How to Enjoy Your Summer

How to Enjoy Your Summer

Looking for fun ways to spend this summer? Here is a list of different activities and events that are now available as California Begins to re-open! 

Find a Park: Find your local beach/park (or maybe plan a road trip!) and enjoy the outdoors. 

Summer 2021: In-person fairs and festivals in Southern California through September : Fairs are back! Here are their dates and where they will be this summer/incoming fall. We can smell the turkey legs and fried-everything already. 

Los Angeles and San Francisco museums reopening: The list : Who else misses romanticizing their life as they walk through museums? Here is the reopening list and guideline! Museums are great learning point as well as backdrops for your summer IG posts.

California reopening calendar: theme parks, museums, venues: Missing the thrills of roller coasters? Here is the reopening calendar, don’t let your masks fly off! 

25 Best Things to Do in California (2021):  Still unsure? Here is a miscellaneous list of what to do this summer, find one that best fits you. 

We have all had a rough year, the least we can do is enjoy this summer. Stay safe and enjoy this summer!

What is Burnout?

What is Burnout?

According to Help Guide, burnout is “a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.” This can happen in any setting: personal life and obligations, work, and especially school. With having to deal with all the changes due to the pandemic, it is no surprise that many of us have checked out long ago. The lack of physical interaction with family and friends, the change between in-person to virtual work/ school, and the losses of family and loved ones to the pandemic have all left us emotionally vulnerable. On top of this, workplaces and academia are still expecting the same, if not, better results from us which makes dealing with personal issues even harder.

Symptoms of burnout include: 

  • Feeling tired and drained most of the time.
  • Lowered immunity, frequent illnesses
  • Frequent headaches or muscle pain
  • Change in appetite or sleep habits
  • Sense of failure and self-doubt
  • Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
  • Detachment, feeling alone in the world
  • Loss of motivation
  • Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
  • Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment

If you recognize any of these symptoms, you might be facing burnout. As things begin to reopen in California, you might feel rushed to return “back to normal” however, it is ok to still be processing everything that has happened this past year. We are all experiencing this pandemic in a variety of ways and you should not feel rushed into being okay with everything that has happened. For this reason, we advise you to also take a break this summer from academia if that is something you need. 

Other ways to confront burnout include:

  • Setting boundaries: You don’t have to say yes to everything you are asked to do! Value your needs first. 
  • Use your time off: Use your pay time off, you earned it! In addition, take a break during the summer! This is the time to recharge and prepare for the upcoming semester. 
  • Indulge in things you enjoy: Sometimes we feel guilty for “wasting time” on things we enjoy, but there is no waste in doing something that helps/ betters you! You are investing in your well-being and that is valuable.  

These are just three tips to avoid burnout but the most important thing is recognizing it is happening. By recognizing it, you are then able to pace yourself and schedule yourself back on track! Burnout is normal and we all experience it, you deserve a break. We all do. 

Source: HelpGuide – Burnout Prevention and Treatment

How Reflecting Can Improve Our Lives

How Reflecting Can Improve Our Lives

Living through a global pandemic has completely changed the course of our lives. Over the past year, we have had to adjust to overnight changes that have affected the manner in which we conduct our daily activities. With all these changes also came plenty of opportunities to reflect on the obstacles we have faced and overcome. Going through hard times can make it difficult to reflect positively, but these challenges also present a perfect opportunity to turn hardship into valuable growth. Read below to learn the ropes of self-reflection and the best methods to maintain this type of thinking within a positive framework.

The Process of Self-Reflection

Self-reflection is the knowledge of your fundamental nature and essence. It is a skill that can be applied to oneself to learn more about who we are. To self-reflect there are four small steps that you can take: 

  • STOP: Take a step back from life or a particular situation.
  • LOOK: Identify and get perspective on what you notice and see.
  • LISTEN: Listen to your inner guide, the innate wisdom that bubbles up when you give it time and space to emerge.
  • ACT: Identify the steps you need to take moving forward to adjust, change or improve.

Now that you are familiar with the steps required behind the process of reflection let’s learn about when it comes in handy and the best methods to pursue. We typically have no problem self-reflecting when we find ourselves in conflict with other individuals or in a situation where we must question our behavior. However, it is also necessary and beneficial to reflect on cases where the act is not immediately innate. 

Some ways in which one can reflect in positive ways are: 

  • Focusing our reflection on achievements, not mistakes.
      1. Dwelling on the past can be harmful to the way we spend our time thinking. We all remember that very irrelevant incident that may have occurred but was likely quite embarrassing. Our mind tends to hold onto memories associated with intense feelings of embarrassment, sadness, or hurting. It is best to remind ourselves that no matter how much time we spend thinking about such moments, we cannot change what happened. Instead, we can look forward to future moments where opportunities will arise to create memories associated with happier feelings.
  • Remember the things we’ve done well. 
      1. This tip connects well with tip #1. As a way to direct your focus away from negative memories, we recommend balancing your thoughts by remembering the events that have gone well for you. It is imperative to pat yourself on the back every now and then to avoid the brain’s natural tendency to focus on what we did wrong. 
      2. Georgian Benta, the founder and host of The Gratitude Podcast, provides us with a simple example. “At the end of each day, go through what you experienced and find three things that you did right. It can be something as simple as driving to work and back safely, putting the final touch on a project, or being able to respond better to a difficult situation.”
  •  List things we appreciate about ourselves.
      1. As previously mentioned, our brain, at times, can be difficult to deal with. It can unwillingly narrow our focus on our flaws, whether they be mental or physical. An excellent way to tackle this issue would be to create a list including things you appreciate about yourself. Georgian Benta suggests that helps with the achievement of a healthy self-image and confidence building. Benta quotes one of his podcast guests, Rino Soriano: “The more value you find in yourself, the more appreciative you are of your life and everyone else.” 
  • Talk it over with a trusted friend.
      1. Analyzing things from solely your own perspective can be limiting because we only see what our brain allows us to see. Discussing things with a trusted individual can bring us a new perspective that can impact our thinking moving forward. By having different perspectives, we can think about the event we’re churning over and where it really stands in the scale of things. 

Time to Self-Reflect: 

To get some ideas flowing on how we can best reflect, here is a worksheet to get started. For those of us who like to write out our thoughts, journaling is a great way to reflect too! Some questions we can write about are:    

  • In what ways have you grown as a person this year? What/who has influenced you? And what have you learned?
  • Write about your top 3 goals. What are they, how will you feel when you achieve them, and finally, what will your life look like?

Meditation is another suggestion for those of us who aren’t inclined to write as much. Remember, it is essential to recognize our struggles and our achievements. Reflecting in a positive manner can show us where improvements in our lives can be made. Benefits of positive reflection include; improved self-awareness improved confidence, provide perspective, facilitate a deeper level of thinking. All are vital to a healthy mind and a great way to perform an act of self-care. 

By LIZBETH MARQUES TORRES, ASHLY MORALES

How to Practice Gratitude and Mindfulness

How to Practice Gratitude and Mindfulness

For many of us, practicing mindfulness can often be as elusive as finding the end of the rainbow or any magical creature. Practicing mindfulness can take on many forms. 

So what is mindfulness? 

Mindfulness is defined as a mental state of awareness or being in the present moment. Practicing mindfulness can be as simple as bringing attention to one’s breath or meditating. Other forms of practicing mindfulness may include taking a walk free from distractions, from our phone, or other forms of technology. At the heart of mindfulness is focusing on one single thing at a time. Anything that assists you with concentrating on the task at hand can be considered a way of practicing mindfulness. Now that we’ve defined mindfulness let’s look at how we can practice mindfulness in a modern world full of distractions.

How to practice mindfulness

  • Take a break from technology 
    • Don’t check your phone first thing in the morning. 
    • Instead, read a book, journal, make a list, or stretch. 
    • Eliminating electronics at the beginning of the day can reduce anxiety, stress, and worry. 
    • At night, avoiding electronics a few hours before going to bed can help us sleep better and wake up more rested. 
  • Go outdoors 
    • Go for a walk and leave your phone at home. 
    • By doing this, you remain present while being active. 
    • Look for new things on your path, pay attention to flowers, clouds, trees, or birds.

Noticing the changing of the seasons in nature is a great way to stay in the present. 

  • Focus on doing only one thing at a time. 
    • If you’re eating or cooking, turn off the television, podcasts, radio, etc. 
    • If you’re ready to take mindfulness head-on, take a yoga class or practice a breathing technique. 
      • Incorporating regular mindfulness practices into our daily lives can be a life-long journey. 

Take your time and enjoy the process. 

By JOSE LUIS MENDEZ ENTREKIN

Mental Health Resources for the AAPI Community

Mental Health Resources for the AAPI Community

Anti-Asian hate had been a persistent issue going back to when the Covid-19 pandemic began where the previous presidential administration partially and falsely blamed the Asian community. Eventually, escalating to the repeated attacks on the Asian community leading to one of the most recent shootings in Atlanta that left 8 people dead amid the rise of hate crime against Asian Americans. Social media platforms and news outlets have brought a highlight to this struggle by remembering the unfortunate lives that have been lost but also bringing a call to action on issues that have been long ignored. 

 Since March of 2020, over 3,800 cases of Anti-Asian hate have been reported. Although there have been fewer reports in cities like Chicago some claim that it might be due to other factors like a language barrier or immigration status. However, it is important to understand that these acts of hate crime are never justifiable and come with consequences. Reporting a hate crime should not be ignored because it could help prevent similar or worse encounters in the Asian community that we have seen.  

We understand that during these times of uncertainty, mental health can be a problem and it’s important to know where to find help or resources that can help you or your loved ones. Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders (AAPI) mental health experts have shared the following mental health resources specifically for Asian American communities designed to help those who may need a way to cope. If you feel anxious, overwhelmed, or fearful feel free to check these mental health resources or share them with anyone that might find them useful. 

Resources:

  • COVID-19: Reducing Stigma
    • Check out this video on how to reduce stigma. This video is part of the Asian American Mental Initiative COVID-19 and Mental Health video series. Stigma and discrimination can occur when people link with a particular group, which can create fear or anger to these people. The purpose of this video is to bring awareness of these situations and provide useful resources. 
  • Asian American Psychological Association 
    • Focuses on using research, education, policy, and professional practice to advance the mental health and well-being of Asian communities. Also provides fact sheets on Asian mental health concerns, anti-bullying information, and Asian American LGBTQ resources.

By KAREN DAYANA PEREZ, MILEIDI CASTILLO