Springtime Fitness Tips – Getting in Shape

Looking for a few springtime fitness tips to help jump start the warmer months?

For many of us, a year of quarantine and working from home has seen our activity levels plummet and our opportunities for snacking soar.

Starting a new fitness regimen now will help you come out of the pandemic feeling your physical best. But it will also have the added benefit of improving your mental health in the meantime. 

Below are some tips for successfully starting a springtime exercise regimen, and getting yourself in shape for the summer!

women playing volleyball inside court -Springtime Fitness Tips

Find An Activity That You Enjoy

If you intend on sticking to a workout, then do yourself a favour, and choose exercises, activities or sports that you actually enjoy. 

If you don’t like traditional indoor gym stuff, no problem! There are hoards of other options to help you break a sweat. 

For example, you can try heading out to the tennis courts with a friend. Tennis is a great outdoor option! Plus, it allows you to remain socially distanced throughout the game.

You can also go hiking if you’re lucky enough to live near natural terrain, or simply go for long walks around your neighbourhood. 

If you’d rather stay at home, that’s no problem either.

You can also exercise from home by trying online yoga tutorials or you can let off some steam by putting on some music you enjoy and dancing around for 30 minutes or more. 

There are numerous ways to accelerate your heart rate and improve your fitness without needing to enter a gym or use any machinery.

Find an activity you enjoy and you’ll be much more willing to incorporate it into your routine. 

black and white typewriter on green textile - Springtime Fitness Tips

Be Realistic With Yourself

Sometimes, we get a little eager when planning out a new fitness plan.

We somehow imagine our future self will be motivated enough to go out for a run at 6 am every day and happily do an ab workout five times a week.

If you’re really able to do that, then good for you. But for most of us, these plans simply aren’t realistic.

Instead of setting yourself up for failure, really think about what is realistic for you.

Following along to three short YouTube workouts a week is far better than nothing at all — and it’s pretty easy to stick to.

Aiming to do at least a small amount of physical activity every day is also a good start. And you can always increase the time you spend exercising as you get more accustomed to it. 

When we set modest, realistic goals, we’re more likely to achieve them.

This makes us feel accomplished and motivated to do more and push ourselves!

woman sitting on yoga mat with in front of girl during daytime - Springtime Fitness Tips

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Find a Fitness Buddy

One way to ensure you have a good time working out is doing it with someone that you enjoy spending time with.

The prospect of seeing your friend and catching up will probably motivate you to get out and exercise, plus other people make us accountable and much more likely to show up!

You might even have a healthy sense of competition with your pals, which will motivate you further. 

vegetable stand

Don’t Neglect Your Diet 

As we all know, getting in shape requires a combination of good diet and exercise.

But a good diet doesn’t necessarily mean a restrictive one.

If you want to really get a good workout in, then you need adequate fuel. And this means you need to eat enough calories, protein and other nutrients. 

Restricting calories makes it harder to maintain a good physique in the long run as your metabolism drops. You won’t have enough energy to put in effective workouts, and your body will be reluctant to build any new muscle. 

Try to make all your meals (and even snacks) well-balanced with protein, fat and carbs.

Add in a good daily portion of fruit and veggies too.

If you want to lose weight, focus on maintaining a healthy diet with a slight calorie deficit and ample exercise. 

man holding black barbell

Build Some Muscle

In the past, fitness was very focused on cardio and calorie burning.

However, now we’re seeing a shift towards weight lifting and muscle building, even among women to get into shape. 

The more muscle you have, the more toned you will look.

But more than that, you will have a higher metabolism which will make it much easier to lose fat.

You’ll also feel stronger and fitter on a daily basis!

woman standing on cliff during daytime

Getting In Shape For Summer

Spring is a time of new beginnings and this makes it the perfect occasion to start implementing a new fitness routine and focus on getting in shape.

Stick to these tips and you’ll be ready for the beach in no time!

Top 6 Irish-Themed Books For St-Paddy’s Day

Get in the mood for St-Paddy’s Day with these six awesome Irish-themed books.

St Patrick’s day is just around the corner. We may usually mark this day with a trip out to a crowded and rowdy Irish pub. But this year, we’ll likely opt to celebrate from the comfort of our own homes.

Since it’s going to be safer to stay home anyway, why not indulge in some Irish literary culture by reading a classic Irish tale or two. 

Here are our top 6 recommendations for the best St-Paddy day reads to check out this year!

Image result for The Confessions of Saint Patrick by John Skinner

The Confessions of Saint Patrick by John Skinner

As the patron saint of Ireland, St Patrick is arguably one of the most globally famous saints.

However, not much else is commonly known about his life.

The Confessions of Saint Patrick offers a fantastic insight into the life of this fascinating man who Christianized Ireland. For example, it provides an account of St Patrick when he was kidnapped by a band of 5th Century Irish pirates!  

The autobiography has been republished in a new edition updated and translated by the acclaimed John Skinner. All making it more accessible than ever before.

If you want to discover what all the fuss is about. And why we celebrate this man’s life annually. I strongly suggest you read his confessions to find out more. 

Image result for How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill

How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill

In this fast-paced and compelling written account, Thomas Cahill outlines how Europe transitioned from the Classical Roman epoch to the Middle Ages.

Without Ireland, this revolution could never have occurred. 

Not only did Irish monks and chroniclers keep valuable records of Western civilization (in both Greek and Latin). But when continental libraries were destroyed, and many works were lost. These monks also brought their unique Irish perspective to their writing. 

As Cahill entertainingly describes in How The Irish Saved Civilization, a great deal of the vibrancy we link to medieval culture is rooted in Ireland. When European culture began to regrow, it was from Ireland that they took their seeds.

Image result for Dubliners by James Joyce

Dubliners by James Joyce

Dubliners is a short story collection, first published in 1914. Each of the stories explores the ordinary lives of Irish people living in Joyce’s hometown of Dublin at the start of the 20th Century. 

At times witty, often melancholy, and always moving, Joyce paints a beautiful picture of the Irish daily life.

While Joyce is often celebrated for his more ambitious works like Ulysses, Dubliners is a much more accessible entry point into his work.

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Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

“Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood,” recounts Frank McCourt in his startling memoir, Angela’s Ashes

Born to Irish immigrant parents in Brooklyn during the Depression, Frank’s father is an alcoholic, and his mother has no money to feed her son. Yet, despite his father’s drunkenness and poverty, he manages to instill in Frank a love of storytelling. 

McCourt intimately narrates his tragic childhood, the poverty and cruelty he endured, yet somehow expresses optimism and gentle forgiveness.

This book may make you cry but will nonetheless lift your spirits with its sometimes comical takes on a dire situation.

Image result for An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor - Irish-Themed Books

An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor

In this joyful, bucolic tale, an energetic and newly qualified doctor heads to the very rural village of Ballybucklebo in Northern Ireland.

Here he meets the cantankerous Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly and encounters, through their shared practice, a variety of colourful characters.  

An Irish Country Doctor engages from start to finish, portraying the compelling nature of the hills and dales of Northern Ireland and all the eccentric inhabitants.

With its nostalgia and romanticism. This book will make you long to visit the Irish countryside of Yore!

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Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth

This 18th-century novel paints a satirical portrait of the Irish landlords of the era.

It recounts three generations of the Rackrent family. And is widely considered the first of the famous ‘Regional Novels’.

Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth is a very entertaining read. The novel also takes on issues of class and Religion in Edgeworth’s contemporary Ireland. 

Image result for The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen - Irish-Themed Books

The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen

Set in Cork during the Irish War of Independence, The Last September describes the coming of a young woman living in a nation enduring political upheaval. 

The affluent couple Sir Richard Naylor and his wife Lady Myra keep an air of superior distance between them and the political events. Yet all the while lingers the future possibility of being free of British rule.

Meanwhile, their niece, Lois Farquar, has her own ideas about freedom. And she pursues her independence while Ireland pursues hers. 

This classic of Irish Literature explores national identity, youth and feminism—a must-read for anybody interested in Irish culture. 

How To Land A Job Straight Out Of School

Looking to land a job straight out of college or university?

While there are many reasons to pursue higher education, landing a decent, good-paying job in the future is probably one of them.

After spending 4+ years investing time, money and effort into getting a degree, you don’t want to spend months struggling even to land an interview. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many new graduates.

However, there are things you can do to prepare yourself for the job market and optimize your employability, even while you’re still studying.

Here are five tips to landing a job straight out of college. 

white printer paper beside silver laptop computer Land A Job

It’s Never Too Early To Start Building Your Resume

Once you graduate, you will be thrust into a pool of new graduates, all seeking work, often in the same industry as you. If you want to get noticed and get the job of your dreams, then you need to stand out in the crowd. 

This means you should aim to start building your resume as soon as possible. You also need to work as building one that is not only impressive but also unique.

Alongside good grades, internships and volunteer work, you’ll want to include any experience that might be relevant. And that might help you stand out from other new graduates.

If possible, see if you can add more stand-out accomplishments like a cultural exchange experience, a second language, a martial arts degree, or even a stint as a sports captain throughout your time at college, which might highlight your leadership skills.

Having a variety of accolades and experiences like these will help you catch your potential employers’ attention.

This is especially true for students taking non-vocational majors, like philosophy, literature or history of art.

While your degree is a valuable and worthwhile experience, it’s often unlikely that employers will hire you based on it alone.

group of people gathering

Networking

Networking is not necessarily shallow people bragging about themselves and exchanging business cards. It can be about genuine interactions and bonding between people. People who subsequently decide to collaborate and help each other out career-wise.

Just think about how many people land interviews and jobs because of a friend’s referral.

Finding opportunities to meet people and giving off a good impression of yourself (both professionally and socially) will be immensely helpful when it comes to getting a job. Especially straight out of college or university.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to look into all kinds of networking.

This includes, but is not restricted to, organized networking events where you can meet people working in your industry. As well as joining community groups, clubs, social gatherings, academic societies etc.

Show up, know your stuff and stay open-minded. You might find doors opening up that you’d never even considered.

person typing on Apple Cordless Keyboard

Start an Internship

Relevant internships will accelerate you on your career path.

Hiring personnel is expensive, and when it comes to dishing out serious salaries, employers want to be sure that a candidate is worth the investment.

Taking on interns is relatively low risk for employers, as they don’t cost much, and there is no pressure to hire them after.

However, if you can convince an employer during an internship that you can be an asset to the company. Then, you might well secure yourself a job after graduating. 

Even if you don’t land a job with the company you intern for, the work experience will prove invaluable. You can earn yourself professional references to use for future job applications. 

However, not all internships are paid, which poses a challenge for many students who rely on having an income. In this case, you can try seeking out paid opportunities or additional financial student aid to help you out. 

Land A Job

Choose Your Major Wisely

Suppose your principal aim is to pay off your student debt and have a comfortable financial situation as soon as possible after school. In that case, you need to prioritize choosing a major which will ensure your employment.

The fact is that majors like Engineering, Computer Science and Nursing yield far better employment rates than, for instance, Classics or Comparative Literature. 

While you shouldn’t sacrifice the things you love, it’s still good to keep in mind that not all majors offer the same employment rates.

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Keep Your Expectations In Check

When you’re fresh out of college or university, the reality is that you’re probably not the best candidate for most positions. Especially when you’re up against experienced professionals, you might not always make the cut.

With that in mind, instead of aiming for the stars from the get-go, try pursuing more obtainable jobs with entry-level positions at first. And then, aiming higher once you’ve got some experience under your belt. 

Land A Job

The Bottom Line

Being at college means you’re already on the fast-track to steady employment. Therefore, it’s best to make the most of your education and take advantage of all the opportunities presented to you.

This way, you really can’t go wrong when it comes to landing a job after your graduate.

Top 10 Romance-Themed Novels To Read in 2021

Looking for the best romance-themed novels of 2021? Keep reading and we dish out some of the best soon-to-be-released romance reads!

As you’re likely expecting to stay home a lot more this coming February, there’s really no better time to get yourself into checking out a few brand new romance novels. 

If you’re looking for the most enamouring and tantalizing releases, then look no further.

Below, we’ve put together a rundown of the top 10 romance-themed novels poised for release this coming year!

woman reading a book while sitting on black leather 3-seat couch

A Lady’s Formula for Love by Elizabeth Everett

In this gripping historical romance, Everett introduces us to the ambitious and scientifically gifted Lady Violet, who forms a covert group of academically accomplished women.

Romance/Erotica Book Review: A Lady's Formula for Love by Elizabeth Everett.  Berkley, $16 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-20062-9

The ladies are recruited to undertake a top-secret mission to protect the crown, but will Violet’s affection for her bodyguard Arthur get in the way?

Packed with mystery and suspense, A Lady’s Formula for Love is certainly a must-read for 2021.  

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

In this highly anticipated LGBTQ rom-com, fierce academic Grace Porter heads to Las Vegas to celebrate completing her Ph.D.

After a night of raucous partying, Grace wakes up to find herself married to a woman she can’t even remember the name of.

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

However, in an act of liberation, Grace moves to New York with her new wife to make a fresh start.

For anyone looking for a heart-throbbing LGBTQ romance novel, Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers is guaranteed to be a hit this year!

The Devil Wears Black by L.J. Shen

A favourite author amongst romance readers, in The Devil Wears Black, L.J. Shen is back with her sensual prose and irresistible characters. 

Maddie Goldbloom is a well-put-together perfectionist with a high flying career in fashion in New York City.

PREORDER ALERT The Devil Wears... - Two Bookish Brits | Facebook

When her ex, Chase, arrives in town and persuades her to pretend to be his fiancé, Maddie’s life starts to get a lot more complicated.

What happens next is sure to thrill and surprise you!

Sweethand by N.G. Peltier

Following an unsavoury public breakup, pastry chef, Cherisse, is taking a break from dating.

But when she’s called on to be her sister’s maid of honour, she finds herself spending a lot of time with best-man-to-the-groom, Keiran.

Sweethand (Island Bites, #1) by N.G.Peltier

These two have never seen eye to eye, but the looming wedding bells cause Cherisse to have a change of heart.

Will it be love? Or will it be a flop? Check out Sweethand this year and find out!

To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters

In this scandalous tale of aristocratic life, Jeremy, the Marquis of Willingham, makes Diana, the Lady of Templeton, an indecent proposal.

As the two engage in an erotic affair, will their physical chemistry bloom into love?

To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters

To Love and To Loathe takes you on an unprecedented journey through taboo love and all else risque!

Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola

Following a hugely positive reception from UK readers last summer, Bolu Babalola’s debut novel is finally being released in the states this coming year. 

Amazon.com: Love in Colour: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold  (Audible Audio Edition): Bolu Babalola, Ajjaz Awad, Nneka Okoye, Bolu  Babalola, Olukemi Babalola, Headline: Audible Audiobooks

In this collection of short stories, you will find yourself transported from West Africa to the Balkans to the Middle East.

Delve into romantic tales worldwide and learn what love and passion mean in different cultures. For anyone who’s heart is set on romance this February 2021, Love in Colour is guaranteed to be a hit!

Lover Unveiled by J.R. Ward

Despite being the 19th book in her Black Dagger Brotherhood vampire series, Ward does not disappoint with this steamy paranormal romance titled Lover Unveiled.

While the plot is kept closely under wraps, we know that it centres around a new vampire named Savage, an MMA fighter harbouring a secret that could forever change the Vampire world.

Lover Unveiled (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #19) by J.R. Ward - Romance-Themed Novels

His love interest?

A character we’ve met before in the series, but exactly who, we still won’t know until the book hits shelves this 2021!

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

After garnering awards for her debut novel, McQuiston is back with her second romance novel titled One Last Stop.

The main character, August, doesn’t believe in true love and isn’t even sure about love at all. That is, at least until she meets the enigmatic Jane on the subway.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston - Romance-Themed Novels

But Jane is a girl harbouring a secret: she’s actually a time-traveller from the 1970s and stuck in the present day.

Can August persuade her to stay in the 21st century? You’ll have to pick up this steamy romance novel to find out!

Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson

In this Young Adult romance, teenage girls Toni and Olivia both head to a music festival to cure their broken hearts. But when the two of them meet, they soon regain their faith in love.

Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson - Romance-Themed Novels

However, is it true love? Or, is it simply a steamy fling? Check out Rise To The Sun by Leah Johnson to find out!

Isn’t It Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams

This next title comes as the fourth edition of Adams’ Bromance Bookclub series soon, which has been adapted for Netflix in select regions.

Isn’t It Bromantic centres on the love life of Vlad, a Russian hockey player.

Isn't It Bromantic? (Bromance Book Club, #4) by Lyssa Kay Adams

He’s betrothed to a childhood friend, Elena, the daughter of a Russian journalist who escaped to the United States. But this marriage is not what Vlad truly desires, and, after years of holding back, he decides to follow his heart and finally pursue true love.

Tips For Distance Learning And Remote Work

Need some help being productive with your distance learning or remote work? Below, we go over some of the best tips for helping you make the most of your time working from home!

Remote study and work are two of the most modern challenges this new decade has gifted to us.

In fact, it’s a whole new way of life, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of it, especially when you’re used to learning or working in person rather than over the internet.

But it is possible to be productive and keep on top of everything, even from your bedroom.

So to help you make the most of your time working or studying remotely, we’ve created the following list of tips for staying focused even when working from home!

person using macbook pro on bed

Maintain Routine 

Routine and discipline will keep you sane. Without them, you’ll possibly forget that you are.

Without a solid daily routine, it’s easy to get distracted and lose focus on what really needs to be done.

So, do yourself a favour and plan out your day.

Factor in time around your scheduled lectures and zoom meetings for note-taking, replying to emails, completing assignments, readings, group work and whatever else you need to do. 

Put together a ‘to-do list’ at the start of every day.

It can help to list everything you want to accomplish, including “eat breakfast,” brush teeth,” “cut own bangs,” etc.

Even ticking off these small, minor tasks helps and will give you a sweet dopamine rush, keeping you on your productive, merry way!

person using macbook pro on bed

Cut Out Distractions

The internet is an alluring feast of digestible garbage, and that’s a fact! 

However, very little of that garbage will help you pass your next exam, and a whole lot of it will only hinder your success.

If you’re struggling to stay off social media, try blocking those sites using an app during your study hours or simply keeping your phone on ‘Airplane mode.’

You can schedule website blocks using software like Cold Turkey.

Fret not, however; those tempting time-wasting sites will be accessible once again in your allotted free time.

white printer paper beside silver laptop computer

Communicate

Remote learning can often make you feel cut off from the rest of the world and the ones you love, and feelings of isolation can easily cause us to fall into an unmotivated slump. 

The truth is, we need others to keep us energized and motivated.

In fact, maintaining regular contact with your school lecturers and classmates is a lifeline connecting you to the external world and a key to keeping on track while doing your work from home.

Stay engaged and active in lectures by contributing questions and ideas instead of just putting yourself on mute and cruising along without paying any attention.

Stay present, and I promise you, you’ll get a lot more in return.

If you’re really struggling with your new set up and impacting your work, don’t hesitate to talk to your professors or student support teams.

If they know what’s going on, they can offer help and suggestions on making your remote learning as seamless as possible.

man in black leather jacket sitting on brick wall holding smartphone

Create a designated workspace

Your bed may feel like a soft, plump marshmallow, but reclined inertia doesn’t lead to optimal productivity. 

In other words, ensure you’ve got an organized desk, a comfortable chair and only the relevant resources at your disposal. 

Suppose you’re lucky enough to have a separate room to work in, even better.

But just having an established work/study space, even in your bedroom, is going to help get you into the right state of mind for getting things done.

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Do other things

Factoring in time for other activities is essential for keeping your mind refreshed and preventing you from getting too restless. In fact, if you’re only staring at a screen from morning until night, every day of the week, it won’t be long before you start to feel like you’re losing your mind.

Try indoor workouts, walking outside, cooking, baking, taking a bath, reading a novel, writing in your journal, painting, knitting, sewing, crotchet, playing the trumpet (while being mindful of the neighbours, of course.) 

The key is to do anything to give yourself a break from studying or working relentlessly.

Try to get away from a screen for portions of your day, especially in the evening time. This will help you wind down, allowing you to sleep better and simply giving your mind proper rest from all the online work or study. 

Activities that involve using your hands can be extremely meditative too, and getting in some exercise will improve your mood immeasurably.

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person reading book on brown wooden table taken at daytome

Be Kind to Yourself

Finally, it is paramount that you treat yourself with kindness and compassion, especially when you’re isolated from the rest of the world.

Practice self-care, try meditation or relaxing yoga poses, treat yourself to those small things you’ve earned, or even binge-watch some terrible TV from time to time, so long as it helps you unwind.

Maybe you’re not working at 100% capacity, but that’s OK.

It’s a challenging time for everyone, and we’re all just doing the best we can with the best we’ve got.

New Year, New You – 5 Best Self-Improvement Books To Read In 2021

Look for the best self-improvement books of 2021? Check out our list of the top 5 best ones to help you make the most of the New Year.

As we roll into the New Year, many of us are faced with trying to accomplish our resolutions.

Maybe you’ve decided to quit a bad habit. Or maybe start eating better. Or maybe just to try and be the best possible version of yourself that you can be. Either way, self-improvement isn’t easy.

best self-improvement books

In fact, getting motivated to make changes in your life is hard. And to redefine who you truly are can be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do.

So, with that in mind, I’ve decided to put together a list of the best, most-inspiring self-improvement books you’ll find in bookstores this new year.

Let’s jump in!

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck By Mark Manson

Do you ever feel like you care too much about things too much or other people who simply don’t care about you?

Then, The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F*ck might just be the best book for you to add to your list this year.

Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Release Hypnosis - best self-improvement books

As the second book from author and blogger, Mark Manson, upon its initial release The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck quickly became a best seller.

Manson argues that mindless positivity isn’t helpful or practical in any way. Instead, the book argues that not caring so much is the first step in freeing up your mindset.

In fact, the book exemplifies that life’s struggles, rather than its triumphs are what give it meaning and purpose.

So if you want to learn to let go, make sure to add this book to your list!

You Are A Badass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness And Start Living An Awesome Life By Jen Sincero

You Are A Badass is a book written for anyone that wants to revolutionize their life. Written by Jen Sincero, You Are A Badass is an awesome read for virtually anyone this New Year.

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome  Life best self-improvement books

Served up in 27 short and sweet chapters, Sincero offers plenty of sage, wise advice through her inspiring stories, and simple self-help exercises.

This book will help you identify and reverse any self-sabotaging behaviours that you currently have. And help you learn to disregard your fears.

So that you can learn to love yourself and create the life that you truly want to live.

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself By Michael A. Singer

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to free yourself from your own personal boundaries? Or, what you should be doing every day to help yourself discover inner peace?

These are the precise type of questions that Michael A. Singer sets out to help you answer in The Untethered Soul.

In fact, his book seeks to help you revolutionize your relationship with your own inner being, as well as the outside world around you.

For this, Singer helps you put an end to any emotional habits you may have that are limiting your consciousness, as well as your true potential.

Meditation on the Untethered Soul - a journey beyond yourself (15 minutes)  - YouTube

Through traditional mindfulness and meditation, this book teaches the importance of personal development. Which will allow you to dwell in the present. While also enabling you to let go of the painful thoughts, memories, and habits that hold you back.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business By Charles Duhigg

Good or bad, each and every one of us is the summation of dozens of daily, weekly, and monthly habits. But how many of us have really stopped to think about why we do the things that we do?

In The Power Of Habit By Charles Duhigg, you’ll explore the science behind habits. Why they are created, what they mean, and how to break free of their habitual reign.

The Power of Habit - Penguin Random House Common Reads

According to Duhigg, the “Habit Loop” is the pattern held in our minds that govern all forms of habit, no matter how good or bad.

Therefore, understanding the three main components of the “Habit Loop” is essential to breaking free and changing negative habits into positive habits.

So, if you’ve ever found yourself dealing with habits that you find impossible to change. Then, I’d definitely recommend checking out The Power Of Habit to help you make the most of 2021.

The Happiness Project By Gretchen Rubin

As a New York Times Bestseller, The Happiness Project has been referred to as an enlightening, laugh-out-loud book that’s sure to help you learn a thing or two about happiness.

The book follows Gretchen Rubin’s year-long experiment as she attempts to learn how to create true happiness in her life.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin | Book & Quote Monster

Woven together along with plenty of humour and glimpses into Rubin’s real life, her book explores dozens of age-old anecdotes and lessons from pop-culture to see what they really mean about habit, happiness, and the simplicity of human nature.

Best Self-Improvement Books 2021

While there’s nothing wrong with simply being the person that you already are, there’s something inspiring about those who strive to improve themselves.

Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of 5 amazing self-help books that have been written specifically to help you do just that.

5 Tips For Going Back To School After The Holidays

Looking for tips on going back to school after the holidays? Check out these 5 awesome tips for making the most of your time off, and making the transition back into your schedule as stress-free as possible.

Not only is the holiday season plenty of fun where we get to visit with family and friends, but, for students, Christmas break offers a much-needed reprieve for the school year’s hectic schedule.

So when January rolls around, it’s sometimes difficult to get yourself back into your school schedule.

green and brown pinecone Christmas wreath on wooden drawers

After all, you’ve just spent several weeks having fun, and most likely, not even thinking about homework.

Fortunately, we have a few simple tips in mind for helping you get back into the groove, without it feeling like you’re pulling your hair out!

Rest Up

While the holidays can be hectic with having to visit family and friends, attending or hosting dinner parties, etc., it’s also important to make the most of your time away from school by getting some much-needed rest that your mind and body crave throughout the school year.

pug covered with blanket on bedspread

In fact, studies have shown that a lack of sleep affects the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls your memory. In turn, lack of sleep has been shown to reduce your ability to learn new things by up to 40%

I know you may be tempted to stay up late on those nights when you don’t have class the next day, but it might be better to hit the hay anyway.

Refresh Your Memory

Now, I’m not saying that you need to spend your holiday break studying each and every day.

But, it’s not a bad idea to keep your memory sharp by reading through your old notes before your jump back into your school routine, at least a few times while you’re on your Christmas break.

person holding unfold book - back to school

Studies have shown that students are able to increase their memory by up to 70% after reading old notes within 24 hours.

So, I know that you’ll be tempted to completely forget about school until you go back.

But you’ll thank yourself when the first day of class rolls around and you’re already more prepared to learn than the majority of your peers.

Don’t Over-Indulge On Junk

Around Christmas time, it’s not uncommon for people to indulge in all sorts of baked goods, ranging from Christmas log cakes, pies, and just about everything else in grandma’s kitchen.

table with glass cups and place mats - back to school

while there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself, it’s important to remember that a proper, healthy diet contributes to proper brain function.

In fact, when you consider the fact that the brain requires approximately 20% of all your caloric needs, it’s easy to see how your diet is such a vital component of your mood, memory, and focus.

So, if you like the idea of jumping into your next semester with a fresh, clear head ready to ace every test before the end of the year, make sure to stick to a healthy, well-balanced diet.

Full of whole grains, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and only a small slice of pie after Christmas dinner.

Don’t Wait Until The Last Minute

While I’m sure that you’ll have plenty going on over the holiday, it’s crucial that you not wait until the last minute to get yourself ready for class.

This means taking the time to buy those textbooks you’ve had on your shopping list. Or, any other supplies that you might need for the upcoming semester.

And don’t forget to take care of any other chores or errands that you’ve had on your to-do list. But have been putting off for weeks. Like making sure your tuition payments are up to date!

coloring pencils on brown wooden table

Once school starts, there’s not all that much time to take care of those little things.

Between attending classes and studying, maybe holding down a part or full-time job, you’ll barely have time to eat, let alone run around doing errands.

In other words, the transition back to your school routine is probably going to feel slightly hectic.

Which is why it’s best to make most of your time off. Run those errands now, while you’ve got the time!

Then, when your first day rolls around, you’ll be able to focus on your studies, without having a million other things to do.

Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later!

Make Some Memories!

While it’s important not to forget that your next semester is just around the corner, it’s equally important to enjoy your time off.

After all, the holidays are a time to spend time with your loved ones, enjoying each other’s company. Making memories that will last a lifetime.

coloring pencils on brown wooden table

So, make sure not to forget about your upcoming semester.

But also make sure to spend time visiting your friends and family, going out and doing stuff together, and simply having a good time!

Getting Back To School Post Holidays

When you’re having fun and relaxing, not worrying about your classes, it can be hard to transition back into your school routine, especially when you’re tired, and still bogged down from that over-indulgent Christmas dinner last week.

But by making the most of your time off, getting ready in advance, and keeping your memory sharp, you’ll be starting the new year on the right foot.

Then, you’ll be able to enjoy the rest of the school year, just as much as you’ve just enjoyed the Holidays!

7 Best Christmas-Themed Novels To Read This Month

Looking for the best Christmas-themed novels to read this month? Check out the following list of Christmas reads that are sure to get you in the mood for the Holiday season!

After all, there’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than to put on some flannel, curl up with a hot cup of cocoa, and dive into a Christmas-themed novel. 

Below, you’ll find our list of the 7 Best Christmas-themed novels to check out this holiday season. 

A Christmas Carol By Charles Dickens

There just wouldn’t be a Christmas-themed novel list without A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. 

Visited late on Christmas Eve by ghosts and supernatural figures from throughout his lifetime, Ebenezer Scrooge is in for a rough night.

A Christmas Carol - Citadel Theatre

Taken on a journey of self-discovery, Scrooge eventually transforms from a miserly old man to a joyful old soul, full of Christmas spirit. 

You certainly won’t be saying ‘bah humbug!’ after reading this Christmas classic!

The Twelve Birds Of Christmas By Stephen Moss

Beloved by birdwatchers and book enthusiasts alike, The Twelve Birds of Christmas will turn your own backyard into a winter wonderland. 

In The Twelve Birds of Christmas, Steven Moss uses a carol-like structure to identify 12 different British birds.

A festive bonus: The Twelve Birds of Christmas - Bridport Literary Festival

Throughout this book, Moss uses history, landscape, bird behaviours, folklore, and culture to create a compelling Christmas-themed narrative. 

This is a great book to share with your children or to enjoy on your own. 

The Nutcracker By E.T.A. Hoffmann

Written in 1816, The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann is yet another excellent Christmas classic to add to your reading list this month!

A young girl named Marie is given a nutcracker from her uncle for Christmas.

How 1950s America Shaped 'The Nutcracker' | Smart News | Smithsonian  Magazine

That night, the nutcracker comes alive, and whisks Marie off into a magical world filled with living dolls, adventure, and even an evil mouse king. 

Will Marie make it back home to her family? You’ll have to read this Christmas-themed novel to find out!

Death Comes At Christmas By Gladys Mitchell

If you prefer a murder mystery, Death Comes at Christmas by Gladys Mitchell is certainly worth the read. 

On Christmas Eve the body of a local solicitor is found by the river in Oxfordshire. While local authorities believe he died of natural causes, Mrs. Bradley isn’t so sure.

Death Comes at Christmas - christmas-themed novels

A series of clues make her suspect that he’s been murdered, and she’s convinced that the murderer will strike again… 

Compared to other mystery greats like Agatha Christie, Mitchell doesn’t disappoint with this thrilling Christmas-themed novel. 

An Almost Perfect Christmas By Nina Stibbe

If you’re looking for a laugh-out-loud, honest view of Christmas, pick up An Almost Perfect Christmas by Nina Stibbe.

This Christmas-themed book is chock full of essays on holiday-themed traditions and memories.

An Almost Perfect Christmas Audiobook by Nina Stibbe - christmas-themed novels

Some of these essay topics include a tragically decorated Christmas tree and the annual quest to roast the perfect turkey. 

Equal parts maddening and magical, An Almost Perfect Christmas manages to capture all the best parts of the Christmas season in a way that’s fun and engaging to read!

The Snow Queen By Hans Christian Anderson

Full of wonder and magic, this Christmas-themed story will transport you to a world of ice and snow.

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson is a fairy tale, initially published in December of 1844. It follows two children, Kai and Gerda, who would do anything for each other. 

christmas-themed novels

One day Gerda notices that Kai is acting strange and cruel. Then, he disappears. Determined to find her friend, Gerda sets off on an epic adventure to find him. 

A beautiful take of friendship, bravery, and love, The Snow Queen is a delightful winter read.  

A Christmas Story By Jean Shepherd

If this Christmas-themed novel sounds familiar, you might’ve seen the movie adaptation. It’s a classic!

A Christmas Story, by Jean Shepherd, paints a realistic picture of a Christmas celebrated by an American family living in a small town in Depression-era Indiana. 

A Christmas Story: The Book That Inspired the Hilarious Classic Film:  Amazon.ca: Shepherd, Jean: Books

Equal parts funny and relatable, you’ll feel right at home with Ralphie and his all-consuming desire for Santa (or somebody) to deliver what he wants more than anything in the world; a Red Ryder, carbon action 200-shot range model air rifle. 

He doesn’t even care that he might just shoot his eye out… 

If you loved A Miracle on 34th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story is definitely worth your time. 

Read Your Way Into The Holiday Spirit!

Well, there you have it! A list of 7 of the best Christmas-themed novels to check out this year. 

opened book on person's lap with gray socks - christmas-themed novels

Whether you love a good mystery, fairy tale, drama, or comedy, there’s a little something for everyone. 

So pick up one (or all) of these great reads. There’s truly no better way to get in the spirit for this year’s holiday season. 

6 Best Habits Of A Successful Student

Wondering how to be the most successful student you can be? Check out the following list of 6 awesome habits that you need in your life!

From weekly homework and monthly assignments to studying for that big final exam (all while trying to eat right!), it’s no wonder many students feel overwhelmed throughout the year. 

The good news is that it’s completely possible to get ahead of this frustation by developing good habits.

After all, good habits help students succeed. 

So if you want to get ahead in the classroom, we’ve outlined the following list of 6 habits of successful students. 

person writing on brown wooden table near white ceramic mug

Take Notes (And Lots Of ‘Em!)

It’s important to take notes while your instructor teaches a lesson. Taking good notes helps you to stay engaged during class.

But the best part is that good notes also make great review and study materials. 

Handwritten Notes

Successful students take notes by hand.

Studies show that taking notes by hand is associated with more meaningful learning compared to students who use a laptop. Taking notes by hand also gives students the advantage when noting graphs, illustrations, and charts. 

As a result, a student who reviews handwritten notes has an advantage over a student who reviews notes written on a laptop.  

woman wearing blue denim jacket holding book

Listen for Verbal Cues

Taking good notes doesn’t mean you need to record every word your teacher says during class. 

In fact, it’s better to listen for verbal cues, and only jot down the most important keywords that will cue your memory later on.

In other words, when a teacher says, “this is really important”, or “this is critical”, that information is likely going to be something you need to write down. Leave the rest out.

Stay Organized

Student life requires you to take many different courses at the same time.

For example, you might be studying General Arts, which will require you to take a variety of math English, and science courses all at the same time.

This is why staying organized is one of the best habits of successful students. 

person using MacBook Pro

Separate Your Time By Subject

When it’s time to study or complete a project, don’t waste time trying to locate the right material.

Successful students file or separate each subject into different binders, folders, or notebooks. 

That way, when it comes time to study, you’ll already know where all your study materials are, and you won’t waste time digging through unorganized notes.

Organize Your Work Space

Completing homework or assignments in an organized space is also a great habit of successful students. Using a designated, quiet space helps the mind recognize that it’s time to focus.  

black marker on notebook - successful student

Get An Agenda

Use an agenda to write down all your assignments, extracurricular activities, and anything else that affects your day to day schedule. 

Then, make sure to refer to your agenda as often as possible to make the most of your time.

This will help you to plan study sessions and get homework done on time, every time!

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Eat Regular Meals

Successful students don’t just take good notes and stay organized. They also know the importance of eating regular, healthy meals. 

Avoid Junk Food

Junk food doesn’t provide any of the nutrients you need to excel in school.

According to the Washington Post, eating junk food for just a few days is enough to slow down your metabolism. After eating junk food, your blood sugar can drop, which can make you feel cranky and tired. 

Neither helps you to focus on learning.

bowl of vegetable salads - successful student

Eat A Well-Balanced Diet

Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet increases your ability to focus and learn. In fact, just one healthy meal a day is enough to reduce inflammation and mental stress.

A healthy student is a successful student.  

Remember to Breathe

When you take shorter breaths, your body reacts by triggering a fight or flight response, which leads to an increase in mental stress and anxiety. 

And as you already know, stress and anxiety don’t make it easy to achieve success. 

Breathing Breaks

Take the time to breathe deeply when studying, sitting in class, or even during breaks. Breathing breaks keep you focused and will increase feelings of calm and well-being.  

woman sitting on hill - successful student

When you feel calm and well, you can focus on your studies. This is why successful students develop this habit. 

Make Time to Study

It might seem obvious, but the most successful students study every day. This helps to break up their material into considerably more manageable chunks. 

Be Consistent!

Always plan when you’re going to study, and do your best to stick to that plan. Whether in the morning, afternoon, or evening, keep this study time part of your daily routine.

A consistent study routine will help you to develop this habit. 

Find a Study Group

While making time to study every day is important, finding a study group can also increase your chances of success.

three people sitting in front of table laughing together

Teach To Learn

Study groups allow you to teach others and answer questions. 

There’s no better way to figure out whether or not you know or understand the material than when you have to explain it to someone else. 

At the same time, you’ll also be able to pick up new ideas and perspectives from those that you’re studying with!

woman wearing academic cap and dress selective focus photography - successful student

Positive Habits Make Successful Students

The important thing to remember is to use these habits of successful students to aim high. 

After all, there’s no doubt that students who develop good habits, tend to see greater success throughout their education and beyond.  

So what are you waiting for? Try out these tested habits of successful students and see for yourself how well they work. 

Proven Mid-Term Study Tips That Work

Got a few exam or assignment deadlines coming up soon? Check out the following list of proven mid-term study tips to help you make the most of your study time this fall.

Preparing for mid-terms or exams is always a difficult time for students. And you can usually see this just by looking at them.

You know, that college look of stress, panic, and edge, all tied into that typically frazzled dress and appearance.

woman biting pencil while sitting on chair in front of computer during daytime

But with exams and mid-terms contributing to so much of their grades, it’s no wonder why students feel this way.

So in light of that, below are some tips that I’ve put together that won’t only help you with studying for your upcoming exams. But that will also help relieve that emotional turmoil of surviving the school year.

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Ask Questions

The first thing to remember is that most of your teachers are there to see you succeed in their class.

As such, they’re going to be offering a helping hand. The catch, though, is that you need to approach them and ask the right questions.

While some may have already been answered in the weeks leading to the exam, it’s still worth asking these questions. Doing this is pretty much guaranteed to help better prepare for the rest of your upcoming coursework, and your mid-terms as well.

In the end, the more prepared you are, the better off you’ll be.

woman writing on notebook

Create A Study Schedule

Because you’re going to be juggling several classes, you need to organize your time for studying.

And one of the best ways to organize your time is to set up a study schedule, and I can’t stress this enough: to follow it!

By having a schedule, you’ll effectively reduce the amount of time you’re studying on every subject.

So instead of trying to cram all of your coursework knowledge into a single study sesh, you can use each pre-scheduled study period to focus on a single subject, spacing it all out on a schedule that works best for you!

woman using computer sitting on black chair

Consult Your Notes And Past Tests

A good start for any study session is to go back through your own notes.

Broadly speaking, your notes should cover the most important points of discussion. And they may even include other important details that you’ve noted but have forgotten.

Additionally, it never hurts to review any previous tests you may have had so far this semester.

In most situations, your mid-terms are going to cover everything you learned from the start of the term up to this point.

Therefore, the tests or quizzes you’ve had will give you a rough indication of your upcoming mid-terms will be about.

woman flipping book page

Find Or Create A Study Group

Whether you’re good at studying or not, it’s always smart to partner up with a few classmates for a study session every couple of weeks.

Study groups can help you study more efficiently since you’ll be able to cover more topics. Plus, you might even be able to learn a thing or two by listening to other people’s perspectives.

Furthermore, being in a group can allow you to educate others around you, which will help you feel even better about studying.

Switch Up Your Scenery

Whether you’re studying or taking a well-deserved break from studying, it’s important to switch up your environment from time to time.

The fact is that our environments can heavily influence our behavior and directly impact our mood and focus.

woman reading book while sitting on chair

Many people have their go-to study spot, but I’d encourage you to mix it up. Go to a coffee shop, a public library, or the school’s library and see how you feel there.

In the end, switching things can give you that boost of energy you need to prepare for your next exam!

Don’t Skimp On The Sleep

Sleep is just as important as studying, and you shouldn’t ever sacrifice it.

While many students think it’s worth it to pull an all-nighter, it’s not going to be doing much for you in terms of helping you pass.

Sleep allows you to process information and to organize it in your mind.

Therefore, by getting less sleep, you’re not going to be able to retain as much information as you’d like to.

woman sleeping on bed under blankets

So instead of pulling an all-nighter, prioritize your life to include a stable sleep schedule throughout the school year.

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Pace Yourself

The final midterm study tip I have for you is to take it one test at a time.

One of the biggest challenges with mid-terms is that you’re bombarded with many tests or assignments spread out over the same few weeks.

It can be hectic during that time, but to help you keep a level head, here are a few more tips to help your prep:

  • Remember the dates your midterms are scheduled for, and use them to create a proper study schedule for these times.
  • Note how much time you have in between each mid-term. This can give you a good window of opportunity for how to prepare for each midterm study-wise.
woman writing on book

How To Beat Midterm Madness

Although college and university are often one of the most exciting parts of a young person’s life, studying is not the most exciting or glamorous part of being a student.

But through these specific methods, I believe you’ll have a better grasp at studying efficiently, which will help prepare for anything your mid-terms might throw your way!

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