Helping a Roommate with Holiday Anxiety

holidays

The holiday season is a double sided coin for sure. The lights are beautiful and music is nostalgic, but there’s unfortunately another side too. Holidays are a tough time for many people in America and college aged individuals and young professionals are no exception. Those who already suffer from depression can have a harder time at holidays, but this time of year can be difficult for those who do not normally suffer from depression as well.

If you think your roommate is feeling more down than usual during the holiday season, there are some simple ways you can offer some help.

Do some talking. It doesn’t always seem like it helps much, but allowing someone to talk about what’s on his or her mind can really lessen the stress they’re feeling.

Do some laughing. Laughter can be a great way to alleviate stress and work towards a more positive mood. It can be as minor as putting on a funny movie you both like or texting a silly cat video or funny picture.

Show your appreciation. Remind your roomie that it’s good to live with him or her. Sometimes this simple reminder makes a big difference in a person’s day.

Get some Exercise. Exercise is a great stress reliever and it’s even better when you have a workout buddy. Hit the gym together or go for a run in the afternoon.

Extend an invitation. If you’re worried about your roommate being alone on a holiday without anyone to be with, invite him or her to your celebrations.

If you’re ever seriously concerned with the mental or emotional well-being of your roommate, don’t hesitate to call a help line. There are a number of local mental health and wellness resources at your disposal here.

 

3 Easy Cocktail / Mocktail Recipes to Learn for New Year’s

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New Year’s Eve is coming up soon and if you want to throw a party, it’s nice to have some fun and festive drink recipes in your mixologist’s arsenal. Drinks for this time of year are usually full of warm flavors and aromatic spices, things which make you feel cozy and at home in the chilly weather. These drinks don’t have to be made with alcohol for those of you who would rather not partake – they are all excellent virgin cocktails/ mocktails as well!

With these easy recipes you’ll be able to host a great party or get-together without stressing over intense cocktail recipes. Keep things simple and enjoy ringing in the new year!

Spiced Cider Lemonade Cocktail from A Beautiful Mess

1 part lemonade

1 part apple cider

1.5 ounces whiskey

A pinch of cinnamon

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and serve. The ladies from A Beautiful Mess also garnish the drink with cinnamon sticks and orange slices for an excellent visual effect!

 

Champagne and Sorbet cocktails from Paper and Stitch

1-2 scoops raspberry or blood orange sorbet

Champagne (or substitute with sparkling juice)

Scoop sorbet into glasses (try making her countdown glasses!) and pour champagne or sparkling juice over top for a frothy and fruity cocktail. Simple and sweet.

 

Moscow Mule Mocktail from the Merrythought

 

½ cup ginger beer

3 tbsp fresh lime juice

3 tbsp club soda

Mix these ingredients in a copper mug about ¾ of the way full with crushed ice. Stir and garnish with a lime wedge. If you want to make a traditional cocktail version of this, replace some of the club soda with vodka. Enjoy!

Ring in 2016 With Meaningful Resolutions

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Not that any of your resolutions aren’t meaningful. New Year’s Eve fast approaches and I truly think it’s important to keep this year’s resolutions simple and mindful of your personal well-being. The usual trend is to make unrealistic promises to yourself and others, and stretch yourself too thin, resulting in disappointment and the opposite of intention of resolutions. What I mean by this is not necessarily pick out a new workout routine, but do things that are in your best interest. If that happens to mean getting a workout routine, then so be it, but not so much with the intention of getting that beach ready washboard hot body (cue the infomercial!). It’s time to keep the little things in mind that will help you have a more fulfilling, enjoyable new year!

Be Thankful Take a moment each day to remember what’s good in your life. It’s incredibly easy to slip into the, “Nothing is going my way” mode of thinking. It may sound like a total cliche, but make a list each day of what you’re thankful for. It will be a surprising mood booster.

Listen to More Music This doesn’t require looking at a screen! Yay! Put on some music while you do chores or relax instead of going straight to Netflix. You’ll have an enjoyable time.

Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself It’s easy when you’re in school or fresh out of college to have super high expectations. Rome wasn’t built in a day, remember? Write down realistic expectations and plans.

Don’t Be Lazy Either! Get some hobbies! If you have hobbies, work on them instead of watching tv so much. Take a walk. Ride a bike! Enjoy what your neighborhood has to offer!

And for a little added bonus – Read This!

 

Have a Happy, Healthy 2016!

 

 

(photo credit: studiodiy.com)

Last Minute DIY Gift Wrap Extravaganza!

It’s that time – we’re down to the wire here before Christmas comes knocking this Friday with silver bells and sleigh bells and bells a-ringing. If you’re a generous enough person to be a gift giver (I won’t hate on those of you who aren’t because I’ve gone that route too) then you’ve got some serious gift wrapping to undertake. And you’re on holiday break now, so there’s plenty of time for this kind of thing. For the best and most festive gift wrapping results, recruit your friends to join in, get some sugary snacks, throw on a good Christmas movie, and get going! Here are some fun and funky ways to package up all your gifts this year.

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  1. You crafty people with an affinity for the southwestern style, try this Cactus pom-pom DIY gift wrap from Proper Blog, here!

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  1. Couldn’t resist the Emoji gift wrap, because Emoji everything. Our language will eventually dwindle down to a bunch of ridiculous cartoon faces symbolizing all the complexities of life. Get the tutorial here!

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  1. For a more sophisticated, shimmery approach, try these 4 pretty gift topper ideas!

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  1. If you like the natural kraft paper look (I feel like I was doing this before it was cool!…ok don’t judge for that comment), jazz it up like this.

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  1. For the minimalist: pair this star garland with some kraft or black paper, as pictured. Makes for an adorable, stylish gift wrap!

You’re Not Going Home for the Holidays and That’s Totally OK

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Nearly everything in life has its pros and cons, and possibly silver linings. Going home for the holidays can be a gratifying, wonderful experience. It can also be highly stressful due to travel, chaotic scheduling, and too many people (with conflicting opinions and habits) cramped up in one space. So if you choose to stay where you are, with your cat, instead of braving holiday travel, there are plenty of ways to have a perfectly enjoyable holiday to yourself without all the hassle.

Get Nostalgic – If you love the comforts and fun activities of the holidays without all the stresses involved, make a list of your favorite holiday things to do. For many of us, it’s the sights and smells that trigger the happy nostalgia we associate with the winter holidays: lights, cinnamon and cloves, fresh baked cookies, garland, Christmas music. For example, I spent one evening making gingerbread cookies by myself. It was wonderfully fun and afterwards I had enough to pass out to a number of people as small gifts.

Get Together with Friends – You may not be the only one staying put for the holidays this year. Coordinate with friends to see who will still be in town and organize a holiday get-together. It can be as low key as a board game night, or maybe a white elephant gift party. Craft nights are also great fun for friends who have a creative side. Making Christmas tree ornaments is a rewarding way to spend an evening.

Christmas Movie Marathon – Make a list of your holiday favorites and binge watch with some popcorn! There’s no shame in watching movies by yourself (especially since you don’t have to confer with anyone else on your guilty pleasure favorites). Not all of us are tired of watching It’s a Wonderful Life. More appropriately, maybe an entire night of Home Alone movies is called for.

Don’t Let the Holidays Get You Down – If you have to work and that’s why you’re stuck at home, don’t despair. Set up a Skype or FaceTime call to your loved ones in lieu of attendance. Embrace your staycation, relax, and recharge for the new year ahead!

 

(photo credit: gatigats.tumblr.com)

Your Pre-Holiday Apartment Checklist

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Ready to bolt out of town and head home for the holidays?! Before you get to dashing through the snow and guzzling down hot chocolate with your family, make sure you have your apartment readied to be unoccupied while you’re away. Simple steps taken in advance can ensure your apartment and neighbors stay safe while you’re out of town.

A multitude of things can happen when nobody is keeping watch over the apartment. Pests, accidents, leaks, among others can wreak havoc if precautionary steps aren’t taken. It’s best to give your apartment a decent general cleaning, making sure there are no crumbs or food messes to attract critters. You can also tape up food boxes in your cabinets so nothing can easily get into them. So not only do you want your apartment to stay clean while you’re gone, but you also should make sure all appliances are unplugged to prevent any electrical problems. Notifying a neighbor of your impending absence and leaving your contact information with them is another way to stay informed and possibly prevent problems.

Before You Leave Checklist!

▢ Sweep

▢ Clean up kitchen and all food messes

▢ Remove all old or nearly expired food from refrigerator

▢ Take out trash

▢ Unplug all appliances

▢ Make sure all windows are locked

▢ Adjust thermostat to use less energy while away

▢ Make sure all water taps are off

▢ Tell a neighbor you’re leaving

▢ Pay all unpaid bills

▢ Put mail on hold

▢ Pack your device chargers

▢ Have a safe trip and a happy holidays!

 

(photo credit: wanderlusteurope.tumblr.com)

Thanksgiving Survival 101

thanks surv

It’s that time! The beginning of family holiday gatherings and once again you are thrown into the ring to fight and answer questions like, “So are you still single?”. Possibly your family gatherings are stern affairs where nobody says anything and everybody looks disgruntled. Maybe none of this applies to you and you have a great time, but it is still simply exhausting. Whatever the recipe may be, winter holidays are a wonderful, but sometimes overwhelming experience. Here are the easiest strategies for Thanksgiving survival this year:

Host Friendsgiving Before or After Family Thanksgiving This will help you have a comfortable and laid back experience to associate with the holiday even if real Thanksgiving was stressful. Do it potluck style to make it even easier.

Offer Lots of Help at Thanksgiving Dinner The more you have to do, the less you’ll get involved in conversations with people that you don’t want to have. Offer to do the dishes, which is a solitary task that will give you the option of getting out of the crowd.

Practice Changing the Conversation If it’s going in a direction you don’t want it to, gracefully change the topic. If you’re asked a personal question, politely reply with the fact that you would be happy to discuss it later.

Chaperone the Kids It’s highly unlikely kids are going to stress you out like the adults will, and you can get away with playing football outside or building lego castles while everybody else does the normal Thanksgiving routine.

Bring a Friend Families will be on their best behavior if you bring someone new into the mix. Chances are you have a friend who is too far from home to go for the holiday, so offer your celebration. It can be a win-win for both of you!

 

Happy Stress-Free Thanksgiving!