5 Simple Tools to Start the Year Off Stress-Free

5 Simple Tools to Start the Year Off Stress-Free

Don't knock it till you try it.

There are a hundred different little tools and gadgets that people use to help keep them relaxed, organized, and free of stress. Everyone is different, and there can be a wide combination of things that will help each individual person stay organized. That being said, here are five simple items that I think will help start 2017 on the right foot.

1. Meal Planner

Having a meal planner is a really good way to limit your stress. There's not a day that goes by when I don't hear the phrase "what do you want to eat?" or "we don't have any food." Meal planners keep you from eating out as much, help you with a grocery list, and limit the difficulties that come along with cooking (especially for multiple people).

2. Fitness Tracker

A fitness tracker doesn't have to be a Fitbit or Smartphone app. This could be as simple as keeping a journal tracking your workouts. The important thing is to set a goal to reach everyday, and honestly track your progress. You do have to be really disciplined to keep a journal by hand everyday, which is why I have a Fitbit that tracks workouts for me. Find whatever works for you. The important thing is sticking to it.

3. Cookbook(s)

I have always wished I had the knack for cooking, but the truth is I don't. I need lots of recipes to help me cook actual meals. Whether or not one of your New Year's resolutions is to eat healthier, you can still benefit from buying a cookbook. This will also help with your meal planning if you're like me and don't have a very large repertoire of recipes memorized.

4. Essential Oils Diffuser

I recognize that this isn't for everyone. I've always wanted to use essential oils, so I finally went out and bought myself a diffuser, which is one of the easiest ways to use essential oils. There is a wide variety of essential oils and uses for them, including decreasing stress and increasing relaxation. Why not try it? At the very least, it makes the room smell nice.

5. Reminder/To-Do List App

There are a lot of different smartphones apps out there to help send you reminders. iPhones even come with one already on their phones. While I'm not the biggest fan of the Apple Reminders app, I have searched the App Store many times and found several that work well for me. This past semester I downloaded one geared toward school and homework. It would send me a reminder at a designated time before the due date of my homework as a reminder to do it. Once you get in the habit of using it, it's really nice to not have to worry if you're forgetting something.

All of these tools are available in many different formats and prices. Find the type of tool that works best for you, and get into a habit of using it. Trust me, having small things like these make your life a whole lot easier.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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An Incurable Disease Doesn't Change The Love I Have For You

Because one day the one you love the most is fine and the next day they're not, it causes devastation you never truly recover from.


Loving someone with an incurable disease is the most emotionally straining thing I have ever experienced.

My significant other and I have been together for almost six years. During the summer of 2018, we all noticed the significant changes he was going through. He had lost around fifty pounds and had a lack of appetite. We had figured something was going on, however, we didn't realize it was anything serious.

Fast forward to the Fall semester of 2018. I had visited my boyfriend and we had expressed certain concerns, such as, through the night I would try and get him to stop uncontrollably itching his legs to the point of bleeding, or that he was looking a little yellow and was exhausted all the time. After seeing his sister in November, while I was at school, she pleaded with him to go to urgent care because he did not look good. He was yellow, exhausted, and very sickly looking. We didn't realize that the urgent care visit would be the precedent of the rest of our lives.

After coming home for Thanksgiving and spending a week straight in the hospital with him, it finally set in that something was not right. Between all the vomit, getting moved for testing, the weakness, the constant calling for medications because the pain was so severe, and the almost month-long stay in the hospital, it hit me full force that something was really wrong. Words will never truly describe the emotions I was feeling, or the burden of my thoughts that I felt were too selfish to pass on anyone, so I kept them to myself.

When we finally got the diagnosis, we were surprised. PSC, otherwise known as Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, is an incurable liver disease that affects the bile ducts which become scarred and inflamed, more likely than not lead to cirrhosis and an inevitable transplant. There was no cure, rather the only solution was a liver transplant, and even then the disease can be recurring.

I was thinking selfishly. I was torn in two. What would our future look like? Could we have children? Could we ever do the things we used to?

Loving someone with an incurable disease is a mix of emotions. There is a constant fear in the back of my mind that he is going to wake up in intense pain and have to be rushed to the hospital. There is a constant fear of every time waiting for the bi-weekly blood test results to come back, in fear that his Bilirubin spiked again or he is undergoing a flare up and needs to be hospitalized. There is a constant anxiety that one day he's going to be fine, and the next day he won't be. Even the simple things, such as laying beside one another, was a constant fear I had, due to the pain he was in every day. What if I hit him in my sleep on accident? What if I accidentally hugged a little too tightly and caused him pain?

Loving someone with an incurable disease can be a fluctuation of emotions, however, he makes it worth it.


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