Six Tips to Work Well Under Stress

For as long as I can remember, keeping myself busy has always been my preference. I would rather have a full plate to keep my mind occupied than a bunch of downtime. When it came time for college, I was honestly feeling excited for the opportunity to take on a new challenge, and again, keep myself busy. In essence, I believe that’s a good thing — my drive is what allowed me to graduate a year ahead of schedule and have the nerve to apply for law school. Lately, though, I can admit I spread myself too thin while trying to accomplish those goals.

My summer was swept away with summer classes, LSAT prep [Law School Admissions Test], a summer internship and a part-time job. I quickly realized I had hardly any time for myself, my friends and my family. While I originally felt upset realizing what I had done, I now look at it as a lesson not only to myself, but for anyone who also relates to the love of staying busy. Sometimes, it is inevitable to be incredibly busy; for me, it was the only way to achieve my goal of graduating early. I will never advocate for giving up, but instead, I thought I would share some helpful tips that I followed to keep myself in check!  

Set an alarm for anything you actually need to do 

For me, this meant setting an alarm to remember take birth control, do my laundry or make an important call. It may seem a bit extra, but when you’re constantly running around trying to catch up, a loud reminder is typically what it takes to get stuff done! 

Make a realistic to-do list

We all love making to-do lists, but joke about not being able to cross everything off. In my opinion, for school, there needs to be a line. I would set unrealistic goals for myself, and as a result, I didn’t sleep until 4 or 5 in the morning. I also believe that part of finishing a to-do list is the sense of accomplishment, or feeling like you’re doing enough! A major point of these tricks is to feel more empowered! 

Give yourself the appropriate dinner-time setting, and take a break while you eat.

One of the worst mistakes I made was coming straight home from work, grabbing something quick from the fridge and beginning to cram in my homework. We absolutely need time to decompress, and I believe it makes the most sense to be enjoying the food we eat. Instead of trying to multitask something as important as fueling your body, give yourself 20 minutes to enjoy dinner without shoving your face in a screen.

Keep a calendar with only your homework assignments on it

This summer I was taking four classes online, which left me basically on my own to learn. The best way for me to keep track of my assignments were to download printable calendars and only list my school assignments on them. Instead of listing the due dates of assignments, I would put them on my calendar one day earlier than they were due. Not only did I keep myself ahead of schedule, I also kept myself from becoming overwhelmed by looking at each commitment’s due dates individually. 

Don’t neglect your relationships

It is so important to maintain steady relationships with friends and family. At the beginning of my summer, I found myself canceling plans with everybody so that I could sit at home and do homework. Yes, homework is important, but as mentioned earlier, we need a break. Being happy alongside good company reduces stress, which ended up positively impacting my grades when I took my own advice. Having fun every once in awhile is important! 

Don’t be too hard on yourself 

Most importantly, cut yourself some slack. I remember getting a less than fabulous grade on an assignment this summer and hating myself for days over it. Because of that, I got less accomplished because I was so consumed with my mistakes. Instead, take a step back and breathe. Remind yourself that what you’re doing can be intense and you’re bound to make mistakes — we’re only human, after all. 

Discover: Columbus, Ohio

Growing up in a rural village, I always was driving for at least fifteen minutes to find something to do. My house is situated on a corn field in Johnstown, Ohio, which has a few pizza parlors, too many auto shops and a Kroger. The village is so small that I usually tell people I’m from Columbus, and in reality, that’s where I spend most of my time, anyway. I used to hate being so far away from stores and restaurants, but I realized that many places in Columbus are worth the drive. Ohio’s capital may be intimidating to some, but once you find these hotspots and hidden gems, you’ll never want to leave. 

The Roosevelt Coffeehouse

If you’re planning an adventure through Columbus, the best place to stop for a latte [and arguably the best pastries] is The Roosevelt. This coffeehouse is dedicated to fighting against unclear water, human trafficking and hunger, which makes me feel much less guilty for spending money on coffee, and the employees are dedicated to providing the most uplifting experience possible. This coffee shop was introduced to me by a good friend, and now I’m always looking for an excuse to go back! While The Roosevelt is good for a cup of joe on-the-go, at some point, you have to sit in the aesthetically pleasing environment. [Pro tip: you can’t go wrong with their caramel latte!] 

The North Market 

Once you’ve had your fill of coffee, the next place to go is the North Market. I’m a huge fan of farmers markets and love supporting small businesses, and the North Market is the perfect place to do exactly that. Every time I go, I see something new to try! What I love most about it is that you can grab lunch from one of the local vendors and then shop for groceries, like fresh vegetables, all in the same place knowing that every dollar spent is for a good cause. My boyfriend and I love the Taste of Belgium, which makes waffles that are absolutely to die for. If waffles aren’t your thing, they also have tons of other delicious choices [I’ve confirmed]. On the way out, stop for some bubble tea at Bubbles Tea & Juice Co., which, if you haven’t gotten around to trying yet — you need to. 

Pins Mechanical Co.

My boyfriend and I are both fans of old school games, and if you can say the same, Pins Mechanical is the spot for you. This place has almost any game you can think with a design that fits so perfectly into the Columbus aesthetic while still providing old school entertainment and  classic vibes. Bring out your competitive side over a game of bowling, pinball, foosball and more with good company. Before you know it, you’ll lose track of time — I always do! 

Mikey’s Late Night Slice 

If you’ve worked up an appetite from gaming, or if you’re just craving great pizza, Mikey’s Late Night Slice is sure to satisfy. I love coming here because the staff is always hilarious and the food never disappoints. This is one of the best places to sit outside and people watch, and really see Columbus come to life. Not to mention, a whole pizza is absolutely enormous, perfect for sharing with a large group. While there are tons of quirky and creative menu items, I always go for the classic pepperoni. If you go, don’t forget to try all of the different sauces they offer, especially the unicorn sauce — I could tell you about it, but it’s best to try it for yourself! 
These Columbus staples are literally just a few of the venues that make the city so great. I’ve been going back and forth to Columbus since I was a little girl, and still, there is so much for me to see! It’s a huge place to explore, but definitely a must. The next time you’re out and about, consider making the trip over — I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Discover: The Great Smoky Mountains

Over the past weekend, my boyfriend and I took a somewhat spontaneous hiking trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, and now that I’m back home in the busy city of Columbus, I’m already planning our next trip! We spent three days in the mountains, and above everything else that made it so monumental, I loved the opportunity to relax and clear my mind.

Instead of staying at an expensive resort by the Smoky Mountains, I decided to try an Airbnb for the first time. I admit, I was somewhat nervous to stay in someone else’s home, but now that I’ve tried it, I can confidently say I would do it again! My Airbnb was in the tiny town of Maggie Valley, North Carolina. The town had many tourist-oriented shops, but after further exploration, we found that the people and the local restaurants were what made Maggie Valley so wonderful.

To get to our Airbnb, we drove up a pretty steep road that led us to a perfect cabin situated next to a creek and a private pond. We stayed in the lower level of the owner’s home, but it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. Each night after we got back from exploring, we enjoyed grilling out on a deck and relaxing in a hot tub right next to our back door. I’ve tried relaxing in the past [and somehow always fail] but it was impossible to feel anything but calm while listening to the sounds of the creek, with no cell service for miles. 

Another highlight of our trip was our full day of hiking. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has so many trails, but I would recommend Clingmans Dome and Chimney Tops Trail. Clingman’s Dome is actually the highest point, at over 6,000 feet, in the Smoky Mountains, North Carolina and Tennessee! We left to walk this trail early in the morning to beat traffic, and it was well worth it. The climb was decently steep, but easily manageable [there were many resting points]. This trail was amazing because we got so high that we were literally surrounded by clouds, standing on a lookout that was easily 10 degrees cooler than the point at which we started. It was unreal to see the park from so high off the ground! 

Despite having sore legs, we went to our next trail about an hour away. Chimney Tops trail seemed like the perfect addition to our day, afterall, it is only 3.3 miles. However, we couldn’t have been more wrong about what that would entail. The distance is short, but the climb was incredibly steep. After climbing for about an hour, we were relieved to see a sign for the overlook, only 0.8 miles away, but we would be climbing over 900 feet to get there. The hike was insanely challenging for both of us, but we had fun supporting each other and stopping to take in the incredible views along the way. It was difficult, but I would do it again! 

After spending our day hiking, nothing sounded better than a shower and a nap. That night, we were completely spent, and decided to relieve our muscles in the hot tub, before going to bed around 10 [the earliest I’ve gone to sleep in about 5 months; it was awesome!]. Because we only spent Saturday evening through Monday morning there, we had to pack up and leave early the next day. On Monday morning, we decided to stop for breakfast at a local restaurant called Joey’s Pancake House. If you’re ever in North Carolina, I totally recommend getting breakfast here. My boyfriend and I both loved the small-town vibes and had fun observing how social and friendly everyone was! 

Instead of immediately going home, we decided to make a quick stop at Ripley’s Aquarium of The Smokies to see the 340-foot shark tunnel, pet the stingrays and watch the penguins. Tickets to the aquarium are pricey, but it was well worth it. There were so many types of sea creatures we would never have imagined existing, and I had never seen them at any other aquarium! 

Driving home from our trip was bittersweet, but we both know we will be back in the Smokies sooner rather than later. I loved exploring a new place with such a great travel buddy, relaxing and catching up on some much needed sleep. The best part about this vacation was that the entire trip was less than $200! If you’re looking for a quick getaway, take a trip to the Smokies! 

Under the Ink

Recently, I’ve noticed how hot the topic of tattoos have been amongst my friends and their families, and even within my own. So many times, I’ve heard friends say that their parents don’t agree with their decision to permanently ink their skin. That it would prevent them from being hired in the future, it doesn’t look “classy” or whatever the reason may be. Every time this comes up in conversation, I can’t help but get a little bit worked up — why should the way someone expresses themselves alter their respectability or worth?

Growing up, I can admit that I was judgemental of tattoos. I wondered what could be so meaningful that it is worth having it permanently inked into your skin. I saw common quotes, hearts, stars and other shapes and wondered how someone could deeply identify with random drawings or words. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I had a revelation and got my first tattoo, in honor of a memory that I wanted to relive every day.

After I got my tattoo, my judgement for others that have them instantly disappeared. I realized that another person’s understanding of your ink is meaningless. The fact of the matter is that if it has meaning to you [even if that meaning is something as simple as the fact that it makes you smile], then that’s all that matters. I’m now realizing how it is important to appreciate the art that you may not understand. When you look at my tattoo, you’ll see an ordinary airplane and a standard, inspirational quote — but it’s so much more than that.

My grandpa has always been someone I’ve looked up to, and continue to look up to every day. I remember the days spent outside, listening to him name off all of the different birds, and frantically trying to memorize the names just so I could be like him. He knew so much that I wanted to know, and did so many things I wanted to do. He was a pilot, amongst several other careers and endeavors, and most importantly, he was inspiring.

The inspiration for my tattoo came to me when I was almost asleep. As soon as the words came into my head, I was wide awake and coordinating the day that I could go to a shop.

One day, my grandpa took my older brother, Tyler, and I to fly in his plane. I remember walking up to see a big, red plane on a long runway. Teddy-bear gripped tightly in my little fingers, and brown pigtails flopping on either side of my head, I knew I was about to go on an adventure. I would finally get the chance to touch a cloud — maybe even take one home. That’s what I thought, at least.

I don’t remember much else before take-off, but I’ll never forget cruising through the cotton-candy like clouds for the first time and being so captivated by the concept. Naive, I told my grandpa that I would love to take a cloud home, and instead of assuring me that it would just be a gust of water vapor, he told me that I could certainly bring one with me, if it’s what I wanted, but it may not be what I expected. We flew straight into a cloud, and he opened the vents in the plane. Much to my surprise [but hopefully not yours], it was just clear, normal air.

My grandpa went out of his way to give me something intangible and valueless, but his willingness to advocate for having nearly impossible goals was priceless. I never imagined that a cloud could become a metaphor to encourage me to chase my dreams, nor could I have fathomed a spontaneous adventure would turn into one of my most valued memories.

When you look at my tattoo, yes, you’ll see an ordinary plane with a quote, and most would never guess the inspiration behind the words. I’m confident that I’m not the only one with a story, though, and will forever be an advocate for the body art that doesn’t easily present it’s meaning. We need more mystery, optimism and a stronger desire for the little things in life. It is forever ingrained in my mind to “catch the clouds,” because I know that’s what my grandpa would want me to do — a tattoo is the perfect reminder.

More and more, I’m seeing people my age on social media advocating for the freedom to express yourself, whether that be through hair dye, fashion statements or tattoos. I can’t help but think that maybe we will be the generation to change this stigma. Do you have a tattoo that has special meaning to you? Share with us on Instagram!