Self Care: Take Time for Yourself

As college students, we can get swept up in the importance of homework, exams, projects and everything else that can be thrown our way. Your success in and out of the classroom is extremely important, but so is your self care & mental health. By the end of this article I want to convince each and every one of you to take a step back, take a deep breath, and dedicate some time each day to your self care.

First of all, what is self care really? According to clinical health psychologist, Helen L Coons, self care, “is one’s action is around our physical, emotional, relational, perhaps professional, educational, and, for some people, spiritual well-being that reflects the way that we take care of ourselves on the most fundamental levels.” For the most part, self care revolves around doing activities that make you the happiest, while reducing your stress levels.

Studies have shown that your success and productivity is directly correlated with your self care, which in turn, helps your mental health as well. Here are some tips on ways that you can improve your self care!

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Get some sleep!

Getting sleep can be hard as a college student, but it is so important. I’ve found that going to bed early and waking up early are two of the best ways to maximize the amount of sleep you can get while also increasing your productivity. If you plan on going to bed early, say around 10:00 PM, you will start to plan your days accordingly and get your work done early. Going to bed early goes hand in hand with waking up early, as getting a jump start on your day will enable you to make the most out of it!

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Do at least one activity a day that makes you happy

This could literally be anything. It could be watching one episode of your favorite TV show on Netflix, riding a scooter around campus with a friend, taking a bath, or reading a chapter of a book you’re reading. In reality, self care is different to each and every person, but it is important to find what self care means for you. At the end of the day, doing something that makes you happy and increases your well-being will allow you to be more productive in the long run.

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Exercise! 

Exercise is one of the best ways to increase your endorphins. Endorphins are naturally occurring chemicals that are released in your brain when exercising and trigger a positive feeling in the body. It has been shown that after working out, people feel more productive and more accomplished. Working out is also a stress-reliever and can serve as a nice, productive break from your classes or studying schedule. Exercise can be anything from going for a walk, taking a group exercise class, swimming, or lifting weights; the important thing is to find what works for you and will help you get moving consistently!

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Reflect

Lastly, taking some time each day to either journal, or jot down some notes about how your day went can help prioritize your problems, fears and concerns while also figuring out how to tackle these things head on. Journaling also helps you visualize your goals and ambitions by giving you a space to write down the mini-milestones that you need to accomplish in order to reach your dreams. Finally, reflecting in a journal enables you to give yourself encouragement by writing down what you have accomplished that day, or that week, thus giving you the chance to see all that you have done, in addition to inspiring you to stretch your strengths and talents in new challenges.

Ultimately, self care is a major part of being happy and successful in and out of the classroom, regardless of the outside noise that you may have going on. I strongly encourage each and every one of you to take some time for yourself to do one of the things that is mentioned in this article. Maintaining good mental health and participating in self care activities empowers you to be the best you, and gives you the authority to be in charge of your own happiness, success, and growth.

By: Paige Horn

 

Why We Love CWIB

Happy (almost) Valentine’s Day, CWIB! To share the love during this holiday, I wanted to feature all the many reasons why our leadership team, committees, and general membership appreciate what they are provided with through being a part of CWIB. All of you are integral pieces of what makes this organization a success, so take the time to read about why we love CWIB!

With CWIB’s pillars being empower, prepare, and connect, I can’t help but notice how “empower” resonates with the majority of us the most. I honestly can say I have never left a monthly meeting not feeling empowered and inspired by all that our leadership team executes, the advice our amazing guest speakers provide, and the day-to-day opportunities you all pursue in order to reach your goals. One of our Co-CEOs, Ashton Hughes, seems to agree as she “LOVES being surrounded by such a large group of driven, intelligent, and multifaceted women.” Since we all bring unique talents and skills to our jobs, classes, and extracurriculars, it always keeps things interesting hearing about the opportunities we all have going on for ourselves. It truly shows how passionate we are; we each can inspire each other every day by sharing our personal experiences, because our stories are meaningful and empowering.

The reason we all feel so empowered being apart of CWIB is that “the friendships you make here are built on support from the beginning, so you know you can always lean on each other and ask for help when you need it,” as our COO Kaelyn Petrides said. Never having to question whether our friends will genuinely encourage us is a wonderful feeling. CWIB prides itself on empowering all women to make real, lasting connections, and this is evident through the bonds we hold with current and former members to this day. Another reason Kaelyn loves CWIB (I really love this reason myself) is that she “gets to be a boss without the fear of being called bossy.” She can be the “strong and professional and compassionate woman that she wants to be in the workplace.”  CWIB sets us women up for success by teaching us to embrace our thoughts, opinions, and ideas because they matter! We are exposed to practicing this mentality before we enter the workforce so that when we do, we are better negotiators, more equipped to collaborate with others, and confident in the work we accomplish. Being able to network with others in order to make connections is another crucial aspect we will have to tackle in the workforce, which is why our CMO Abby Mercatoris-Morrison loves CWIB. She tells me “I love CWIB because of the connections I’ve made and the friendships I’ve gained.” I’m sure you all want to be friends, or at least on good terms, with your coworkers on day, and it’s much easier to feel this way when you are supported by those around you. Abby realizes this too as “she feels confident being surrounded by supportive women.”

Our Chronicles writers shared what they love about CWIB too! Lauren Miles states, “I love CWIB because it gives me so many opportunities to learn about the workplace and meet talented and successful women.” As a freshman, Lauren appreciates gaining experience from older members and getting a feel for what they did as an underclassman to set themselves up for success. It is important to learn these skills early on in our collegiate careers, which is another wonderful aspect CWIB provides. Our senior members feel honored to share their knowledge with the eager underclassmen; being able to teach others what you were once taught is extremely empowering and a main aspect of growing up. This is something our guest speakers can resonate with as I’m confident they enjoy imploring their knowledge and skills with us, after all they were once in our shoes. Gyu Ri Kim states she feels “the empowerment after guest lecturers come share their stories with us.” She loves hearing their successes and appreciates that CWIB gives us the platform to learn from these successful women.

With all the amazing organizations Virginia Tech has, CWIB has a special place in our heart for our dedicated members. It may seem overwhelming finding your place here at school, but Lindsay Barnes tells the Chronicles that CWIB was the first organization she joined when she got to Tech. “CWIB gave me a lot of direction in terms of my major and the ability to get involved in something so early on,” Lindsay says. Even if you do not know other women in the organization at first, our members are always welcoming and eager to meet others! Grace Farmelo states that she “always ends up having a good time and talking to other women [she] has a lot in common with” at the variety of CWIB events. She loves the uplifting community CWIB is, and that she can attend events without the worry of not being able to connect with someone.

We all come to college looking to find resources that help us in our professional and personal endeavors. Ashley Mattson loves all the activities, workshops, and events CWIB gives us. The resources we provide are unlike other clubs’ and the possibility of advancement in leadership positions is quite evident. Shannon Kelly appreciates the growth opportunities in certain positions and the self-confidence you gain from being a part of committees. The fact that new leadership teams and committees can continue the work of the previous one represents the great passion we have for continuing the success of CWIB.

As for myself, I love that CWIB has helped me gain life skills such as collaborating with others, not being afraid to speak up, and making meaningful connections. I have leaped out of my shell since joining CWIB and I can see that many other women have too. No matter your major, professional goals, or collegiate stage of life, CWIB has something we all can take advantage of to better ourselves. I hope you feel the CWIB love after reading all these inspiring testimonials and don’t forget to do something kind for someone today, try something new, and spread the love you have for all the amazing women (and men!) in your life.

By: Emma Harwood

 

Inspiration in the Mundane

With a new decade, year, and semester often comes hopes, dreams, and goals for the future. We write them down, make reminders, post about them, and the first few days go great. Then, reality hits and the classes we were so motivated for get a little boring or we find ourselves going to bed at 1:00am knowing we have an 8:00am. Suddenly, this semester looks just as stressful and sleep-deprived as the last one.

Often when the year starts going, obligations kick in and passions take a back seat. The “new year new me” wears off and sometimes all we can see in front of us are the due dates and an uncertain future. While the grind is good, we do not have to be a slave to it. There are always things you can do to give yourself a break and maybe help you feel a little less stuck. Here are just a few of them:

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Get back to what you loved as a kid 

It is all too easy to get lost in current obligations, majors, and classes that we forget what life looked like when it was simpler. Not only that, but what we did as kids often has a lot to do with our passions now. What did you do when you had time to do anything? I’ll bet if you liked to draw a lot as a kid, you might like to draw now. If there was a sport you played in high school or even a sport you quit before high school, chances are you would still have fun playing it now. Find a simple hobby that you love, and make time for it during the week!

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Remember that having fun doesn’t look the same for everyone

Like the extremely varied interests we had as kids, everyone’s idea of fun is different. It’s important to not get sucked into the idea that going out means having fun or hanging out with a large group of people means having fun. For some people, being surrounded by a ton of people or being able to get lost in a crowd is exactly what they need after a long week. But for others, going to Target alone (I mean when is Target not fun) or just spending time with a few friends can be just as fun. Decide what is fun for you and do that.

 

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Make a list of what you like about this season of your life 

We love to wish for the next thing — for next summer, for a job search to be over, for a new apartment, but wishing the future was here takes away from the unique time that is now. We are often told “enjoy right now” or “you’re gonna miss this.” It is difficult to enjoy right now when right now just feels like that last place you want to be, but accepting where you are now can help you appreciate the good things about this season. For example, I’m a freshman and live in a dorm. Not exactly the ideal living situation, but I know next year I’ll miss being so close to the dining halls, the gym, and my friends. So for now, I will do my best to be thankful for where I am, despite living in a tiny space.

 

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Actually put time for yourself in your schedule 

Whether you write everything you need to do down or just keep it all in your head, make sure time for yourself is on that list. That could mean something fun, something that makes you feel more in control of your life, or something you have been meaning to do but haven’t quite found the time for yet. I’d suggest things such as organizing your closet (or any space that’s a mess), getting coffee with a friend (just a coffee date, not a study date), going for a drive, going for a run, really the possibilities are endless. Taking breaks and doing something that is not work for you will help improve your mentality and productivity.

 

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Journal 

I hear the recommendation to journal all of the time but I’m including it because I believe the hype and it has made such a difference in my life. You don’t have to be a writer to journal and you don’t have to start a specific way or meet a certain word quota. The beauty of journaling is there are no rules. You can write pages of paragraphs, use bullet points, use a “question a day” journal, even just write a sentence about how you’re feeling that day. Journaling helps to clear your mind, get emotions out, and even learn more about yourself. Sometimes when I do not feel my best and don’t know why, writing out what I am feeling or just what has happened that day helps me sort out why I am experiencing certain emotions.

 

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Call the voice of reason in your life

We all have someone who just brings us down to earth, gives us a little perspective and makes us realize everything will be okay. Whoever that is in your life, I encourage you to reach out this week, especially if you haven’t talked to them in a while. Sometimes all it takes is calling someone to boost your mood, make you laugh, or just improve your day.

Whether this semester is shaping up to be your best yet or your most challenging yet, I hope you are able to use some of these tips to find inspiration in what can sometimes feel like a mundane routine.

By: Grace Farmelo

 

Businesswoman Feature: Nely Galan

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Nely Galan, TV executive and producer

Who is Nely Galán?

The story of TV executive and producer, Nely Galán, proves that ambition drives success, and that no one is too small to make it big. Her confidence and desire to uplift both herself and others has made her an icon for aspiring women in business everywhere.

Early Life

Galán’s story begins when she and her family immigrated to the United States from Cuba in 1968 when she was only five years old. She and her parents did whatever they could to make ends meet in their new home, which included Galán selling Avon as a middle school student to pay for her school tuition. From living in this environment as a young girl, Galán learned the value of hard work and of making money in an “honorable, humble way.”

While many girls idolize their favorite TV and movie stars, Galán obsessed over successful Hollywood executives. To work towards that dream of one day running the show behind the scenes in Hollywood, she started as the station manager of a small Spanish TV station in New Jersey when she was 22 years old. Unfortunately, that job only lasted for a short while, as the station was suddenly sold three years after she started that position. Galán remembers working very hard and being heartbroken when it came to an end. However, this setback only propelled her forward in her career.

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Career

From there, Galán began working even harder towards achieving her dream of being a Hollywood executive. She started her own production company kickstarting TV stations across the globe and consulted for other TV networks. Galán struggled with this endeavor for four years until she finally started making a profit. Her entrepreneurial efforts, while challenging, did get her some recognition and valuable experience. In fact, it landed her a job being the first Latina president of Telemundo, one of the largest Spanish TV networks in the world. After many years of hard work, her dream finally came true.

Galán thrived in her new position, and her success in Hollywood empowered her immensely, giving her the courage to continue producing TV shows and other media under her own production company after her career at Telemundo came to a close. Galán Entertainment has been responsible for launching ten Latin American TV channels, as well as producing over 700 episodes of English and Spanish TV content, since 1994. Her most noteworthy creation, The Swan— the reality show on Fox, has been viewed all over the world .

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Other Endeavors

Seeing her own success as a way to uplift other women similar to herself, Galán used her desire to teach others to publish a book containing her advice on how to be a successful female entrepreneur. SELF MADE: Becoming empowered, Self-Reliant, and Rich in Every Way promotes women pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and working hard to fulfill whatever professional dreams of success they may have. This book has become a New York Times bestseller since its publishing. Galán also created The Adelante Movement (this translates to “let’s get going” in Spanish) in 2012. This movement encourages Latin women to empower themselves, be ambitious, and helps to train them on key entrepreneurial skills via large-scale events. This movement has ended up attracting and including women of all different ethnic and racial backgrounds .

Currently, Galán manages her production company, but also invests her time being on the Coca-Cola Advisory Board, being an Emeritus Member of the Smithsonian Board, working on the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to empower Hispanic students across the U.S., and speaking publicly about female entrepreneurship and diversity at some of the influential institutions in the United States. She emphasizes utilizing her influence and success in media to uplift and improve her community and fellow entrepreneurs .

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Galán’s Advice

From her many years of entrepreneurial experience, Galán has a few pieces of advice she would impart to any woman looking to be self made:

  1. Don’t wait for someone else to be your “prince charming.” Galán says not to rely on your boss or your company to provide you with all of your opportunities and to do everything for you. You should look out for yourself and be confident in what you can do!
  2. Fear and failure are normal challenges of living a fulfilling life. Galán emphasizes although many people believe that she is fearless, that she of course, is not. She advocates for accepting fear and failure and working towards what you want, even if it scares you.
  3. Use challenges in your life, or your “pain,” to help to construct your personal brand by embracing them, working hard to overcome them, and becoming an “expert” on how to overcome those particular struggles.
  4. Your cultural identity can be one of your biggest assets. Be proud of where you came from and utilize that fact about yourself to build on your personal brand, or take advantage of it when connecting with others and building your business.
  5. Try looking at your goals from a different perspective. By making your goals for both your professional and your personal life long term, instead of focusing on instant gratification, you can increase your quality of life and create better, more fulfilling plans for the future.
  6. Remember to advocate for yourself, but also to “pass the torch” to others who want to be where you are today. Support female entrepreneurs by paving the way and bringing them up to the top with you!

 By: Lauren Miles 

 

Putting off Procrastination

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What is the Problem?

Procrastination is the enemy of productivity. Putting off work is a common past-time of students and professionals alike, with few being able to say they have never avoiding doing a certain task. The American Psychological Association claims that 80% to 95% of college students in particular admitted to procrastinating on their schoolwork (Karr). The cause of this staggering statistic: “fear of failure” (Karr). Students are not the only culprits. 95% of adults admitted to putting off work, according to the author of The Procrastination Equation, Piers Steel. There are a variety of systemic causes related specifically to workplace procrastination, including not feeling engaged in the workplace, to which 30% of workers worldwide relate, as well as not liking their job, to which 48% of workers worldwide relate (Vaughn-Furlow). These rates of employee disengagement are often caused by perceived job insecurity, lack of reward or incentive for hard work, lack of challenging tasks, and poor leadership from managers and supervisors (Vaughn-Furlow).

These factors seem to be primarily external, but we also experience internal drivers to procrastinate. We can enable ourselves to put off that important or urgent task because we are bored, we feel inconvenienced by the task, we feel stressed or overwhelmed when trying to complete the task due to it being difficult or unpleasant, or we experience a lack of self-discipline because we find the task to not be intrinsically rewarding (Bailey). These factors may apply more to students, but certainly are felt by many graduates. Whatever the cause may be, habitual procrastination inhibits productivity and can end up wasting our time, as well as that of our coworkers and classmates.

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Do I Procrastinate?

While most people have purposefully delayed their work at some point in their lives, it is always helpful to gauge our personal tendency towards procrastination. What may come to mind when thinking about procrastinating behaviors are common activities, such as scrolling through Instagram or watching one YouTube video after another. These are certainly activities that can help us endlessly put off work, but there are some latent behaviors that contribute more to chronic procrastination. Some examples would be (Vaughn-Furlow):

  1. Making unrealistic or unattainable plans
  2. Promising more than what is realistic
  3. Not planning at all for work, events, activities, etc.
  4. Not following through with promises
  5. Responding slowly to a demand or request on purpose
  6. Putting work off because we believe we can work better under pressure

*The assumption behind this last behavior is often untrue or exaggerated

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Overcoming Procrastination

The first step towards addressing our procrastinating behaviors is to be aware that we procrastinate. Understanding our own behavioral patterns and what motivated us to procrastinate can help us personalize our response to each behavior (Vaughn-Furlow). There are some common behaviors that can be mitigated with proven strategies, the most prevalent being to set small goals, or work in smaller time intervals, in order to make the task seem less intimidating (Bailey). On a similar note, finding our “resistance level” in regards to how much work we can do before we resist completing the task, is a unique way to help us work smarter. One way to do this is to start with an increment of time, let’s say one hour, then work in increasingly smaller increments of time until one is found in which doing work is not difficult or delayed (Bailey). Addressing our lifestyle can also fix more deeply-rooted problems that lead to procrastinating. Evaluating the balance between work and home life to create a more equal relationship between the two can relieve underlying stress and anxiety that cause us to look for distractions and avoid work (Karr).

Finding internal motivation is key, so making typically onerous tasks feel more rewarding is an effective strategy for almost any task (Bailey). Setting goals or providing yourself with small treats are two ways to approach this strategy. One of the easiest ways to beat procrastination is to at least start a task (Vaughn-Furlow). Studies have shown that we are less likely to forget about a task we have left incomplete, and that we are more likely to come back and want to work on it later. For external factors of procrastination, getting rid of distractions is crucial (Bailey). There are a variety of ways this can be accomplished, in order to better focus on the task to be done. Installing an app on our phones or a program on our computers that can lock us out of specific apps and websites for a certain amount of time are helpful for those who tend to endlessly scroll on social media or habitually shop online. We can also work alone, if noise, chatter, and other people tend to be distractions.

Sometimes mental clutter can be a source of distraction, so try to schedule non-negotiable time to work on a certain task and work on prioritizing what needs to be done (Vaughn-Furlow). Using a physical planner or journal can be beneficial if we tend to like using pen and paper, but digital calendars and planners can work as well. These tools can help lay out what we need to do in a visual format, which can aid with memory and motivation. Lastly, avoid perfectionism. While procrastinating may seem to oppose perfectionism, the two are actually related. We can be more likely to give up or not even start a task if completing the task seems intimidating (Vaughn-Furlow). Looking at tasks realistically and being more accepting of our best efforts are not only good for beating procrastination, but can also help with long-term improvement of our emotional wellbeing.

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Summary

Minimizing procrastination starts with being aware of the problem and being willing to address it. The best way to work against procrastination is to prevent ourselves from feeling overwhelmed or intimidated by a task. We can accomplish this by breaking the task down into segments, either by amount completed or time spent working, making tasks more enjoyable, making standards for completing tasks lower, and by motivating ourselves to start a given task. At the end of the day, procrastination is an internal problem, although motivated by external contributors, and it is only solved when we agree to take control of our attitude and approach to work. Changing a habit is hard, but it only requires a little motivation and a positive mindset.

By: Lauren Miles