How To Stay On Track With Your New Year’s Resolutions

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Journal writing can help you achieve your goals

We’re now about three weeks into the new year. Hard to believe right? It feels like yesterday since we made our New Year’s resolutions. And while we’ve struggled here and there, we’ve managed to keep up with our goals. Want to know how? Here are our top seven tips on how to keep and conquer a New Year’s resolution!

      1) Revisit Frequently

Yeah, it’s great you want to lose weight or be better with money, but how are you working towards it today? We’ve found that by making check-in points weekly and monthly, we’ve been able to stay on track and make small progress towards the big goal. This also helps break down the process so you’ve always got a map of where you need to go.

      2) Write It Down

Vision boards are kind of our thing. We need to visualize what we want in order to make it happen. We’re also big believers in writing it down everywhere. Put your goal in your planner, on your phone, hanging above your bed, on your whiteboard, etc. If you see that spot, write your resolution there.

      3) Make a Friend

Never underestimate the power of an accountability partner. They’re the ones that make us take a second look at that donut or get up at 6 AM for a morning jog around campus. Knowing that they’re in it with us makes us feel like there’s someone looking out for our goals.

Celebrating your successes is key to fulfillment

      4) Celebrate Along the Way

It could be that you got a C- on that challenging exam or that you called your mom for the third week in a row. Whatever your milestones are, make sure you are celebrating it. However, avoid celebrating with something you’re avoiding. For example, if your resolution is to spend less money, don’t celebrate a spend-free weekend with a trip to the mall. That only derails the process.

      5) Cut Out Temptations and Negativity

Some resolutions are easier than others, and that’s probably because you’re not tempted to cheat or you don’t have detractors telling you that you can’t. If this is your life and your goals, feel free to kick the negatives to the curve. Cut up your credit cards, clear your calendar, avoid that friend that’s always a downer, or avoid walking past the smoker’s area on your way to class.

      6) Understand Your Triggers

If your goal is to stop doing something, then it’s powerful to know why you even started. Try journaling your feelings around your habits. Do you shop because you’re bored? Do you emotionally eat? Do you avoid calling your BFF when you’re stressed? Knowing what triggers you can keep you from falling backward.

     7) Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes

Resolutions aren’t supposed to be a life or death situation — so don’t freak if you miss a day or cheat here and there. Remember that your negative habit most likely didn’t begin overnight, and it won’t fix itself overnight either. Progress, the real and lasting kind, takes time and sometimes getting through setbacks to prove that you can do it.

New Year’s resolutions are more than small changes for the present. They are about establishing new habits and changing your lifestyle that can benefit you positively for years to come. Think of it as a journey. Follow some of our favorite tips for keeping us on track and let us know your favorites!

9 Activities for College Students Between Christmas and New Years

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Taking time to relax at home after finals week over Christmas break

Winter break is, by far, one of the best times of the year. Of course, we’re off school and finally relaxing after a stressful finals marathon. There’s also the holidays to celebrate with presents and treats to keep us occupied. However, in between Christmas and New Years is a blank space where nothing much happens. Instead of being bored, we’ve made a list of the top 9 things you can do between Christmas and New Years that will make the most of your winter break.

  1. Winter Wardrobe Updating

The best time to shop for deals on winter clothes? Right after Christmas! Everyone’s got great deals on dresses, pants, coats, hats, etc. And you’ll want a new outfit for your NYE party anyways! Go splurge a little and do some wardrobe remodeling.

      2. Get Yourself on Track

You could wait till the New Years to start a workout routine, but that’s kind of a waste. Instead, beat the crowds and get to the gym when it’s still quiet and deserted. Your body will thank you for the jumpstart.

Enjoying the winter wonderland over the holidays

     3. Pamper and Primp

To us, there’s nothing more relaxing than a fresh new manicure and an awesome haircut. Stand out of the crowd on NYE by gifting yourself a mini-makeover. Spa day required!

     4. Friendmas

There’s Friendsgiving and Galentine’s Day. Why not Friendmas? Get your hometown gang together and hold a white elephant party with gifts you’d rather not have gotten. It’s the perfect excuse to throw a little party.

     5. Prepare for the Inevitable

Spring semester is coming faster than you think. And before you know it, you’ll be on a flight or car ride back to campus. Don’t be left unprepared. Take a day and buy your books and supplies beforehand. Review over the syllabus of your new classes, and take care of any holds on your accounts. Most colleges are open for business.

     6. Volunteer Some Time

After the Christmas rush, many organizations have a dead spot of no volunteers between holidays. Pick up the slack and help others in need by taking a shift at your favorite charity. You can even visit Grandma’s senior home or spend time with some adorable, adoptable puppies.

Time around the fireplace can make for great family memories

     7. Make More Family Memories

While it might be a bit tempting to spend time out of the house, our time with our families is short and always dwindling. This week gives us precious time to spend just a few more hours with the ones who love us most. Do some baking with mom, go on a hike with dad, head over to the mall with younger siblings… it all matters.

     8. Catch Up on Oscar Contenders

Awards season is near! That means that movie theaters in your area are packed with blockbuster hits and indie award nominees. This is the perfect time to get to the theater to see each and every one of them! Make a day to marathon through your top picks, or just choose one or two at random if you’re looking to be surprised.

     9. Refresh and Renew

Pampering isn’t for everyone. Some of us would rather refresh our minds and bodies by connecting with nature, hitting a quiet art museum, or taking a yoga class. After the rush of the holidays, pick an activity that speaks to you, and enjoy the peace and quiet it gives you.

Should You Pull All-Nighters to Study?

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Highlighting and studying for the next exam

If you’re the procrastinating type or prefer to study at the last second, all-nighters may be your thing. But studying at night has some major downfalls for even the most dedicated night owls. On the other hand, cramming it all in the morning-of can be just as ineffective. Here’s how you can determine if you should study at night or wait for the morning — and how to maximize your time.

When to Study Til Dawn

Studying in the evening isn’t for the fainthearted. It can be exhausting and leave you reeling when you wake up the next morning. However, if you’ve got the temperament and schedule for it, you might actually be able to pull it off.

The best night students are the ones who have already conditioned their body to push past midnight. You know you’re one if bedtime is nonexistent or you love doing last minute Sudoku puzzles on your phone while your roommate sleeps. If you’ve been consistently doing this, then you’ve probably already trained your body and your mind to process information at a higher level late at night.

However, before you pick the evening, you’ll need to look at the clock. Your body needs at least seven hours of productive sleep to retain memory and have decent recall speeds. Any less and you’ll be dragging your feet. So, in other words, pulling an all-nighter for an 8 AM exam is not going to work in your favor. A 3 PM quiz, on the other hand, may just work with that sporadic sleep schedule.

If you’re going to go until the early morning, be sure you do it right. Avoid studying in bed or on a comfy chair you could potentially fall asleep on. Take breaks to move around or find new areas to study at. Drink your coffee, tea, or caffeinated soda early in your study session. And try smell techniques like with smelling lavender-scented essential oils to keep your mind alert all night long.

Note cards are one of the best studying tools

When to Leave It Til Morning Of

The morning of a test is a pretty risky choice, but sometimes it just happens. Whether you crash trying to stay up all-night or you just prefer to go from sunrise till class starts, those essential, last-minute study sessions sneak up on you.

Champion morning-study students have a few things in common. For one, they are regimented and know how to manage their time. You may be this type of person if you’re up early for a morning walk at the same time every morning. Morning studiers are also more visual learners who can process information quickly with items like flashcards or sample exams.

When deciding between night and morning, again consider your schedule. Hopefully, you’re well-rested so excessive drowsiness isn’t an issue. That’s a big win for morning studying. If you can commit to getting to bed early the night before, the morning might be the best time to study. You’ll also want to have at least one solid hour before your test and some time for fueling with a healthy breakfast.

If you want to pick the morning, it’s more about how you cram than when. Visual aids like flashcards or even simple slide shows work best while you’re still waking up. Singing songs or making up anagrams also stick in your mind for last-minute crams. Finally, don’t forget to move frequently and to break up studying into 25-30 minute sessions with 5-10 minute breaks in between so you can reset your brain before you hit the exam. Ultimately, whether you study at night or during the day, you can ace that exam if you know how your body and mind best works.

How to Ensure that You Enjoy Thanksgiving Break

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Thanksgiving Table Spread

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and we couldn’t be more excited. A short break is all we need to recharge our batteries before our final exams and get some much-needed home cooking. But breaks can be stressful too. With only a limited time to share with family and friends, you might find yourself wishing you were back at school. These seven tips will help ensure that you enjoy your Thanksgiving break and make the most of your time off.

1.     Set Your Expectations

Before you get on the plane or head out for home, be sure your parents are clear on what they can expect from you. This is especially important if you’re a freshman coming home for the first time since moving into the residence halls. You’ll want to let them know in advance if you’ve made plans with your friends or if you plan on spending your time locked up at a library to finish a term paper. Open lines of communication will save you the anxiety of your parents not being on board with your break plans.

2.     Schedule In Time for Yourself

This one is important for everyone. Even if you’ve had a blow-off semester, make time for yourself. Splurge on a mani-pedi, catch up on your favorite TV shows or go see a movie (even if you do it alone). Without a roommate to bug you, classes to get you up in the morning, and clubs to fill up your schedule, you can easily recharge if you plan ahead.

3.     Avoid Toxic Relationships

It can be tempting to go back to the people you have established relationships with who drive you crazy. This may be an old friend from high school, an ex, or a family member. When possible, don’t let these people ruin your break by giving them your precious time. Limit or cut off all interactions. Eventually, they will understand or change their ways.

4.     Plan for Some Wednesday (and Friday) Fun

The night before Thanksgiving has become a bonafide holiday in itself. It’s a day to get together with your friends, unwind, and give thanks for non-blood relatives. And of course, there’s Black Friday which is sacred for shoppers. But here’s the thing — if you’re not into either type of get-togethers or activities, just say no. Remember that this is your break and you’re entitled to not participate.

Enjoying the comforts of home on break

5.     Enjoy the Luxuries of Home

If you don’t have the budget to pamper yourself on break, you can still get the same kind of feel right back at home. Take a long bath (and add bubbles). Sleep on a comfortable, full-size bed. Bake your favorite comfort food dessert. Watch the big game on a large screen TV. These little things go a long way of refreshing your mood.

6.     Pencil in School Time, If Needed

Yes, we’re talking breaks, but if you need study time, you best plan for study time. Thanksgiving break, in particular, moves fast, and before you know it, you’re back at school taking exams. In the midst of turkey, football games, and shopping, force yourself to buckle down and get your school work or studying done. Even 20-minute sessions can go a long way and won’t interfere if you plan it at the right time.

7.     Know Where Your Priorities Lie

Everyone experiences breaks a different way. Some love being active and busy. Others want to sit around with a book and a candle. Whatever your style is, make it a priority. Don’t listen to what anyone has to say on how you should best use your time. This break is your break, and you should be thankful for it.

How to Look Fit for Break

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No one wants to go back for the holidays with the extra freshmen fifteen. While your mom might be too nice to say anything or your dad too oblivious to notice, you want to return from the break looking and feeling your best! On the other hand, it is the time to relax, not to suddenly pick up a fitness or diet regimen. It’s better to focus on that now, so by the time your family picks you up from the airport, you’re not hiding behind flowy shirts and heavy parkas.

Whether you’re worried about facing your family and friends or not, it’s never a bad idea to adopt some healthy habits. If you establish them beforehand, it’ll be easier to keep them during high-stress finals week and the temptation-filled holidays.

Look at the Dining Hall

Just because this is the stuff that the school is feeding you doesn’t mean that it’s the best for your health. The food that is served in the university dining hall probably covers a lot of ground — Asian, Tex-Mex, fast food, sub sandwiches, etc. Having such a wide range of options at your fingertips constantly can overwhelm even the strongest-willed person, especially if this is the first time you’ve ever been entirely in charge of your own diet.

Some university dining halls also have beverage machines. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence, but limitless soda is definitely bad for your health. Furthermore, just moderating your soda intake can help you lose weight. My dining hall even had a limitless milk dispenser, and even though milk is often touted as a nutrient-rich beverage, drinking more than a glass a day is concerning.

It can be tempting to just indulge in all the tasty food at the dining hall, but really examine every option before you eat it. The salad bar or sandwich station might seem like a healthy option until you see that all the dressings and meats are filled with fats and calories. This is where you can find some of your healthiest options, of course, but you need to be mindful of what ingredients you choose. Keep this in mind no matter what station you choose.

Prepare Ahead of Time

Okay, this is probably the most repeated advice ever, and also the least followed. Yes, we all know it’s easier if you plan out your meals ahead of time. Instead of scrounging for the cheapest meal in the dining hall, it’s better if you pack your own salad before leaving for class. But no college student has the time or the willpower for that, especially after a long night studying.

The trick is to prepare something that will last you a long time. That way, you only have to prep once and then you’ve got something to grab for the week. Things like breakfast pizza, a tray of lasagna, or any sort of pasta will keep in your fridge for a long time. Just watch your portions on these!

If you absolutely cannot bring yourself to prepare ahead of time, then there are on-the-go meals you can fall back on, but they’re not always the most satisfying. Don’t always rely on these, or you’ll end up in a food coma once you get back to your mom’s cooking.

Stay Active!

As the weather gets colder, you might be tempted to drive or take the bus to class, but it’s important to stay active. Walking or biking to class can help you offset the typical winter weight gain (which you WON’T have because you’re following these tips!). You’re also probably not moving around outside as much, so try to find some winter sports to participate in.

At the very least, hit your student rec center or local gym. Being active in the winter takes commitment; you can’t just wait around for the next ultimate frisbee tournament like at the beginning of the year. Plus, with more exam pressure, you’ll have to really want it to stick to your plan.

If you develop a consistent workout schedule now, it’ll be that much easier to stick to when you get home as well. Instead of wondering what happened to the fit high schooler they knew, your family will be impressed that you’re managing yourself so well! At that point, you can indulge a little bit in some festive foods, but don’t overdo it. You don’t want to go back to school looking different than when you left either!

Stop Being a Summer Zombie!

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We look forward to summer vacation all year, but about halfway through it can get stagnant. Yeah, you’re probably busy meeting all your goals, working a job, and padding that resume. Friends and family fit somewhere in there. But there are plenty of people who spend their summer vacation doing nothing, relishing the time when their biggest concern is determining what to watch on Netflix that day. Whichever camp you fall into, busy bee or couch potato, the fact remains that you’re probably not being as mentally stimulated as you are in the school year.

But during the summer? The brain drain is real. Zoning out every once in awhile is okay, but doing so for such an extended period of time makes you run the risk of becoming a zombie. Furthermore, engaging your mind frequently benefits your future career, as well as your grades, come fall.

So, how do you get the cogs in motion again without writing a term paper on your vacation? Well …

Keep Up on the News

Look, I know it’s complicated. Not only is it difficult to piece together everything happening around the world, but who’re you supposed to trust? That’s ultimately up to you, as everyone will have different political leanings, but try to assess every story’s validity. Read multiple different sources for every story, and you’ll eventually get a feel for which sources are reflecting a viewpoint and which ones are truly reporting the news.

Current events are a great way to keep your gears moving, and you’ll definitely impress your political science professors come fall.

Don’t Neglect Math!

Math is one of, if not the, most hated subjects out there, but it’s generally required at most universities for a good number of majors. If you’ve finished your mathematics requirements, maybe you can ignore this one, but math can be very useful for everyone, no matter your career field.

Understanding statistics helps you understand how the world actually works; knowing how to convert units helps with baking or building; realizing the true effect of percentages can help you understand how student loan interest affects your life after college. Math doesn’t come easy to everyone, but thinking about how math actually affects your life might help you care a little more. Consider any math problem, no matter how simple, like a puzzle to spur your brain on.  If it’s something very important, like your monthly budget or your savings, there’s no shame in using a calculator, but try to do it in your head first.

Have Good Discussions

Just because you don’t have to write a paper on the latest book you read doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t analyze it. Sometimes having a soundboard can reveal illogical assumptions you made — or even lead you to question your original position. Even if books aren’t your thing, you can have valuable discussions about anything: current events, a TV show, trends you notice in your own friend group, football, whatever. Just try to go a little bit below the surface, and it might spur interest in something you never thought about before.

Furthermore, keeping up-to-date on a variety of issues will help you have better conversations. If you’re well-informed on most topics, most people will probably want to talk to you. And who doesn’t want to be known as the smart one?

Organize!

Having a clean space is not just to put your mom at ease. It has actual physical and mental benefits too. It’ll improve your productivity, letting you focus easier instead of slumping back into bed. Being messy might not seem like a big deal to you, but when you consider that this will help you live an all-around healthier life, it’s really a no-brainer.

So whether you need to find space for your clothes or just keep them off the floor, clean your room! Just because you’re a college student doesn’t mean you have to fulfill all the stereotypes.

Keeping mentally sharp is a task that you’ll have for the rest of your life. Eventually, you’ll finish school, and you’ll have to do it completely on your own. Right now, you can rely on classes to expose you to new ideas, but don’t slack off during summer vacation just because you can! As your classmates shake off summer stupidity after returning to class, you’ll wow your professors and feel better than ever.

Summer Break Slimdown – 3 Simple Recipes!

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Let’s face it — sometimes we don’t make the best of decisions when we’re faced with a buffet of choices at the cafeteria. Addressing any damage you might have done eating on your meal plan takes dedication and energy. A lot of people thinks it begins and ends at the gym. However, the real place to get healthy is right in your kitchen. These three simple summer break “slimdown” recipes will give you a day’s worth of ideas on how to get your eating habits back on track.

 

BREAKFAST

People call breakfast the most important meal of the day for a reason. Eating right at breakfast means keeping hunger at bay later, giving you energy for any workout you may have planned, and setting your day up for healthy choices.

This fast food restaurant makeover is significantly lower in fat and packs in the protein. You can tweak it to match the nutrients your body needs or skip the English Muffin to reduce the carbs. Get creative!

healthy-breakfast-sandwich

Super Fast Egg, Cheese, and Bacon Sandwich

  • Ingredients:
    • Light, whole wheat English muffin
    • 3 tbsp. egg whites
    • 1/8 cup of shredded, reduced fat or nonfat cheese of your choice
    • 1-2 slices of turkey bacon, cooked and cut into small pieces
  • Directions:
    • Toast the English muffin
    • While it toasts, pour egg whites into a coffee mug. Mix in cheese and cooked bacon
    • Microwave mug in 30-second intervals until there is no more liquid, stirring in between to make sure cheese and bacon are distributed.
    • Place cooked eggs on muffin and enjoy!

 

LUNCH

The simplest meal of the day should be the easiest too. While you could do last night’s leftovers, there are plenty of healthy sandwich ideas you can experiment with.

This classic sandwich is our favorite. Both great for your body and an awesome recipe perfect for warm days, you’ll be eating this on repeat.

Garden-In-Your-Mouth Sandwich

  • Ingredients:
    • 100% whole wheat bread
    • 1 tbsp. hummus
    • Sliced cucumber
    • 1-2 oz. shredded carrots
    • 1 sliced pepper (or slices of assorted peppers)
    • ½ cup of uncooked spinach leaves
    • Lowfat cheese (optional)
  • Directions:
    • Spread hummus on bread and then add ingredients to taste!
    • Enjoy with the rest of the veggies as a side, or indulge with some veggie-based chips or freeze dried fruits for a crunch.

 

DINNER

After a long day of working outside, relaxing poolside, or getting in a workout with your friends, it’s time to really feast. Indulge with your meal by picking one that is low in bad fats and carbs and instead focuses on proteins that will keep you full the rest of the night.

 

We especially love this plate because it is so easy that anyone can recreate it. You can also take it to the grill or change out the meat source to your seafood of choice! Yum!

Lemon Salmon With Summer Berry Kale Salad

  • Salmon Ingredients:
    • 1-2 planks salmon (roughly ¼ lb. to ½ lb. per person)
    • Sliced lemon
    • Salt to taste
  • Salad Ingredients:
    • 1 bunch washed kale
    • 1 bunch washed spinach
    • 1 cup sliced fresh or frozen strawberries
    • 1 cup mixed berries
    • ½ cup pecans or walnuts
    • Light raspberry vinaigrette, to taste
  • Directions:
    • Preheat oven (or grill) to 400°F
    • Salt salmon and place 2-3 lemon slices on top
    • Wrap in tin foil and cook in oven for 12-15 minutes, and discard baked lemon after cooking
    • Prepare salad by mixing ingredients evenly together and drizzling with the vinaigrette as the dressing

 

Add any of these recipes to your regular weekly meals to get back on track. At that rate, you’ll enter fall semester in a much better place, ready to make smart food decisions at your college cafeteria!

The Dairy Free Life

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Lactose-Intolerant-Dairy-Free-College-Life

Last semester I used to eat all the ice cream, cheese, and cereal with milk that I wanted. Maybe I ate too much of it because this semester did not turn out how I wanted it to. Here is my version of being lactose-intolerant.



Coming into my freshman year of college, I did gain the freshman 8 (not 15), from all the late night Dominos orders, binge watching Netflix shows and eating tubs of ice cream — because why not. Some things that I have learned from becoming lactose-intolerant…..

1. Acne

I have noticed I do not have as much acne on my face as I used to and my skin has become much healthier!

2. Lactaid Pills

These things suck. Honestly, unless you’re in the mood for a big ice cream sundae and a lava cake then it is not worth having dairy (for those of you who don’t know, these pills won’t let you go to the bathroom).

3. Bloating

You definitely don’t feel bloated all the time. I feel as if I am also not always hungry.

4. Milk

No more of that yummy 2 percent or any of that pure milk. Stick to soy, almond and obviously Lactaid free!

5. Pizza

Going to be a hard life not having that delicious pizza pie at 2 a.m….

6. Strong bones

The reason why mothers give their children milk when they’re younger is to give them strong bones… unfortunately, that will not be the case anymore


If anyone is feeling as much pain as I am… don’t worry, us dairy free people will stay close together!

How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy When You Go to College

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We all know the feeling: the unimaginable thrill that we’ll finally be on our own, away from our parents and our old room, experiencing life as college students. For me, it was the responsibility that scared me, but there was also the independence that I looked forward to. College life is exciting: there are countless activites but some demanding classes as well, and I soon learned that balancing it all is really challenging. All that fast food, gallons of coffee, and very few hours of sleep were bad for my teeth, and here’s what I learned about keeping them healthy.

Food to steer clear of

I have a serious case of sweet tooth, and there are always packs of caramels, toffee, and hard candy scattered all over my dorm. Still, I know what that means for my teeth: sweets can give you cavities, especially if you like sugary sodas too. After spending a small fortune on teeth repairs, I cut down on those mind-blowing-delicious sweets and started improvising. Today, when I crave some sugar, I usually take an apple and dip it in honey as first aid. On the bright side, I really enjoy eating cucumbers, apples, carrots, and other food that’s great for my teeth, and it helps me not feel too bad when I indulge my cravings for sweets.

Keep your teeth stain-free

Alas, I just love all those things which are bad for my teeth: I adore coffee. This means that by the time I’m done with my drinks, my teeth look a couple of shades darker. Since I don’t always have the time (or the means) to brush my teeth after every drink, I started drinking with a straw. This way, dark-coloured drinks don’t come in direct contact with my teeth and they stay white much longer than they otherwise would. I have also made a habit of chewing gum (sugar-free, of course) after every meal – it increases saliva flow in my mouth which washes away food debris.

Regular check-ups are important

It’s not like I enjoy spending time at the dentist’s office, but I understand that it’s for the best. Being a student, I needed affordable Sydney orthodontics, and I was fortunate to find a great dentist who was willing to help me get my teeth back in ‘shape’. It was his advice to start drinking my coffee through a straw and I’ll love him forever for that. I visit my dentist at least twice a year for regular check-ups and occasional removal of plaque build-up (you can’t remove these on your own, believe me, I’ve tried).

DIY teeth whitening

Since I’m not a fan of teeth whitening (the process can seriously weaken your teeth), I did a bit of research to see if there is any natural way to make them brighter. This is how I discovered that brushing your teeth with activated charcoal can brighten them up. It’s a long process, though, but it’s perfectly natural and I love the results. I also rinse my mouth with coconut oil from time to time (‘oil pulling’ process) because coconut oil is great for gums and makes my breath fresh after that too.

College life is going to be a million times more exciting than high school, but in a way, it’s also going to be more difficult because for the first time you will not be able to rely on your parents as much as you did before. Having fun is great, but being responsible is more important than attending all the parties, and your health should always be your number one priority. Stay safe, stay healthy, and have fun; that would be my advice to you all. Welcome to college life!

Always Tired? Try These 7 Tips to Stay Awake in Class

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Your head feels like it weighs a million pounds. Your eyelids droop as if they are being pulled down. Your mind goes blank as you drift off in a sea of comfortable peace…

…and then you wake up with a start. Class is over and you’ve missed the whole thing! Fighting off exhaustion and trying to stay alert in lectures are pretty typical problems to have in college. But if you’re getting worried that you’re always tired, try these seven tips to stay awake in class.

 

 

1. Hydrate and Refuel

Treat your class like a marathon by being sure you have the right fuel to make it through. Sometimes, falling asleep might be a symptom of hunger or dehydration. Keeping a water bottle by your side and a few low-key snacks in your backpack can help you get the burst of energy you need. We recommend healthy, easy-to-carry options like granola bars and fruit (peppermint is also supposed to help you stay awake), and if you must caffeinate instead of water, try black tea or coffee so you don’t get an overdose of sugar.

 

2. Ask Questions

The more engaged you are, the more you’ll be forced to keep those eyes open. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand and ask the teacher to clarify a point or review over a difficult subject. Answer a question the professor has or volunteer to participate in a demonstration. If it gets your mind moving, it’s so worth it.

 

3. Assign Yourself a Distraction

Just like being engaged, stay alert by giving yourself a small task. For instance, doodle a picture of the professor, write a poem about your classmate’s hideous hat, make a to-do list for the end of the day, or fill in your calendar with the rest of your syllabus’ due dates. The key is to not pick tasks that will take your mind off of class but will give you a temporary distraction that will re-awaken your mind.

 

4. Shower or Exercise Before Class

Running from bed to morning class isn’t going to do you any favors when you need to stay up. Instead, start your early routine with something that will invigorate you like a cold shower or a run around the track. Both activities wake up your senses and give you enough adrenaline to get through the next few hours without needing a pillow.

 

5. Keep It Cool

The more layers you wear, the warmer you are. That’s awesome for drafty buildings, but it’s horrible if you’re trying to stay awake. Seat yourself near that window that won’t close all the way and leave the coat at home. Staying cool and chilly will actually keep you awake longer.

 

6. Practice Reflexology

Small body movements that can be done at your desk or table can be lifesavers. One easy motion is correcting your posture by rolling your shoulders up and back and imagine yourself as if you were being pulled up by a string. Stretching your wrists by using your other hand to pull your palm gently back towards you is also effective. If all else fails, try the pinching method. It’s slightly painful, but there’s a reason why it works so well.

 

7. Maximize Your Nap Schedule

If it’s the afternoon classes you have trouble staying awake for, add a nap in your day. Try a NASA version, which is 26 minutes long and usually finished an hour before you need to be at your most alert. If that’s not plausible, just keep the nap under an hour. Any more, and you’ll go to class feeling even more groggy than before.