Ringing in the New Year: Self-Reflection

The year is almost over! Therefore, give yourself some time ahead to spend a moment doing personal reflection before the year ends.  Self-reflection is a great way to start the new year. Practicing self-reflection has been practiced for centuries and it’s rooted in the world’s greatest spiritual traditions. But what does self-reflection mean?

Self-reflection can be done by anyone! Genuine self-reflection helps us to analyze what we give and receive — whether it’s friendship or an act of kindness. Having an in-depth analysis helps us improve our relationships with our loved ones, with people that we interact at school or at work, and is a powerful way to improve your overall performance. The best part of self-reflection is that it can turn into a habit.

Here are some ways to practice self-reflection:

  • Gratitude Journal: Every morning write 3 things that you’re grateful for, 3 things that will make your day great and a daily affirmation. You can even find apps for electronic devices and take your journal wherever you go.


  • Mindfulness: The practice of “the here and now” helps us enjoy our lives to the fullest. Choose a time of the day to admire a garden, a painting, a picture or a video of nature and let your mind forget about problems and the never ending “to-do list.” Practicing mindfulness will give your mind a break by increasing your focus/awareness of what is around you.


  • A QUICK moment: Remember this acronym at the end of each day

    • Q…..Question yourself, actions, reactions, and behaviors.

    • U…..Understand your “aha” moments and trace your objectives based on them.

    • I…..Inquire feedback from others. This will help to see yourself from a different perspective.

    • C.….Conquer honesty. Be honest with yourself, probably one of the hardest steps, but, don’t worry, practice makes perfect!

    • K…..Keep it sweet and simple. Write a journal at the beginning and end of your day so you can track your improvements.

Self-reflection means focusing on both the positive and negative aspects of your life and how you can move forward and become a better you. Press the reset button by doing a self-reflection before the year ends and charge your baterias for the New Year.

5 Tips to Break the Phone Habit

Since social media is everywhere, there has to be a balance between the world we create and share online, the life we lead, and the responsibilities we have every day. With all the social media websites and apps nowadays, instant communication and information is at the touch of our finger tips. Young Latinas have been brought up in a world of technology and there is nothing wrong with that, as long as you have a healthy balance between your everyday life and your social media world.

Social media is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. A place where you can communicate with friends and family, as well as express yourself and share different occasions in your life with your loved ones, but there can also be cons if you allow it to consume your life.

According to a 2015 survey by Pew Research Center, “92% of teens report going online daily — including 24% who say they go online ‘almost constantly.'” Furthermore, the “Hispanic youth report more frequent internet use than white teens, at 32% compared to 19%.” Results of the survey indicate that “Girls dominate social media while boys are more likely to play video games.” It is obvious that us girls love our Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and texting, but there is more to enjoy then just our phones. Here are five tips that will allow all you to have the best of both worlds:

1. Turn Your Phone Off at School 

School is important and it’s one of your most important responsibilities as a young girl. I know, I know, one thing you always hear is no phones in class, but it is very important not allow your social media, whether it be text messages, Instagram, twitter, etc. to distract you from your school work. There will be time later on to check your phone and post what you want, but school is not the place or time.

2. Call a Friend Instead of Texting

We all love to text; it’s easy, fast, and even fun, but why not call a friend up and see how they are doing. We would all rather hangout with friends and family then to just text them, but the next best thing is to hear their voice. Phone conversations are a great way to communicate with the people you want to talk to without having to constantly check your phone. Your parents will think you are more mature as well!

3. No Phones at the Table

Hectic days sometimes means that we don’t always get to spend enough time with our family. For a Latino family, eating with your family is very important. It’s a time to have a conversation, know what everyone is up to, and laugh. Many of us bring our phones everywhere, and I mean everywhere, but when it’s time to eat with our family we should reserve that time for just that and put the phones away.

Faith, 9, says “I put my phone away or leave it at home, or put it on silent so it doesn’t interfere with my life.”

4. Your Phone Should have a Bedtime, too

Okay, I know it sounds funny, but when we have our phones with us in bed we tend to stay on them. Then, an hour has passed and you were supposed to be asleep two hours ago! I’m guilty of this myself, but when I do put my phone aside before I go to bed, I get to sleep faster and I’m better rested in the morning.

5. Make time for Face-to-Face Contact

Our phones are our life, at least it may seem that way when we’re young, but what is really important is the relationships we have with each other, more importantly the quality of those relationships. Spending time with the ones we love, and hanging out with friends, are the memories that will last a lifetime. So put down the phone, not forever, but just for a while and go spend time with a good friend.

Many young girls agree that there should be a healthy balance between social media and real life. Some even prefer not to use their phones as much. Emily, 17, says “Having to look down at a keyboard rather than looking up at pair of eyes makes me feel more confined to technology than reality.”

Another way not to always spend so much time on your phones is doing something you enjoy.  Feliz, 14, says: “Once you find a hobby that you are passionate about will help you connect to the outside world. You can meet new people, go to new places, and experience life so much better rather than being on your phone. It will open so many more opportunities for you.”

As long as you know the time and the place to use your phone, technology won’t affect you negatively. Social media is fun, and who can’t resist sharing a picture of their abulita’s delicious food, or taking selfies at your familia’s fiesta, or sharing a cute pic of your dog, but sometimes moments are best experienced without a phone. 

6 Latina Olympians to Watch

maxresdefault-1Although summer may be more than halfway through already, there is still plenty to look forward to with the Rio Olympics just around the corner. As the August games approach, those prestigious spots on the U.S. national team are filling up fast, many of them by Latina athletes. Balancing elite physical training with families, academics, and careers, here are just fivesix of this summer’s many U.S. Olympians who are actively proving that Latinas are strong in mind and in body.

DIANA TAURASI is widely considered as one of the best, if not the best, female basketball players in the world. Hailing from Chino, California, Taurasi grew up speaking both Spanish and English as the daughter of an Argentinian mother and an Italian father. Her talent quickly stood out as an athlete for the University of Connecticut, where she graduated with a degree in Sociology, before becoming a WNBA rookie of the year. Taurasi has become an all-time leading scorer in the WNBA while playing for the Phoenix Mercury, though she did take a break from the American professional league this year in order to focus on her primary position on a professional women’s basketball team in Russia. “D.T.,” as she is also known, has already led the U.S. women’s basketball team to the Olympic gold in Greece, Beijing and London, and hopes to repeat the team’s success again this summer in Rio. Though Taurasi is incredibly focused and hard-working, her USA Basketball online profile also describes her as “…a true jokester when she’s not playing some serious basketball.”

MAYA DiRADO safely secured her spot in this summer’s games after winning first place for the 400-meter individual medley race at Olympic swim trials. According to a Washington Post article, this will be the swimmer’s only appearance on the Olympic stage. A native of Santa Rosa, California, DiRado graduated from Stanford University in 2014 with a degree in management science and engineering, and will be trading in her professional swim career this fall for a career as an analyst at a management consulting firm in New York City. Twenty-three-year-old Maya is also recently married to a fellow Stanford swimmer.

ANITA ALVAREZ and her competition partner, Mariya Maroleva, will be the only two representatives for U.S. synchronized swimming at the 2016 Olympics. Both of these women were on the U.S. women’s synchronized swimming team that that won gold at last year’s U.S. Open and National Championships. Alvarez, herself, is new to the west coast. She moved from upstate New York all the way two Concord, California when she was just sixteen in order to train with the U.S. National team, a difficult decision that appears to be paying off for the now nineteen-year-old athlete.

JACKIE GALLOWAY, a dual-citizen of Mexico and the United States, first appeared on everyone’s radar at age fourteen, when she became the youngest person to ever make the Mexican national taekwondo team. Now, twenty years old and residing in Dallas, Texas, Galloway’s recent successes have earned her a ranking as number four in the world, and a spot on the U.S. team in Rio. Along with being a world-class athlete, Jackie is also a scientist, majoring in mechanical engineering at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

ANGELICA DELGADO is petite, without a doubt. She stands at 5 feet, 3 inches tall, and weighs only 114lbs. Just looking at her, you might not guess that she is actually a four-time national champion in Judo, ranked twentieth in the world, and first in the U.S. A twenty-six-year-old first generation child of Cuban parents, Delgado is entirely aware of the value of an education, as she currently attends Florida International University. She is also aware of the impact that her success could have on her community. Angelica’s Facebook profile reads, “Coming from a lower-middle class family has taught me that dreams don’t just simply come true; you must work, grind and hustle to make them a reality. I will work, grind and hustle to become the first Hispanic-American to win an Olympic gold medal in Judo.”

LAURIE HERNANDEZ is a typical teenager in many ways; she enjoys painting her nails, listens to pop and EDM music, and walks around with a bubbly attitude and wide smile wherever she goes. Unlike most other sixteen-year-olds, however, this New Jersey native has devoted most of her young life to rigorous gymnastics training. Hernandez has even been home-schooled since third grade in order to concentrate more on her sport of choice. The sacrifice has definitely paid off for Hernandez, though, as her third place all-around finish at the U.S. Olympic trials last month earned her a well-deserved ticket to Rio. This is only her first year transitioning from junior to senior-level competition, and the “Human Emoji” (a nickname referring to the athlete’s emotionally expressive face) has already joined an exclusive group of Olympic gymnasts- Latinas. According to People Magazine, only a handful of Hispanic women have ever represented the U.S. in an Olympic gymnastics competition. As a second generation Puerto Rican-American, Laurie hopes that her success in the games will help to inspire future Latina olympians, saying in an interview with the NY Daily News: “People are people. If you want something, go get it. I don’t think it should matter what race you are.”

Actress Spotlight: Aubrey Plaza


Photo Credit: Popsugar.com

Ever since the turn of the century, deadpan has been the most popular comedic device in critically acclaimed movies and television shows. (Deadpan is a comedic strategy in which an actor delivers a joke in the most emotionless way. Also known as dry humor or dry wit.) There is one half-Latina actress that is perfecting the art of deadpan, mostly known for her work as the bad-mannered intern April Ludgate in Parks and Recreation, Aubrey Plaza. She has become one of the internet’s most loved comedians.

This comedian was born on June 26, 1984, in the state of Delaware. Her father is Puerto Rican and her mother is of Irish-English descent. She can speak Spanish and has family living in Puerto Rico. Coming from Delaware/Catholic roots, she has described her experience as the only ethnically diverse student in her class. She even won the “Hispanic Teenager of the Year” award.

After high school, Aubrey Plaza attended the Tisch School of Arts in New York and majored in film and television production. While in college, she took improvisational classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, which was ironically founded by her future co-star Amy Poehler. After graduating, Aubrey did a lot internships, including the prestigious NBC page internship. (Later reprising the role for a small cameo in 30 Rock.)

She got her big break by posting funny videos of herself with her friends on the internet. Eventually she was discovered by the director of Freaks and Geeks and Anchorman, Judd Apatow. He cast Aubrey as an up-and-coming stand up comedian in the 2009 dramedy Funny People. From there followed subsequent roles in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Parks and Recreation.


Aubrey Plaza’s part on Parks and Recreation was specially crafted to fit her “weirdness”. In six years and seven seasons, April Ludgate’s role as an uninterested intern dramatically blossomed into one of an ambitious young woman with her witty one-liners, intense observations, and the help of the Parks and Recreation Department from Pawnee, Indiana. Within the early seasons of the show, Aubrey Plaza, got to show off her Spanish-speaking skills. In the “Sister City” episode of Season two, April Ludgate’s explained her reason for knowing Spanish and “being so lively and colorful” was because she is Puerto Rican on her mother’s side. Aubrey Plaza’s role on Parks and Recreation has increased the amount of Latina representation in comedy as it is seen on the FOX show, Brooklyn Nine Nine.

In between seasons of her Parks and Rec, Aubrey Plaza has acted in a couple independent movies. Her most critically acclaimed role being that of the disillusioned intern, Darius Britt, in Safety Not Guaranteed. Other independent movies that she has starred in include Life After Beth, About Alex, and The To Do List.

Aubrey Plaza is loved by the internet. Her attitude and roles have let others to identify with her personality. She has also been known to gracefully embrace her status as “internet royalty” by bringing to life some of the internet’s favorites. For example, she collaborated with College Humor to create a fake live action trailer follow-up to the 1990s animated television show Daria in “Daria: The Movie”. In addition, Plaza was chosen to voice the internet meme’s Grumpy Cat in the 2014 Lifetime movie, “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas”.

Latina Activists: Huerta, Sor Juana and Anzaldúa

Learn more about these Latina activists:

Dolores Huerta

Huerta is a labor leader and civil rights activist who was an early member of the National Farmworkers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers (UFW). Huerta was the daughter of Juan Fernandez, a miner, farmer worker, union activist, and state assemblyman, and Alicia Chavez. Chavez raised Huerta and her two brothers in the central California farm worker community of Stockton, California. Huerta’s mother was known for her kindness and compassion towards others and was active in community affairs, numerous civic organizations, and the church.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

She was a self-taught scholar and poet of the Baroque school, and was known in her lifetime as “The Tenth Muse.” Juana was a devoutly religious child who often hid in the hacienda chapel to read her grandfather’s books from the adjoining library, something forbidden to girls. She learned how to read and write Latin at the age of three.Sor Juana is considered today as a Mexican writer and a contributor to the Spanish Golden Age. Her famous poema is “hombres necios que acusan a la mujer sin razon.”

Gloria Anzaldúa

She was a scholar of Chicana cultural theory and feminist theory. Anzaldúa was born in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas. Gloria Anzaldúa’s great-grandfather, Mr. Urbano, was the first owner of the Jesús María Ranch in which she was born. Her mother grew up in an adjoining ranch, Los Vergeles, which was owned by her family. She met and married Urbano Anzaldúa when both were very young. Anzaldúa was a descendant of many of the prominent Spanish explorers and settlers to come to the Americas in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as well as of indigenous descent.

Price of Beauty


Written by Jackie Aguilar

In 2013, the European Union decided to ban all products or product ingredients that have been tested on animals. In the United States we have laws for animal cruelty yet none on them seem to ban animal testing. According to the Humane Society, 92% of experimental drugs that are deemed “safe” in animal trails fail in human clinical trials.

Animal testing first took off in 1920, since then it has continued to grow and exist. Since 1920 technology and humanity have made it over so many mountains but we have yet to fully go over this one. The question is: why haven’t we?

“I never really think about it. Animal cruelty has been shunned when it comes to beauty products. When you think of beauty products, you don’t think about what it took to make them but how they are going to make you look, which is kind of materialistic and selfish but that’s how society is,” says Monica Burciaga, 17.

For girls like Angelia Carrete, 17, being conscious of brands you buy can be hard, and when you’re trying to find a specific brand it might even be the last thing on your mind that day.

“I have honestly never thought about it. It is something I do care about, but for some reason it has slipped my mind, ”says Angelica Carrete,17.

“When you think of beauty you really don’t think about what it took to make them, but only about how they are going to make you look,” adds Burciaga.


In order to create awareness about the issue and create a lasting solution, we must shed the ignorance we have put ourselves under and realize that this is a problem.

As a society we think that if it is out of sight, it’s out of mind. However, the truth is that even though there are companies whose products are not tested on animals, there are many companies who still practice animal testing.

“I don’t think we should still be testing on animals because first off, the chemicals in makeups shouldn’t be so harsh that we nee to test them in the first place. Secondly, as advanced as we are with technology there should be some way to test it on something other than animals,”says Rosemary Vozza,17.

In fact, some companies try to comply with animal cruelty laws of other countries in order to “pass” as cruelty free. Even though this is publicly accessible information, the role animals play in the production of make-up still remains a problem in the United States. DoSomething.org claim that up to 90% of animals used in U.S. labs are not counted in the official statistics of animals tested.

Burciaga,Carrete, and Vozza have agreed to be more proactive of animal-tested products. Being more proactive and making the decision to making a change is the first step. What you buy matters! It’s kind of like a vote for the company. If more people stop purchasing the brands that are not cruelty free, the company will be forced to revaluate why and do something to change that. If we want to make a change for these animals, we must be proactive with awareness and our power as consumers. The next time you’re shopping for a new palette, check the packet for a cruelty free logo. Remember, raise awareness and support cruelty free companies.

Want to know if your favorite make-up brand is cruelty free? Check out this official list of what companies test on animals:



Yummy Snack Recipes

Summer is around the corner, which means the paletas, raspados, and other summer treats are going to be plentiful. Here are three easy homemade treats that will satisfy those summer cravings.

Strawberry and Kiwifruit Popsicles


  • Popsicle molds (if you cannot find these, plastic cups and popsicle sticks can work as well.)
  • 4 Strawberries
  • 2 Kiwifruits
  • 100% white grape juice


1. Make sure you wash both the kiwi fruits and strawberries before you start.  Remove the stems from the strawberries and carefully peel the kiwi fruits.

2.Next, after you ask an adult for help, cut both the strawberries and kiwi fruits into round slices.

3. Once you have all the slices, arrange and fill in the molds and/or cups with the fruit slices.

4. Then, add 100% white grape juice to the molds/cups. Be sure to only add enough to cover the slices. If you are using a mold, be sure to close it. If you are using a cup, be sure to add a popsicle.

5. Leave in the freezer for about 6 hours or until the juice is completely frozen.

Remember, you can always get creative and mix and match different fruits and juice flavors!

Vasitos de Pepino


  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 lemon
  • Chamoy
  • Chili powder
  • Crunchy peanuts (cacahuates japoneses)
  • Mango or tamarind candy
  • Salt


1. Wash the cucumber, cut off both ends, and peel it completely.

2. Next, cut the cucumber in 3 sections.

3. Once you have the 3 pieces of cucumber, remove the center of each one using a spoon. Be sure to not go completely through it because the cucumber should resemble a cup. Then, put it aside.

4.In a small bowl add just enough Chamoy, lemon and chili powder to make a paste.

5.Now that you have the cucumber cups, add the paste to the edges of the cucumber cup as well as more chili powder. You can do these last two steps by flipping the cucumber cups upside down and then rub them on the plates with the paste and chili. This will coat the edges of the cucumber cups.

6.Once the edges are filled with the paste and the chili, fill the cups with more Chamoy, mango or tamarind candy and peanuts.

7.Add lemon, salt and enjoy instantly!

These two fruit filled snacks go perfect with this hot summer weather, but if you have more of a sweet tooth this next recipe may be just the right treat for you.

Oreo Frappe


  • 5 Oreo cookies (or as many as you would like)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • Chocolate syrup or liquid chocolate
  • 2 cups of vanilla ice cream
  • Whipped Cream
  • Ice
  • Cinnamon or chocolate sticks (optional)


1. Crumble the five Oreo cookies into tiny pieces and set them aside.

2. In a blender add one cup of milk, two teaspoons of chocolate syrup, two cups of vanilla ice cream, and ice.

3. Add chocolate syrup to the sides of a cup. Then, pour the mixture of chocolate, milk, ice cream and ice you just blended into the cup.

4. Add whipped cream to the top and sprinkle the Oreo crumbles.

5. Add a cinnamon stick, chocolate sticks, a cherry or even a whole Oreo as a yummy decoration. Don’t like these options? Any other ingredient that comes to mind can be added.

Energy Boost for School

Girls JumpingEating healthy and being active will give you the energy boost you need to stay alert and focused in school. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, chica, here are some ways to start leading a healthy and active lifestyle:

Eat breakfast
Having breakfast is better than having no breakfast because breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Even if you are super busy or rushed, there are plenty of options to choose from.  Some breakfast ideas include having a fiber packed bowl of oatmeal. You can top it with nuts or even try them with yogurt, too. Want a faster option? Try peanut butter on a piece of toast. Try saving those yummy pan dulces for the weekend. Kidshealth.org explains that foods with high calories, such as pastries or doughnuts, won’t keep you full or provide you the necessary nutrients needed to stay energized.

Read nutrition labels
Reading nutrition labels are a great way to know what you put in your body.  Foods with a good source of a nutrient has a percent daily value between 10% and 19%. If the food has 20% or more of the daily value, it is considered an excellent source of that nutrient. If you need help determining which foods are better for you, ask a parent or nutritionist.

Pack a healthy lunch and snacks
Ask your parents to help you pack a nutritious lunch such as dried fruit, sandwiches, or a hummus with whole grain pita. Or if you prefer eating in the cafeteria there are ways to pick out better for you foods, that will surely avoid the sluggish after meal feeling you may be used to. You can even bring an orange on the go to enjoy or even save for your recess break. Wake up your senses by sniffing that vitamin c fueled fruit for an even better effect.

Did you know?

  • The color of the rice matters. Pick rice and breads that are brown in color. This usually means that it has whole grains which are great for your body.
  • Other foods like bananas, cherries, whole dairy products, pizza, and creamy gravies or sauces can make you feel heavy and exhausted too.
  • It’s always important to drink plenty of water throughout the day. So bring a bottle or two to keep in your backpack to stay hydrated and alert.

Another great way to stay enthusiastically energized at school is staying active. Running, jump roping, dancing …. anything that keeps you active is good for your heart and energy. The exercise releases endorphins, which gives you that happy/energetic feeling. Having a good night’s sleep, nutritious meals, and staying active are great ways to remain energetic and feel empowered for your education.

Food for Your Brain

Who doesn’t love food? Tacos, pizza, hamburgers, salads, and cake, you name it. But does your body really need all these foods? During your teen years the body grows and changes constantly, therefore, chica,you have to make wise choices to grow healthy and strong. Food is your body’s fuel, so if you choose the right foods you’ll have an optimal performance. You don’t need to be a chef in the kitchen to come up with healthy ideas, all you need is creativity and to be more informed. Exercise plays an important role in this topic, is part of finding harmony in your life that will help you to stay healthy to live longer and happier.

Everyone has at least fallen in love with a delicious flavor at least once. It could have been a meal that your mom prepared for you, or maybe one day you found yourself experimenting with the fridge leftovers. The point is that food is awesome, but keep in mind that it’s the fuel for your body.

Have you recently paid attention to what you eat every day? Do you really need that family size of papas fritas with salsa valentina? Muy ricas, right? Sadly, you cannot eat them every day; balance in your diet is a must. Your body does not work as efficently when you lack the elemental nutrients.

Water - healthy option

Tu cuerpo y mente complement each other. Did you know that you can eat food to improve your concentration and memory? En otras palabras: eat food for your brain, which is one of the major organs of the human body. Keeping your mind busy and body active will not only make learning easier, but it will help keep you healthy!

There are many options of foods; here is a list of what you can eat to have a sharp and bright mind:

  • Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary sodas and sports drinks! Staying hydrated is important to the overall brain function and will help you  concentrate.
  • Eat more berries: They’re small and easy to carry with you on the go, and these little guys contain memory-boosting vitamins like vitamins C and E.
  • Add more folic acid rich foods: Folic what? in other words whole grain foods, lentils, black-eyed peas, soybeans, green peas, artichokes, broccoli and oranges.
  • Increase your fish intake:  Don’t let Dory’s memory from Nemo  bring you down, not all fish are as forgetful as her. Actually, if you eat low fat fish, like salmon, it will improve your ability to remember information.
  • Start your day with a healthy breakfast: Oatmeal and low-sugar/ high fiber cereals will give you the kick that you need to start your day. News report that research has shown that students who eat this type of breakfast perform better at school.
  • Eat eggs in moderation: Huevos a la Mexicana? Si, porfavor. Although eggs can be high in cholesterol, they can help you retain information and be ready to learn every day. Cooked egg whites is the healthy alternative.
  • Switch your snacks from chips and cookies to fruit and walnuts: I know, I know, eating your fruits and vegetables is the number one saying while eating healthy, but there are other healthy snacks out there. Did you know walnuts are good sources of plant-based omega-3 fats? These fats are important for your health.
  • You don’t have to stop eating red meat to be healthy: A great source of vitamin B12, which is vital for healthy brain function, is found in red mean. If you opt for grass-fed beef, even better!

Eating right is a good start, but you have to also supplement it with exercise. Mixing a good diet and exercise will lead you to an optimal performance. Caminar, correr, nadar you choose any type of physical activity that you like is the best ally you can have during this stage of your life. Invite amigos or familia to exercise with you, having a workout buddy motivates you, and together you can come up with more fun ideas on how to stay active and healthy.

The benefits of taking care of your body at a young age are infinite and it will pay off in your adult life. And just like John F. Kennedy said: “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”

The 3Ps for Time Management

There are three easy steps that you can practice right now to have a successful and less stressful school year.

Planning out ways to balance successful grades while still having a social life is possible. Having a big calendar, or planner to record all tasks needing to be completed is a great way to start. Having all information neatly organized is helpful with time management because you can prioritize each task and its urgency as to when it needs to be completed in a timely manner. Every school subject should have its own color. Sometimes to do lists can get messy, but you can start the list while watching TV or listening to your favorite música. Try using bright colors like red, orange, and green. Other colors can be used for weekend or non-school activities such as sports, art class, or chores.  Start with one week at a time. Once your list is complete, rewrite all your tasks according to its date on your big calendar.
Prioritize each assignment by its due date. Don’t forget to color code!  Color coding a to do list or using color sticky notes on a planner is a great way to prioritize every task you may have according to its day. It will also make it easier to rewrite the information on your big calendar. If you have a busier week, asking a parent to help you is always great to do. Parents can help by assigning your chores and extra curricular activities for the weekend to reduce any overwhelming feelings you may have.
Sound great but not sure how to get started? Ask a parent or an adult. Selecting a time during family meals, car trips, walking the dog, or even standing in line at a store would be convenient. These are just some great options to ask for guidance. Having a set schedule is also helpful. For example, after school activities could be having a quick snack and checking your to do list for the day. After completing all tasks there should be time to get your lunch and outfit picked for the next day.
Be sure to set a bedtime for yourself. According to WebMD having 10 to 11 hrs of sleep per night is a must! Try to avoid caffeine before bed so that you can remain calm and fall asleep.  Lack of sleep can harm your mind and your body.  Your tired mind can give you a sluggish or inpatient attitude which will not help you at all. Lack of sleep will cause you to loose focus during school and at home resulting in many more issues. Having a set schedule can help train your brain, but sleep will provide the energy and tolerance of completing any tasks that you may have. Remember, you can’t be the best you can be without a good nights sleep.
Sometimes coordinating a time to play before school or on a day that doesn’t require much work can be helpful. Those instances are considered “down time,” so take advantage of that by having Playtime after studying or even completing chores.
Some activity ideas to help wind down at night can be a warm shower, a book or other relaxing activities.  Avoid doing exciting exercises such as jumping and  dancing to loud music. Video games, text messaging, web surfing and other stimulating activities should also be avoided shortly before bedtime.
Following tips like these will help you toward a successful school year, you and your parents can be proud of!

Elle Stuart