Bullet Journals: Organization for Pros …

So you still have a few months until you can go on your summer vacation, and you’re hitting a bit of a lull. You want to be productive, but you need to shake somethings up. Can I tempt you with…a bullet journal?

A bullet journal is like a fancy, completely personalizable planner that will make you feel like you just got a new box of crayons! (With the sharpener in the back!)

Bullet journaling might be a good idea if you’re someone who needs some more creative stimulation in their day-to-day lives, or if you need to get more excited about all of the stuff on your to-do list (yay!) then all the time and effort that goes into making a bullet journal might be worth it for you.

What you’ll need: a journal, some pens (or markers! Or paint!) and a little bit of time.

I’m no bullet-journal expert myself, but I know this organizational method works for a lot of people! I’ve attached some links so you can learn more and get inspired from the professionals. Enjoy!




How to Manage Stress

As I write this, I am stressed out! I’m a college student, but I’m also an intern, an employee, a fellow, etc. I have so much stuff to do that I feel like if I wrote it all down the list would go all the way from the desk where I’m typing, out the door, and down the street to the next block.

I don’t know what it is about this time of year that makes people feel so overwhelmed–maybe it’s because there’s this feeling that summer is just around the corner, and we’re still working on things we thought we’d have done in the winter. Whatever the reason, people keep telling me they’re stressed out this week, so there’s a good chance that you are, too.

I think there’s two situations in which you “manage” stress: the first is that you do an amazing job managing your stress on a daily basis, so that you don’t experience mountains of stress out of nowhere. If you manage your stress this well, congratulations! May we all someday become people like you. However, if you’re not that person, the second situation might apply to you (it applies to me, too!).

Here’s what I do, and here’s why I find myself wanting to write about how to manage stress today: instead of dealing with stress on a daily level, I let it grow and grow and grow until I have so much stress that I have to find a way to not be stressed out before I get any work done. You may have experienced something like that, when you’re so stressed out that you can’t even do the things you’re stressed about (see: list of to-do items that goes out the door). I know there are ways that I can do a better job of managing my stress from day to day, and preventing it from building up to a point that I get really overwhelmed. But that’s not where we are today, so let’s get to managing stress when it’s a whole lot of stress all at once.

Like a lot of things, I think it’s important to first admit that you’re really stressed out. Sometimes being stressed can feel like a failure, like you’re admitting that your responsibilities and commitments have gotten the better of you. While that feeling sucks (a lot), I still think it’s important to just stop with what you’re doing, slow down, and admit that you need to change your approach.

Once you recognize how badly stressed out you are, you might feel hopeless, like you can’t imagine actually succeeding in everything you need to do. This might not seem intuitive, but I think it’s important to not jump immediately from saying you’re stressed out to trying to tackle everything on your to-do list. Instead, I think it’s important to take a few (or several) moments to yourself to really feel how stressed out you are.

I know we don’t want to be stressed out for longer than we have to be, but I think that taking some time to yourself to think about why you’re stressed out, and to really process your feelings, is a good way to send a signal that you are going to be okay, and you have enough time to make sure that you feel good. The success of everything on your to-do list isn’t going to matter if you’re not in the right emotional state to enjoy it!

After checking in with yourself, you should do something that legitimately de-stresses you. For me, I go on short runs. It’s a way for me to get my heart racing in a way that’s actually good for my body–and when the run is over, and I’m all sore and sweaty and have those endorphins running through me–I feel like I not only accomplished something, but I did something good for myself. And that’s a great feeling.

The next step is to play triage with your to-do list. I was an RA for two years, and I had a lot of experience with counseling first years on how to survive exam week. One student came to my room late at night, close to tears, because he had this long list of things he needed to study for and do during finals week. I sat down with him and asked him how much time he needed to do each task, and which tasks were really the most important. I had him schedule out his week according to the ranking we came up with, and I made him give himself room for meals and sleep. What had been, only minutes before, an insurmountable, unthinkably difficult week became something that he could reasonably do.

My advice is to schedule out your time in a way that is both realistic and honest with yourself. You are not going to be able to finish that project you’ve been putting off for three months in four hours, no matter how much coffee you’re planning on drinking. Write the tasks you have to do down, and write how much time they’re going to take you. Be generous with yourself–you don’t benefit from giving yourself a task list that only a superhero could hope to accomplish.

There are two important things you should remember when you’re getting ready to tackle all of the things that are stressing you out: the first is that you need to make sure you give yourself time to be a person. You need time to eat, sleep, and talk to other people (or watch a show, or listen to a podcast). You’re not going to do your best work if you feel emotionally and physically fried.

Secondly, it’s important to remember that the importance of most things is fleeting. That is to say, you’re going to be fine, and whatever you’re worried about right now is most likely not going to matter in a month from now, let alone a year. Of course, do your best work. But also understand that if you’re a person who is continually trying their best, one week or two of being a little frazzled isn’t going to undermine the lifetime of dedicated effort you’ve put it to your relationships, job, etc.

Well, I’m off to tackle that to-do list. Good luck!

Are ‘cleanses’ good for you? …

By now, you’ve probably heard of the detox/cleanse trend. Generally, a cleanse is when a person severely limits their diets with the goal of ‘resetting’ their body by flushing out unwanted toxins that have built up from eating an unhealthy or in some way unsatisfactory diet. The process is supposed to be a kind of starting over with the body, to give you a clean slate from which to start anew.

This sounds very promising. However, there is no evidence that detoxes actually manage to flush anything out of your systemAccording to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, detox and cleansing programs might actually do more harm than they do good. It’s a good idea to check out that website in particular, as it has a list of reasons you need to be careful about doing a detox.

Detoxes are so appealing in part because they seem like a healthy, quick way to lose a lot of weight. While it’s possible to lose weight on a detox, it is not the healthiest way of doing so. This is because many detoxes and cleanses are extremely low-calorie, and it’s very difficult to get the correct amount of nutrients from such a low-calorie diet.

If you’re looking for a way to lose weight, eating a mostly plant-based diet with lean meats is a good idea. If you’re still interested in doing a detox, make sure your consult with your doctor to make sure you’re making the best decision for your health.

What is a ‘superfood?’

If you’re trying to get into wellness, you’ve probably heard the term ‘superfood.’ Personally, I expect anything that has the word ‘super’ in it to wear a cape and go around town solving crimes.

On the offset, it’s important to know that ‘superfood’ isn’t a scientific term, but a term used for marketing specific foods that are particularly nutrient-packed. Even if a food is labeled as a superfood, it’s still important to eat diversely and in moderation. Also, even if there isn’t hype about a particular healthy food, that doesn’t mean it’s any less scientifically super than the superfoods you might see in recipes on Pinterest or Instagram!

This article “What Are Superfoods?” from LiveScience.com provides a really helpful explanation regarding superfoods.

Some foods that are commonly called superfoods include: blueberries, kale, sweet potatoes, beans, nuts, and salmon.

According to the article, “Superfoods are foods—mostly plant-based but also some fish and dairy—that are thought to be nutritionally dense and thus good for one’s health.”

Superfoods tend to be really high in antioxidants, healthy fats, and phytochemicals.

For people who are just getting into wellness, it might be enticing to eat superfoods for every meal. Remember that balance is key in a healthy diet, even when you’re eating nutrient packed food!

As always, consult with your doctor if you have questions about making changes in your diet.