First Day of College | Hopes & Fears

First Day of College | Hopes & Fears

I’m finally doing it – going back to school. I’m more than a little nervous – about all sorts of things. Will I be able to handle it? Can I really be a single mom going to college full-time? Can I write all the papers, take all the tests, give all the presentations? Probably. Actually, my therapists say “YES. YOU CAN. AND YOU WILL.” So I guess I’ll be fine ūüôā I need to do this.

I’m in a different place now than I was 12 years ago. Yeah, I’m single again, and I’m definitely not looking for a relationship, just like last time. But I have three kids depending on me now, looking up to me and how I deal with school. I’m hoping to find a desk we can all use after school, during homework time. Neither kid had homework last year, which didn’t sit well with me. So I’m hoping that their teachers this year assign them some sort of work we can do together. Setting up a good homework routine is high on my list of to-dos in the first month of school. Setting goals will be KEY in my being successful.

On a lighter note, school supplies! I first noticed them at Target the first weekend of July. It took a lot of restraint not to buy everything right then. And the stuff in the Dollar Spot? So cute! I think I’m going to have to rearrange the living room soon to make a “school spot” and decorate it. I ended up buying four black and white notebooks (on sale 4 for $3). That’s the extent of my school supplies, other than my ridiculously overpriced used textbooks. I’ll buy more when I know what I need. *Note to self – you need a flash drive!

I’ll be using my inkWELL Press Academic Planner for this school year. I have been using it since the end of July and it already holds my older kids’ school schedule and Hannah’s preschool schedule. I go back and forth on which pens I use. Sometimes, I use InkJoy Gel pens¬†(despite the bad reviews – I have never had an issue with any of mine), sometimes the Sharpie pens. Most of the time, I just use a pen from the bank, the doctor or a hotel. I don’t think I’ll get all fancy with my study notes like everyone on StudyBlr¬†though. Way too time-consuming.

As I go through my school year, I’m hoping to learn some tips and tricks to share with other single moms who are in school or want to go back but are hesitant. I put off my dreams for twelve years because I was told I was just a mom and that’s who I had to be. I wasn’t “allowed” to do anything else. I could have hobbies, sure. And I did, like ¬†photography, writing and reading. I didn’t think I could ever contribute anything meaningful to society, or accomplish goals other than washing dishes, doing laundry and cleaning up vomit. I have goals (some are pretty lofty!) and I can still be a mom – a good mom – while living out my dreams.

None of the links are affiliate links. I don’t do that at this time. I just genuinely love the products!

First Day of College | Hopes & Fears

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How I Set Myself Up For Writing Success

Finding sufficient time to write – as a single mom and full-time student – can be challenging at best. I am often forced to get creative with my time and space. I don’t have an office, or even a desk, so having a laptop is beneficial, since it’s small and portable, as opposed to a desktop computer. I’ve thought about just getting a desktop setup but I would need the room for a desk big enough to hold a monitor, tower, keyboard and mouse. I would be chained to the desk anytime I wanted to write.

In order for me to have a successful writing session, I do a few things.

  • I look ahead in the calendar – when will my kids be gone? What do we have going on at certain times in the day? When I figure these times out, I put a note in my planner to write on those days.
  • This sounds obvious, but I make sure my devices are charged, especially my laptop, since it only holds a charge for about 15 minutes.
  • I make a short list of things I need to write (one of my many WIPs, or a blog post) and how many I want to write.
  • Once I have time blocked out (usually an hour at a time), I sit down with some ice water and peanut butter m&ms.
  • I use the timer app on my phone to keep me on task.
  • Sometimes, if I’m writing to hit a word count, I will use the NaNoWriMo Word Sprints function. (Pro tip: if you click the DARE ME button under the timer, it gives you prompts to use for your story!)

Camp NaNoWriMo has come and gone. I ended it a few days early, hitting my word count of 10,000 words around July 25th. I lowered my word count from 30,000 to 10,000 because it just wasn’t a realistic number with everything going on in my life right now. November will be here before you know it, so I’ll try again then (except¬†my word goal will be 50,000!)

My new habit will be writing at least 500 words every day. I found a few great articles to help give you some inspiration! Jeff Goins has a 31-day challenge (not sure if it’s still going on – I never received the daily prompts – but still useful advice!) Are you a morning person (or do you want to be?) Here’s a post about getting up early to write 500 words. And also a post about what writing 500 words a day can do for you.

Get writing!!

How I Set Myself Up For Writing Success | Beth Gets Brave

 

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When You’re In A Bad Mood

When You're in a Bad Mood | Beth Gets Brave

It’s hard, day in and day out, doing the same things. Feeling the same feelings. Fighting the same battles. I used to have a really tough time getting out this hole – deep, dark, bottomless but I’ve learned some tips to make my bad days seem…not so bad.

DRINK WATER

It’s obviously the healthiest beverage choice and the cheapest. I keep a 64oz container of water in the fridge, ready to go when I need it. Staying hydrated is important anyway – but this is the best choice when you are grumpy. Caffeine makes me jittery and hurts my stomach, which doesn’t do anything to improve my mood, no matter how good it may taste at the time.

GRATITUDE

I am grateful for so much in my life. My kids. My family. My friends (it still makes me smile, writing friends. I spent many years alone.)¬†After all that’s happened, I look back on how far I’ve come – and my kids – and remember that God used that experience to shape me into what I am now – and what I have yet to become. Sit down and make a list of everything you are grateful for today.

MUSIC

Listening to some music usually helps me feel better. I use Spotify¬†and have certain playlists I go to when I’m feeling icky. My current favorites are the Moana soundtrack (especially¬†Shiny)¬†and my Christian radio playlist. Unfinished by Mandisa and Hard Love by NeedToBreathe are some really motivating ones!

EXERCISE

I hate exercise. I hate being outside. I hate being sweaty. But there’s something about moving, burning calories, that makes me feel so much better when I’m done. My current go-to is walking, but I’ve been thinking about trying yoga – I know my kids would love it – and the benefits are endless.¬†Do you have any tips, YouTube channels or advice on how to get started with yoga, especially as someone who is not flexible at all?

MAKE A LIST

Sometimes, I make a simple to-do list, adding things like: eat breakfast, wash the dishes, take a shower. When life gets crappy, seeing even routine things crossed off a physical list can be powerful.

JOURNAL

Write it all out. Get it down on paper, or type it out on your computer or phone. It can help you sort through what’s making you so grumpy. It’s like venting to a friend. Or…

CALL SOMEONE

Reach out to a trusted friend or family member. Most of the time, they will be more than willing to listen and they may even have some suggestions. Bonus points if they meet with you in person. Sometimes, when you feel crappy, you don’t want to be alone.

GET A HOBBY

Find something you genuinely love to do. For me, it’s taking photos of my kids, writing YA paranormal fiction and reading through the Harry Potter series.

When all else fails, lounge on the couch and binge-watch some Parks & Rec or Supernatural. Sometimes, you just need to feel crappy for a little while. Just don’t let it go on too long!

 

When You're in a Bad Mood | Beth Gets Brave

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5 Tips For Staying Healthy in College

Tips For Staying Healthy in College | Beth Gets Brave

The semester started for me last Monday. Between the issues going on in my personal life and figuring out how to manage college and homework and kids and life and bills…I consumed an obscene amount of Mountain Dew. I also tend to skip meals when my kids are gone, because I don’t have anyone around asking for snack after snack. (And if we’re really being honest, I don’t eat because of anxiety.)

Drink water

This seems obvious. It’s also something¬†I don’t do as much as I should. I mean, I have a 64oz bottle sitting on my counter, I always forget to grab it and fill it up. I don’t really like flavored waters or anything like that, but if you do, there are so many combinations you can try!

Walk as much as possible

This won’t be an issue on the days I have to go to class. Parking spots are hard to come by in the mornings, so I just park in any spot – and it always happens to be really far away from the main doors. I also try to head out on the trail by the lake when the kids are gone. It makes things easier when I get ready as I get the kids packed up and just head out the door when they do. (I’ll be honest – sometimes I’d rather go back to bed!)

Make healthy lunch and snack choices

This is another area where I fail. I am super picky when it comes to food, and it seems that as I get older and the anxiety gets its hooks in deeper, my stomach just can’t handle much anymore. I am learning (painfully) what I can eat and what I can’t. Sadly, coffee doesn’t make the cut, unless it’s decaf and who wants to drink that?! I mostly live off of cheese and Pretzel Fish (Pepperidge Farm Goldfish pretzels).

As I was sitting in class last week (I had skipped breakfast because of anxiety), I took a few minutes to write down some snack ideas to being with me each week. I’ve really been into almonds lately, and I like those dark chocolate covered pretzels you can get at Costco.

Try not to skip breakfast

English muffins with peanut butter and a glass of orange juice are my go-to breakfast. Sometimes some slices of pineapple or whatever fruit I have in the fridge for the kids. It’s easier for me to eat breakfast when my kids are home – I pop some English muffins in the toaster while making Lauren’s waffles.

Get to bed early

I aim for 10 pm. I usually can’t sleep the whole night so at 4 am, I get up and try to do some homework. I read somewhere that 4-6am is when your brain works the best. I’ll have to try it for a few weeks to see if really works!

Bonus tip: Have a morning routine

I wrote about this last week! You can read about it here. I will eventually have to tweak it when the kids start school in a few weeks and we get a more permanent schedule.

Do you have any tips or tricks on how to stay healthy while you are going to school?

Tips For Staying Healthy in College | Beth Gets Brave

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