2017 was the best year of my life, for many of reasons. With that being said, 2018 is going to be much better for many more. Here's a list of practices I've been learning to take care of myself and to take care of my life in 2018. A lot of these most of you are already probably doing, but chances are, there's someone out there like me that just needs a few tips to get the ball rolling towards a healthier, happier, much more productive year.
1. Start saving.
Contrary to popular belief of the broke college student, saving money is actually easier than expected. I'm a barista so, I just put all my tips into savings. It doesn't seem like much, but it adds up quickly. If you have an hourly job, just set aside a small amount (such as $5, $10, or $20) every week. Another idea is to do some odd jobs like babysitting twice a month and to set aside that money. I have two separate savings accounts, one for fun and one for actual expenses such as tuition and it takes a lot of stress out of my life.
2. Stop overthinking things and just do what you want to do.
With great savings, comes great adventures. This year I already have two trips to Los Angeles and a trip to Red Rocks planned and it's only the second week of the year. Save the money, book the flight, and do the thing. College is your time to figure out who you are, don't waste it.
3. Journal everyday!
For literal years people told me that to be healthier/more productive/happier/etc. that I need to journal but, I never did because it just sounded like a lot of work? It turns out, it's actually SUPER beneficial. The first step to accomplishing any goal is to write it down, and reflecting on those steps in a journal is a really refreshing way to work out bumps in the road. Plus, you can look back on it and track your progress. There's honestly no downside.
4. Stay hydrated.
This seems really obvious and really easy, but it's actually so easy to forget or simply, not care about. When you drink water, every aspect of caring for yourself trails behind. You'll look and feel more rested. Your skin will be clear. Exercising will become simpler. So, make a concrete plan to drink water everyday. The best methods I've found are to check off cups in your journal or to download an app called "Plant Nanny." This app helps you care for a virtual plant by "watering it" every time you drink water. It makes sure you drink enough water to match your weight and activity level and, it actually makes drinking water fun.
5. Start exercising and stop making excuses.
Do you already exercise? Congrats, you're lightyears ahead of me. Have you literally not even considered exercising since your last high school P.E. class? Then, you're in the same boat I was a month ago. The best advice I've ever received about exercise is to find something you love (or at least don't hate) and do it every day. My schedule is jam-packed so I've started doing exercises that don't eat up a lot of my time. Google "planking challenges," or "10-minute stretch routines," if you're like me and need an effective work-out routine. Whatever you do, start small and don't get too overwhelmed in the process.
6. Wake up early!
This is something that's brutally easy to do yet, almost no one does it. The best way I've found to keep myself from hitting my snooze button over and over is to keep an alarm clock on my desk that I have to physically stand up to turn off. This way, I have time to do my makeup, make my bed, pick an outfit, and scrape my windshield when the weather decides to be uncool with me.
7. Keep a tidy space.
If you clean everyday, your room will never get messy. Clean up everything as you go and messes will never appear. It's actually that simple. For bonus points, throw away (or donate) things you don't need.
8. Find creative outlets.
Again, if this is something you already do, then kudos to you. For me, becoming an adult has come with realizing that photography, music, writing, and other hobbies I loved in high school are more difficult to maintain since I'm not in classes for them. If there's something in your life that you've always wanted to do, the best way to do it is to start small and to not get overwhelmed along the way. Also, remember that Youtube is your best friend for tutorials.
9. Keep check-lists!
Checklists are my savior. I have: a daily check-list for self-care that has a lot of the above listed on it; a check-list for all of the exercises and stretches I do; and, I write down a check-list every night with tasks that I want to accomplish the following day such as completing an assignment or remembering to go to the bank. It's a game-changer.
10. Be yourself.
This is some of the best advice I've ever received. It means so much to me that I got it tattooed on my body. In 2018, stop making decisions because you want to impress others. Truth is, people are always going to judge you no matter what you do, so you might as well do what makes you happy.