Are you an avid coffee drinker? I often stay true to one type of brew, but enjoy changing how I take my morning coffee. Here are three ways you can upgrade your standard cup of coffee:
1. Heat your milk
If you enjoy milk and sugar in your coffee, heating the milk will kick it up a notch. Heat your milk before adding it to your cup to keep the coffee cold and add froth.
2. Reduce bitterness with a pinch of salt
Sprinkle a pinch of salt into your coffee to reduce the bitter taste. The sodium in the salt counteracts with the coffee and levels out the taste.
3. Create coffee ice cubes for the perfect iced brew
Adding coffee ice cubes to your iced coffee prevents the flavour from becoming watered-down. Freeze coffee into ice cube trays then add it into a cup when ready to enjoy.
What tips do you use to upgrade your coffee?
I love to plan. I usually buy a new planner every January, but this year I decided to buy a new one in November. The planner I previously owned did not have adequate space for my daily scheduling and I know I’ll need more writing space once I head into a new internship in January.
What planner did I buy?
I bought a large, spacious planner from my local bookstore. This one originates from a brand called ban.do. It features a 17-month spread (August 2017-December 2018), color-coded tabs and yearly/monthly/weekly calendar pageviews. To satisfy my inner organized nerd, it even contains a coil-bound closure and internal pockets.
So, why did I buy a new one before the year ended?
This new planner serves two purposes:
- It tracks all my reminders – Important dates, reminders, and schedules popped up throughout this semester. I already used up a lot of space in my previous planner, and required more writing space to track everything. (Grad photos, party reminders, group work, etc.)
- I can schedule activities in advance – I already have a few important dates scheduled for 2018. This new planner allows me to write those dates and times without waiting until January.
Tips to set up a new planner
Setting up a new planner doesn’t need to be time-consuming. Here are three tips I use whenever I buy a new one:
- Transfer all important dates into your new planner before throwing the old one away
- Determine how you will colour-code your planner to organize it
How do you organize a new planner?
I’m halfway through my second-last academic semester of university. As a social work student, I know that it is essential to avoid burnout by devoting time to myself. This task sometimes seems impossible with looming deadlines, a long reading list, and more. Self-care comes in many forms, and this list is just a few of the ways I implement a routine to take care of myself.
What exactly is burnout?
Burnout is essentially mental or physical collapse from becoming overworked. Burnout manifests itself in different ways. I’ve experienced physical sickness, mental exhaustion, and anxiety. By the end of a semester, for example, it manifests in me as a cold or tension headaches.
3 Ways to Avoid Burnout
1. Clear out
De-cluttering not only clears out your physical workspace, but it also clears out the mind. If you have a lot of items in your visual field, the brain works harder to ignore it all and focus on the task at hand. This can be tiring, and cause stress. I like to tidy up my desk daily or weekly, and arrange it so that only my calendar, laptop, planner, and a few notebooks are in my field of vision.
2. Practice positive affirmations/self-talk
Self-talk happens to everyone. We can use these conversations we often have in our headspace to our advantage every day. It can help us feel better, reduces anxiety, and improves confidence. One simple way to implement positive affirmations is by using words like “I can” and “I will”.
Sleep is so important but often undervalued. There are times when I skimp on sleep, though I fully recognize that I shouldn’t. Sleep helps us restore memories, recharge, and improves brain function. Maintaining a solid sleep routine is beneficial to all aspects of your health/wellness. Most health experts recommend 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults.
How do you practice self-care?
I’m definitely a morning person. I like to wake up early, and sip my coffee while gazing out the window before anyone else in my house stirs. (Plus, waking early gives me adequate time to get ready each morning without becoming late!) I adapt my morning routine with each new season, and these are a few of the easy adjustments I implemented when September began:
1. Wake up 10-20 minutes early
I set an alarm for 6:30 on mornings I have class. My body usually wakes naturally about 10 minutes before my alarm even buzzes. These few extra moments offer me extra time to do another productive activity before I leave the house. (This usually means a second cup of coffee, so it definitely leaves me energized for the day!)
2. Make my bed
Most of the time, I simply toss the comforter over my pillows. I’ve recently begun to give myself time to properly make the bed, and it really makes a difference. This small step in the morning gives me an extra boost of accomplishment to start the day.
3. Drink two glasses of water
Staying hydrated is an important part of my morning. I drink two glasses shortly after I wake. Skimping on water in the morning often leaves me feeling tired, even when I know I’ve slept well.
4. Read for a few minutes
I notice this small adjustment sets a relaxed tone for my day. I often don’t have a physical book on hand but I’ll take a few moments to read an article online. This is usually a piece from Cosmo, though it lets my brain relax for a little while.
Finding the right planner for you can take time. Picture this: After finding the perfect planner at your local stationary store, you stare at the blank pages, unsure of exactly where to start. Today I’ll share tips to help you use those pages!
1) Use a single planner, if possible
It can be cumbersome to manage both a personal and work planner. Find a planner you can use to record business and personal tasks. This will streamline your tasks, due dates, and appointments. A bonus tip: It is a good idea to consistently check your planner to review the day ahead.
2) Create a list within your planner
I make lists often. I list each task to be accomplished by the end of the day, and check them off as I complete them. I enjoy the motion of marking a check-mark next to my list during the day. It provides both a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
3) Slow down in order to speed up
Set aside time each week to plan ahead. Inputing tasks and reminders for the week ahead offers you time to organize thoughts, de-stress, and provides a clear view of what you plan to accomplish. The act of physically writing out your to-dos is an effective tool for cognitive recognition.
4) Use a color-coding system
My favourite method of colour-coding is using different pens or post-it notes. Use a different colour for each specific task you need to remember. For example, reserve a pink pen for exam dates, a blue pen for reminders, a red pen for appointments, etc.
Do you use a planner? If you do, is it an effective tool to keep you organized?
On mornings when I am rushed, I simplify my makeup and skincare routine. This routine required modifications and trimming to include basic products. It took considerable time to reduce my daily products to the bare essentials. This routine saves me at least 10 minutes in the morning! Today I share my five-minute makeup and skincare routine:
If I am pressed for time, I skip a detailed facial cleansing. I wash my face with Dove soap. The moisturizing ingredients leave my skin soft and refreshed. I rinse my face, press it into a warm towel to seal my pores, and follow with moisturizer.
Simplifying this step took a lot of effort. I often wear a plethora of products each day. If I have only five minutes to spare, I use the products listed below:
- Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer
- BECCA Cosmetics Shimmering Skin Perfector
- Kat Von D Tattoo Liner
- Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Mascara
- The first red lipstick I place my hand on (This results in either my: Kat Von D, Sephora Collection, Bite Beauty, or Urban Decay lipstick)
Because I do not wear foundation when pressed for time, I forgo setting powder.
I highlight underneath my eyes using concealer. I use it to spot-treat any blemishes or imperfections. I apply BECCA’s Skin Perfector to my cheekbones and highlight my specific areas of my skin. When I forgo eyeshadow, Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner helps me achieve a full-makeup eye look. I finish my eyes with two coats of mascara. I tie my look together with a red lipstick.
Do you have a 5-minute makeup routine? If so, what does it look like?
1. Break tasks down into smaller pieces. Focusing on smaller tasks helps you avoid overwhelming feelings of completing the task.
2. Set a timer. Try setting a timer for 10-15 minute intervals. This can help retain focus on the task at hand. Take a small break in between to refresh. For example, if you are writing a paper, setting a timer allows you to remain focused on the task for the specified length of time.
3. Tune out digital distractions. It is tempting to check social media. Apps such as Self Control block access to social media websites for specific periods of time to eliminate the distraction.
4. Keep a “to-do” list. It is helpful to have a physical list in front of you. Keeping a list helps you envision and keep track of the tasks to be completed.
5. Reflect on the feelings that occur once the task is finished. Hitting a goal releases chemicals in the brain that contribute to pleasure. Finishing a task brings a sense of relief and euphoria. The release of these chemicals will lift your spirits.
6. Embrace imperfection. One of the reasons we procrastinate is to avoid difficult tasks and decisions. Just get started. Once you begin a task, you should find that you have more motivation to complete it.
7. Think about the concrete steps needed to complete a task. When you begin a task, it is often easier to think about the concrete steps you need to take to complete the task. This can help you begin the task, as it gives you a plan.
8. Avoid over-thinking. Doubt and over-thinking contribute to procrastination. It may be useful to be mindful of the time and energy we are putting our thoughts, rather than completing the task.
9. Forgive yourself. It is easy to be hard on yourself when a task takes too long, or is difficult. Forgiving yourself helps you break out of the cycle of procrastination.
10. Become self-aware. Acknowledge your feelings, and think about why you are feeling that way. This follows a path of self-rationalization. Once you acknowledge impulses to stop working on a task, you will find that the urge passes.