What I'm Giving Up Beyond Lent

What I'm Giving Up Beyond Lent

Change your life in a way that extends far beyond Easter Sunday by giving up negative behaviors.

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Each year, millions of Christians give up something for Lent. The usual suspects include soda, chocolate, cursing, and alcohol, but this commitment hardly ever extends beyond the Lenten season, if it even lasts past the first few weeks of Lent. Seldom do these promises result in actual, long-term, positive changes. As we emerge from the season of Lent, it is helpful to think of ways in which we can give up negative behaviors and promote a healthier mindset that will serve a purpose well beyond Easter Sunday.

1. Shopping for pain on social media

While listening to an episode of Off the Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe, she mentioned her policy of, "not shopping for pain on social media." I was immediately intrigued by this and decided to adopt it as a policy in my own life. This means no lurking on your ex's new girlfriend's Instagram or checking up on the girl who bullied you in middle school. When you are insta-stalking, you're only on a quest to find something that will hurt you. Social media can be a great way to connect with friends or to share fun moments, but it can also be a place that makes you insecure. Do not be afraid to unfollow accounts which make you feel bad about yourself. Opt to make your feed a positive place by following your friends, people who inspire you, and accounts that make you laugh. Next time you go to type your ex's name into that search bar, stop yourself and ask why you want to see something that will make you sad.

2. Negative Self-Talk

My goal for 2019 is to stop negative self-talking. This means stop doubting myself or feeding into the negative thoughts that pop up in my mind. I try to replace self-doubt with positive affirmations. Instead of thinking, "I can't do this," think, "this is going to be hard, but I am going to get through this." Instead of thinking, "I'm not good enough," think, "I may not be the best version of myself, but I am working on reaching my highest potential." It is easy to compare yourself to others or to beat yourself up for things that are out of your control, it is not easy to combat those thoughts and overcome them with the power of positivity. It's hard work to change your mindset but it's so worth it, that's why I am carrying this goal beyond Easter.

3. Toxic Relationships

Everyone has that one friend who makes everything about them and is never there to support you. Toxic relationships can be mentally and emotionally draining, and ultimately unhealthy for both parties involved. Find the right way to respectfully remove yourself from the relationship and move on to people who are truly caring and supportive. Finding friends who empower you can make a huge difference in your life by motivating you to be the best version of yourself. Surround yourself with positive people and foster loving relationships with them, it will give you more peace of mind than you ever knew you needed.

4. Not practicing self-care

Self-care is self-love! Take time out of your busy day to put your mind to rest and focus on yourself. Whether this means watching an episode of your favorite Netflix show while doing a face mask or sitting down before you go to bed and writing out a diary entry, it's important to focus on you. Ignoring your needs can have a serious toll on your mental health which can affect you physically as well. Taking care of your mind means taking care of your body too! Stop going to bed at 2 AM every night before your 8 AM if you know it makes you slumped the rest of the day. Listen to what you need and respond to it!

5. Making up excuses for yourself (and others)

I cannot even count how many times I have told myself that I'd skip the gym today and go tomorrow only to never go at all. It's the same for every time I reached for the fried food in the dining hall instead of fresh vegetables, telling myself I'd eat healthier tomorrow. There is no time like the present! Stop making excuses for yourself and accomplish today what you said you'd accomplish tomorrow. Also, try giving up making excuses for other people. If your friend is continuing to ignore you and it's hurting you, do not brush it aside. Sit down for a meaningful, respectful conversation to communicate openly about how you feel.

6. Inauthenticity

We all deal with the pressure to fit in, but 2019 is the year to be yourself! There's no need to give into trends that you don't even like just because everyone else is wearing it; rock your own style and feel confident wearing it. People will like you when you are the truest version of yourself, so do not put on an act just to try to get people to like you. True friends will love the real you in all of your imperfections.

7. Being uninformed

There's a lot going on in the world today and it can be difficult to keep up with it all. Sometimes it feels like every time you blink you miss a new breaking news story. We are living in an important time in history and it would be a shame to look back and realize that you were missing events that were happening right in front of your eyes. Fortunately, there is a multitude of innovative news sources that are made for the fast-paced, digital world we live in today. You can subscribe to a daily e-mail newsletter that you can read first thing when you wake up in the morning (like TheSkimm) or right before you shut your eyes at night (like What A Day). If you're on-the-go, subscribe to a daily news podcast that you can listen to on your way to class or work in the morning (I recommend NPR Up FIrst). It's even possible to get all your news right on your Twitter feed by following CNN and other news agencies. Switch it up and read Axios to get the most important stories of the day packaged into easily digestible summaries. If you want more in-depth analysis, pick up a newspaper or read it online! A lot of colleges offer free subscriptions to major newspapers that every student should take advantage of.

8. Wastefulness

Try to eliminate the waste that you are producing by switching up your habits. Purchase reusable straws instead of tossing out a non-biodegradable plastic one each time you finish your morning coffee. A lot of stores (and campus dining locations) offer discounts to customers who bring their own cup so buy a tumbler or durable bottle that you can use instead of single-use plastic bottles. Make sure to properly sort your recycling so that it can be properly collected. Cutting down your water consumption is important too, so next time you hop in the shower, try to shave off five minutes. Also, try being mindful of

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter
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I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

https://secure.img1-ag.wfcdn.com/im/d5ea3c03/resize-h2000-p1-w2000%5Ecompr-r85/3021/30217778/Express+6+Volt+Cordless+Bagless+Handheld+Vacuum.jpg

One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.

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If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

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