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Lifestyle

  • 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.

  • Confidence, Fashion, Lifestyle, Video

    Look good, Feel good

    Look good feel good

    Look Good, Feel Good

    Zharia studies News Media at The University of Alabama. When not working towards her degree, Zharia gets to work alongside the creative minds at Free People. Check out this cool video she made!

    Lilly Pittman, a senior stylist for Free People, give us a glimpse of the life of a stylist!

    Want to learn more style tips? Click here, https://www.girlspring.com/?s=personal+style

     

  • Lifestyle

    Immigration and Citizenship in the United States

    There has been a lot of controversy over Donald Trump’s rise to the Presidency.

    His biggest sell to our country is the promise of safer borders and less overcrowding due to foreign immigration. This promise began with the attempt to build a wall. Which has been less a structure and more a human resources enabled deterrent. The plan is to station 5,200 American soldiers along the border to prevent a caravan almost 4,000 people from Mexico.

    (More on the caravan and citizenship proposal here: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/trump-wants-end-birthright-citizenship-executive-order-n926081 )

    The people in this country are scared, but half of the population seems to believe “the people” shouldn’t expand. So, what does Trump propose next, to ensure that immigration numbers decline? He announced on a TV interview with HBO’s Axio’s (https://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/trump-seeks-to-eliminate-birthright-citizenship-axios-1356703811948?v=railb& )that he will implement an executive order to withhold citizenship rights from foreign-born babies.

    The issue I would like to discuss does not start with Trump, nor will it end with Trump. It goes back to the mindset that in the United States of America, certain people deserve a certain standard of living.

    Why is it that people celebrate Cristopher Columbus when he sailed to the Americas and enslaved and warred with the native races? When immigrants from a border country try to find solace and a better life, they meet rifles and hatred. There is a disparity in how we treat people.

    My great, great grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian, but my great-great-grandfather was almost entirely European.

    At some point in my family tree, an immigrant came to America to have a better life. My family wanted the freedom to practice their religious beliefs and wanted to live in a country where the sky was the limit. I can imagine that those trying to cross the border only want the same things if not more.

    If our country was an unsafe place to live in, would we not want another country to help us find peace?

    The idea that President Trump can change the 14th Amendment is going to push two sides of people to surface. One side will want what’s best for themselves, and the other side will want what’s best for other everyone. However, if we let the selfish side of ourselves win, how can we expect others to treat us and how can we forgive our actions?

    The stigma towards an entire race of people is causing tremendous loss. At the border, they force families to separate. Some people immediately return to their countries. While others are forced to live in an unfamiliar territory alone. The women who come to the U.S. illegally, and have children are only doing it for a better life for their child. They understand the risk of being separated from their babies. However, this would not stop a loving mother from doing what she can to provide for her family. This is the purpose of the 14th Amendment. It gives every person the right to a free life in a free country.

    If you have opinions on this topic, whether in favor of or against, please comment down below. I am curious to know where other people stand on this situation and am open to hearing all sides.

  • Lifestyle

    Interview with Teen Vegan Athletes

    Vegan Athletes

    Meet Claire and Maddi, vegan athletes. Claire is a senior in high school, and Maddi is a sophomore. Both are competitive figure skaters that train and condition regularly. And both have made the life-changing decision to not consume animal products, to go vegan.

     

    How long have you been vegan?

    Claire: Three years.

    Maddi: Since September 20, 2017, so a little over a year.

    What influenced your decision to go vegan?

    Claire: Before I went vegan, I already faced dietary restrictions due to lactose intolerance, which was an influence to my choice. However, my ethical beliefs also influenced my decision.

    Maddi: I had a lot of different influences. The first being Claire, who had first introduced me to veganism, and the second being wanting to improve my skating and overall health. Once I did more research on veganism, I started doing it for ethical reasons, as well.

     

    How has your life changed since you went vegan?

    Claire: I have become a lot more aware of what I eat and no longer care as much about what others think about my decision.

    Maddi: It’s changed my life for the better. I’ve learned a lot about food and what is actually good and bad for me. A lot of people seem to think that when you are vegan you can’t eat out because restaurants don’t have food for vegans, which I have learned is definitely not the case. So that aspect of my life has not changed much if any. Lastly, I have learned to think for myself and not worry about what other people think.

     

    Have you noticed a difference in your health?

    Claire: I have absolutely felt a difference in my health. I have a lot more energy, and in general, I feel stronger.

    Maddi: I still get tired but I have way more energy. Also, I feel less bloated after I eat.

     

    How has becoming vegan affected your athletic life?

    Claire: Becoming vegan was the best thing as an athlete! I have found my recovery time is much faster now, and I just feel so much better in general.

    Maddi: I have noticed a huge improvement in my skating. I had way more energy and endurance. I also started sleeping better which helped me with training and mental health overall.

     

    What are some of the difficulties you’ve faced?

    Claire: Eating out has been a slight difficulty. Also, facing judgement from my family members and sometimes strangers too.

    Maddi: The biggest struggle is dealing with family, friends, or even strangers that don’t understand or respect my lifestyle. Having to deal with this almost everyday has taught me that I can’t make everyone understand or agree with what I am doing, but I can still do what I think is best for my own health and the world around me.

     

    Explain how you have adapted your daily life.

    Claire: I always make sure to have vegan food stocked up and let new people that I know that I have dietary restrictions. I definitely cook all of my food now as well.

    Maddi: I started packing my own lunch every day for school and I always check the ingredients of items before I eat or buy them.

     

    How do you order from restaurants?

    Claire: Normally when I order from restaurants I’ll pick an already vegetarian item, or I’ll ask the waiter if I can get my item without dairy or other animal products. Most restaurants are very accommodating and don’t mind at all! After all, they are there to serve you.

    Maddi: Ordering from restaurants is really not that difficult. I will typically choose an item on the menu with the least amount of non-vegan items in it, and then I’ll ask them to remove whatever isn’t vegan. Other times I order a whole bunch of sides together as my entrée.

     

    What advice would you give people thinking about going vegan?

    Claire: Do your research! Make sure you are getting all of your nutrients and vitamins. Don’t expect going vegan to turn you into a health guru. Also, don’t restrict yourself of any vegan foods. Lastly, keep everything in moderation.

    Maddi: I would definitely say do your research on what being vegan actually is. It is not just eating dairy, meat, etc., there is a whole other ethical side to it. Make sure you educate yourself on what actually happens within the meat and dairy industry. Secondly, do your research on the necessary vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Know that people won’t always understand or even agree with your lifestyle and beliefs, and that’s okay. Do what you think is right and don’t worry about what other people think you should do.

     

    What is your typical meal?

    Claire: A typical meal would be tofu or edamame and veggies.

    Maddi: My typical meal is either a baked potato with ketchup, broccoli, apple, and a soft serve dark chocolate popsicle or some sort of burrito with rice and beans.

     

    What is your favorite vegan recipe?

    Claire: My favorite recipe has got to be lentil spaghetti or a really great veggie burger.

    Maddi: My favorite recipe is a good veggie burger.

  • Books, Confidence, Lifestyle

    Harness the Power of Your Inner Goddess!

    Harness the power of your inner goddess

    Harness the Power of Your Inner Goddess!

    Girl power author Ashley Holt shares her secrets on soul strong living for girls in her debut young adult book, I am Brave: Soul Strong Living for Girls. Boost confidence, develop self-esteem, and find your inner goddess! This would make an excellent gift for you or a friend!

    Link to the book, here! Ashley was also one of our Wonder Women! Learn more about the career talks here!

  • Lifestyle

    Things to Consider When Dying Your Hair or Getting a Tattoo

    Things to Consider When Dying Your Hair or Getting a Tattoo

    Are you thinking about dying your hair a fun and exciting color? Is there a tattoo that you’re just dying to get? Just stop for a moment and consider your options. You’re probably young and hear adults telling you to wait until you’re older all the time. There may be some wisdom in that.

    I’m not here to tell you how to live your life, I am only here to give you some advice. When I was in high school there was this adorable tattoo that I wanted to drape across my collarbone. It was a myriad of water colors and had a quote by one of my favorite authors at the time. It seemed brilliant. I was determined to save my money and get it.

    Then came the realization that you had to be eighteen or older to get a tattoo. Or you could have adult approval. My parents were definitely not the type to give approval for a permanent marking on my body. They barely let me get my ears pierced at thirteen.

    Please, please, please do not try to deceive a tattoo artist or go to someone who is willing to do the job without parental consent. This is completely dangerous and illegal. Most tattoo artists will be able to tell right away if you’re lying, so you’re really only going to embarrass yourself. And if they don’t realize, then they are doing something illegal without knowing. You could be ruining both of your lives.

    To be honest, a tattoo artist that would tattoo you even with adult consent is either desperate for money or is sketchy. I have a decent number of friends that are or have been tattoo artists, so my advice does not come from a place of ignorance.

    Consider how a few years from now you may not even be into the same things you are now. I am grateful that I didn’t get the tattoo I originally wanted. It would have cost a lot of money and have been a lot to maintain. I wasn’t even responsible enough to maintain my cartilage piercings my senior year in high school. Each person is different, though.

    If you feel completely confident that in two or three years you will not regret your decision, then at least wait until you can legally get the artwork done by yourself. When you start making life decisions on your own like paying bills, choosing colleges, etc. you will be much more prepared to decide what goes on your body.

    Choosing a hair color is a little different. Your hair color can change as often as every six-eight weeks if you want. The advice I have for this is be aware of the chemicals you are putting on your head. I have been dying my hair since I was a senior in high school, so it has been several years. Sometimes I look back and regret my color choices, but anyone can regret hairstyle decisions from young ages. Thankfully, hair color is not permanent. But it can cause permanent damage if not done responsibly.

    If you bleach your hair, try to only do it every so many years. It is not safe to put such harsh chemicals in your hair. It is killing the strands and lasts for a long time. You can still have fun colors in your hair without bleaching it. Also, do not bleach your own head. Watch enough Youtube videos to see how disastrous that turns out. It’s hard to see all the places on your own head and you are not licensed to know all the downsides to it.

    Seek professional assistance when bleaching. Coloring your own hair can be done, but it is always a plus to have additional help. Try getting someone to help you your first few times or go have it colored professionally. It can be expensive to have someone do it for you, but sometimes it’s worth it.

    For additional advice on dying your hair or getting tattoos while young, check out the following links:

    https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/hair/a38165/how-young-is-too-young-to-color-hair/

    https://www.instyle.com/news/temporary-hair-color-tips-guide

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/hair-dye-types-treatment-tips_n_4193049

    https://www.aftertheplayground.com/7-things-teen-needs-know-getting-tattoo/

  • Confidence, Health, Lifestyle, Sports

    My Figure Skating Journey

    On my third figure skating lesson, I broke my finger.

    It must have been a spectacular sight: my tall, fairly stable body was brought crashing to the ice by a girl not more than half my height and no less than a third of my age. It was really only a matter of time, seeing as I was older than everyone in my skill group by at least a decade. However, I had never truly felt my age until I was kneeling on the ice, finger throbbing, at eye level for the first time with my group mates and trying to comfort the crying young girl who had accidentally tripped me.

    A scenario like this had never really crossed my mind when I entered the sport.

    I decided to take lessons initially because a close friend of mine had introduced me to competitive figure skating as a spectator sport. I would watch full broadcasts of past World Championships and Grand Prix circuits while making art, doing homework, on long car trips, and whenever I had nothing in particular to do. Before I knew it, I had familiarized myself with all of the common terminologies of the sport and had a ranking list for which skaters I expected to win which medals at the 2018 Olympics. Watching the fast, dramatic, yet elegant athleticism of the top athletes reminded me of my days as a dancer in elementary school. I felt my childhood joy reigniting, and decided to give figure skating a shot. Yes, I may have under anticipated just how much time and effort would be needed before I could actually land a Lutz or perform a perfectly executed scratch-spin, but I was motivated like I never had been before and the world wasn’t about to stop me from trying.

    I asked for lessons for my seventeenth birthday.

    Even though the closest rink to me was thirty minutes away on a day with no traffic. I didn’t even own a pair of skates, yet I went to my first class that March. I was aware that I would be the oldest skater in my beginner group, as many of the female skaters my age were already in the professional bracket. However, the swarm of tiny five and six-year-old girls zooming around the ice in tutus caught me completely off guard.

    My newfound confidence dwindled.

    I was in way over my head thinking that I could ever reach the level of the awe-inspiring women I watched so religiously on Youtube. My dreams of standing on the top of a podium with a medal hanging proudly around my neck slipped into the realm of the unattainable. I doubted that I would ever even land a small bunny-hop, much less a graceful triple Salchow. It would only occur to me after I had passed the basic classes and looked back on them, that those tiny girls with all of their talent and potential, probably felt the same as I did. Suddenly I didn’t feel so different from my teammates, despite the fact that none of them could even tie their own skates yet. The throbbing in my left ring finger felt more like the first landmark on a long journey than a detour.

    It has been a year and a half since my first lesson.

    My finger has completely healed (except for a small bump in my knuckle that will probably never go away) and my coach has praised me for how fast I picked up on the technical elements of figure skating. She tells me to breathe before I take the ice for my first competition, and the gold medal I hang over my bed later that day makes me excited for what will come next.