10 Things You Can Do To Take Care Of Yourself This Winter Break

10 Things You Can Do To Take Care Of Yourself This Winter Break

We all need some good relaxation and rejuvenation, so here are some simple things you can do to achieve that.


I often view self-care or "treating" myself as something lazy, self-indulgent, or unnecessary. It takes a lot to convince myself to do something that is, well, just for myself. I've found a handful of things that make me feel refreshed and renewed, while also being productive and feeling like I've accomplished something.

1. Watch a TEDX Talk


I know, I know, TEDX Talks are the thing your English teacher used to force you to watch or the videos you fell asleep to when you had a substitute teacher in literally any high school class. At one of my grasps for properly taking care of myself, I tried one of those stupid 30-day challenges, one centered on self-care. One of the days included watching TEDX Talks. I found one that seemed remotely interesting and watched it. Surprisingly it made me feel substantially better about everything and gave me things to think about. I started watching them a little more often and there are actually a lot of good things to be learned from them. If you find one on a topic you like, they can be interesting, informative, and inspiring.

2. Go for a walk


When I was home for my Thanksgiving break, I took my dogs on a walk down my street at home. I usually view it as a chore and finish their walks as quickly as possible, but this time I walked further and stayed outside a little longer. It was surprisingly relaxing and, especially this time of year, it is so nice to be outside and so refreshing to be in the cold for a little bit. Go take a walk and enjoy the snow, the pretty trees, and the winter weather. I guarantee it will make you feel happier, more relaxed, and overall better.

3. Write a love letter to a friend


I have a good friend that wrote me a post-it note telling me how much she appreciates me before I left for college and I read it whenever I have a bad day or need to feel better about myself. Giving positivity to people you love can make you feel better in so many ways and it'll make someone you care a lot about feeling good too.

4. Devote a day to Christmas gifts


This year I committed myself to a full day of buying and making Christmas gifts. Planning something to make another person happy will make you feel better about yourself as well as the positive environment you are creating around you. Think hard to pick presents your loved ones will really appreciate and consider hand-making some of your gifts this year. Being creative when it comes to Christmas will improve your own mood and force you to take a break and enjoy the holiday season while 'till checking something off of your to-do list.

5. Listen to a podcast


Podcasts are simple and easy because you can listen to them when you put away laundry, clean, or any number of mundane tasks. They can be inspiring, informative, and always make me feel better by taking my mind off of things. Find a topic you are interested in or a person you like and learn something new! I guarantee the productivity and passivity of it will help clear your head.

6. Bullet Journal 


While filling in a planner has a similar effect, bullet journaling takes it to a whole new level. It doesn't have to be your new planning routine or a long term commitment, but even trying to commit to it for the few weeks of break will give your life organization. This is productive and an easy way to calm your mind. Bullet journaling allows you to be creative and take control of your life while keeping track of the semester ahead and your goals for the new year.

7. Buy a book


Find a book that you actually want to read and buy it. Make sure it's a topic you are interested in and something you are excited about. Reading can help personal development in so many ways and it is a great way to both exercise your mind and help remove you from the world a little. Plus by learning about something new you are being productive and doing something that will make you proud later on.

8. Take a new workout class


It's a known fact that exercising makes you feel better mentally and physically and is just generally good for you. However, keeping the exact same workout routine can feel stale and unexciting, eliminating some of the benefits of doing the workout. I know that I always get a better workout in when someone is instructing me, so a class is the most effective way to get exercise and reap the benefits.

9. Spend an hour with your Mom (or Dad)


One of the things I look most forward to when going home is just lounging in my childhood family room and talking with my mom. Updating her on my life and hearing about her's has such a calming effect, not to mention the fact that she knows me so well and gives me the best advice. It grounds me to hear her opinion on things and just generally makes me happy to spend time with her. I know not everyone has that relationship with their mom necessarily, but find that adult in your life that can automatically improve your mental health and spend some time talking with them.

10. Make REAL New Year's Resolutions 


I know it's cliche and that no one really feels as if they can achieve their goals for the new year, but evaluating your goals and your progress can be really beneficial for your body and mind. By taking some time to recognize how far you've come and where you want to be next year you are taking initiative in your development in every aspect of your life. However, make sure that your goals for the coming year are realistic and attainable. Create a plan to achieve each goal and a way to track it or measure your successes. By making goals that you can achieve you set yourself up for success and happiness, which is a great way to spend your time off.

We are all coming off of such a challenging time of year, with the end of the semester and all the family and friend drama that comes with the holidays. It's so incredibly important to find small ways to take care of yourself and better yourself in a variety of ways. Make sure you come off of break having a true break but also taking steps to make the coming semester and year easier on yourself.

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17 Signs You Grew Up Irish

Irish and proud!

With a name like Shannon Elizabeth Ryan many people right away sarcastically ask the question "you're not Irish are you?" I always laugh and jokingly say nope not at all. I'm extremely proud of my Irish heritage, but what does it mean to be Irish?

Here are 17 signs you grew up Irish:

1. You have a distinct Irish name: first or last

Shannon, Elizabeth, Michael, Patrick, Sean, James, Ryan, Riley, Mahony, Murphy. Extra points if your last name begins with O', Mac or Mc.

2. You have been called a "potato head" or towhead as a child

Shannon Ryan

"What a bunch or potato heads!" Meaning you were really Irish or really blonde or both.

3. You were raised Catholic

Shannon Ryan

Catholic school, mass every Sunday. Oh and you were most likely an alter server or in the choir and can say the mass forward and backwards.

4. You have a love for potatoes of any kind.

Also, you may have read this book about a potato as a child.

5. You've been told, "Oh, you're Irish, you can hold your drinks."


I mean it's in your blood, right?

6. Funeral, wedding, birthday you really can't tell the difference

Wedding? Get the whiskey. Oh, you said funeral?

... get the whiskey.

7. You know old Irish Songs and sing along with every note

"The Streets of New York," "Black Velvet Band," "Wild Rover," "Molly Malone," "Galway Girl," "Danny Boy," tell me ma all songs I remember being singing along with as a kid.

8. Your favorite holiday is St. Patrick's Day and you go all out

A day to show the world that there are only two types of people in the world: those who are Irish and those that wish they were.

9. You own a Celtic cross, Claddagh ring or any Irish knot jewelry and wear it often

You were most likely given that Celtic cross when you were born and got one for your First Holy Communion. The Claddagh was given by someone who loves you and Irish knots you can never go wrong with.

10. Two words: "soda" and "bread"

Some don't know that the cross made on the top of bread is to keep the devil away and protect the house.

11. You have a HUGE family and the parties and reunions that go along with it are just as big

My family is enormous and this is only half of it and I still don't know everyone.

12. There is no such thing as tanning

Unless you ware one of the blessed ones who do tan I'm extremely jealous. For the rest of us, we have two options pale or red there is no in-between.

13. You may not have the cleanest mouth or quietest voice

But you would never dare say a bad word in front of someone older than you. As for an indoor voice, it's non-existent.

14. You can successfully pull off an “Irish Exit" and then have to explain to your friends the next day what exactly that is when they ask where you went

Basically means you leave the party without anyone knowing.

15. At one point in your life, you've said, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph" if something went wrong

I heard this a lot growing up and I catch myself saying it every now and again.

16. The only college football team you root for is Notre Dame

I mean is there any other, Let's Go Fighting Irish!

17. Lastly, you are extremely proud of your Irish heritage

We are Irish. We are taught to be strong, have faith in God and learn how to party and have fun. Erin Go Bragh!

Cover Image Credit: kingofwallpapers.com

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Christmas Of Remembrance Series: My Last Letter

Christmas time is not about the gifts... It is about something far, far more special.


Dear Reader,

Thank you for your time.

This is a series that I have dedicated to those I have loved and lost. It was merely a thought, then an idea, and now a realized creation. Christmas time… all winter really is a hard time for me. It holds this duality in my life of being both my favorite and also my least favorite and difficult time of year. It has been that way for years now.

In a way, this series aids my closure and healing further, and it allows me to tell my story in a way that, to me, is less scary (one of the many great facets of this platform). It was never my intention to write this in order to reach people, or encourage people, or serve as an inspiration to anyone. This was for me and only me. No one else. But, if these pieces of writing do impact someone, somewhere, or make them feel encouraged or inspired in some way or another, or just simply make them feel, then I hope you have enjoyed them. If I can make someone feel, then I guess I have done my job.

The life of an artist is often an uncertain one. The life of a human is a trying one. But life is a journey, and all journeys have their trials. Their tests. Their triumphs and rewards. And they all have their losses. What matters most is what you make of all of it. What lessons you learn. What changes you make. What life you create for yourself. What art you create because of it all. It can be very, very hard. But it can all be glorious at the same time.

At the heart of this series, my words, there is this deep and valuable belief of mine: Christmas (or the Winter Holiday that you may celebrate) is so much more about presents and cooking and shopping and all that other bullshit… it is about family.

The family that is related by blood. The family that surrounds your heart. Your Mom. Your brother. Your dearest friends. The bonds that make life valuable. Worth living. These bonds are soulful bonds, ones that are far more special than any mere trivial object. So… be with them. Forgive. Forget. Heal. Mend what is broken. Reassemble what has been shattered. And stop worrying so much. Laugh together. Cry together. Heal on another. Heal together. And may your new days be better, brighter, and full of love.

Happy Holidays.


A song for you...

"Sense of Home" — Harrison Storm / YouTube

If you liked this series, I invite you to check out my previous article below…

To My Fellow 孤, The Sons Without Fathers On Father’s Day

As well as this article by a fellow creator…

What You Learn Losing A Parent So Young

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