10 Things To Do In 2018

10 Things To Do In 2018

Make 2018 your year to become more confident, kind, and self-aware.
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1. Care for your mental health.

Feel like you are mentally exhausted? You can't put a thought together or think straight? You are starting to think negatively and question your self-worth or ability to do things? Trying to study, but you simply can't focus and just seem to get frustrated at yourself for your incapability to do so? Take a break.  Go for a run.  Call someone.  Take a nap.  Watch your favorite TV show or movie.  Read a book.  Do something you enjoy doing, so you can do the other things you have to do to the best of your ability.  Your mental health impacts your life just as much as your physical health.  If you made a resolution to workout more or eat healthy to work on your physical health, you can make a resolution to do things to work on your mental health.

2. Hit up the person you like.

In 2018, work on not being afraid to reach out to the cute person you have interest in.  If you are afraid of the dreaded "read at" or "open _ minutes ago" on your screen that indicates they aren't going to respond– don't be.  Sure rejection hurts and reading those words may sting for a minute, but at least you tried.  Dealing with a little rejection is much easier to get over than continuously imagining "what-if" scenarios about reaching out to them.  Who knows, maybe they will respond, and you will have a great conversation, which will eventually lead to future conversations.  It could also be possible that they are in the same situation you are in.  They want to talk to you, but are afraid of the same rejection.  One of you has to make a move, and this year, make it you.

3. Participate in doing more "Random Acts of Kindness"

A random act of kindness is literally any gesture that another person benefits from.  It doesn't always have to be "paying it forward" or giving a sum of money to a charity– although those are still kind things to do, there are many other options.  Work on doing little things for other people.  Hold open the door for someone behind you.  Smile at a stranger.  Give more compliments.  Leave a generous tip at a coffee shop or restaurant.  Volunteer more.  Donate to a food bank or Salvation Army.  Encounter someone who was rude to you? Be nice to them in return.  Give them the benefit of the doubt that they aren't a rude person, they are just having a bad day.  We all need a little extra love and kindness on a bad day.  

4. Work on being a better listener.

Try to work on being an active listener to those around you.  If someone is talking to you about their day, ask them questions while they are speaking to you to indicate that you are listening and care.  

5. Do more research.

Read a news headline that sparks your interest or see a topic that you have no clue about?  Look into it.  Try to educate yourself on topics you aren't knowledgeable on.  For me, I am completely clueless about politics.  Instead of remaining clueless and forming opinions based on social media posts that may or may not be reliable, I am going to educate myself so I am able to form my own opinion and stance.  This year get in the habit of gathering your own information and coming to your own conclusions– use the knowledge you gain to form your own educated opinion.

6. Go to the gym more– or don't.

Going to the gym is not the only way to stay active and become healthier.  Yes, I am a total fan of the gym, but it isn't the best choice for every person.  The gym can be discouraging and can make working out more stressful.  Physically getting to the gym can also be time consuming.  Some people don't have the extra time it takes to get there and back in their day.  You can still work on being healthy this year without going to the gym.  Take the stairs instead of an elevator.  Walk wherever you can.  Download an app on your phone that provides you with at home workouts.  Do air squats while brushing your teeth or waiting for your food to cook.  You can even do lunges in your home to get around instead of walking. There are tons of opportunities to work on getting healthy during your day that don't have to be done at a gym. 

7. Take a break from social media.

Social media is addicting.  I am sure there have been times you unconsciously reach for your phone in a moment of boredom and open Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, ect., to entertain yourself.  Not only is it addicting, it is also unhealthy for our mental health.  There are numerous studies that have proven some social media apps contribute to decreased self-esteem and higher anxiety levels in their users in comparison to non-users.  Do yourself a favor this year and take a break from social media.  I am not encouraging deleting all apps all at once and trying to quit social media cold turkey.  Just start with an app you think you could go without for a little while, and see how you do.  You may be surprised at how you can still survive without your favorite social media platform(s) at the tip of your fingers.  

8.  Watch more sunrises and sunsets.

Okay so this one might sound a little cheesy, but just do it.  Not only are sunrises and sunsets pretty, they can also serve as a time to plan or reflect on your day.  Sunrises and sunsets alike are brief and can be a moment of your day where you appreciate the beauty of something much larger than yourself.  I am not a very spiritual person; however, whenever I see a sunset, I instantly feel calm and tranquilized by its beauty.  Again, very cheesy, but if you just do it, you'll understand what I mean.  Sunrises and sunsets also make for breathtaking snap stories if that can persuade you at all to go watch one or both some day.

9. Work on not being afraid of failure.

Yes, failing sucks.  We all fail.  Your friends, parent(s), teachers, and celebrities have all failed.  Just because we all do it, doesn't mean it still isn't a temporary blow to our confidence or self-esteem.  This year, try to work on accepting failure and growing from it.  Work on not getting down on yourself for it.  You failed a class?  Reflect and understand why you failed that class, and do better in the next class you take.  Did you work hard for something and it ended up not paying off?  Don't let the fear of it not paying off disable you from working hard again– use it as inspiration to work even harder.  If we don't fail, we won't appreciate success.  Failures are experiences that we can learn and grow from.  This year begin to view failures as experiences that are necessary in order to become successful.

10. Embrace moderation.

When I say moderation, I mean learn how to allow yourself to indulge, while having the self-control to know when to stop.  Most people may hear the word moderation and think of food.  Yes, this could apply to enjoying foods that may not be healthy to have all the time.  You want to eat cake? Eat cake-  just not after every meal.  Moderation can also apply to streaming TV shows and movies. You want to take two hours of your day to watch your favorite show? Do it, but also allow time to study.  You want to go to a party or bars during the weekend? Great, do it, be social.  But make sure you do your homework and study.  Embracing moderation can allow you to enjoy the things that may not help you reach your goals, but doing so won't stop you from reaching them.  

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Working On My Emotional Health Is At The Top Of My To-Do List

I'm finally realizing the importance of my mental and emotional health.

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The month of April has been so eye-opening for me. For the first bit of the year, I felt like I was in a slump; like I was just going through the motions and not fully living my life.

I was letting boy drama, school stress, and my poor actions to deal with those issues take over my life. I was allowing the anger and shame from those mistakes bubble up inside me until I was just about ready to explode.

I was allowing myself to go back to old ways of coping with problems that I knew weren't healthy, but I knew would be a short-term fix.

I simply wasn't living.

Then, one day I woke up and told myself I needed to change, and that if I didn't, I'd be on this same path ten years from now... or worse. I told myself I needed to get my life back on track with the Lord and with who I want to be as a rising senior in college.

After meeting with one of the leaders at my church (btw, everyone needs a Mrs. Jenny in their life!) and with my therapist, I'm starting to realize how important my emotional health is. My way of dealing with problems hasn't been working all that well, so I know it's time to try something else.

It's all going to be a huge learning process (and at times, an uphill battle), but I know working on my emotional health now will build me to be the best I can in the future.

By learning to become more open to healthier ways of dealing with issues as they come up (like not avoiding problems and actually facing them head-on), I know I can become my best self, and that is something I'm willing to work on with my whole heart.

So, I'm learning to let go of needing to control everything in my life because honestly, wanting to control everything puts me more out of control than when I first started.

And, I encourage you to do the same.

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