

This one might go without saying, but cleaning up isn’t limited to the clutter of your bedroom. Start cutting out toxic things out of your life. This can be food, relationships, or bad habits. Try fostering a new hobby. And, cleaning up your household won’t hurt, either.

2. Start a garden or buy a plant

Planting a few flower or vegetable seeds are a perfect way to brighten up your home for the season. Buying a pre-planted or fake plant counts, too.

3. Nature walk

Visit a local park, prairie path, or garden. Taking a long walk or jog to decompress and connect with the world around you can be an easy fix to a cluttered mind and restless heart.

4. Star gazing

On a clear night, spend some time looking up at the sky to decompressing. It’s a nice reminder of how small we really are in this universe. It can be fun to point out the constellations you remember learning about in elementary school science class, too.

5. Splatter painting

This one is my personal favorite. Visit a craft store and pick up some art supplies.Then, go outside, turn on some music, lay out your canvas, and go to town. This can be really therapeutic, too.

6. Try out some new recipes

Although you can do this pretty much any time throughout the year, look up some good BBQ recipes for your grill to help get you in the spring and summer mood.

7. Visit a playground and relish in being a child again

Take a break from the final weeks of the semester to be a kid again! Swinging on a swing set and climbing the monkey bars can be more cleansing than you think.

8. Stop using your phone before bed

Taking a digital break in general is a great idea, but especially if you have trouble sleeping, spending those 20 minutes before bed without looking at a screen can have a much better impact. Break out that book you’ve been meaning to read for months now, and start reading that before bed. It helps you fall asleep faster, too!

9. Spruce up your wardrobe with some DIYs

Go thrifting and try some of these cute DIY ideas for a brand new wardrobe on a budget. Tie-dying is a personal favorite of mine, too.

10. Yoga and meditation

If you’re guilty of having “monkey mind”, like me, spending as little as five minutes a day meditating or doing basic yoga stretches can help immensely. Blocking out the world to really focus on your breathing can do so much for your mentality and your attitude for the rest of the day.

11. Make a bucket list

This can be as personalized as you’d like. Make a list of must-dos for the end of the semester, for summer break, or for the rest of your life. They can be anything from singing in the rain to going bungee jumping. Having those little things to cross off your list gives you something to look forward to.

12. Volunteer

Whatever area you’re interested in, whether it’s working with the elderly, animal shelters, or homeless shelters, find some local places to volunteer with. Not only are you helping someone else in need, that internal gratification is a great feeling.

13. Take pictures of what makes you happy every day

Try this out for a week or so: photograph a thing or person that made you smile that day. Compile your photos at the end, and look at how beautiful your life really is.

Enjoy, and happy spring!

Cover Image Credit: Celeste Horrocks

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What It's Like To Stay In Pittsburgh Over The Summer

What's there to do when our teachers are hibernating for three months?

It’s weird for me to think that some people don’t stay in Pittsburgh over the summer, if only because I haven’t gone home for any summer since I’ve been in college and I have no inclination to do so. There are plenty of reasons to stay: classes, research opportunities, jobs and internships, and some people find that they just don’t want to go home and find a reason to stay. Of course, even with all those incentives there are still some of you who will want to go home, wherever that may be, so hopefully I can clue you in on what it’s like over those three months.

To begin, Pittsburgh is absolutely gorgeous in the summer. You get a taste of it in the fall, and a whiff in spring, but wow, with the flowers and the trees in bloom, places like Frick park, The Point, The Waterfront, and Mount Washington are completely transformed in the haze of green and other colors. The second thing I always notice, around the third week in, is how quiet Oakland becomes. Walking around campus, you’re lucky to run into 8 strangers over the course of your day, although there are always a handful of stragglers in Hillman or Cathy. It feels nice, in an odd way; the campus feels much more personal, much more accommodating to you. And then, with the lack of people and stress from school, you start to branch out from Oakland and see more of the city, which is where the real fun begins.

We all know we go to the University of Pittsburgh, but honestly it’d be more accurate to say we go to school in Oakland. Campus can feel pretty big during the school year, but Pittsburgh is a city of dozens of neighborhoods outside of the four or five that make up Pitt’s domain, and most of us stay orbiting around specific buildings that are hubs for our majors. I didn’t really start understanding the dynamic of larger Pittsburgh until summer after my freshman year when I started to see comedy shows on a regular basis downtown, and it completely opened my eyes to the opportunities we miss every day during the school year.

I’m not trying to judge anyone: you’re lucky to see me outside of Hillman, Cathy, or my apartment during the school year. But still, when I think about all the festivals, museum openings, theatre performances, comedy shows, art galleries, and independent classes that are offered around Pittsburgh, just to name a few of the options available in a city like Pittsburgh with vast public services and interesting people, I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out. If you ever get a chance, I’d say stay here over a summer, even if only for a couple weeks. And even if that’s not in the cards, maybe check out some of the local stuff happening outside of Oakland; Pittsburgh can surprise you.

Cover Image Credit: Robpinion on Wikimedia Commons

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