How I've Spent My Summer
I can't describe to you all how the state of our country has been affecting me. I will at a later time, but as it is, I'm still processing and still trying to get my thoughts in order, and I really want to make sure my thoughts are clear and unclouded by anger and sadness. Honestly, writing anything is really hard for me right now because it goes from 0-100 real quick and I find mundane conversations becoming a tirade against racism, sexism, or both. Luckily I wrote this post a few weeks ago, before my laptop broke and the country followed suit.
So let's pretend that all the stuff happening in our country isn't happening. Just for a second, shall we?
I start school next week.
Everything about entering my junior year of college has felt surreal. I'm still not completely sold on the fact that I only have a year left of college after this one. It just started!
That being said, every time I'm reminded about the impending semester, I'm instantly put into a frenzy. Everyday I get this shot of adrenaline and the ominous thought that "I'm not ready!"
As a result, I've been doing a lot of self improvement over the summer, all in an attempt to be ready for the next few years of my life. I just wanted to share what I've been trying out with you guys 1) to give y'all some inspiration if you're feeling a little stagnant and 2) to keep myself accountable and on track.
So here's what I've been up to this summer.
1. Journaling my devotionals
This has probably been the best choice I've made in terms of self improvement. I have the Youversion bible app which I use to read scripture and they've got loads of free devotionals to read through. I'm one of those people who can't handle a devotional over 7 days. Kind of like God making the earth in 7 days, I just start to get bored with it.
But after each week of devotionals, I open up my bullet journal and summarize the main points of the devotional, verses that stood out to me, and my overall takeaway from the devotional.
It really helps me remember what I've learned and track my progress.
I'm pretty school gave me the wrong idea about reading. Especially in college, all the reading you do isn't for fun. There's literally no time to read during the semester. You don't feel like cracking open Go Set a Watchman cause you already have to do 100+ pages of reading about communications research and theory building.
So this summer I decided that for the first time since I entered college, I'd read something that I actually want to read. Not something that was assigned to me. This doesn't have to be an intellectual theory book either, you don't have to put on airs for yourself. Screw a guilty pleasure, unashamedly read what you want to read.
This summer i read biographical serial killer books. I read Helter Skelter, the story of the Manson Murders (sooOoooOoooo good I can not recommend enough), and Ann Rule's The Stranger Beside Me, which is about Ted Bundy.
My mind was still kept active by reading this summer but it wasn't boring or exhausting. Reading actually felt fun for once, and replaced Netflix for a few days. Shocking.
3. Healthy Eating
Y'all already know how I feel about a vegan or vegetarian diet. I'm all on board, and each day I'm trying hard to commit. Because of my food allergies to literallly everything, it's harder for me to fully commit to the diet. That being said, there's nothing stopping me from eating healthy every day. I try to go meatless as often as possible, and my meat dishes have been #hellahealthy. Just make sure you're getting your veggies in, make sure you're drinking lots of water. Drinking water actually helps my next point.
Shameless plug: these recipes are from our HelloFresh boxes. Basically you pick meals for your family on HelloFresh and they send you all the ingredients, instructions, and nutrition info about the meals. And I have a promo code that gets you $40 off your order! So use code SKYHAYN for $40 off and free food!
4. Skincare and haircare
Skincare has become my favorite topic this summer. Drinking lots of water and keeping my routine every morning and every night before bed has been so gratifying. In the past I'd be putting lots of harmful chemicals on my face and hoping it'd make pimples go away. But this summer I've been very conscious of what's going in my body and on my skin. So I've shifted to more natural products like witch hazel, coconut oil, shea butter, and my skin has been responding better than it ever has.
Same goes for haircare. I'm at a point where I can honestly say my hair is where I want it to be right now. On my head. No I'm kidding. I mean length, texture, everything is on point right now. It's all because I've been consistently keeping my routine. Two washes a week, a deep condition every Sunday, a coconut oil mask before deep condition day. Weekly detangling. It's all in the routine. Now my hair is finally past boob length. I haven't straightened it in a year, and my hair is thanking me for it. What's better— I haven't had any desire to straighten it either!
Let me know if you're interested in hearing about my skincare routine or hair routine and I'll make a separate post on it!
I know. I know. I was shocked by this one too.
Since May I've actually kept up a consistent workout regimen. Don't get me wrong, it's nothing crazy. It's just a few squats and lunges every night. Maybe a bowflex program thrown in there once a week.
But it does make me feel good about myself and it keeps me at least a little bit more active than I was before.
Keep in mind, I've been doing all this while also working a full time internship, doing part time work at UMD, and sporadically writing my Mulattea posts. It's been hectic. And of course it's not always perfect. I'll miss a day of journaling, or forget to work out a few nights, but I'm constantly reminding myself that it's not the end of the world.
I don't know if you can see a pattern here, but I do. My idea of self improvement revolves around being aware and selective of what goes in my mind, body and spirit. This could be the exact opposite of your idea of self improvement, and that's cool. I'm all about that "truth is relative, we're all special snowflakes" wave. But for me, it's routinely curating what I put in my mind, body and spirit that has given me fulfillment.
I encourage you to try some of these things this week and see if it makes a difference. For me, it's made all the difference.