But First, Sleep

But First, Sleep

Sleep is like a best friend; start giving that relationship the attention it needs.

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Sleep always seems to be the first priority to be pushed aside when things come up. Whether you procrastinate on homework, watch "just one more episode", or decide to go out late most nights, sleep is frequently disregarded for its importance. Especially during the academic year, students are highly known for having horrible sleep patterns. It's time to fix that!

The main issue that is causing people to have negative relationships with sleep is because sleep is not prioritized and is not always considered as important as other things when it is extremely important! Sleep has so many health benefits, just look it! There is so much to be gained from a good night's sleep! And if you don't look after it, well you're going to start missing out on those benefits! Prioritizing good sleep is the self-love we all could use more of!

Not to mention, having a good relationship with sleep just makes you feel better in general! It literally is a best friend because it helps you get what's best for you and wants you to be well.

The easiest way to start bettering your sleep is to try to get 7-9 hours each night. Some of you probably just went "I got three hours of sleep last night and that was a good night," but no matter what you think about functioning on minimal hours of sleep you know you could and should be doing better. Make time for your sleep. Know what amount of sleep makes you feel the best. I know people had to use the word "bedtime" but that's the key - set yourself an "unofficial bedtime." Forget the negative, "child-like" connotations and recognize that "unofficial bedtime" just means you are being aware and putting yourself and your sleep first. Even though you may not be tired at that time some nights, get your body into a routine. That way your sleep clock will naturally adapt and your circadian rhythms will start to match your schedule.

It's no fun being half-awake every day or worrying about falling asleep in class. Don't put yourself in that situation and just prioritize what your body needs from sleep. Personally, I can tell a huge difference from going to bed even just an hour later! Or if I stay up late one night I may not feel it the next day but it'll hit me for a few days after that. I don't know about you, but I like feeling well-rested and motivated to start the day, or at least feel like I had a good, deep sleep last night.

It's time to start making your sleep time worth it!

I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels like they don't always sleep good. This past month I could tell I had not been sleeping the best I could be. I always felt exhausted and worn out and overwhelmed. Even though I had been getting a good quantity of sleep, it wasn't necessarily a good quality of sleep (which is almost more important, in my opinion). So, even though I had been sleeping decent amounts, I never thought my sleep would be the cause of me becoming constantly stressed to the point where I had this breaking point of "feeling weird" mentally and physically and I didn't know where this unexplainable feeling was coming from.

I decided to try to switch something up and see if it made a difference. I always give myself time at the end of each day to chill and separate myself from academic stresses. And I had commonly filled that time watching episode after episode of whatever tv-show was holding my attention at the time. Now I still watch tv shows or movies to relax a bit after a long day, but I decided I would restrict myself from watching them the hour before I go to bed to see if it made a difference. Instead, I've been reading in that time and let me just say it's made all the difference. Not only am I prioritizing time to leisure read and am getting through books I've been wanting to read for months but "never have the time," but it has also helped me prepare my body and mind to get ready to sleep. Reading is said to naturally raise the melatonin levels in your brain, a hormone that is commonly used to help insomnia.

After just a week of changing what I do before I go to bed, I can honestly say I'm beginning to sleep better. I feel more ready to sleep at the end of the day, I don't wake up in the middle of the night as much, and in the morning I feel like I've had a deep sleep and am ready to attack the day.

Finding a routine that promotes a better night's rest for you is one of the best changes you can make! It can be as simple as putting your phone aside for the last half hour before going to bed. Avoiding electronics and technology before sleeping is one of the biggest factors for sleeping well. The light emitted from your phone or computer or television actually prevent you from naturally becoming tired and prohibits your body from preparing itself to sleep.

Another small tip that helps you start improving your sleep is to workout regularly. Looking back, I always slept the best during my sports seasons because I was on a consistent schedule and was working out daily. Simply, your body is tired from exercising which contributes to you feeling more in need of sleep and allows you to fully appreciate being able to completely rest at the end of the day. Sleep is essential for repairing muscles, so if you're working out but not getting sufficient sleep you could be susceptible to injuring yourself from not letting your muscles repair themselves. Making the most of your day allows you to make the most of your sleep at night. Don't run yourself out and load your day unhealthily, but fill your day so by the end of the day you feel content relaxing and ready to put your body and mind at peace.

Long story short: prioritize sleep, allow your mind to unwind, challenge your mind and body during the day and let it rest at night. There are so many natural ways to improve your sleep before talk of supplements needs to be brought up. Take a warm shower at night, stretch, meditate, find a good temperature your body likes to sleep in (ideal is 65-69 degrees), don't nap during the day, and get yourself into a routine. All these things can go a long way in terms of preparing yourself to sleep.

Your sleep wants to love you, so give it reasons to and love your sleep back just as much. No more "I'm not tired when I should go to bed, but then I never want to get out of bed in the morning." Once you can start conquering those past nights of inefficient sleep, you are able to start conquering your days!

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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21 Quotes From Twyla Tharp's 'The Creative Habit' That Will Fuel Your Artistic Self

Use your half-baked ideas for good!

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Twyla Tharp is a master dancer and choreographer. She's worked with the world's most prestigious artists to create works that will withstand the test of time. She published her book "The Creative Habit" as a viewing window for seeing into her creative process. Tharp offers both hard truths and gently encouraging words for both serious artists and everyday people just trying to expand their circle of knowledge about art. I compiled some quotations from the book that were profound, useful and to-the-point when it comes to examining artistic development.

1. "Creativity is not just for artists. It's for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it's for engineers trying to solve a problem; it's for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way."

You get some creativity! YOU get some creativity! Everyone gets creativity!

2. "If art is the bridge between what you see in your mind and what the world sees, then skill is how you build that bridge."

3. "Everything that happens in my day is a transaction between the external world and my internal world. Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity."

4. "In the end, there is no one ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn't scare you, doesn't shut you down."

5. "Someone has done it before? Honey, it's all been done before. Nothing's really original. Not Homer or Shakespeare and certainly not you. Get over yourself."

Ouch. Toes stepped on.

6. "Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art, if it is not art itself. Metaphor is our vocabulary for connecting what we're experiencing to what we have experienced before."

"It's *literally* like this..."

7. "...get busy copying. Traveling the paths of greatness, even in someone else's footprints, is a vital means to acquiring skill."

Choose your muse wisely!

8. "You can't just dance or paint or write or sculpt. Those are just verbs. You need a tangible idea to get you going. The idea, however minuscule, is what turns the verb into a noun..."

9. "When you're in scratching mode, the tiniest microcell of an idea will get you going. Musicians know this because compositions rarely come to them whole and complete. They call their morsels of inspiration lines or riffs or hooks or licks. That's what they look for when they scratch for an idea."

You know you look crazy, but press on, baby ideas in hand!

10. "It doesn't matter if it's a book, magazine, newspaper, billboard, instruction manual, or cereal box -- reading generates ideas, because you're literally filling your head with ideas and letting your imagination filter them for something useful."

"Alexa, play the Reading Rainbow theme song."

11. "...there's a fine line between good planning and overplanning. You never want the planning to inhibit the natural evolution of your work."

Screw this global need for instant information. You gotta just let things run their course sometimes.

12. "Habitually creative people are, in E.B. white's phrase, 'prepared to be lucky.' You don't get lucky without preparation, and there's no sense in being prepared if you're not open to the possibility of a glorious accident. In creative endeavors luck is a skill."

Twyla Tharp is really just a more Type A version of Bob Ross.

13. "I know it's important to be prepared, but at the start of the process this type of perfectionism is more like procrastination. You've got to get in there and do."

14. "You're only kidding yourself if you put creativity before craft. Craft is where our best efforts begin. You should never worry that rote exercises aimed at developing skills will suffocate creativity."

15. "That's what the great ones do: They shelve the perfected skills for a while and concentrate on their imperfections."

16. "Without passion, all the skill in the world won't lift you above your craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. combining the two is the essence of the creative life."

17. "My heroes are those who've prevailed over far greater losses than I've ever had to face."

18. "Part of the excitement of creativity is the headlong rush into action when we latch onto a new idea. Yet, in the excitement, we often forget to apply pressure to the idea, poke it, challenge it, push it around, see if it stands up. Without that challenge, you never know how far astray your assumptions may have taken you."

19. "...there's a lesson here about finding your groove. Yes, you can find it via a breakthrough in your craft. But you can also find it in other means -- in congenial material, in a perfect partner, in a favorite character or comfortable subject matter."

20. "A math professor at Williams College bases ten percent of his students' grades on failure. Mathematics is all about trying out new ideas -- new formulas, theorems, approaches -- and knowing that the vast majority of them will be dad ends. To encourage his students not to be afraid of testing their quirkiest ideas in public, he rewards rather than punishes them for coming up with wrong answers."

This approach would've been so helpful.

21. "I began as a dancer, and in those days of pain and shock I went back to where I started. Creating dance is the thing I know best. It is how I recognize myself. Even in the worst of times, such habits sustain, protect, and, in the most unlikely way, lift us up."

Take Twyla's knowledge and have fun exploring creativity in your personal life!

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