“Aah choo,” you sneeze and you find your nose running. Your body temperature is either way too hot or way too cold. You can feel the chills of a cold tingle through your body. The cough has now turned into this aggressive battle to clear out your throat. You feel less active and the bed is now calling your name. You’re rummaging through your cabinets and all of your room, but you don’t have any source of medication there. Your parents aren’t here. You are away at college and your own for the first time. You have no one to guide you in what to get, where to go, and how to get it. Now you’re forced to make the awkward and confusing trip to the store to try and find the best things to fight being sick. If you are new to the common cold/ flu struggle, here are a few tips.
I spend most of my money on two things: Chipotle and skincare products. Considering my three tacos with a side of chips costs only $9, my cash mostly goes towards making my face as clear and flawless as possible.
I’ve struggled with oily, acne-prone skin ever since I was a young kid. Throughout the years, I’ve gone through a lot of costly experimenting to find products that work with my temperamental skin. Just when I think I’ve found a product that works, my face decides to give me a big middle finger and break out all over the place. Then, it’s back to the drawing board.
Recently, however, I’ve found a group of products that keep my skin in a sort of balance. While I still get the occasional hormonal breakout or two, these products keep the oil on my face under control, preventing further breakouts.
One of the hardest parts of adjusting to Boston was getting used to the gloomy days. In Texas, I was so used to having constant sunshine. I didn’t realize how much the sun affects my mood until I experienced many days without sun. There is a direct correlation between sunshine and happiness. Sunlight increases serotonin levels, which makes you happier. This feeling could also be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The symptoms include constantly feeling depressed, having low energy, changes in appetite and/or weight, have difficulty concentrating, and low interest in the things you usually do. This is why during the dark winters, our moods may not be as great. After being exposed to constant sunlight in Texas, the lack of sun really has affected my overall mood and day to day life. I couldn’t exactly figure out why I felt this way so I have experimented different methods to make me feel happier. I have researched ways to get more Vitamin D, and I have found a few tips to brighten your mood on gloomy days.
Take vitamin D supplements & Eat foods with vitamin D- After having my mom constantly telling me to take my vitamins, I recently just started taking vitamin D supplements and I can already see a difference in my mood. I have more energy (without having caffeine) and I am in an overall better mood. All you have to do is take one to two supplements with food. They are so easy to find too. I personally bought mine on Amazon, but they are also available at drug stores or even some grocery stores. Here are just a few foods that are rich in vitamin D: fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, and salmon), orange juice, soy milk, almond milk, yogurt, oatmeal, cheese, and egg yolks.
Buy a Happy Light- I still really, really want a Happy Light. I actually heard about this Happy Light from one of my fellow sun lovers from California. The Happy Light is made to mimic sunlight and enhance mood, energy, sleep, and focus. They start around $40. Personally, I think this is a great investment. Especially considering the weather in Boston. I am definitely going to be purchasing one for next year. For a basic light, you can buy it on Amazon, but for the more high end Happy Lights there are more specialized websites.
Take a walk- Even though the sun may not be out, a quick little walk can boost your mood. Being cooped up indoors all day is not beneficial to your mood. A little exercise is guaranteed to make your body happier. I love going on walks through the Boston Gardens and then I make my way to the Charles River. If I’m in a really good mood, then I go to Newbury.
Embrace the sun when it does come out- On the days that there is sun, take full advantage of it. Go for a run. Sit and do your homework outside at a cafe. Stroll the commons. Whatever you want to do, just make sure it is outdoors in the sun. I also am a huge believer in skipping class when the weather is nice. Of course, I have only done this one or two times. I am still a good student. But on the days when it is pretty out, just a few minutes outside can make a huge difference to your day.
I hope these few tips help you boost your mood. I know that I rely heavily on these during the winter and I take full advantage of any sunlight now. Although we can’t change the weather, there are so many steps we can take to boost our mood!
Since coming to school at Emerson, I have gradually been trying to switch over many of my beauty products to healthier alternatives that do not contain sulfates, aluminum, phthalates, silicone, and more. If you want to read more about the harmful effects of these ingredients, click here! I made this decision because I felt that in college I have more control over what I put on and in my body, so why not start making healthier choices now? This process has been difficult because of both price and the way my body has reacted to some of these products. However, I don’t regret my efforts because I am doing something positive for my body.
I used to think that everyone’s tonsils were as large as mine. I’ll save you all the scarring mental images, but they are pretty large. Large enough to the point where if they get infected, it’s hard for me to swallow food. There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to enjoy my favorite sandwich because I have to drink a whole glass of water just to swallow one bite. This had to end.
Animal agriculture is responsible for eighteen percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation. Cattle is responsible for roughly fifty percent of those emissions. (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). For years, people have turned a blind eye towards the environmental and health problems surrounding the beef and dairy industry. It was not until recently had I gave this issue the attention it deserved and vowed off beef and day by day started to limit my dairy intake. This was no easy feat, and it certainly challenges the way of the American culture and how we live our lives. Whenever I bring up topics that have to do with cutting out beef and dairy from my diet, I am met with scoffs and avoidance, which is understandable because these foods are ingrained in American culture. Every Fourth of July my parents grill up fat juicy burgers, like the majority of America. My friends and I had a tradition of going to the local diner and ordering up tall chocolate milkshakes completed by a mountain of whipped cream and an artificially dyed cherry that rested on the top.
The gym. It seems like a scary place. It’s filled with a lot of metal contraptions and machines that are supposed to help you work out, but in reality, you have no idea how to use them. There is also the potential of working out in front of people that you know, making yourself worry about judgmental glares 24/7. These are just some of the concerns that people like me had, making it impossible to make yourself actually go to the gym.
For a while now, I refused to go to the gym. I never bothered getting a gym membership back at home and I just chose to work out on my own. This mostly included going on runs around my neighborhood or attempting to get in 20 push ups and sit ups in one day. But neither of these exercises forced me “lift,”the deadly word that was associated with gym folk. It wasn’t until this year where I actually started to force myself to go. If I had to listen to my soccer coach complain to me again about how I wasn’t “strong enough” I was going to get severely pissed off.
Over the summer I worked at the Back Bay Sweetgreen location in Boston. My co-workers were easy to get along with and I got to have summer full of healthy food. I was interested in working for Sweetgreen because I had been a fan of their food for a long time. As someone who goes to college in Boston, looking for healthy vegetarian options, I was sold the first time I tried it. Working at Sweetgreen taught me a lot about customer service, multitasking and teamwork. However, I also learned all the ins and out of getting the most out of your Sweetgreen experience. Now that I’m going back to being a loyal customer, I’m so grateful for this knowledge.
The Sweetgreen App
This is an absolute must for anyone who wants to enjoy Sweetgreen on the regular. You can scan to pay and earn rewards as you go. It makes checking out a lot easier for everyone involved and you get neat perks.
Another feature of the app is the ability to place online orders for pickup. This means that you can skip the crazy long lines that Back Bay is famous for and get your salad to-go. You can still get bread and a drink too. I recommend getting double dressing! With online orders, you’re able to save your favorite salads and custom recipes right on the app.
Order a custom if you’re going to make more than a couple of changes
This makes it so much easier for everyone involved. The Sweetgreen team is always happy to go above and beyond for customers, but it’s also frustrating when you’re doing mental gymnastics to make sure the order gets charged right at the end. Swapping out proteins, changing a dressing or adding something is no big deal. However, if you’re going to switch three things out and then add a bunch more, do everyone a favor and order a custom salad. That’s what they are there for! It also increases the likelihood of you getting charged correctly for your salad. *Eggs and Cheeses cost the same so you can swap them out without changing the price of your salad*
Don’t be afraid to ask about the ingredients
Sweetgreen makes everything in house so a good portion of the staff is pretty familiar with the fine details of the food. They also always have a nutritional binder on hand just in case they don’t know off the top of their head. It’s always better to ask than risk your health! Sweetgreen wants people to be confident and happy with what they’re eating. The supervisors are trained to handle allergies so while not every employee can assist you, you’ll be in good hands.
The best time to visit
10:30-11 am and 3 pm or later is always going to pretty decent line-wise. 11-2:30 pm is the lunch rush which usually means a line out the door and around the corner. If you have the flexibility in your schedule to go at a different time you’ll be doing yourself a great service. It’s also a lot easier to find a table.
Spicy Cashew dressing is a MUST
The sweet and spicy dressing became an obsession of mine during my time at Sweetgreen. It’s not only great on salad (currently featured on the Thai Watermelon and Rad-Thai) but it is really tasty on the bread slices. If you haven’t had it before, it’s definitely worth trying your next stop in.
Sweetgreen has *five* seasonal menus
So, they have Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer 1, and Summer 2. This means new salads, ingredients and a new beverage. Right now they have Thai Watermelon, Peaches & Goat and Roasted Pepper & Feta. Oh, and the Watermelon Cilantro Fresca. One of the best parts about working at Sweetgreen is being able to try the salads in advanced. Take advantage of each season and try the new salads while they have them.
Don’t get stuck ordering the same thing
Before working at Sweetgreen, I always ordered the Shroomami. Every. Single. Time. I totally understand having a favorite order. The Harvest Bowl and Guacamole Greens are two of the most popular orders. However, with our custom and seasonal options, I highly recommend trying something new from time to time. I was constantly surprised by the flavor combinations that I liked and it gave me a way to eat healthy without getting sick of the same thing. You’d be surprised how many different ways you can eat salad!
Enjoy the sweetlife!
Lately, I’ve been struggling with this idea. I’m someone who has always tried hard to live a healthy lifestyle. I rarely eat fast food, work out when I can and would much rather snack on hummus or fruit than on popcorn or cookies. I would classify myself as healthyish. I’m not the type who would turn down pizza on a Saturday night, but it’s not something I like to do on the regular.
As someone who will soon be going abroad to the Castle, I’ve been trying to dedicate the rest of my summer to losing a few pounds and slimming down. I started off by going on a “diet,” which consisted of limiting my carb intake to one meal; a banana or yogurt for breakfast, salads with fruit and nuts for lunch, and typically stir-fried chicken and veggies with multigrain rice for dinner. I felt that, if I didn’t title it as a “diet,” I would be lazy and give up easily. This turned into a competition with myself; every time I was hungry, but opted to go to the gym over snacking unnecessarily, I was washed over with immense pride. I could do this! But when the scale was stubbornly unmoving, I got frustrated. What was the point of eating so little and healthy and going to the gym multiple times a week if it wasn’t going to do anything?
This is where I started recognizing the difference between healthy eating and dieting. For me, the problem with dieting is that it puts too much pressure on an individual. “Carbs for just dinner” sounds so easy, but then when you break that even once, you lose hope and confidence. You think, I already failed, why bother continuing? In a lot of the diets in which we partake, from guided ones like Weight Watchers to self-guided ones like paleo diets, our daily routine revolves around never wavering. We have to be perfect, never giving into cravings and keeping our eyes on the prize at all times. That is a recipe for implosion. And even when we allow for cheat days, those days sometimes lead us to eating way more and much unhealthier than we might have had we been eating more balanced meals every day.
The idea of balance is the key to differentiating between healthy eating and dieting. Healthy eating is so much more effective because it’s all about balance; maybe you ate a lot of protein and fruit for breakfast. Well, then maybe some veggies and grains for lunch. And if you ended up eating a lighter dinner, maybe you can have some frozen yogurt for dessert. You aren’t controlling the quantity or quality of what you’re eating. No more calorie-counting or food-deductions, just balanced eating that leaves room for some cravings, but incorporation of all important food groups. Even if you have a “bad day,” you can always balance it out the next day with healthier meals and a trip to the gym. Healthy eating is a lifestyle, whereas dieting is a temporary phase. It puts less pressure on you to abide by self-proclaimed rules and recognizes that we’re all humans with cravings. Life truly isn’t worth it if we never allow ourselves to eat the foods we really love, even on occasion. And it’s not fair to reprimand ourselves for giving in to a gooey plate of nachos or a moist slice of chocolate fudge cake.
In my new version of “getting my body ready for Europe,” I’m not going to force myself to not eat when I’m hungry and say no to something if I really really want it. I’m still going to try my best to eat beautiful foods that are good for my body, drink as much water as I can, and work out a few times a week. But, on the weekends, I’m going to treat myself to breakfast sandwiches, Rocky Road ice cream, and late-night Maria’s because life is too full of delicious eats to say no.
Last week I came across the above quote and it really spoke to me. Being physically present and being mentally present have two completely different definitions. Lately I have been feeling the absence of deep, meaningful conversations in my life and I yearn for that void to be filled.
I cannot remember the last time a phone wasn’t pulled out at some point during a conversation. When hanging out with a group of friends all it takes is one person to pick up their phone and everyone feels obligated to check theirs too. We have grown accustomed to the presence of technology and it is getting harder and harder to be fully present in day to day life. The truth about technology is saddening because no one my age knows how to entertain themselves without a screen. Someone whip out Yahtzee or Pictionary, PLEASE.
It may seem ridiculous to live without technology but pulling back from constant screen use is a great way to slow down your brain. Lock your phone and instead pass some time by reading, journaling or drawing…unleash the creativity! Once enough time is focused in a more constructive place than the depths of someone’s Instagram page a feeling of relaxation arises. There will always be time to be engrossed in social media but I hope more than anything that young people can learn to stay present in the more simple joys of life.
When having a conversation, I try to remind myself to continuously look someone in the eye and ask questions about what they are saying. That is the best way to show your true interest in another person. It is just too easy to get lost behind a screen when the world is going by around us. We walk around engrossed in the latest Tasty video or Snapchat story, completely oblivious to the beauty passing by with every step.
It may seem impossible to go a full day without your phone but the experience will allow you to see the world a little differently. You don’t need that perfectly staged Snapchat video or Instagram story to show that you are having fun with your friends. There is definitely pressure in our world today about posting constantly to ensure that your followers know you are maintaining an interesting life. Your friends that you are hanging out with already know how much fun you are. Pictures and videos are great, but soaking in the memories with your eyes and ears is more organic and fulfilling.
It is always great to snap some pics of a new place or some cool food, but save the editing and posting until after in order to enjoy the rest of the day. People always seemed surprised when I say I left my phone at home for the day or night; it’s like a security blanket that is thought to be a necessity when I can function just as well without it.
Right now you are looking at a screen, as are billions of people around the world. Try taking a breather from all the screens and pay attention to the beautiful details all around you because the world is a lot more interesting than the Instagram popular page.