Jenna Prez raced home from school blood dripping down her face as the bruise on her forehead pulsates. She didn’t take much time throwing her bookbag down and running off to the bathroom the check the damage. She stares in the mirror not cleaning herself up but letting the blood drip from her mouth, and tears from her eyes. Why can’t the leave us alone, she thinks, can’t they mind their own business. Jenna goes to an all girl catholic high school where she met her first girlfriend, Regina Price. She had always known she was not attracted to boys, but until Regina, she wasn’t sure she was attracted to anyone. They had kept their relationship ‘on the down low’ for the past three months enjoying the secrecy of their teenage love. They would go on secret dates and hold hands pretending only to be best friends. There secret was well hidden until today when another girl, Janet Kinkle, saw Jenna kiss Regina on the cheek under the bleachers during gym. Jenna and Regina were unaware of Janet’s presence until they got back to the locker room where six of Janet’s friends were waiting on them. As soon as Jenna and Regina walked through the door, the other girls pummeled them to the floor scratch and punching them while yelling derogatory terms for lesbians. The coach, eventually, heard the commotion and broke up what was going to seem like a fight and not a clear attack on two innocent girls. Jenna and Regina were sent to the office for their misbehavior and were sentenced to three days of suspension while also having a call to home for what they had been hiding. The principal didn’t punish the other girls because she understood why they were enraged by this ‘immoral’ behavior. Jenna hears a loud knocking on the bathroom door, and she checks the time on her apple watch. Her mother was home from work. She builds up the courage she can and opens the door, and as soon as she meets her mother’s eyes, she is slammed into the door by her mother’s hand. Her mother slapped her across the face with tears in her eyes stating Jenna would never see Regina again, and she is disgusting. Her mother walks away, and Jenna shuts the door once again staring at herself in the mirror- not crying or speaking-only staring. She had no one in her life who fully accepted her but Regina, and now Regina was gone. Jenna was completely alone. Her breathing becomes heavy, and she slams her fist into the mirror breaking her reflection.
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.
- College, Confidence, GirlSpring.com, Goals, Mental Health, Puberty, School, Stress, Tips, Tough Questions
Uncertainty is Actually A Positive Thing
By Maggie Thompson
Being uncertain is a feeling with which we are all familiar.
A looming pressure to know exactly what we want in life is placed on us as early as middle school – if not before. This question of what we want our lives to be is actually ridiculous. How could one possibly know what they truly want if they have yet to decide what they do not?
Uncertainty is how we learn.
When we acknowledge our uncertainty, we open the door for more opportunities. This is because knowledge is not obtained without first admitting its absence.
Experiences shape our beliefs – on everything.
Hesitating to wear a certain color, deciding to study before a test, and avoiding certain types of people are all decisions made due to past experience. We believe the color yellow is not flattering for our skin tone because we read it in a magazine, we study before a test to avoid a failing grade, and we choose not to befriend dishonest people so that we don’t get hurt. Regardless of how big or small the belief – it is formed by past experience. However, some of these beliefs will alter as we learn and grow. This is a good thing. Being open to new challenges provides a chance for a new perspective.
As a result, being uncertain is the best way to unlock change and growth.
Do not be afraid to admit uncertainty or lack of knowledge, for this is how truth is uncovered – through exploration. So when you are feeling down about not knowing exactly which direction to go, accept that some of the steps you have taken thus far have been incorrect. Although this feeling is initially terrifying, it begins to dissolve as soon as you take the first step into the unknown. Because before you know it, you will find yourself happier and more engaged with life.
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.
Six Ways to Avoid Stress This Semester
- Make good use of your planner
Schools typically issue a planner to their students at the beginning of the school year, but there are tons of cute and affordable planner options if you would like to have one more custom to your needs. It’s been proven that writing things down helps you remember them, and often times seeing everything you have to do written out together can help you visualize how much time you have to spend working on different projects throughout the week. I personally have 4 different places to write things down: a pocket-sized daily planner with hourly slots to help plan out busy days (TJ Maxx), a dry-erase calendar (Amazon.com), an un-dated weekly planner that stands up on my desk (also TJ Maxx) and a weekly to-do list notepad that I use for non-school and work related tasks (TJ Maxx as well). This way, if I think I’m forgetting a deadline, I probably have it written down in at least one place.
Shop planners here:
- Plan for big deadlines ahead of time
Do you have a paper due the Monday after a weekend lacrosse tournament? Or a group project the same week as a final exam? As soon as you know big due dates, work schedules, sporting events, and family plans, it helps to write them down in one place so that you don’t surprise yourself at the last minute when you realize you have to finish writing out an essay in the car on the way home from a visit to grandma’s. Maybe use one of those cute planners you’ve bought? Just an idea.
- Give yourself plenty of time
As someone who is the kween of procrastination, I have to finish my assignments as far ahead of time as I can manage so that I’m not scrambling to scrape them together fifteen minutes before class starts. In high school, I would take a nap immediately after school and not even touch my backpack until 6:00 am before school the next day. I would have to set five consecutive alarms every 15 minutes starting at 5:00 am in order to get myself out of bed and get my backpack out of my car where it had been since I left school the day before. (But at least I got that hour and a half nap in, right?) I’ve found it a lot easier on the body and brain to knock things out while you’ve got time, even if it means going right to the library after class. Even if your brain conks out every ten minutes or you end up spending too much time scrolling through Instagram, at least you’ve gotten started.
- Have a good balance
Don’t get me wrong, school is important. But this doesn’t mean you have to spend every Friday and Saturday night studying. It’s just as unhealthy to isolate yourself from you’re friends because you’re worried about making an A on every assignment as it is to neglect your schoolwork. Exercise is also super important to feel good and be healthy, whether that’s going outside and walking the dog every day or participating in sports. In my experience, it’s always been best to listen to the body and do what feels right. If you spend every moment that you’re with your friends worrying about when you’re going to finish your math homework, it’s alright to decline to hang out every so often. If you’re late to soccer practice every day because you don’t get out of work until fifteen minutes before it starts, consider taking a few hours out of your work schedule. If you’re not sure whether to cut down on something that’s taking up a big chunk of your time, try to focus on how you feel during and after that activity. Is it worth it for you? Would you be happier doing something else? Keep in mind, you can do anything but not everything.
- Go to class
It sounds easy enough, but even at your least attentive, you’ll retain more than you would if you weren’t there. The more time you miss, the more time you spend catching up. Sitting through one more presentation may seem impossible, but you’re truly just setting yourself up for more stress in the future. While you’re there, try to take the best notes you can. Even if you’re completely zoned out, at least you’ll have some key words and phrases written down that you can work out later. Focusing for so many hours is difficult, but half the battle is simply showing up.
- Make sure it’s not more than stress
Since childhood, my panic, agitation, and constant fatigue were attributed to “stress.” It wasn’t until my freshman year of college when I went to my doctor and told him I thought I might have an anxiety disorder. Three years later, I can’t imagine functioning without the treatment I started receiving and I will always wonder if middle and high school would have been a bit more bearable if I had been diagnosed earlier.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated the majority of the time to a point where it affects your day to day life, it may be something more than just a busy schedule. Schools provide guidance counselors as a resource for students, and that resource is meant to be utilized. It can be extremely difficult to confront mental illnesses like anxiety or depression, but reaching out and asking for help from a counselor or family physician is much easier than continuing to struggle every day.
How Women Influence For The Better
by Aulana DudleyA woman can be very important to a girl or boys life, they can shape who we are and how we react to certain things.A woman who has had a significant influence on me is Elizabeth Gross. Elizabeth has been my therapist for a little over a year. She helps me while I deal with my fear of human emotions and my anxieties mixed together. Elizabeth’s influence consists mostly of teaching me ways to handle human emotions (mostly when people cry) without becoming uncomfortable and ways to calm my mind down. For example, before I started going to Elizabeth I bottled every emotion up until I would explode and only anger would come out; I would also have panic attacks with no way of calming myself down and eventually I would just end up falling asleep. Since I’ve been seeing Elizabeth, I’ve been able to control the number of emotional outbursts I have and I now know what can trigger them to happen. I can also find specific music to help guide my brain back to a placid mental state of mind during panic attacks.With Elizabeth’s influence, it has affected how I live moreso because now I know what my brain can handle and what can push it over the edge, this is what affects my character the most. She has also helped me find loopholes for my separation anxiety between my father and older sister, Satura. Elizabeth’s influence also alters my confidence; because she also aids me with my social anxiety which helps me get rid of some of my shyness and my fear of public speaking. She also helps me feel more confident in expressing how I feel about things that make me uniquely myself such as Star Wars, Marvel, DC Comics, and cartoons. Elizabeth has helped me in so many ways that I feel as though she has been a big impact in how to view certain things and my personality. Being able to see what a colossal change in my life Elizabeth has made on my life for the better has been one of the most heartwarming things I have ever been able to do.