4 Natural Remedies to Increase Your Focus During Finals Week

As finals week approaches, there are several ways you can help yourself increase your focus while studying. When preparing for exams, it is important to take care of yourself so you can stay mentally and physically strong. Taking steps to reduce your stress will lift your mood and help you feel better overall, putting yourself in the best position to perform well on exams. Here are few remedies to make sure this finals week will run smoothly for you as you ace your tests (because duh, you rock!):

Remedy #1: Eat Right

It is important to fuel your body with liquids and foods that will help increase your energy and focus. Some fantastic energy boosting foods include bananas, salmon, brown rice, eggs, spinach or kale, and sweet potatoes. Some snacks that will lift your mood as well include apples (1 apple has equal caffeine to one cup of coffee!), some nuts, and even popcorn. As for liquids, you can have a cup of coffee or green tea, grab a Yerba mate, and most importantly, drink lots of water to help yourself tackle your work. Also, if you’re really feeling it, treat yourself to some dark chocolate that is filled with antioxidants to help blood move throughout your body and increase concentration. 

Remedy #2: Take Time to Clear Your Mind 

Another way to ensure you stay focused and productive during finals week is to set aside some time to clear your head. It may help to create a schedule for the and put all your thoughts on paper. To start, you can write down the tasks you wish to complete and goals you wish to accomplish throughout the entire week. You can even get specific and label which days you need to complete these tasks, or you can just lay it out more simply to see a bigger picture of the week at first. As you begin each day, pull out your notebook or computer (wherever you are writing your schedule), and write down all the work/activities you wish to complete that day. It is helpful as well to set specific times for these tasks to hold yourself more accountable and be more productive. You can even make a separate list at the bottom for “maybe’s,”which are jobs you can complete if you end up having some extra time.

Remedy #3: Be Active

Throughout the week of finals, it is crucial to take little breaks from studying so you do not get burnt out. I recommend taking these breaks to workout! In the mornings, you can relieve your stress and anxiety by following a guided meditation or perhaps, doing some yoga. I recommend searching for these videos on Youtube and finding a style that suits you. If you want to be even more active, you can get some fresh air and take a quick run outside or even go on a hike with a friend. As well, it is understandable if you have to limit your workout time during this week. However,  just taking small moments to breathe or perhaps do a ten minute workout will be beneficial for your overall focus. Heck, you can even do some planks while you rewatch lecture videos.

Remedy #4: Practice Self-Care While Studying

Even while you are absorbing information from your classes, you can treat yourself and relax at the same time. Some tips I have is to put on a face mask while you’re studying, drink some calming peppermint or chamomile tea, or even turn on a diffuser if you have one and throw in some citrus or lavender scents to help you concentrate. As part of your study routine, you can finish the night off by journaling and let out your feelings on paper to alleviate your stress and clear your head for a good night’s rest. It is so important to prioritize your mental and physical health, and sleeping can help your body recuperate after a long day’s work and sharpen your mind for your exams.

With these remedies in mind, finals week will be a breeze as you tackle your tests head on with a strong present mind. Your body and heart will thank you as you prioritize feeling good along with doing well in your classes. Know that nobody is perfect, and you are going to be okay no matter what. Work hard, try your best, and believe in yourself- not just this finals week, but always.

Start Your Mornings with the Michelle Obama Podcast

Michelle Obama does it all- whether it’s teaching kids around the globe on Disney Channel about healthy living, being a mom to her two beautiful daughters (shoutout to Malia and Sasha), serving as First Lady of the United State, giving loving advice to her husband Barack Obama, or even writing her own book, “Becoming,” through it all. Much can be learned from this inspirational woman and lucky for us, she has now started her very own podcast! 

The “Michelle Obama Podcast,” is produced by Higher Ground and can be found on the Spotify app or online website, at this link here: The Michelle Obama Podcast According to Spotify, the podcast “features the former First Lady diving deep into conversations with loved ones- family, friends, and colleagues- on the relationships in our lives that make us who we are.”

Michelle Obama makes her podcast feel as if you are sitting down with your best friend, casually sipping wine while exchanging advice from experiences you have come across. Each episode opens with some funky jazz music, making you want to dance a little as well. As a black woman in America, she understands what it is like to be a minority and feel like you are in the background of society. This issue is so paramount to Michelle Obama that the theme of her podcast is inclusiveness and empathy. In every episode, she urges all listeners to have empathy for others and love all people, as we are all humans. 

Currently, Michelle Obama has eleven published podcasts and there will be more to come each week as she posts one episode every Wednesday. So far, there have already been so many heartfelt moments and life advice to take away from. 

Michelle Obama begins her podcast by sharing her life at the White House, saying how “for eight years [her life] was full of crazy schedules, [she] was always juggling big initiatives, speeches, steak dinners, not to mention trying to raise two daughters and just trying to keep her head above water,” appreciating all she has accomplished, but finally having “some time to breathe” now. (Season 1, Episode 1, “Hi, I’m Michelle Obama”)

In another interesting moment- albeit more romantic- Michelle Obama gushes to her husband, “one of the reasons I fell in love with you is because you are guided by the principle that we are each other’s brother’s and sister’s keepers. And that’s how I was raised!” (Season 1, Episode 2, “President Barack Obama”)

In the fourth episode, “Protests and the Pandemic with Michelle Norris,” Michelle breaks the fifth wall and urges listeners to “[take care of yourselves].”  She stresses how important it is to “[listen] to your spirits” during this time. She relates the pandemic to a “relay race and [how] we gotta pass the baton off to each other so that we can keep up the momentum and the enthusiasm that we’re going to need to make sure this change is ultimately implemented…”

Later episodes include advice on women’s health, relationships with your family and friends, empowering women, marriage, raising kids, and tips for young people who are perhaps interns/mentees finding their career path. 

When addressing young people, she advises, “young people [to] do the work that you don’t want to do, [and] the thankless work that’s not so fun” because it will show that “[you are] ready to be pushed, that [you] want to do more.” (Season 1, Episode 9, “Across Generations: Michelle Obama and Her Mentees”)

This podcast is worth listening to, as Michelle Obama gives advice to people of all ages, from different walks of life. It is especially comforting to listen to her encouraging words during this national pandemic due to COVID-19. Each episode is calming and ends on a positive note, tying in its theme so that you learn another valuable lesson. During this time and throughout the rest of your life, Michelle Obama stresses “when in doubt, rely on hope… it is much more hopeful, much more gratifying, much more effective, to live this life as a ‘we’…. [and] building lives that are selfless. It is more fun!” (Season 1, Episode 2, “President Barack Obama”)

6 Ways to Relieve Anxiety

Ever since the pandemic, I have been experiencing this strange feeling. I will be simply be walking through my neighborhood, doing a workout, or even lying down and suddenly feel my heart racing. Too. Fast. My chest tightens, I feel light-headed, and I can hardly breathe without my breath being slightly shaky. I worry about what is going to happen next.

I have never experienced this before until these past three months and I wonder if it has something to do with COVID-19. Maybe it’s something I’ve always had. Either way, I’m in the process of learning how to deal with this sudden feeling. I’ve found some helpful tips to relieving anxiety and thought it would be beneficial to share some ways to manage stress in your life. Even if you have never experienced a feeling like this, these are all great ways to let go of negative feeling and embrace positivity to help your mind and body simply feel good.

  1. Yoga

I cannot begin to describe the benefits of yoga. This exercise builds strength, endurance, and confidence. It has a spiritual aspect that makes you feel loved, such as the movement of holding your hand over your heart. It makes you feel relaxed by helping you focus in on the present, release the tension in your muscles, and focus on your breathing.

2. Meditation

Learning to breathe is a great tool for calming yourself down. Meditation can also help with breathing and put you in a more relaxed, even spiritual if you’d like, state of mind. I have not personally tried much meditation yet, but I will begin to try. I think it would help me become more patient and be valuable in some way for you as well.

3. Drinking Hot Tea

Drinking a cup of hot (or warm) tea when waking up or before bed can start and end your day with you feeling less stressed. Drinking hot tea is like feeling a warm hug all over your body. It makes you feel cozy and happy. Apparently, chamomile tea can even relieve physical pain such as cramps (ladies, you know what I mean). Green tea is also good for clearing your skin as it is has inflammatory powers due to containing antioxidants. I would recommend it mostly for in the morning, as it gives you a burst of energy with caffeine.

4. Gratitude Journaling

Writing down how you feel is therapeutic. Take the time to take out a trusty journal and write down just a few things your grateful for. It will help you gather positive thoughts and focus on what you have and living in the present moment. Writing down how you feel will help you accept your emotions and recognize the feeling as being okay and natural as well, allowing you to figure out how to relieve your stress or anxiety.

5. Eating Healthy & For Your Body

You need to eat good to feel good. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and trying to eliminate processed foods will give your body the fuel it needs. Also, make sure to eat enough food to sustain your body and its functions. Drinking plenty of water is super important as well (and I am sooo guilt for not doing this) to keep you hydrated, focused, make your skin glow, help you just FEEL good.

6. Doing the Hobby You Love

Some great hobbies that you may love and may reduce stress include playing an instrument, painting, photo editing, photography, hiking, traveling (obviously during this pandemic this is not the best option), reading, surfing, etc. Doing something love will make you feel happy and more alive. It will keep you busy and keep your body/mind in shape.

Life Under California’s COVID-19 Lockdown

I’m challenging myself to write down my thoughts/feelings and the activities I do each day during the California lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic. This state shelter-in-place is an interesting social experiment and I think it will help me stay motivated and inspired if I document each day! I’ll update the post for each day I am under lockdown.

3/19: Day 1

Today I took my last final and it was luckily the only final I ended up having to take this quarter since my other ones became optional due to the coronavirus. It was for my Judicial Process pre-law class and it went pretty well and wasn’t too stressful since it was open book/open google (you get the idea). Other than that it’s my first day home and I’m actually not terribly bored yet and it’s been nice seeing my family again : )

3/20: Day 2

I actually wrote a blog post about things you can do while self-quarantining mostly because I was trying to brainstorm ideas to keep myself busy while under lockdown. I watched the news for awhile (I didn’t have cable at college) and caught up on some YouTube videos. I finally worked out, which I want to do every day while at home, ate some good food, and went to sleep.

3/21: Day 3

I was pretty lazy today- I made myself a mocha in the morning and started to watch season 3 of “Atypical” on Netflix. I hung out with my brother for a bit, worked out, ate, then slept once more.

3/22: Day 4

I started to think about redoing my room and went straight to Pinterest. My family is redoing a ton of other spaces in our house right now and it’s kinda making me want a change as well. I also took my clothes out of my suitcase and hung them up, finally accepting that I won’t be back at Cal Poly SLO for awhile.

3/23: Day 5

Today was the first day where my spirit was a little low. The new reality of being under lockdown for who-knows-how-long is finally sinking in. I’m starting to miss friends, but I’m still grateful to be with my family and for good health. The virus is really starting to get bad now, with 46,477 confirmed cases in the U.S. and 2,246 cases in California alone. In my college town (SLO) there are now 33 cases and in my home town (San Diego) there are 230 cases. I’m starting to get a little more worried as these numbers continue to rise. I’m starting to feel like we might be under this lockdown for quite some time.

3/24: Day 6

I’m feeling better today and not as negative about the lockdown. I started to read again and I feel like it’s really helping me by bringing my back to my roots and prime form of entertainment (I used to read every night as a kid). It makes me feel more at home and comfortable with how things are right now.

3/25: Day 7

I’m really starting to get in the routine of things- I wake up at 11:00am, eat some brunch (usually toast with avocado or bananas with peanut butter), do something creative then watch Netflix, eat dinner, workout around 7pm, then relax once more. It’s a really light schedule to say the least, but it helps me stay focused and feel like I still have a purpose.

3/26: Day 8

I finished a painting of a sunflower I had been working on for my room back in college. It’s just been nice to work on different creative projects each day- whether its reading, playing guitar, painting, selling clothes on Poshmark, etc.It just helps me stay busy and honestly the painting turned out better than I thought (drawing is my weakness) so I was kinda proud. I got out of the house for a bit too and went to Starbucks with my mom (the only one left open in town) and also got some decorations at the dollar tree for my brother’s 16th birthday coming up. We went on a nice family walk, I worked out, I went to bed. Today was productive.

3/27: Day 9

I baked a cake and a TON of cookies with my mom to prepare for my brother’s birthday, which is tomorrow. It was nice to finally eat some chocolate chips and cookie dough since I’ve been trying to be super healthy otherwise during quarantine. I worked out later in the day and for the most part, I was in good spirits.

3/28: Day 10

It was my brother’s birthday so I woke up early around 6:45ish to help decorate. I took a day off from working out and I didn’t really read the news or think about what’s going on in the world much. I just stuffed myself with cake, cookies, and ice cream; it was a good day and it was nice to be with the fam.

3/29: Day 11

I ate some cake for lunch it really was the greatest decision for the day. I worked out some too, tanned outside, read, and played some nerf with brother. It was just another chill day and its still been nice hanging out with the family. I’m enjoying the coronacation for now.

3/30: Day 12

I’m really tempted to do some online shopping. I already accidentally bought a Kate Spade purse (in my defense, it was technically a birthday present for myself) so it may go downhill from here with all this free time. I’m still trying to follow a very broad schedule and get up around 11am and workout around 7pm. It’s been going very well and it’s kept me sane. I went on a walk down my street with my family and had some good tacos for dinner. How nice a Mexican restaurant sounds though right now!!

3/31: Day 13

My family discovered one of the only Starbucks left often in San Diego so we just had to make a stop there this morning. We were all nervous about going to a drive through, but after we were glad we supported a local business and the coffee was amazing and really brightened my day. I worked out (I’ve only missed a day during this quarantine) and read a book outside. I’m still enjoying this break, but now the news says the peak of the coronavirus may not be till mid- May and that we will most likely be in shelter in place till especially May 3rd. This makes me worried that I won’t even be able to go back to college/SLO town in May and stay there for a month or two.

4/1: Day 14

The governor decided to end the shelter in place policy… April fools! Still in lockdown and its just yet another day for the world battling the coronavirus. Today was a lazy day full of self care, which is highly needed during a time like this. I ordered a hair mask just for fun on amazon (make sure to wash your hands after receiving packages) and some textbooks for school as well. Everything is just so surreal to me right now, especially how my school is now going to be virtual.

4/2: Day 15

I finally finished the book I have been reading, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. I have two more books on the list for this quarantine that I still want to read as well, and I may do another post about all three of them since they are all self help books. Anyways, today I facetimed a few friends and it really brightened my day. I think FaceTiming a friend at least once a day is super important to stay connected right now and stay healthy mentally.

4/3: Day 16

Today was the first time I became a little sad again. I was going over my class schedule since (online) school starts this Monday and it just hit harder that I have now been away from my friends for quite some time and will probably not be able to see them for quite a long more time. I’m really starting to miss everyone and the people I love from college.

4/4: Day 17

My attitude was super positive today and I had a ton of energy. I started to miss someone from school a lot later in the day and my energy then felt a bit off, but it was pretty good for the most part overall. I worked out a ton (for about an hour 1/2-2 hours) and read so it really helped ease my mind. I also did a face and hair mask, doing a little spa night for myself to make me feel less stressed.

4/5: Day 18

I started to go a little crazy today. This morning I was super anxious and felt really upset. I decided to get out of bed and workout for a bit outside even though it’s really cloudy. School starts tomorrow and I just wish I was actually back at campus with my friends. I’m going to make some chocolate chip cookies now.

4/6: Day 19

Today is the first day back to school (well, online school)! I only had one class in the from and I was actually done by 9:30 because it ended super early. The class in person would have been so much more fun and I wish I could interact more with my classmates, but it wasn’t too boring.  I started a new book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck” and let me tell you, it’s pretty entertaining.

4/7: Day 20

20 days??? I can’t believe it’s been that long actually it went by somewhat quickly, which is surprising. I had my first full day of classes and they seem easier than if I were to have them in person, which is nice. I’m glad school has started because I think I would’ve felt more bored today since it’s been raining and I can’t really tan or anything right now in the backyard. I’m actually starting to get used to this quarantine life though, which is weird.

4/8: Day 21

Whelp, I made cookies for the second time so that’s where I’m at. Literally cannot stop eating sweets. Like it’s bad. Eating healthy was not an issue for the first two weeks but my diet has since gone downhill. Honestly, weight should not be a worry during quarantine- we have a global PANDEMIC going on in case you forgot. Just be kind to your body, but (in my opinion) still eat well so you can feel good. Have a treat every so often, but remember, you will ultimately feel better by taking good care of yourself. Beyond that, this season of “Survivor” is absolutely iconic. Period.

4/9: Day 22

Today I have eaten so healthy and I’m honestly super proud since I got off track lately. It’s not bad at all to not eat super 1000% healthy all the time, but it got to the point where my body was starting to crave food that wouldn’t make me FEEL good. Anyways, this entire quarantine I have worked out every day and failed to mention my routine. I do the Alexis Ren ab and butt workout each day and on top of that, I run/walk/jog for about an hour. Lately, I have also added a workout by Chloe Ting if I’m really feeling it. These videos are all on Youtube and super helpful- I’ll prob do a post actually about them in the future : )

4/10: Day 23

Last night I lied and after I wrote my post for the day I proceeded to eat… five pieces of candy. Anyways, I ACTUALLY ate healthy today, despite my dad making egg free brownies (they were delicious) and having a piece or two. I read a ton for school and pretty much studied all day. Online school is pretty easy so far and I really hope that trend continues, because I’m here for it.

4/11: Day 24

I have my first two quizzes for online classes coming up and I’m kinda nervous, but I’m hopeful they will go well. Anyways, I’ve been watching a little bit of Netflix during this time and I really recommend “How To Get Away With Murder.” Watching TV, taking morning walks, baking, doing yoga, and working out consistently has all kept me sane. I’ve had a few moments where I thought I was going crazy, but overall, life is still good and there is much light at the end of this quarantine tunnel.

4/12: Day 25

Happy Easter! Today is one of the happiest days I have had since the start of this quarantine. Maybe it was the sugar rush from all the candy I ate, but I truly feel so grateful for my life and this time with my family. I feel so lucky that my family isn’t struggling during this time and just really appreciate what I have and the life God has created. Our world may be a mess right now, but surely God has a plan for us all. Anyways, I just feel such a strong sense of self right now- I know who I am, what I want to do, and have an idea of what I want to be. I am so fulfilled and thankful to be alive today. Life is full of challenges, but that’s what makes us who we are and we are defined by how we face these challenges. I strive to face my challenges head on, with grace, positivity, and gratitude. Wow, this got off on a tangent- so sorry about that- no matter your religion and whether you celebrate Easter or not, I hope you enjoyed today and see the positives in your life.  : )

4/13: Day 26

I actually felt pretty off today. I think it might be because I had SO MUCH sugar yesterday and it’s just catching up and making me feel terrible today. Anyways, I’m trying to still eat healthy, but I’ve been pretty lazy today. Much Netflix needed.

4/14: Day 27

I honestly still did not feel that great today and after the hype of Easter I realized how much I really miss my SO and friends back in college. It’s been a long time now and it’s really hard not knowing at all when I will see them again. I’m just trying to stay focused and do the best I can in school in the meantime.