Dear Fitbit, I'm Sorry About This Summer

Dear Fitbit, I'm Sorry About This Summer

There really is no reason for me to have you, but I'll make you proud one day.
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Dear Fitbit,

I know you're probably super disappointed in me at the moment, and I really can't make any excuse that is good enough for my laziness this summer. I had all these plans at the beginning of the summer. I was going to eat better, drink more water, get the right amount of rest each night, and slowly but surely start trying to work out. You and I both know that most of these were failures.

You see, I started off right. I tried a few Pinterest workouts, and realized I was horribly out of shape. I tried to drink more water... but sweet tea and coffee sound so much better. I tried to eat better, but fast food always seems easier and fries.. well, enough said. About the only thing I really stuck with was getting enough sleep, but instead of going to bed early and getting up early, I did the exact opposite. You see sometimes Netflix shows require several, several hours of attention, and the best time to do that is at night.

I really intended to use you to help me achieve some goals. I wanted to check your app and feel pride at how good I was living, but that just didn't happen. I would get the bedtime reminders at 10 and spend several more hours watching some show or movie. I even got to the point where I let you die, and just didn't charge you for a few days. I was embarrassed to face you, my healthy living motivator.

Summer is such a time of leniency, going with the flow, etc., so maybe summertime isn't my time to get back right with you. Maybe Fall is our time, ya know? It's a time of getting back on schedule, structure, and if you live in the South, it starts cooling down and let's all agree that this hot weather can make everyone lazy. Maybe Fall will be the time for motivation...but then again Fall is also the time for scary movies, pumpkin everything, sweets, and big sweaters that hide pudginess.

So let's just say I can't make any promises. I really am trying to get back healthy and make you proud, but my temptations make that a rather hard task. Hey, on the bright side, I may get a lot of steps walking across my freaking huge campus when classes start, but that's probably the closest I'll get.

Sorry for the disappointment.

Sincerely,

the Netflix and junk food lover who has you for no reason

Cover Image Credit: Hamza Butt / Flickr

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100 Ways To Practice Self-Care In Your Everyday Life, In 20 Minutes Or Less

Simple ways to start taking care of yourself.

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Life is overwhelming and distracting so it's easy to forget about yourself sometimes, but practicing small self-care acts is easy. Making time for yourself every day isn't selfish and is really good for your mental health. I think it's important for everyone to spend time doing things that make them happy and more calm, even if you only dedicate 20 minutes each day. Putting yourself first can lead to growth so many other aspects of your life.

Obviously, each person is allowed to practice self-care in their own unique way, but here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Do something new. 

2. Make a list of things you need to get done that week. 

3. Drink some hot tea. 

4. Go for a walk on a scenic trail.

5. Paint your nails.

6. Have a good laugh.

7. Buy yourself flowers.

8. Light a candle.

9. Do some tidying up.

10. Don't feel bad for saying 'no.'

11. Listen to music.

12. Slow down.

13. Drink a smoothie.

14. Run mindless errands.

15. Write down your goals for the week.

16. Talk to someone about the future.

17. Wake up early and get coffee. 

18. Take care of a plant. 

19. Take a bubble bath. 

20. Give yourself a compliment.

21. Give a stranger a compliment.

22. Watch a movie.

23. Put your phone down.

24. Declutter your personal space.

25. Go to bed early. 

26. Pray or meditate. 

27. Go for a drive. 

28. Make it a habit to stargaze. 

29. Read a book. 

30. Read poems. 

31. Sing loudly. 

32. Make a list of things you're grateful for. 

33. Drink a lot of water. 

34. Put on make-up for no reason.

35. Watch funny videos. 

36. Take a deep breath. 

37. Distance yourself from negativity. 

38. Unfollow people you don't care to follow on social media. 

39. Have a pajama day. 

40. Read an inspirational book. 

41. Call your parents/ loved ones. 

42. Donate old clothing. 

43. Dedicate a day out of the week to not eating meat. 

44. Do a fun craft or DIY project. 

45. Put on a face mask and relax. 

46. Do a small workout. 

47. Take a power nap. 

48. Listen to a podcast. 

49. Open a window. 

50. Open your curtains in the morning to let in natural light. 

51. Make your bed. 

52. Cook dinner instead of eating out. 

53. Play/ cuddle with an animal. 

54. At the end of the day, think of all the positive things that happened.

55. Moisturize. 

56. Buy a comforting blanket. 

57. Give someone a hug. 

58. Create a vision board. 

59. Have some alone time.

60. Enjoy the sun on your skin. 

61. Dance like nobody is watching.

62. Walk in the rain every once in a while. 

63. Drive with the windows down. 

64. Give someone a gift for no reason. 

65. Get a massage. 

66. Do something that gets your adrenaline running. 

67. Spend the day at the library or a book store. 

68. Organize your work space/ binders. 

69. Spend a weekend in. 

70. Recognize hard work and reward yourself. 

71. Sign up for a work out class. 

72. Eat lunch with a friend. 

73. Spend the day helping others. 

74. Get your hair done. 

75. Have a good cry. 

76. Use sticky notes. 

77. Color code your planner. 

78. Print out pictures and hang them up. 

79. Hang motivational quotes on your mirror and read them when you get ready. 

80. Do random acts of kindness. 

81. Buy fuzzy socks. 

82. Redecorate or rearrange furniture. 

83. Be present. 

84. Set a new years resolution. 

85. Make a bucket list. 

86. Stretch in the morning. 

87. Watch an interesting documentary. 

88. Make a music playlist.

89. Watch the sunrise or sunset. 

90. Explore somewhere new.

91. Be slow to respond to negativity. 

92. Have a game night with friends. 

93. Buy concert tickets. 

94. Have a nightly routine before bed. 

95. Eat your favorite dessert. 

96. Do something you've been putting off. 

97. Invest in essential oils. 

98. Manage your finances. 

99. Buy a new outfit. 

100. Make your own gratitude list. 

Try at least one of these every week and see how you feel! I guarantee you will notice a difference in the way you are living your life.

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4 Tricks To Outsmart Exam Stress and Survive Your Fall Finals

Build resilience and find peace of mind during finals week with a few manageable tips and tricks.

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Finals are nearly here, my friends! We all know the struggle of completing those last few exams and papers before packing and preparing to go home for the winter holidays. Between cramming in assigned readings and meeting paper deadlines, relaxing and taking a break might be the last thing on your mind. However, practicing some simple tools for self-care will help improve your concentration, attention span, and memory. You don't have to survive the week on caffeine and minimal sleep! Fight the urge to allow your frazzled thoughts and nervous energy take over your life by trying out some of these tricks.

1. Find relief with a mind dump exercise

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Doing a "mind dump" is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, and there's truly no wrong way to do it. Put pen to paper and allow yourself to list everything on your mind, either in bullet form or in full sentences. This might include things you need to do (like "schedule dentist appointment"), assignments to be completed ("Philosophy paper, Art History flash cards, read Psych chapters 8-12"), or anything you're feeling/experiencing ("tired, overwhelmed, excited to go home for break"). Nothing is off-limits! After you're done, you can do whatever you want with this, hopefully at least feeling a bit lighter. It might be a relief to tear the paper up into a million pieces, or save it and use it as a baseline to get a study schedule started to prioritize exam dates, due dates, etc.

2. Take a breather & quiet your mind

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Practice a simple form of meditation by closing your eyes while seated, and just start to notice your breathing. Try not to get caught up in any racing thoughts or present worries - it is completely normal to experience this! However, you may notice that as you focus on your breathing, your thoughts become less prominent. Bring awareness to the feeling of air coming in your nostrils, allowing your ribcage and belly to expand, and exhale out your mouth naturally without forcing anything. Once you have spent a couple of minutes doing this, start to lengthen your inhales and exhales so they are of equal length. Inhale, mentally counting, "1, 2, 3, 4", then exhale through your mouth for 4 counts and continue for 5 to 10 minutes. This form of breathing is an ancient technique called "sama vritti" and promotes relaxation and clarity of mind.

3. Show your eyes some love

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If you've been staring at your computer screen and textbooks for hours on end, it's time to give your eyes a much-needed break. Researchers at The Vision Ergonomics Laboratory suggest increasing font size and switching your typical Times New Roman font to something more easily readable, like Verdana or Helvetica to reduce strain on your eyes. You should also be taking a short break from your screen at least every half hour.

Before you go to sleep at night, or during a mid-day break, rest with an eye pillow. The light weight of an eye pillow filled with rice or flax can be extra soothing and calming on the eyes. Additionally, eye pillows that utilize scents like lavender or eucalyptus add an extra sense of rejuvenation. Some eye pillow brands are designed to be microwaved for heat therapy, and almost all eye pillows can be placed in the freezer if you're craving a cooler touch. You can purchase one from Amazon (like this one) or do-it-yourself. Pour approximately one cup of uncooked rice that has a couple drops of your choice essential oil mixed in into a tube sock, then tie off the end before use.

4. Practice positive self-talk & re-pattern negative thoughts

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Researchers are finding that the way we talking to ourselves has the power to shape our perception of our abilities. When your self-talk and internal beliefs are negative, like believing you won't do well on an exam, you have poor study habits, or can't get out of the trap of procrastination, you might be unconsciously perpetuating behaviors that prove yourself right. When we affirm these negative beliefs, we are less likely to believe in our abilities to push through difficult or stressful times and therefore less likely to take productive steps towards tackling our challenges head-on.

Your negative self-perception might stem from completely legitimate sources - and it's important to validate that, too. I'm not asking you to put on rose-colored glasses and pretend like everything is OK when it clearly doesn't feel that way! For example, if you have anxiety that is provoked during finals week and consequently negatively impacts your sleep, ability to concentrate, and study effectively, you might not perform as well on tests as you potentially could. However, in realizing this, it's important to find ways you can take action and then affirm your ability to do so. Some examples are: "I am doing the best I can", "I can get through this", or "I am taking small steps towards success". It's important to also couple these positive statements with positive action so that you truly believe yourself when you repeat these statements. This might look like seeking support from a therapist, going to your professor's office hours and/or review sessions, creating a study schedule, or making sure you're drinking enough water every day.

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