Tips for getting past writer’s block

By Teah Henry

Whether you were writing an essay for school or your own story, surely you’ve hit writer’s block before.

Writer’s block is when a writer has trouble getting words down and continuing what they were writing. It can be tough to deal with and cause your writing to severely slow down. Luckily, there’s ways to get past it. 

  • Write Everyday 

This is a tip more for people who write as a hobby. It’s something that takes time of course, but writing everyday proves to help writers have writer’s block less often.

The writing you do can be whatever you want, such as a journal entry or challenging yourself to write at least five hundred words of a story. It keeps your brain fresh and makes it easier for you to write even if you’re not in the mood for it. 

  • Just Write 

This is a piece of advice everyone hates hearing, but it works.

Write down whatever you need to, even if it’s just scattered thoughts. This helps you move forward with your project, and can also help you get back into a writing groove. If you don’t like what you wrote, you can always go back and edit it. There’s a reason for first drafts!

  • Read and Analyze 

Reading pieces of writing you like can help your brain start to flow again. It also helps to analyze what you’re reading.

Picking apart the sentences and looking at their structure can also help improve your prose. Looking at what you like about other pieces of writing can help you write even better. 

Those are just three tips on how to get past writer’s block.

Unfortunately, there’s no guaranteed way to get past it, but these tips can help and hopefully do! If they don’t work, it’s always okay to take a breather and step away from the computer or notebook. Sometimes that’s all a writer needs!

2021 resolutions

By: Anna Hisle and Lizzy Woxland

New Year’s resolutions are a very good way to find some motivation to help better yourself. With 2021 beginning, here is a list of some uplifting New Year’s resolutions we think you should try and how they benefit you.

Why you should make a resolution?

Making New Year’s resolutions are sometimes looked at as a “waste of time” but we believe that New Year’s resolutions are a good way to find motivation to help better yourself and others.

It’s important that you set yourself a New Year’s resolution to help you become the person you know you can be. Setting a few resolutions helps you focus and reflect on what’s important to you and your life, help clear your mind, and focus on who you want to become.

Recently, with how things have changed, it’s really hard to find motivation to do anything, especially new challenges. We believe that setting some positive and uplifting resolutions will help gain motivation and help in these difficult times.

Setting goals/resolutions can also improve your mental health greatly. By doing something and sticking to it, it creates routine. A routine in your life will let you be more positive knowing that you have something you enjoy doing or something you want to do.

Your resolution will also improve your mental health when you complete milestones within the resolution. You will feel more positive as you see more progress.

Ways to stick to your goals

One thing that has help us with sticking to goals is consistency. Being consistent with your goals is one of the hardest yet most important tricks in sticking with your goals.

Be consistent even when you dont feel motivated. If you only work on your goals when you feel motivated you won’t get much progress if any. But, if you work on your goals even on the days where you don’t want to do anything, that’s when you see progress and change.

Another way to stick with your goals is to write them down. When you write down your goals, you are way more likely to stick to them. Writing down your goals will create  a vision in your head of what you want to work towards.

When you visualize your goals and write them down it helps create a change in the way we act and gives us more direction.

Taking breaks also helps you stick to goals. Occasionally you have to step back and take a break. Growth happens over time, and if you’re too obsessive about one thing, it can lead to unhealthy habits.

Even just taking a one day break can be great for your mental health and goals. When you step away, you can come back and have a refreshed mindset.

Ideas for healthy goals for the new year:

-Make more time for the things you love

During times like these it’s super easy to get caught up in feeling like everyday is the same. When you take time each day (could be just 10 minutes) to do something that makes you happy, it will raise your mood and can make you excited for new things.

An example of this could be skateboarding, drawing, journaling, running, ect. Setting time aside for yourself each day is something that everyone should try and do.

-Try going out of your comfort zone:

This is something that is very important. Right now nothing feels comfortable so now more than ever, it’s time to learn how to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. This could be as small as taking cold showers or going on runs. Both of those things push you out of your comfort zone. Doing those consistently will lead to growth in your mental strength.

-Less screen time/social media

During quarantine, it might’ve been hard to not be on an electronic or be productive. Now, in the new year, it might be time to explore more things not on your screen. Going on walks, studying, or even just spending time with friends or family is a great way to not be on electronics.

Being more productive without electronics not only will improve your mental health but it will also let you feel less stressed now that you don’t have social media around you all the time.

-Exercise more

As the new year begins, one of the most common goals is to lose weight/workout. While this goal is one of the most common ones, it is also one of the ones that is least followed through.

Instead of working out to look good for someone else, workout to look good for you!

Exercising relieves stress as well as increases dopamine, endorphins, and adrenaline which will make you happier.

The importance of chasing a career you love; the chances of having your dream job

By: Olivia Miller

As a kid, our teachers always asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up, and many of us kids, being oblivious, responded unrealistically: Astronaut! Movie star! Pop star! NBA player!

Most of us wanted jobs that we thought were fun; we are going to be doing them for the rest of our lives so why wouldn’t we want to do something we enjoy?

Turns out, as we got older, we realized how likely those dreams actually were. The sad truth is Hollywood never needs a new movie star as much as Joann Fabrics needs a new cashier.

But how many of those little kids grew up and actually got to pursue the career they had always dreamed of having?

According to a study done by Surveymonkey.com, a surprising 22% of adults say that they currently have their dream job. Now, this doesn’t mean they wouldn’t dare to ever switch careers because their current work place is just that perfect, but it means that they are happy where they are currently working and don’t dread getting up in the morning to go to work.

Let’s talk about the other 78%. Are these people unhappy? Did they give up on finding a career they love or are they still working toward their dream? According to Staffsquared.com, many people who don’t enjoy their job don’t have the courage to leave because of the fear that it may take awhile to actually find a job they love, and they don’t have time, or money, to be unemployed long enough to do so.

So, how do I secure my dream job?

There are many ways to help push you towards your goal of loving what you do and getting paid while doing it. According to Glassdoor.com, here are some steps you can take to help you with that goal:

  1. Start a hobby that relates to your dream, incorporating your dream job into your daily life may help you transfer into actually doing it full time.
  2. Talk to someone who actually has that job. Talking to someone who is living your dream can help you understand how to get to where you want to be.

Having a job you actually enjoy can improve your life in so many ways and can make you happier overall. Just because you don’t have it now doesn’t mean you can’t start trying to get your dream job.

Why yoga should be an everyday thing

By: Kayla Madison

Yoga has many health benefits, which is super good. It can help improve your mood, flexibility, calmness, and overall just make you feel less stressed.

Yoga is really good if you want to be more flexible, obviously you’re not going to be doing a double hand backflip into the splits, then end with an aerial, after you give it one try, but it loosens your body enough so those very chaotic pictures of people doing yoga seem easy to try. Aches and pains will soon start to disappear.

It can also perfect your posture. After holding your enormous head forward everyday, you begin to hurt your body causing back, neck, and muscle pain causing your joints to start to hurt. When you slouch, your body begins to flatten the normal inward curves which can cause pain of the spine.

Yoga also releases tension, helps you sleep better, improves your balance, relaxes your system, helps you focus, and makes you happier.

It’s not hard to do either, if you start small, like 5 minutes a day, with poses from YouTube or Google images, you will probably notice a slight shift in your body. As you progress, you’ll feel amazing.

5 teas that help with stress and anxiety

By: Joxery Mezen Camacho

An easy way to relieve stress and anxiety is by drinking tea! Making tea is generally a simple thing to do, and the benefits from it can be astounding. So, here are 5 teas that will give you the most benefit when it comes to stress and anxiety.

Chamomile tea:

Chamomile tea is an herbal tea that has a caffeine-free version. This version allows the avoidance of rising anxiety levels. This tea is good for any time of the day. It helps raise serotonin (a hormone in the human body that helps stabilize your mood) and melatonin (a hormone in the human body that has effects that lead to reduction of anxiety) levels. 

Lemon balm tea:

This tea is made by a well-known calming herb that helps with stress and anxiety. It also contains a rosmarinic acid that helps with GABA (an amino acid in the brain that regulates nerve transmissions) receptors. This is all done while also helping by relaxing muscles and reducing headaches, muscle cramps, and helps the digestive system. 

Peppermint tea:

Peppermint tea is able to help your body and your mind relax. It helps by giving an energy boost that also causes you to feel calm. Along with this, it can help against stomach issues caused by stress, as well as headaches. This tea can be consumed hot or cold which makes it nice in the summertime.  

Lavender tea:

Lavender tea helps alleviate tension and stress by helping subdue tense muscles and nerves. This can also aid against muscle pain and annoying headaches. The tea also helps the digestive system by being anti-inflammatory. The scent itself is also popular when it comes to soothing stress and anxiety levels. 

Green tea:

This tea has many antioxidants (molecules that fight against free radicals), which helps avoid chain reactions that could harm the body, as well as the stress and anxiety induced feelings. It can also lead to better sleep and minimizing lack of energy or tiredness; this is all thanks to an amino acid called L-theanine. 

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Local shopping

By: Lizzy Woxland and Anna Hisle

With the holiday season now in full swing, it is the biggest shopping season of the year.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to give some attention to, and consider, shopping at small businesses this year. It’s no secret that COVID-19 has impacted our country’s small businesses drastically.

From trying to manage new COVID restrictions, to dealing with a lack of business throughout the pandemic, small businesses are in need of attention.

Whether you’re shopping in person or online, here is a list of some small businesses located in the Twin Cities.

I Like You

I Like You has store locations in both Minneapolis and St. Paul and showcases local artists. Collaborating with over 200 artists, I Like You has something for everyone. Their stores are currently open in person and online (https://i-like-you-minneapolis.myshopify.com/).

Minnesota Makers​ ​

If you like art, this is a great shop for you! Minnesota Makers has a couple of store locations, with one in Minneapolis and one in Excelsior. This business has art from over 120 Minnesota artists. They sell soaps, home decor, paintings, ceramics, and so much more. This shop has great gifts and such a variety, you can find something for everyone (https://minnesota-makers.square.site).

Minnesota Nice Gifts

The online shop, Minnesota Nice Gifts, makes themed gift boxes for all occasions. These boxes contain products created by local artisans including Minnesota Nice Spice. This business’s proceeds go to a local non-profit organization for artists with disabilities (https://www.nicegifts.shop).

Arlee Park

Arlee Park is a second hand store, located in Minneapolis, run by twin sisters Ashley and Jamie. Arlee is great for vintage and secondhand lovers. Secondhand shopping is not only better for the environment but also a great way to see a variety of things in one place. Arlee Park is open in person and online (https://arleepark.com/).

Electric Fetus
Electric Fetus is a record shop with two locations; one in Minneapolis and one in Duluth. Not only does this shop sell records but also unique gifts which are perfect for the holidays (https://electricfetus.com).

Awakenings

Awakenings is a gift and guidance store, located in South Minneapolis, and has a variety of gifts that can fit anyone’s wishes. Our personal favorites from their shop are their candles and crystals. Awakenings is now open both in person and online as well (https://www.awakeningsmn.com/).

Artscraps

If you’re looking to get crafty this year, Artscraps is the way to go. Artscraps is a non-profit arts organization that sells original art from local artists and sells reused art supplies. Not only is this store eco friendly, but it helps provide arts education for both adults and children. Artscraps is open both in person and online (https://www.artstart.org/).

Mother Plants

If you, or anyone you know, is looking to get more plants, this is the perfect store. Located in Minneapolis, this store has everything from plants to home accessories. You could find the perfect gift here. This plant shop has cacti, large plants, as well as tropical plants. The plants located here are brought in by collectors and growers from the Twin Cities. Not only are there plants, but there is a large variety of pots, and sustainable accessories, and home goods (https://mother-plants.com/plants).

Mischief

Mischief is a toy store for all ages and all types of people. With cool games, candy, drinks, toys, books, crafts, accessories, and other random finds, Mischief is a store for everyone. Our favorite things from Mischief are their super cool pins and their selection of Japanese candy and drinks. A very quirky store with lots of good finds. We are sure you can find a great gift for anyone (http://www.mischieftoy.com/).

Now that you know about all these small businesses and shops, go check them out! You can find the perfect gift for anyone from any of these shops.

Stay safe and warm during this holiday season.

The most effective way to clean your bedroom

By: Olivia Knafla

Image taken from: Image taken from yourteenmagazine.com.

A common issue with distance learning that I’ve noticed, in both my life and the lives of others, is having a messy room. You would think that since we spend so much time in our rooms now that they would be cleaner, but sometimes the opposite seems to be true.

I believe that having a clean space to work, and think, is a great first step to making distance learning, and homework in general, a bit easier. So, in this article I will be sharing the ways that I have found to be the quickest, and most effective, when it comes to cleaning up my room.

1. Make your bed. Considering your bed is often the focal point of your room, making sure that it looks neat and orderly makes all the difference. Start by taking off your sheets and blankets (and washing them if necessary) and then put them back on in a way that looks organized. After that, add your pillows, or whatever else you like to put on your bed, and your room already looks ten times better.

2. Pick up clothes from off the floor or other surfaces. I can’t speak for everybody, but I know that when my room gets messy, more often than not, there’re clothes all over the floor. If you can relate to that, start by picking up the clothes that you know are dirty and putting them in some sort of pile or bin. When you have enough, you can wash them (and if not, you can at least have them separate from your clean clothes).

After you have picked up your dirty clothes, take your clean clothes and hang them up or fold them (depending on how you organize your clothes). Once your clothes are all put away, you’re ready for the next step.

3. Get rid of food or drinks. If you have snack bags, plates, water bottles, or any other related items piling up in your room, this step is essential. Depending on what you actually have to put away, take care of it appropriately. For example, take old plates and cups to the dishwasher or sink, and take snack bags or leftover foods to either be thrown away or put back in their place.

4. Clean up trash. For all the food wrappers, old papers, napkins, and other disposable items in your room, get yourself a plastic bag, or a garbage bag, and get to work. If you have recyclables in your room as well, separate them from the trash and dispose of them as you normally would once you have collected all of it.

However, don’t get rid of that trash bag just yet. I’ve found that keeping it until you’re sure you’re finished cleaning your room helps avoid extra trips to your nearest trashcan, which means you can clean much more efficiently.

5. Put back misplaced items. Do you have school supplies all over your desk? Do you have random items from around your room scattered across your floor? If that’s the case, now’s the time to put them back in their spots.

Personally, I like to go around my room in quadrants, focusing on one section at a time so that I know everything is cleaned thoroughly. I also find it’s easier for me to focus on one section as opposed to an entire room.

6. Vacuum or sweep the floor. By now you should have your floor cleared enough to be able to clean it, and that’s exactly what you’re going to do. Of course, the way in which you do this will probably differ depending on if you have a hard floors versus carpet, but the idea still remains the same.

Even after picking up and putting away the bigger things, little crumbs or tiny pieces of trash are easy to miss, and on top of that, hard to pick up with your hands. It’s crazy how much of a difference this seemingly little step can make, but I promise that it can make worlds of difference.

7. Wipe down surfaces. You’ve reached the final step! Yay! To finish everything off, take a wet paper towel, or some sort of disinfectant wipe, to clean off the surfaces in your room. This step is especially important in the midst of the pandemic, so make sure that you’re disinfecting your room as regularly as you can manage.

If you want to take it a step further, you could always dust or clean your windows to make your room look that much better. Once you’re satisfied, sit in your room and admire your hard work! Maybe grab a snack or drink some water! You earned it.

This has been my complete guide on cleaning your room quickly and efficiently Of course, everybody’s room or living space is different, but I feel like this is a decent baseline when it comes to organizing your life. Now, go clean get your room cleaned!

Tips for meditation

By: Joxery Mezen Camacho

Meditation is one of many ways that people are able to relieve stress. Daily meditation helps lead to a clear and energized mind. So, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of meditating! 

Be open-minded.

When you go into meditation, it may take a while for you to find what works for you. There are different types of meditation, with different types of positioning, or sometimes even movements. Try to stick with what makes you comfortable. 

Be patient. 

One of the hardest things to do is to stay patient. It may take time for you to truly begin to feel as though you’re benefiting from meditation. This is normal, and expected, because you can’t always get everything perfect from the get go. 

Slowly ease into it.

In order to get the best out of your meditation session, try to slowly relax into it. This will raise relaxation and allow you to focus better as you meditate. You can try to relax into it by taking a few deep breaths to wind down your body. This will cause your body to feel safe, secure, and ready for meditation! 

Limit your movements.

As you are meditating, try not to move too much. Moving may be distracting and can take away from your experience. If it’s your position that is making you restless, you can try readjusting it and get comfortable. But make sure not to let your position become too much of a distraction! 

Acknowledge thoughts and feelings.

Meditating can help you get a good grasp on, and better understand, your thoughts and emotions. So, when you’re meditating you can acknowledge that you are having these thoughts and then try to bring your focus back to your breathing. 

Ease back into your day. 

At the end of your meditation, try to slowly get back to your day. Slowly begin with moving your fingers, toes, and then your hands and feet until you’re able to get up and move about. Easing back into your day will help you feel better throughout the day. 

The law of attraction and manifestation

By: Anna Hisle & Lizzy Woxland

What is the LOA/Manifestation?

According to Psychology Today,’ The law of attraction (LOA) is the belief that the universe creates and gives you what your thoughts are focused on, or what matches your energy/vibration levels.

Everything in this world has atoms that are vibrating and producing energy.

That being said, we ourselves are vibrating and putting out energy as well. The higher your vibration/energy level is, the happier you’ll feel. If you’re feeling more down/sad, your vibration and energy levels would be lower.

It is said that “like attracts like.” Positive thoughts result in positive consequences, but negative thoughts result in negative consequences.

Basically, you attract what you feel. You are going to attract events, circumstances or things that align with your energy levels. Therefore, if you are feeling super happy and you feel like things are going super well that means that you are vibrating at a high energy level and are most likely attracting positive things at that higher energy level. And vice versa, if you are feeling really sad or angry, your vibrations will be moving slower and more negative things will be attracted.

If something or someone makes you happy, you’ll want to focus on that energy and surround yourself with it because it will raise your vibrations which will lead you to attract more and more positive things.

The law of attraction is always going. Even though you might not realize it, your smallest thoughts are attracting things.

How to practice manifestation

You practice the LOA through manifestation. Manifesting is what lets you achieve your goals/thoughts. When you manifest something, you are attracting it to you.

Manifesting is turning your thoughts into real life.

– Journaling

One of the main ways to attract things into your life is by journaling.

By writing down your thoughts and feelings, you release good energy and attract good things. Not only is journaling healthy for the mind but also helps uplift your mood and raise your vibration.

Also, by writing things down you are putting them out into the universe. By putting thoughts into the universe, you will receive back what you sent out.

Some great ways to start journaling is by creating a routine. Maybe you journal in the morning when you wake up, or before bed at night. Just create a routine that works for you and it will be much easier.

Some journaling exercises to make yourself feel more positive are writing things you’re grateful for, your affirmations, or even just writing your thoughts.

– Affirmations

An affirmation is a statement where you declare something to be true. When said in the present, saying positive, uplifting statements into your subconscious mind will make you feel empowered.

By repeating these affirmations everyday or as a routine, you will eventually attract what you want.

– Visualize

Another great way to manifest something into your life is simply by visualizing it. Think of what you want to attract, close your eyes and imagine it like it is happening right at that moment. You’ll want to focus on your emotions and let them take over you.

By focusing on your emotions and focusing on how you’re feeling, you are putting a signal out into the universe. The signal saying that you already have what you want will actually attract it.

– Meditation

When you meditate, you take time to focus on yourself and your thoughts. This raises your vibration. Meditating helps you visualize and have your vibration align with the vibration of your goals.

If you’re not sure where to start, there are many guided meditation videos on youtube, and apps that you can use.

– Be positive

Speaking to yourself positively and having a positive mindset not only makes you feel better, but also releases a positive energy and vibration out into the universe. This leads to others attracting your positive energy.

Having a positive mindset will make you, as well as your peers, more positive. This will not only allow you to attract good things but also the people you surround yourself with.

There are so many resources to help you get started with manifesting. You could go on Youtube, find books to read, go on Pinterest, and so many other websites. Most of all, have fun with it!

There’s no wrong way to manifest. Just be casual. Overthinking, or thinking about your desires 24/7, will delay them. Don’t overfocus.

Examples of how its worked for others

Celebrities who use the law of attraction:

A lot of celebrities have recently become verbal about their success stories with the law of attraction. One of the most well known, and prominent, celebrity that talks about the law of attraction is Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah openly talks about how she believes she has attracted many things she’s wanted into her life. She also more specifically believes that it was her using the law of attraction that got her, her very first film role. Oprah said in an interview, “We create our own circumstances by the choices that we make and the choices that we make are fueled by our thoughts.”

Another celebrity who advocates for the law of attraction is Jay-Z. He says he focuses on the law of attraction a lot when he talks about his future in his lyrics. This is actually very common in songwriters, specifically rappers.

A lot of rappers will talk about their future saying that they’ll become famous and have a ton of money with the intention that the universe will give back those positive vibrations. Jay-Z is very vocal about the law of attraction and states how, it changed his entire life and he strongly believes you create your own luck.

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Is it worth it to have an in ground pool in 2020?

By: Jimmy Somerville

Today I am asking the question: Is it worth owning an in ground pool in 2020?

Having a pool in your own yard is something many people desire and want. It can cool you down, give you something to do, you can play in it, exercise, chill, and there are many other things you can also do with a pool.

But everything comes with a cost, and pools are rather expensive, and are a pain to take care of. You also have to close the pool up and open the pool in the different seasons and other annoyances.

According to Homeadvisor.com the average cost of an in ground pool is an astounding $51,509, with basic maintenance needs of the pool adding on an extra $1,200-$1,800 yearly. Other utilities and repairs can also be an extra $2,000-$3,000 yearly. As you can see by these statistics, buying a pool isn’t cheap, whatsoever.

Now, what may surprise you, is that actually, my house does have an in ground pool, so my family does own one. In Minnesota, we use it from late May-early September, so we get around 3.5 months of use. During those months, we use it pretty regularly and often have pool parties.

Now, I don’t know how much of a financial burden this on my family exactly because I don’t know my parents salaries, and other things, so as a kid I obviously like having the pool and I think it’s worth it. But if you were to ask my mom if it’s worth it, she may say “No,” and if you were to ask my dad if it’s worth it, he’d probably say “Yes.”

To answer my title question then, it really depends on your own family because if you guys really like water and swimming, and you have a lot of money, then it’d probably be worth it. But if you aren’t into swimming, and don’t have as much money, it probably isn’t worth it. It all comes down to preference.

Quite a simple answer.

-Jimmy Somerville.