Tuesday, December 22, 2020

What to Do When You are Bored! (No phones required)

 By Hannah Marie Watch

Since we all are cooped up in our houses and we aren’t really doing anything it can be very easy to just pick up your phone and go on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. But that is all our lives are cooped up with ELECTRONICS! So why don’t you try something on the list provided. NO PHONES REQUIRED!!!

  • Give yourself a manicure or pedicure. 

  • Try out a new hairstyle or experiment with your hair.

  • Take a bubble bath. 

  • Doodle, color, or draw on some paper. 

  • Write a poem or write in a journal.

  • Take a nap.

  • Read a book.

  • Stretch.

  • Bake something. 

  • Meditate.

  • Write a poem.

  • Write a letter to your future self.

  • Take a long shower.

  • Drink tea or coffee.

  • Cuddle with a pet or people you love.

  • Plan a future trip. ( NO Looking stuff up!)

  • Write a book or story. On paper!

  • Organize your closet, or do a full-blown closet clean-out.

  • Start a DIY project.

  • Do your laundry.

  • Tye-dye.

  • Do something crafty.

  • Make a bucket list.

  • Read a magazine.

And once you have tried all of these things or some of them add it to your day instead of spending 12+ hours on your phone.

Friday, December 11, 2020

How to Maintain Good Mental Health and Manage Stress During the Pandemic

 By: Grace Pereira

How COVID-19 Effects Mental Health

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a drastic effect on people’s mental health, and teens especially feel the burden of this eight month isolation. The familiar routines and usual ways of life have suddenly shifted to an uncomfortable cycle. Many days may feel like an endless loop on repeat. Quarantine has replaced the real-life connection between peers, friends, teachers, and coaches; to pixels on a screen. Our human desire for face-to-face interaction with others outside of family members is left unsatisfied, and mental health decline is the result.

In addition, the new teaching methods and this unfamiliar school system results in a lot of unforeseen stress. The struggle to maintain good grades using only a Zoom lecture ruptures the capacity to remain focused and motivated to learn. Without someone physically present to guide students, or a peer to work with in the classroom, the assignments may pile up and it is easy to become engulfed in negative emotions and stress.

While these negative effects of new stress and mental health struggles are daunting to say the least, here are a few methods to cope with these feelings and begin a flexible lifestyle that can adapt to this isolation era.

Taking Care of Your Mental Health

  • Take some time to relax. Take deep breaths, stretch, meditate, or take a nap to recharge and clear your mind.

  • Call or text a friend. Let them know how you are feeling, and ask them the same. Communicate your feelings to each other, this way you have an outlet for your emotions and can share advice.

  • Talk to family members. Even though we have been stuck with only our family for months on end, day in and day out, communication is key. Inform them if there is something that they are doing that bothers you, and ask for comfort if you are feeling down.

  • Find something new to be passionate about. Whether it’s learning a new instrument, drawing, exercising, or simply writing in a journal, focusing on something new keeps your mind busy, and you may find a new source of happiness, especially since there is more time for it.

  • Take a break from your phone. Yes, this is the cliche every parent says is the cause of all “teen problems”, but there are truly downsides of this constant social media pressure. Sometimes we end up comparing ourselves to others, and in addition, not everything we see on our phones is positive, it’s just designed to capture our attention. So take a break and do something fun and productive!

  • Take care of your body. It is so important to stay healthy, especially right now. Make sure to practice good hygiene, always remember to eat, and exercise. Your physical health can have a direct impact on your emotions.

Tips for Managing Stress

  • Stay focused and on-task with a schedule. List out what you have to do in a day, and assign adequate time for each task. By checking things off the list, you can feel more motivated, and become more productive.

  • Prioritize the important things. Don’t spend time worrying about things that have not occurred yet, and those which you have no control over. Handle every day at a time, and focus on what is important to you. 

  • Get enough sleep. It is important to get 8-10 hours of sleep every night, so you can wake up and feel ready to make the most of your day.

  • Use practical coping skills. Break a hard task into smaller tasks, and do them one at a time to the best of your ability. You do not have to be perfect!

  • Be positive. Now, more than ever, it is easy to become worried due to the seriousness and stigma of COVID-19. Try to eliminate intrusive thoughts, and look for a bright side. Offer support to loved ones and your community to help yourself and others feel more stable during uncertainty.

We Are in This Together

No matter what, we must keep moving forward and try our best to adjust to these unprecedented times. Even though sometimes you may feel isolated and alone, know that everyone is experiencing this for the first time as well. We are all in this together. If you or a loved one needs extra help, don’t hesitate to call the numbers below, or to speak to a professional.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255

Warren County 24 Hour Crisis Hotline: 908-454-5141

2nd Floor Youth Helpline (Call or text): 888-222-2228

SAMHSA's National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)





By: Hannah Marie Watch

This year, holidays are different and it will be hard for us to get together with family, exchange gifts, share holiday cheer, carol,and more. And with so many new rules put in place, we have been a little lost. Plus with social distancing and wearing masks it is hard to show family and friends how much you care about them. So during this time we need a little inspiration. How are you going to give your family and friends gifts? How are you going to sing carols? How are you going to spread holiday cheer? 

Well for starters, there is the post office and that way you can send gifts. And yes, it might cost some money, but, would you rather not send anyone a gift or would you rather spend a little more money to show love to everyone? Personally, I would just spend the five or six bucks more.

Singing carols is fun ,yes, but how are we going to do it? Well you can social distance and sing with masks on, but who would want to do that? Instead, why don’t you make a video of everyone who you carol with, record and send it to your neighbors, friends, Mom, Dad, Aunt June, Uncle Barry, who ever.

Seeing family and friends is going to be hard with social distancing and masks, but you can always try calling them on new sites and apps like Facetime (IOS), Google Duo (ANDROID), Zoom, Doxie Me etc. This will make it easier to see them without fiscal contact. (And, here's a tip: you can not Facetime an android user if you are an IOS user),

To sum up, here are some ways you can spread holiday cheer:

1. Send local police thank you cards

2. Send hospital workers cards

3. Send gifts

4. Zoom family members

5. Show some support to a local business

6. Send love to distant relatives and so forth.

Holiday cheer is easy to spread the question is: How and who will you show and spread holiday cheer to?

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Body Image in the Age of Social Media

By: Elise Stefankiewicz

Hi and welcome back to another one of my articles, which is basically an inside scoop on my weekly thoughts. I feel like, every week, we just get closer as you read what I am thinking about. This week I want to talk about something that I know will hit home for everyone, which is body image and the false picture our society has painted of it. Body image is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror. We all are very familiar with social media, obviously, because it is what our generation thrives off of. It is a way of expressing yourself and in a way our own personal time capsules but it does have its many downfalls.

When it comes to teens’ mental health and body image, social media has a huge impact. Now more than ever, we are constantly bombarded with images of “perfect people.” We respond to social media because our brains have become wired to do so. Whether it is our friends, celebrities, influencers, or TikTokers, it is inevitable to compare yourself to who is popping up on your Instagram feed or your for you page. This causes many teens including myself to feel inferior compared to those who we choose to follow. We have to realize, however, that FaceTune and other photo editing tools exist. And everyone uses them. We can NOT compare ourselves to touched up photos of our favorite artists. 

However, our generation is breaking down what society has constructed as the beauty standard and the ideal body type. More people are starting to open up about the struggles that they experience when comparing themselves to the standards that have been set by society. Many popular singers, such as Taylor Swift, have made statements about their own struggles. More recently a sixteen year old girl named Sienna Gomez blew up on TikTok, gaining 11 million followers in a very short amount of time. She normalizes what normal bodies look like and is a huge role model for young girls everywhere. 

Body image and struggling with how you view your appearance in the mirror has been a problem surfacing around teen girls and women in general. However, this is a very real topic that everyone struggles with, not just women, but men too. We forget that men have these struggles too because they are expected to be herculean in everything. Their struggles aren't always brought to light. Hopefully, our generation is changing what society has constructed as the ideal body type for both women and men. This will be an amazing change that will help many, no matter their gender. You are more than your appearance and you are more than a number on a scale. Your weight is not your worth. 

Jill Biden’s Favorite Cookies Hit Different: Here's Why

By: John Stracco

As someone who dives deep into the political landscape everyday and only seems to crawl deeper into the abyss of darkness that is American politics, I figured all Americans could use a pick me up in the form of future first lady Dr. Jill Biden’s favorite cookies. Yes, you heard me right. As an avid baker as well I like to dive deep into recipes and try new things so when an opportunity arose to combine politics and baking I just knew it had to be done.

Now what are Jill Biden’s favorite cookies you may ask? The answer would be an oatmeal round with cranberries and chocolate chunks, also known as the perfect chewy, melty, cold winter day cookie needed to warm your heart as this abysmal year comes to a close. The recipe is surprisingly simple and combines fall flavors of cinnamon with cranberries and chocolate chips. The bittersweet chips and tart berries combine for a perfect sweet taste inside a chewy oatmeal cookie.

The cookies are large, thick, and taste best right out of the oven when warm. The chocolate will melt away in your mouth and you will instantly feel the joy of the holidays gather around you. Anyway, I digress, these cookies earn a solid 11/10 and I would recommend if you enjoy baking or trying new things, regardless of your political views, you take 45 minutes out of your day and bake these bad boys. (Link Posts Below)

Jill Biden's Chunky Oatmeal Rounds: The Boston Globe

These are the finished products of the cookies I made :)

Reviews by Ava Tanis

The 2nd

Coming at you with another movie review! This week’s movie of choice was The 2nd, an action/thriller that was released on Netflix just a few days ago in early December 2020. Its title references the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as it details the story of a secret agent and his son’s attempt to derail a terrorist plot attempting to use the daughter of a Supreme Court Justice to manipulate his ruling on a Second Amendment issue. This brand new movie is currently unrated; however, its sometimes graphic scenes and use of strong language do not lend it well to younger audiences. 

Overall, the plot is quite basic but it makes for a comfy action experience. It is only truly suspenseful a select few times throughout, although the climax toward the end of the movie will keep you on your toes. Other than getting a little mushy in the middle, the movie is not intensely emotional. Effects-wise, The 2nd is quite unrealistic, which, combined with the sometimes underwhelming acting, definitely takes away from the thrill of the action and makes the whole movie feel somewhat elementary. 

The 2nd features classic action movie cinematography and ends on a major cliffhanger with a lot of fragments of the plotline unresolved, so if you are not fond of movies that leave questions unanswered, it may not be for you. Depending on your sense of humor, it may offer some comedy alongside the action. “This is my weight room, b****,” said completely unironically, is a fan favorite of many corny lines that unintentionally add to the amusement of the movie. 

In general, The 2nd is a lighthearted action movie that is fun for a boring night, but it is not in any sense groundbreaking. If you are interested in exploring a brand new movie with less-known actors, this is the one for you.