It's The Most Stressful Time Of The Year

It's The Most Stressful Time Of The Year

"'Twas the night before the holiday season, and all through the house, my stress levels were rising, and I couldn't calm down."
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The holidays have arrived, and in typical fashion, much sooner than anyone expected.

For some reason, life becomes far more stressful and complicated. Suddenly, you have six exams, your work schedule turned your eight hours of sleep into four, you've got to start shopping for presents for everyone, and you haven't got a second to catch your breath.

I'm not sure what it could be that causes all of this stress. One minute, you've got everything under control, and the next it's all gone downhill. The holidays are supposed to be a happy and joyous time to spend with family and friends, full of laughter and cheer, not stress and breakouts and hair-pulling.

I remember being a kid and counting down the days until winter break. I'd sleep in, catch up on some reading or video games, and watch all the family come to my house to celebrate the holidays. Now, I'm cramming for exams, working more days than are in a week, shopping for Christmas presents with the money I haven't made yet, and trying to plan a holiday with my significant other.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we stress to the point that we just want to skip the holidays altogether? I'm dreading the drive home, but I'm looking forward to seeing my family, but at the same time, I want all of this insanity to be over. I haven't had the chance to sit back and think about what I want to do for the holidays. I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to try to make it to work and family functions while on my so-called winter break.

Holiday stress is so real that the Mayo Clinic has given a 10-step process for coping with holiday stress. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) shared statistics on holiday stress, which just further proves that this is one of the most stressful times of the year for a lot of people.

The year is rapidly coming to an end, and with it, is my patience. I've snapped at my dog for scratching too loudly. I've forgotten that I need to eat three times a day. I'll take a shower and dry off, and realize that I never even washed myself. It's like the holidays suck out all of my energy and leave me with nothing, because I'm grown now and have a lot more responsibilities to take care of before I can enjoy myself.

This holiday season has proven to be even more stressful than the last. There are leases to sign, classes to register for, dogs to bathe, clothes to pack, gifts to buy, apartments to clean, exams to take, and I'm still expected to smile and act happy because, oh, the holidays are here! I'm feeling more than exhausted, I'm feeling drained of the holiday spirit.

Maybe things will cool down once I'm home and with my family, having myself a nice, home-cooked meal, surrounded by lively decorations and good vibes. But I know I'm not the only one that's feeling this holiday stress.

Green Day should have changed the song lyrics to "wake me up, when the holidays end."

Cover Image Credit: Gorton Community Center

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19 Things To Do On Your 19th Birthday

You only turn 19 years old once, so spend the day doing these awesome things!
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Nineteen isn't a fantastic birthday. It is not your 18th birthday where you can start saying, "I'm legal," it's not your 16th birthday when you can have a Sweet 16 birthday party and it is not your 21st birthday where you can finally drink legally.

So here are 19 things that you can do to celebrate your 19th birthday and make the most of it.

1. Sleep in.

Unless you need to wake up early for something, don't set your alarm. Catch up on your sleep and relax for the morning. Enjoy waking up and not having a place to be.

2. Make yourself a nice breakfast.

You only turn 19 once, so make sure it is a good breakfast to start your day off right. Make yourself some eggs, toast, bacon and a nice cup of coffee.

3. Go get a manicure.

It is your birthday; make sure you treat yourself right! You deserve to be pampered on your birthday!

4. Go to the beach.

There is nothing better than getting some sun on your birthday! Enjoy the warm weather and the heat. Swim in the water and soak up some sun.

5. Go to an amusement park.

For those of you who like the thrill of roller coasters, an amusement park is the way to go. Ride roller coasters and eat some fried dough with your friends.

6. Have a party.

This is the most common way to celebrate your birthday. Invite friends to come over and make food. Spend your birthday surrounded by friends and family.

7. Have a bonfire.

This is what I love to do on my birthday. Surround yourself with your best friends, enjoy some s'mores and sit around the fire.

8. Go on a hike.

For the nature lovers, this is the ideal way to spend your birthday. Grab a friend and go to the Adirondack mountains and spend the day hiking.

9. Buy yourself something nice.

That pair of boots you've been staring at for the last two months or that Michael Kors wallet you've been dreaming of? It's your birthday! Go buy it. You deserve it.

10. Have a movie night.

Invite a couple friends over, make some popcorn and have movie theater candy on hand. Watch a couple movies and eat some snacks with your best friends.

11. Call up an old friend.

I'm sure that old friend has been thinking of you too, so why not give them a call? See if they want to go out and get lunch with you.

12. Buy some lottery tickets.

Who knows? Your birthday could end up being your lucky day. Maybe you'll lose all of your money, but maybe you could win some back too.

13. Go to a concert.

What is better than music on your birthday? Hopefully there will be some good music groups in town during your birthday.

14. Bake a cake.

If you love to bake, then make a birthday cake! Decorate it all specially and put your favorite colors and flavors of frosting on it.

15. Do something on your bucket list.

At one point or another, all of us have made a bucket list. Take it out and find something on your bucket list that you can cross off and complete!

16. Spend your day with family.

Enjoy your day surrounded by your family. They will know exactly what to do for the day and how to make sure your birthday is a good one.

17. Visit your favorite place.

Whether you love going to the zoo and seeing the animals, or there is a nearby city that you love going to, spend the day there.

18. Get a haircut.

It is a new year and a new you! Get a haircut!

19. Do something you love doing.

Whether you love reading or love to run, spend the day doing whatever it is you love. It is your birthday and you should spend the day doing what you love.

Cover Image Credit: Cross Cards

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Why I've Never Not Had A Valentine

It's the day of love. It does not mean it has to be romantic.

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If my memory serves me correctly, I have always had a valentine. By that, I don't mean that I have had a boyfriend every single year since I was five.

In Spanish, Valentine's Day is also referred to as "Dia del Amor y la Amistad", which translates to the day of love and friendship. I'm not a big fan of the holiday, because to me someone should show me love every single day, not only one specific day because "everybody else is doing it".

On that note, however, I have always had a valentine. In elementary school, we celebrated the holiday and everyone was each other's valentines. Even that girl (the one who stole your game that you won on Friday because you accumulated enough points to pick it from the prize box) would be your valentine.

In middle school, my grandpa or dad would get me those little chocolate hearts, which are about a dollar at Walmart. I don't recall ever going without one. Then, the next day they'd take me to stock up on candy because of price drops!

In high school, once my friends got their driver's licenses and part-time jobs, we'd finish classes and go to Highway 55 and celebrate Galentine's Day or stock up on cheat day food and go to the park. This year we've all gone our separate ways. We've gone to different schools and maybe communication was just lost, but I'm so thankful for the memories I have with everyone.

This year I'm my own valentine, (which no, it is not shameful) because I learned to love myself enough to celebrate it with myself. Love doesn't always have to be romantic, it does not always mean dinner dates and engagement proposals. Love means calling your mom, your dad, or grandma and wishing them a happy Valentine's Day. It means telling your friends that you're proud of them.

Love means recognizing yeah, it's been a hell of a week, but you got through it. Valentine's Day sometimes means going to your nearest Target, grabbing a bottle of cocktail juice, and putting on a face-mask while catching up on your favorite TV show. Valentine's Day is so generalized to be about romantic love that some people feel alone. You really shouldn't.

If you feel alone, just remember someone loves you for you and maybe it's not your time for romance. If that doesn't help, then I count as your valentine.

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