A Letter To Anyone Who Needs Motivation In The New Year

A Letter To Anyone Who Needs Motivation In The New Year

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”–Winston Churchill
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Dear Everyone Who Has Ever Existed,

(Because we all need a boost at some point in our lives...)

With the New Year rapidly approaching, we are all suddenly very aware of all the little and big things we have to overcome with the start of a new year. We make plans, resolutions to revolutionize ourselves, and aspire to do all of those big and little things we glossed over last year. We make Pinterest boards with diets to get healthier, pay for gym memberships to get thinner, and make promises to our loved ones we know – somewhere deep down, we will not be able to keep. It is, unfortunately, the nature of the beast. We try harder to come up with ways to better ourselves and our lives within the next year than we do to actually keep up with those promises we made for ourselves. How can we call these new paths for ourselves resolutions if we do not truly work to keep them?

It is not our fault, really. As we all have heard a million times before, too often, life gets in the way. Even if we resolve to slow down and not take part in the rat race of society, we get caught up in the hustle and bustle. The giving sensation and feeling of wanting to start over from the season past thaws along with the fallen snow. Shamefully, we forget this feeling as we do keeping up with our resolutions. I find that the busier and more hectic our lives get, the less motivated we feel to do those things we wanted so badly a few months earlier. We check up on ourselves less, when really, if we want to make a change, we have to make a conscious effort to ensure we are doing all we can to make it happen.

However, you should also know that there are ways to fix your conundrum; there are ways to keep that motivation with you, not just for 2016, but for years to come. You have to be reasonable with your expectations. For instance, instead of trying to get out of debt all at once, as your New Year’s Resolution, try it in small increments. Instead of trying to lose sixty pounds within the month of January, and being disappointed all throughout February, work towards your goal in small doses. Check-off these small goals as you accomplish them – be it on paper, on your phone, or in your mind – and you won’t feel as though the larger goals are so out of reach. Do not overwork yourself. Remember the cliché about Rome not being built in a day. If you take on too much at once, only to find out it can’t all be done, of course you are going to wind up disappointed and unmotivated. Keep the inspiration going by taking on what you can, and leaving the rest up to the luck of the draw. We cannot control every little thing in our lives, and it would be impossible for anyone to expect that of us. Surround yourself with people you can touch and inspire and who can do the same for you; with people who love and admire you, and want to see you succeed. Tasks are much easier to take on when you have a caring support system behind you.

So, my unmotivated friend, I wish to tell you that you are not alone. We all experience burn-out, a lack of incentive. Anyone who says they maintained their New Year’s resolution for the entire three hundred sixty-five days is either lying to you or themselves. We are human, and it is much easier for us to put things off than it is to follow through. Do not ever feel as though you are a failure, or lazy, or like everyone else is doing so much better than you are. You have the capability of succeeding in all you do, as long as you try. Take comfort in knowing that even if you don’t, you always have someone who believes in you.

And above all else, remember:



Cover Image Credit: http://www.motivateplay.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/motivation.jpg

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Yes, I Had A Stroke And I'm Only 20

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
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Recently, I read an article on Cosmo that was written by a woman that had a stroke at the ripe old age of 23. For those of you who don't know, that really doesn't happen. Young people don't have strokes. Some do, but it's so incredibly uncommon that it rarely crosses most people's minds. Her piece was really moving, and I related a lot -- because I had a stroke at 20.

It started as a simple headache. I didn't think much of it because I get headaches pretty often. At the time, I worked for my parents, and I texted my mom to tell her that I'd be late to work because of the pain. I had never experienced a headache like that, but I figured it still wasn't something to worry about. I went about my normal routine, and it steadily got worse. It got to the point that I literally threw up from the pain. My mom told me to take some Tylenol, but I couldn't get to our kitchen. I figured that since I was already in the bathroom, I would just take a shower and hope that the hot steam would relax my muscles, and get rid of my headache. So I turned the water on in the shower, and I waited for it to get hot.

At this point, I was sweating. I've never been that warm in my life. My head was still killing me. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, trying to at least cope with the pain. Finally, I decided that I needed to go to the hospital. I picked up my phone to call 911, but I couldn't see the screen. I couldn't read anything. I laid down on the floor and tried to swipe from the lock screen to the emergency call screen, but I couldn't even manage that. My fine motor skills were completely gone. My fingers wouldn't cooperate, even though I knew what buttons needed to be pressed. Instead of swiping to the emergency call screen, I threw my phone across the room. "Okay," I thought, "Large muscle groups are working. Small ones are not".

I tried getting up. That also wasn't happening. I was so unstable that I couldn't stay standing. I tried turning off the running water of the shower, but couldn't move the faucet. Eventually, I gave up on trying to move anywhere. "At what point do I just give up and lie on the floor until someone finds me?" That was the point. I ended up lying on the floor for two hours until my dad came home and found me.

During that two hours, I couldn't hear. My ears were roaring, not even ringing. I tried to yell, but I couldn't form a sentence. I was simply stuck, and couldn't do anything about it. I still had no idea what was going on.

When the ambulance finally got there, they put me on a stretcher and loaded me into the back. "Are you afraid of needles or anything?" asked one EMT. "Terrified," I responded, and she started an IV without hesitation. To this day, I don't know if that word actually came out of my mouth, but I'm so glad she started the IV. She started pumping pain medicine, but it didn't seem to be doing anything.

We got to the hospital, and the doctors there were going to treat me for a migraine and send me on my merry way. This was obviously not a migraine. When I could finally speak again, they kept asking if I was prone to migraines. "I've never had a migraine in my whole life," I would say. "Do you do any drugs?" they would ask. "No," I repeated over and over. At this point, I was fading in and out of consciousness, probably from the pain or the pain medicine.

At one point, I heard the doctors say that they couldn't handle whatever was wrong with me at our local hospital and that I would need to be flown somewhere. They decided on University of Maryland in Baltimore. My parents asked if I wanted them to wait with me or start driving, so I had them leave.

The helicopter arrived soon after, and I was loaded into it. 45 minutes later, I was in Baltimore. That was the last thing I remember. The next thing I remember was being in the hospital two weeks later. I had a drain in my head, a central port, and an IV. I honestly didn't know what had happened to me.

As it turns out, I was born with a blood vessel malformation called an AVM. Blood vessels and arteries are supposed to pass blood to one another smoothly, and mine simply weren't. I basically had a knot of blood vessels in my brain that had swelled and almost burst. There was fluid in my brain that wouldn't drain, which was why my head still hurt so bad. The doctors couldn't see through the blood and fluid to operate, so they were simply monitoring me at that point.

When they could finally see, they went in to embolize my aneurysm and try to kill the AVM. After a successful procedure, my headache was finally starting to subside. It had gone from a 10 on the pain scale (which I don't remember), to a 6 (which was when I had started to be conscious), and then down to a 2.

I went to rehab after I was discharged from the hospital, I went to rehab. There, I learned simple things like how to walk and balance, and we tested my fine motor skills to make sure that I could still play the flute. Rehab was both physically and emotionally difficult. I was constantly exhausted.

I still have a few lingering issues from the whole ordeal. I have a tremor in one hand, and I'm mostly deaf in one ear. I still get headaches sometimes, but that's just my brain getting used to regular blood flow. I sleep a lot and slur my words as I get tired. While I still have a few deficits, I'm lucky to even be alive.

Cover Image Credit: Neve McClymont

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There Is A Science Behind Blacking Out, And It's Actually Scarier Than You Think

Science confirms, blacking out is actually a bigger deal than you think.

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Have you ever woken up from a night out with your friends, confused how you got from Point A to Point B, or wondering why you blew up your ex's phone? Chances are you might have experienced alcohol-induced amnesia, more commonly referred to by college students as "blacking out." Although you have no recollection of what happened last night, this does not mean you passed out or were unconscious, actually, it's very likely that you could've held a conversation with some of your friends throughout the night and acted as if everything was normal.

With social drinking becoming more of a trend, blacking out is not uncommon among young adults, however, it is rather misunderstood.

While blacking out seems harmless and carefree, it is actually very dangerous, especially if your friends are unaware of how much you have had to drink and don't realize that you might need to be watched over.

There are two types of blackouts; en block, also referred to as a complete blackout, is when you wake up with no recollection whatsoever of the events that took place during the time that you were drinking. This occurs when information cannot be transferred from short-term to long-term storage during a drinking episode. You can sufficiently keep information in short-term memory to engage in conversations, drive a car (which you shouldn't do if you've been drinking any amount of alcohol), and participate in other activities. Nonetheless, this information is lost due to the brain's failure to transfer the person's short-term memory to long-term memory storage.

There is also fragmentary-memory loss, which means that you have some memory of some of the events that took place during the time of your drinking. This type of blackout is more common and occur when memory formation is only partially blocked. Unlike complete blackouts, fragmentary blackouts permit the recall of all memories that were stored during the drinking event, however, it might require some prompting or jogging of your memory.

Studies on blackouts show that although alcohol is required to initiate a blackout, alcohol alone (no matter the quantity) is not enough to cause a blackout to occur. Some studies show that it is possible for people to blackout even when they aren't at the peak of their alcohol consumption. There are several factors that affect blacking out, including drinking on an empty stomach or consuming a large quantity of alcohol in a short amount of time, due to the fact that this would raise your blood alcohol content (BAC).

Studies also show that women are at a higher risk for blacking out even if they consume less alcohol than their male counterparts. This is due to the fact that women have less water in their system in comparison to men, causing alcohol to be less diluted in their bloodstream.

Women also have a significantly lower concentration of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH). Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) metabolizes alcohol before it passes into the bloodstream. In turn, women have a higher blood alcohol content and experience greater intoxication than men.

Lastly, women, in general, have more body fat than men. Due to the fact that fat does not directly absorb alcohol, they maintain higher concentrations of alcohol in their bloodstream in comparison to men.

Besides causing damage to your memory, there are several risks associated with blacking out. According to a study performed by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, college students who reported blacking out found that students often participated in risky behaviors such as unprotected sex, driving, and vandalism or destruction of property.

That being said, next time you decide to go out with your friends, remember to drink water and avoid drinking on an empty stomach. Although blacking out has become somewhat of a trend among young drinkers, the risks associated with it aren't worth it.

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