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  • Articles, Health, Lifestyle, School, Social, Stress

    Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

    Self Care ≠ Selfish

    Because being self-aware does not make you self absorbed

    I feel like I’m always enveloped in some sort of activity— finishing an assignment or project for school, cleaning my room and bathroom for the third time in a week, or spending time with my closest friends, doing anything from running errands to talking about our days.

    Recently, I’ve realized that there’s never a moment where I take a moment to breathe. A moment to relax, to clear my thoughts.

    Don’t do this. Make time for yourself, whenever it’s possible.

    After years of spreading myself too thin, I’ve finally recognized a crucial aspect about myself: I cope with stress and anxiety by keeping busy. Whenever I’m alone with my thoughts, I begin to think about all of the other, more productive things I could be doing at that moment. I feel guilty for taking a break.

    It’s difficult to define stress; it can present itself in a multitude of ways, ranging from napping to the inability to concentrate. However, once you’re able to detect when you’re stressed, much like I did, you can discover how to alleviate it. Is confronting your emotions easy? No. But is it worth it? Definitely.

    Self-care is not selfish. I have to repeat this mantra to myself every single day, and chances are, so do you. You’re allowed to be your own priority.

    One of my favorite anti-stress methods, and one that has helped me the most is journaling. Through writing my emotions, I have learned so much about myself, including how to identify my emotions and why I’m feeling that way.

    I’m not a fan of pushing my problems onto other people, so through journaling, I’ve found a way to express my thoughts and relieve myself of the pressure they put on me. After putting my feelings on paper, I typically engage myself in “me time.” This concept, something that leaves you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed, varies from person to person. It takes some trial and error to learn what works for you. Common methods are taking a bubble bath, applying a face mask, engaging in a type of exercise, or listening to your favorite music– as long as you’re doing something you love, you’ll come out the other end feeling better than before.

    As broad and cliché as it sounds, try to shut your brain off. Release the stress and worry of the day and be present in whatever you’re doing. We tend to become so wrapped up in our worries that we miss out on opportunities that can take the edge off, such as goofing around with friends or getting lost in the latest episode of New Girl.

    Stress is completely normal.

    So don’t be discouraged whenever that all-too-familiar feeling rolls around; above everything else, don’t burn yourself out by ignoring it. Recognize and accept what you’re feeling. Take a break to do something you love. Acknowledge that the feeling won’t last forever– you’ll wake up tomorrow, regardless of what happens day, to a fresh start.

  • Articles, Poem, Poems

    Love

    Love

    Hearts beating,
    Faster and faster each time.
    Sweaty hands,
    Bodies shaking,
    Can’t feel anything.
    But the safety of your hug,
    My heart skips a beat.
    As your eyes glisten
    Into mine
    Made for each other,
    but not forever.
    That’s love.

     

    Like poetry? Do you write your own? Submit a piece to be published on Girlspring at www.girlspring.com/submit.

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  • Articles

    Sisters: Our Forever Best Friends

    Sisters: Our Forever Best Friends

    Finding My Lifelong Support System

    I’m not an emotional person. At all. I’m the type to bottle up everything, pushing any less-than-happy feeling below the surface. So, you could imagine my surprise when I randomly burst out in tears while giving a speech to a room full of people, all gathered to celebrate my older sister’s wedding.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy as I was the day my sister asked me to be her maid of honor. Only a freshman in college at the time, I was honored to even be considered for the title. And after moving from Illinois to Alabama, I was even more excited to see my sisters for the first time in months.

    I wasn’t nervous to give my maid of honor speech at all; if anything, I was excited. However, the second I started talking, I felt a lump begin to grow in my throat, tears springing into my eyes. At that moment, I realized the immense love I have for my sister, and how truly happy I was for her happiness. Everyone else in the room experienced it, too.

    That’s what I love about my sisters: even though they’re able to bring out the worst parts of me, they can also expose the best– even the sides of yourself that usually remain unseen.

    Although I only see my sisters once every few months, I know that if I ever need anything, they’re simply a phone call away; even if the only communication we have is a daily Snapchat, my sisters are my forever-best-friends. And whenever we finally do see each other, the laughing and teasing never stop.

    As we get older, we make new friends and lose old ones all the time. It’s the circle of friendship, and it’s an everlasting cycle. In the middle of the chaos, in the eye of the storm, we’ll always have our sisters.

    Crying in front of a crowd at my sister’s wedding might be one of my top five most embarrassing moments, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Being someone who hides their feelings most of the time, it’s unfamiliar, but an eye-opening experience to have every emotion bubble up at once. But that’s what sisters are for– making you uncomfortable, yet overwhelmingly happy, every chance they can get.

  • Articles, Holiday, Relationships

    A Guide to Valentine’s Day

    Guide to Valentine's day

    A Guide to Valentine’s Day

    Celebrate Love that Matters

    As much as we hate to admit it, Valentine’s Day is a significant holiday in each person’s life – regardless of relationship status.

    Because let’s admit it, any day involving vast amounts of chocolate resonates with everyone. Whether you’re celebrating with your significant other over a candlelit dinner, having a movie night with your best friends, or indulging in some self-care, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to spread love – and we should all partake.

    While it’s easy to treat the fourteenth of February as a negative day, don’t fall victim to that mindset. Sure, all the red and pink hearts might be cliché, but pretending to be heartless is ever more so.

    This day doesn’t have to be about the stereotypical, romantic comedy kind of love. It should be about the love you have for your mom, who accepts you at your best and your worst (seriously, she had to deal with you during your pre-teen years. That’s love). It should be about the love you have for your friends, who have the ability to make you laugh during the most mundane moments. Even the love you have for your dog!

    Valentine’s Day isn’t just about flowers, chocolates and teddy bears – no matter how much we love those things (or pretend not to). It’s about love, in every shape and form. Love shouldn’t be defined by a date on the calendar. We should acknowledge it every day, hour, and second.

    So this Valentine’s Day, and each day leading up to and following it, embrace the love. Give your partner the appreciation they deserve, but don’t reserve it for those specific 24 hours. Give your current friends a hug, and give your old friends a call. Convey your love for candy by purchasing extensive amounts the day after, because it’ll all be on sale. It’s called self-love. 

    Valentine’s Day celebrates love, so don’t restrict the celebration to only those in relationships, and don’t restrict the emotion to one particular day.

    The negative stigma around this holiday is played out. Spread love!

  • Articles, School, Stress, Tips

    2019: The Year of Organization

    2019 – The Year of Organization

     

    The beginning of the school year is pretty painless — you’re stocking up on notebooks and folders, colored pens and highlighters, saying this year is going to be different.

    This is the year I’m going to become organized.”

    As the weeks go by, your class assignments start to pile up, your extracurricular activities strain your sleep schedule, and your social life seems to be waning by the second. The quickest fix might be to throw organization out the window, solely focusing on meeting deadlines by any means possible, but don’t do it! Putting your energy towards organizing won’t only ease your mind, but it’ll make your daily tasks and goals easier to accomplish.

    A planner will be your best friend in this new, tidy phase of your life. Personally, I believe the best type of planner encompasses all of the tools you’ll need on a daily basis: a monthly calendar, weekly breakdowns, to-do lists and places for notes. A planner is essentially a pretty, portable lifesaver, helping you keep track of what needs to be done and reminding you when you have to do it. Mustering up enough motivation to update my planner each day has been a critical component of organizing my life– inside and outside of the classroom. Next, to the almighty planner, color-coding is a must. I fill up my monthly calendars with multiple colored categories: all subjects, social events, and mandatory events – like meetings. Not only can you glance at your calendar with a clear understanding – you can admire your craftsmanship at the same time!

    While you can easily dismiss customizing a planner or beautifying a calendar – failing to manage your time wisely comes without recovery. 

    Dedicate a time of day or part of your week to a certain task or activity.

    Have a free period during the day? Use that time to complete homework for another class.
    Have free time after school before practice, but need some downtime? Try to Relax!

    The key is to use the same time each week for the same activity. By developing this routine, it’s harder to stray from productivity.

    It’s difficult to depend on our own devices 100% of the time. If a specific routine, a few colored pens, and a planner can help you become organized – why not take advantage of it? These aren’t ground-breaking tips, but if utilized correctly and regularly, they will completely turn your life around.

  • Articles

    How to Avoid the Social Media Comparison Trap

    How to avoid social media comparison trap

    Scrolling through our Twitter timeline or Instagram dashboard has become second-nature to us, much like the air we breathe. It’s instinctual to take that quick glance down at your home screen while waiting to cross the street. It’s an everyday occurrence to open the Instagram app while waiting for class to start. It’s a part of our night-time routine to check each social media platform before we fall asleep, assuring we didn’t miss out on anything during the day.

     

    Although social media has brought our society so many great things, it has also left its users in a constant state of insecurity and comparison.

     

    “Why isn’t my relationship that perfect?”

     

    “Why doesn’t my skin look that good?”

     

    “Why do they get to travel the world while I’m stuck going to work or school?”

     

    Nobody has the answers on how to avoid self-doubt stemming from social media– I still battle with it constantly, so I won’t pretend like I have some anti-insecurity secret formula. What I can offer, however, is a collection of thoughts I run through whenever I’m not feeling as confident as I should.

     

    Always remember, the number of followers you have and the number of likes you receive doesn’t dictate your character. However silly it may seem, everyone feels a flicker of disappointment when a picture doesn’t reach a certain amount of likes. Everyone checks up on their number of followers, wondering why it has gone down. Don’t let that number define you. Internally, if you know you’re a good person, that’s all that matters.

     

    Remind yourself that social media, Instagram in particular, is someone’s highlight reel. It’s a collection of their happiest moments, the moments where they look and feel the best; nobody’s life is that put-together and aesthetically pleasing 100% of the time. You never know what is going on behind-the-scenes in someone’s life, so don’t become discouraged over a fabricated image someone is trying to emanate.

     

    Unfollow accounts that make you feel negative about yourself. Post for yourself, not because you think it’s what others want to see. Take a social media vacation and assess what aspects are toxic to your self-confidence.

     

    Above all, at the end of the day, realize that there’s only one you. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. We’re all worth so much more than the snapshots of our life that we post on social media.

     

  • Articles

    Women’s March 2019!!

    Women's March

    This year I had the opportunity to attend the 2019 Women’s March in Philadelphia along with three of my closest friends.

    Public events such as the women’s march are essential. They are one of the best ways to bring people and communities together to discuss and stand up for change. I truly believe that events such as marches, conventions, protests, and conferences are the best way to peacefully inspire and motivate individuals. To make a change and create a spark in their community, peaceful movements are important. Walking side by side with so many incredible people, to uplift and celebrate women, was an unforgettable experience.     

     

    Throughout the day, activists shared speeches about their passions, stories, and journey to becoming an activist. My friends and I had the opportunity to speak with activist Yashira Marie Rivera. Rivera found her love for activism at the young age of 13. Her words were moving and encouraged me to continue to fight and advocate for the rights and equality of women all around the world.

     

    Along with Yashira, we also heard a speech from a 17-year-old girl.  She started a campaign against climate change and the detrimental impacts of environmental racism. Even though this activist is only 17 years old, she has already been able to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time. Her work and motivation have bettered the lives of many people within her community in University City in Philadelphia. More importantly, she has made a difference in the lives of people in communities less fortunate than hers. She has recognized that because she does have a very privileged life. Therefore she is doing everything in her power to help as many people her life will allow.

     

    At the march, it was reassuring to see the men that were participating in the event as well. It is vital for men to recognize the need for women’s rights and make a change in support of women.

     

    I was touched to see all of the children holding up signs and marching with their parents. In this day and age, I believe it is important to start educating children about societal issues and instill these lessons in them when children are young.

     

    Attending the Women’s March only increased my love of activism and has made my desire to help others even stronger. Next year I am planning on participating in the Women’s March in Washington D.C., and I am already looking forward to experiencing another day full of the positivity and empowerment that we very much need for our country to move forward.