2017, as we know, has come to an end. Presented with the new year, we’re given new opportunities and ventures to yearn to become a better individual in the end. Now, I’m not advocating the “new year, new me” motto, because the truth is trying to utterly change the person you are doesn’t always work out. By trying to embody this new personality, you aren’t truly being yourself, being someone who’s tried this before. I found myself falling back into my old cyclical ways. Make out with the old and in with the new this 2018, and try new things!  

Something I do regularly, and I highly recommend is meditation. Meditation is great for anxiety and stress, or if you just want to relax I believe everyone can benefit from it. I know with school, work, and other extracurriculars that it can get very stressful, so make mental health your number one priority this year and try out meditation. Not sure how to begin meditating? I first started by following along to guided tutorials on YouTube, believe it or not; they’re immensely helpful! A youtuber I always watch is Hitomi Mochizuki, who absolutely deserves all the subscribers in the world. Hitomi frequently posts guided meditations which are just enlightening and radiates an amazing energy the entirety of the video. Not only that, but if you’re looking to increase your sense of spirituality, she has done many videos talking about spirituality, manifestation, and mindfulness.  

Personally, when I meditate I like to light a few candles and hold crystals in my palms; I find that the crystals produce more mental clarity to focus. If you don’t have crystals, that’s totally fine. Sometimes I find myself dabbing on some essential oils into my skin, which I’ve been really into lately, before I begin. Lavender is especially euphoric with its calming properties, and I use that and lemongrass by far the most. While you’re meditating, you want to feel like you’re fully existing and can let go of any negative energy with ease. I usually meditate for about twenty minutes, but feel free to do it for more if you need to.  

Going hand in hand with meditation, practicing mindfulness boosts your mindset and attitude. For anyone who doesn’t know, mindfulness is when your mind is fully awake and aware of what’s around us; in a few words being able to be present in the moment we’re in. It helps us not to be consumed in thought by stressing or being overwhelmed. The easiest way in my opinion to begin to practice it is to just think about something that makes you happy. When you have the happy thought cemented in your mind, focus on that energy and keep it with you for the rest of the day; or saying a mantra is effective too. Some things to help get started is to really observe the present moment as it is, learning to let your judgements to glide by. Then return to the present moment fully, now you can see how it’s a practice to have to keep coming back again and again to the present moment after observing. It only takes a few minutes a day to practice mindfulness; a great way to de-stress and live your life to its fullest.

Even though we’re living in the digital age with all the technology we could ever need at our fingertips, the best way to capture the present moment in the present is to  take a picture. Using our phone cameras is usually the main way we photograph things, because if we have phones with a camera already built in; what’s the point to go out and buy a separate camera? I know people say to let old things die in the past, but I don’t want to leave certain things in the past. Old cameras are dying out, which in my opinion kind of sucks. I don’t know about anyone else, but I think old cameras are one of the coolest things ever they just fascinate me and I’m not sure why. Personally, I prefer physical photographs over digital ones, there’s just something about them! It’s sort of like they make it so it’s fun to take pictures. Some of my favorite cameras to use are disposable cameras, polaroid, and my canon QL 35mm. Shooting with any sort of film is always fun and if you aren’t big into taking pictures, I challenge you to take more pictures this year; photograph everything! Go out and get a disposable camera and you’ll find how much fun you can have with it.  

The last thing to try in the new year is to be in nature more. As we continue to grow in the digital age with more and more technological advances, some of us are losing sight of reality. I hope nobody reading this feels this way, but a lot of young people are becoming consumed by social media, drawn into the online world which isn’t reality. When’s the last time you went somewhere without your phone? Make time this year to get outside without any distractions and explore. I understand we all have busy schedules, but taking only a couple minutes out of your day to go outside can have such an impact and help you to better appreciate the beauty of this amazing world around us.  



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