Mental Health: Simple Ways to Stay Healthy as a Blue Hen ​

Mental Health: Simple Ways to Stay Healthy as a Blue Hen

They tell us that college is the best four years of our lives. New friends, clubs, activities, and learning more about yourself every day.  This is exciting, but sometimes all of these things in our already-busy schedule can become a bit overwhelming.  As someone with a mental illness, I understand that it can be a challenge to juggle all of what our amazing school has to offer at once.  My freshman year here at UD was definitely a challenge.  I have struggled with anxiety for my whole life, and when it came to the large amounts of exams, assignments, and extra-curricular activities, anxiety always found a way to get the best of me.  But, as blue hens, we cannot let mental illnesses win the fight to success.  I can confidently say that I have conquered my anxiety here at UD, and I would like to share my methods to having a stress-free school year.

1. Eating Right

One of the most important components of a stress-free lifestyle is eating right.  This semester I have discovered that breakfast is, in fact, the most important meal of the day.  Getting a healthy meal in your system, whether it is a bowl of cereal, a plate of eggs, or even a cup of yogurt, they all have one of the greatest effects on your mood throughout the day. However, eating a balanced meal cannot only take place in the morning – should stay consistent throughout the day.  Growing up, our parents constantly reminded us to eat three meals a day, and I cannot stress how important that is.  What we are eating throughout the day is what gives us the energy we need to keep going when we have those two exams the next day or those three papers to write by the end of the week.  Eating three balanced meals a day also reduces stress, mood swings, and anxiety, which are some of the things that can be a harmful distraction when it comes to balancing schoolwork. 

2. Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

You have a huge exam tomorrow morning, and you’ve only studied for a couple hours yesterday plus a few hours today.  You feel like you aren’t prepared, so the best thing to do is stay up all night studying.  WRONG!  Sleep is one of the most important parts of how we function throughout the day, including how we perform on exams.  Getting around seven to nine hours of sleep every night is crucial, especially for college students.  We have a lot of tasks to accomplish every day, some days more than others.  So, when I know that I have to get a lot of things done tomorrow, I would make sure to get a good amount of sleep tonight.  Along with eating right, sleeping well can also reduce the amount of stress, anxiety, and mood swings we have throughout the day.  Reducing these feelings can help us stay more on top of school work and push us to be more motivated to get involved on campus.

3. Plan Out Your Week

Keeping a visible set schedule is so important when we have those busy college weeks.  I don’t think I could live without my planner.  Every Sunday night, I get out my planner, a pen, and a few highlighters and make a set schedule for the week.  I highlight my exams and due dates in different colors to keep everything organized.  Keeping your brain organized is essential for mentally health and can reduce that overwhelming feeling that we get when large amounts of work and activities build up in our schedule.  This also helps to get yourself motivated and excited to get everything done during the week!  Also, I have found that crossing out things that you have finished is a great thing to do to clear your head.  Getting things done is definitely self-rewarding and, ultimately, boosts a student’s confidence. 

4. Tell Yourself That You Can!

This semester, I’m taking a psychology course, and one of the lessons that I learned was about positive thinking and it’s outcome on how we perform on exams.  I have not always been the best at taking exams, so whenever I sat down in class to take an exam, the only thoughts that were circulating through my mind was how terrible I was going to do on the exam.  I now know that these anxious and negative thoughts that I would experience before my exams caused me to forget some of the information that I studied.  Preparing for and taking exams is definitely stressful and overwhelming, but having a positive mindset can easily affect the way we perform on our exams.  Just simply tell yourself that you know more than you think, and you can do it!  Whatever the outcome will be, will be, and there is nothing that you can change after the exam is over.  Think positive, and perform positive!

5. Finally, Give Yourself a Break

Sometimes, we all need a break.  No matter how many things you have to get done, you should always give yourself a break.  During your relaxation time away from studying, do something that you love!  Invest your time in something that makes you happy.  My favorite thing to do when I’m on a study break is to watch an episode of my favorite television show, but some other things that I invest in that I recommend is painting, going to the gym, cooking, cleaning, or writing in a journal.  I always go to the gym before I study or do homework. It is one of the best ways of relieving stress and boosts memory retention as well as the cognitive functions in the brain, and keeping a journal also has a lot of positive outcomes when it comes to relieving stress.  An important activity that I learned is called flow journaling, and the point of it is to just let your mind wander.  During this activity, you start to let anything that is on your mind flow onto the paper, and the only rule is that you cannot erase anything because the point it to just let your mind run.  After you write one page, you will feel a sense of clearness in your mind, which will result in more efficient studying.  Taking breaks like this while studying can help remind us that everything is going to be okay!

Stronger Not Skinnier

Stronger Not Skinnier

Find your own happy medium

Do you ever pass the mirror, stop, look, and not like what you see? Do you ever beat yourself up about the way you look? Do you ever feel gross and upset with yourself for munching out on a bunch of cookies and cake? Or are you simply insecure and uncomfortable in your own skin? If you answered yes to any of these, I hope to change that for you! I am going to empower you to feel comfortable in your skin and confident in your body. Imagine if you stopped obsessing over “fitting in” to a tiny pair of jeans and started “fitting in” to things that make you feel GOOD. Women should feel confident for who they are and who they want to become. We shouldn’t be uncomfortable and insecure in our own skin.

Picture Credits: Madeline Costantino

Today, society molds the negative perceptions of ourselves. It starts with the way we look at ourselves. The way we look at ourselves in the mirror every morning. The way we compare ourselves to others constantly. The way we judge others so harshly and judge ourselves even more. There’s a lot more to a girl then her cute clothes, boobs, butt, and stomach fat. our views have changed tremendously, especially in this area of life. I once felt the way that many girls still feel today. However, now I have a passion for fitness and nutrition. I used to focus on being smaller but now I focus on being STRONGER-both physically and mentally. I have learned to look in the mirror and love myself. I don’t look back and see how much I’ve lost, but how much I’ve gained. I stopped striving to be the smallest version of myself and started striving to be the strongest. Stop looking in the mirror and always seeing what is missing, rather than what’s there. Stop using exercise as a punishment, rather than a pleasure. Embrace the happy and healthy person you are!

Picture Credits: Madeline Costantino

Workout because you WANT to, not because you HAVE to. However, you should feel damn good if you do and not bad if you don’t. It’s not about the toned arms, slimmer thighs, and big butt. It’s about that big smile and rewarding feeling at the end, knowing that you have cherished and challenged your body. Give your body tools to empower it, rather than restrict it. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you stop being your bodies biggest critic and start becoming its biggest fan. It’s your body you make the rules.

I guarantee you weighing LESS won’t make you think MORE of your body. What will make you think more of your body is confidence. Gain strength, gain happiness, and gain back that smile that you’ve lost. Your motivation to feel and look better shouldn’t come from hatred it should come from love. I have created an Instagram account (@maddiecostfitlife) that helps inspire and motivate people to become the best version of themselves that they can be. Through this I have helped so many people grow and simply feel comfortable in their own skin. I have learned recently that everyone is obsessed with the way they look on the outside, instead of focusing on how they truly feel on the inside. Society, specifically young girls, needs to stop focusing on wanting to be skinnier and start focusing on becoming stronger. This means both physically and mentally. Happiness isn’t a size, shape, or number on the scale. It’s a huge smile and feeling on the inside.

Picture Credits: Madeline Costantino

Stop focusing on what you aren’t and focus on what you ARE! I use fitness as a way to encourage others to do what makes them happy and feel good about themselves. Working out shouldn’t be a punishment for the way you look or something you ate. My healthy and happy lifestyle doesn’t come from cutting things out, it comes from adding things in. Add in food for fuel, add on weight for strength, add in cardio for the happy heart. Life should be about living, not limiting. I express this through a series of dance cardio workouts called “MAXOUT with MADDIE”. I encourage girls to feel empowered and strong!

 

Run farther, lift heavier, swim faster, bike harder, and jump higher. Do more, but for the RIGHT REASONS. Do it for you, nobody else. It should come from a happy place in your heart. Workout to become a better you and celebrate all that your body can do. I run long distance because I enjoy it and it makes me feel good. Not as a punishment for eating cookies. Cookies should be served with a scoop of ice cream, not guilt. Do what makes you happy. That may be running miles, dancing around in your room, lifting insanely heavy, swimming or anything you want it to be. Just do it with your whole heart and for a good damn reason…YOURSELF! To be a strong woman is to be beautifully in love with yourself. I want to bring women together and create this power. However, there’s a happy medium for everything in life. Sometimes you have to take a break and not be so hard on yourself, where other times you need to force your lazy butt to get up and go to the gym.

Picture Credits: Madeline Costantino

Now go find your own happy medium…just don’t forget to love yourself a little along the way.

Environment and Ethics in the Fashion Industry

Environment and Ethics in the Fashion Industry

Environmental issues are extremely important in today’s society. Recycling, conserving water, and saving energy are all great ways to be conscious, but the fashion industry- on a manufacturing and consumer based level- has a major impact on the environment as well. Clothing production and certain fabrics have damaging effects on the environment; the industry is the “second biggest consumer of water and is responsible for 8-10 percent of global carbon emissions” (UN Environment). Additionally, fabrics such as polyester, acrylic, and nylon release plastic into oceans, which is eventually consumed by living things.

Photo credit https://pin.it/ekkqu4er5ger52

With the rise of sustainable companies like The Little Market, Vitamin A Swim, Outdoor Voices, and Patagonia, the controversy and conversation surrounding the ethics of clothing companies has increased. The United Nations Environmental Assembly recently launched the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion in order to encourage a more ethical and sustainable industry. Other agencies have also taken action by creating programs such as Blue Fashion and The Ethical Fashion Initiative, which promote sustainable production of clothing.

Photo credits https://www.thelittlemarket.com/pages/values

Carbon emissions, water consumption, and materials used to produce clothing are not the only issues rooted in non-sustainability. The fashion industry can provide jobs for artisans and farmers. Providing these opportunities to victims of violence, people living in marginalized communities and areas of poverty and hardship allows the individuals to develop a variety of skills. This is not only an opportunity for a job; it is an opportunity to create a new path. Ensuring safe work conditions and fair pay is also a major component of an ethical industry.

Photo credit https://pin.it/liblzei45r6lib

Raising awareness of the impact that the fashion industry has on the environment will help advance the efforts toward producing and purchasing clothing in a conscious way. Consumers can make a difference by researching companies, production methods, and taking simple steps such as purchasing less but high quality clothing. By joining the sustainability movement, the fashion industry can help facilitate a healthier planet and empowerment for workers on a larger level.

Photo credit https://pin.it/d4mnhzen2ifrvp

Three Ways to Make Overnight Oats – Easy and Simple Recipes

Three Ways to Make Overnight Oats - Easy and Simple Recipes

Students, often those who are stuck with 8 A.M.s, skip breakfast. Though convenient to simply roll out of bed and spring to Smith Hall, taking the time to eat breakfast should be a priority. Your body needs fuel to jump start the day, and breakfast gives you energy to last long classes and walks across campus.

 

Moreover, most of us lack the time to make breakfast. However, with these simple and easy overnight oat recipes, you can roll out of bed and shove something down to eat before rushing to your lecture hall.

Healthy Eating

Overnight oats

Oatmeal Recipe

Oats

Smoothie

Layer ingredients into a mug or mason jar and let it sit overnight and add toppings the following morning.

Toppings

Strawberry Banana

  • sliced banana
  • quarter cup of cut up strawberries
  • chocolate chips

Oats Smoothie

  • sprinkle in oats in smoothies
  • smoothie: blend

Blueberry Banana

  • quarter cup of blueberries
  • tablespoon of peanut butter
  • sliced banana