Stop And Get Your Vitamin 'N'!

Stop And Get Your Vitamin 'N'!

How spending time outside during these stressful spring months can improve your physical and mental health.

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Spring is undoubtedly one of the busiest, yet exciting times of the year. From the promise of warmer weather and beautiful blooms to graduation and a soon-approaching (and much-needed) summer break, the highs of this time of year fluctuate all over the place almost as drastically as Georgia weather does.

Until this year, I used to hate springtime. For individuals like myself, spring can be hard on both the body and the mind. Seasonal allergies and illnesses, paired with more school and social obligations, easily make me feel bogged down and helpless. Not to mention, Daylight Savings Time forces everyone to lose an hour of much-needed sleep during an already stressful time of year. The impacts of spring months go beyond just the body though; studies have shown that mental health issues tend to worsen during these blossoming months. Seasonal depression, anxiety, and suicide rates are all shown to worsen during the spring and summer months with no identifiable cause. On top of all these stressors, work, school, family, and personal problems seem to put significant pressure on people during this time of year as well.

One possible solution to this "Spring Epidemic" is not so obvious at first. It's a free, easily accessible service that is beautiful, relaxing, and shown to improve both the physical and mental health for struggling individuals. Richard Louv, American author and journalist, has written and identified this aide and researchers in the field of psychology are now recommending this mysterious "Vitamin N" for individuals with even the most severe mental health problems.

This recent discovery is that prescribing "Vitamin Nature" has had a positive impact on human well-being during hard times. Spending time outside has been shown to reduce stress in ways like lowering blood pressure and to improve mental health by, say, limiting the negative effects of stressors and ruminating thoughts. Children and adolescents especially need to have lots of time to play outside, as a lack of this has been linked to potential health issues such as ADHD and depression.

There are many ways that college students can find time to spend in nature, even for those with the busiest schedules. Making small changes like walking outside to class, studying outside, assembling a pickup game of your favorite sport, or choosing to eat outside rather than inside of your favorite restaurant are all small changes that could make a big difference in stress levels and mood. For those who can't live a day without spending copious amounts of time outside, The University of Georgia has countless spots to unwind and enjoy the weather. A few of my favorite places to unwind are the Myers Quad, Lake Herrick near the IM Fields, and North Campus Quad. Some days, I spend hours outside laying out on my blanket soaking up the sun and reading; on others, simply walking from my dorm to my first class in the morning is enough to help me put my worries into perspective with a positive attitude.

Looking ahead to this coming spring season, treat yourself to time outside for at least a few minutes a day. On campus, spots such as the Georgia State Botanical Garden and Lake Herrick offer beautiful scenery and wildlife for you and your loved ones to enjoy. Even sitting at a Quad to study or outside a cafe Downtown can help as well.

This spring season, stop and smell the roses; even better, stop and get your share of Vitamin "N."

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Buying New Clothes Every Month Has Been The Key To Helping Me Become Happy With My Body Again

Loving my body in new outfits has boosted my self image so much.

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Being body-positive has been really hard for me to do throughout 2019, despite there being an overwhelming surge in body-positivity around me, whether through my friends and family or YouTube. I look in the mirror and what I see is someone I want to make a jean size or two smaller like in the past. That being said, I've slowly been coming around to accepting the body I have now, instead of bashing it constantly. A key way I've come to accept the body I'm in now is through buying myself something new every month, like a new T-shirt or a pair of jeans or sneakers that help me see myself in a positive light. When I'm in a new outfit, I feel invincible. I don't think about how pudgy my stomach is, or about the hair I have growing in random places, like my neck or on my nose (yes, not just in, but ON too).

My bank account tends to suffer as of recently because of this, but it's worth it when I can genuinely feel good in what I am wearing every day. I like to wake up and think about how many outfits I can put together, ready to post my #OOTD for Snapchat without caring what anyone thinks. I've let social media dictate how I feel about myself more than I care to admit. I see how perfect all the models are in everything they're wearing from brands I know and love, yet when I try the same thing on, it's a whole different ugly story.

I don't enjoy trying things on to avoid the shame I feel when things don't fit me right, or if something that I thought would flatter me actually makes me look like a sack of potatoes. Instagram has really hurt my body image a lot — enough to make me delete it for a week after one post sent me spiraling. Going through those bumps made me finally realize it's not my fault if something doesn't fit. Sizes range depending on the item, it's the clothing items fault, not mine. Now that I see that, it's easier to brush off something not fitting me as it should. I know my size very well in the stores I frequent the most, so it's easier for me to pick out things I know will look good and not have to worry about the sizing issue.

Buying yourself something new is not something you should limit to every few months or longer. You shouldn't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone price wise every once and a while either. Coupons exist, stories always offer you them when you first sign up to receive emails and even texts. You can be crafty and still get a high price item for less. If you treat yourself to cheap things, you won't feel half as good as you want to. Granted, sticking to a limit is important but there's no shame in going over the limit every once and a while.

I love shopping as much as I love country music and writing short stories — a lot. Yes, I get yelled at almost every time I get something new. I need to save my money for important things, like for my sorority or for medical issues that could suddenly arise, or for utilities at my house next year off campus.

However, my mental well-being is not something I can ignore.

I can't push the good feelings aside to save 30 or 40 bucks a month. I don't want to feel as low as I've felt about myself anymore. I'm tired of feeling sad or angry at who I am, and I want to learn how to accept myself as I am. Buying myself something new, like clothes, is what offers a positive light to view myself under.

Whether you treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, or to face masks, or to a new movie when it comes out — don't be afraid to do it. Put yourself first and you'll realize your worth and how much you've been ignoring it in the face of poor confidence.

My confidence isn't back up to where it used to be, but it's getting there.

It may not be the most cash efficient method of self-love, but my body positivity is better than it was a few months ago. Aerie and American Eagle have really helped me become happier with my body, and I can't thank them enough for being more inclusive for people like me who are learning to love themselves again in a new body.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us hoping to promote our own body positivity, and it could all start with a simple purchase from your favorite store after you read this.

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