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My Principles of Being Hot, Healthy and Happy in 2022

As typical as a beginning-of-year revelation may sound, I’ve been extremely adamant about improving all areas of my life this year. Of these specific areas, I’ve spent an insane amount of time focusing on my confidence, health and happiness.

Sure, it’s not even May yet. But in the first five months of 2022, I acknowledged that I am simply a human being who is capable only of what my body allows me to do. In this way, I set goals that are realistic for my lifestyle!

That being said, I don’t expect these principles to work for everyone. But, to be fair, I made these principles extremely subjective so that the majority of 20-year-old college students (like me) can be happier, sooner.

Keep reading if you are actively willing to make some commitments this year, for the better!

LIMIT YOUR DRINKING AND/OR SMOKING.

Interestingly enough, this principle kick-started my journey of self-growth in 2022. For years, I’ve drank and smoked socially. This resulted in a nicotine addiction that I’ve lived with for over five years.

Finally, after getting COVID in January, I decided to quit the nasty habit. This was one of the toughest things I’ve done so far, but it’s worth it in the end.

In addition to nicotine, I’ve decreased my consumption of alcohol. On rare occasions, I may have a glass of wine with dinner, but I still know that these two things no longer serve me!

I recommend you lessen your drinking or smoking habit to see if it makes you feel better. As always, my reactions to these toxins may not coincide with yours!

EXERCISE EVERY DAY.

In relation to quitting nicotine, I decided that exercise would become my new addiction. My friends and family were unanimously shocked when I told them I have been going on runs willingly.

Now that I’ve gotten in the habit of dragging myself to the gym, my body feels so much better. I’ve noticed that the best days of my week coincide with the days that I’m most active.

Luckily, on the days that I don’t go to the gym, I still end up walking a fair amount. To be fair, walking is pretty inevitable on Penn State’s ginormous campus. So, if gyms aren’t your thing, I recommend that you try to go on a brisk walk!

Gym selfies Arden Ericson
Original photo by Arden Ericson
Make some smoothies!

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with making smoothies. Smoothies are great for soaking up some nutrients that you may not get otherwise.

For my daily smoothie, I like to include protein powder, collagen powder, greens powder, mango, pineapple, dragonfruit and almond milk. If I want something sweeter, I use almond butter, banana and dates. I normally drink this smoothie for breakfast.

Another benefit to smoothies is the frozen fruit. Although fresh fruit may be more satisfying to prepare, frozen fruit lasts so much longer in the freezer! I find that I end up wasting way less produce by freezing my fruit.

Smoothie ingredients blender
Original photo by Arden Ericson
DEVELOP A SKINCARE ROUTINE.

Hopefully, you already have a routine of washing your face. If not, it’s not too late to begin! While finding products that work for you may be tedious, your skin will thank you in the long run.

Before anything else, find out what type of skin you have. I have oily and dry skin so I opt for combination products. Many people swear by brands such as CeraVe and the Ordinary, but I love La Roche-Posay. Available at Ulta Beauty, La Roche-Posay is a relatively affordable skincare brand.

Right now, I use La Roche-Posay’s Gentle Face Cleanser, Clarifying Acne Toner and Double-Repair Face Moisturizer with SPF 30. While this product is more on the expensive side, I recommend Murad’s InvisiScar treatment to anyone who struggles with acne scars. I use this product twice per day and it has cleared my scars tremendously!

WAKE UP EARLY.

I’m guessing that this will be pretty difficult to do if you aren’t already in the habit of waking up early. Believe me, I know how tempting it is to sleep in if you don’t have any responsibilities until 1 or 2 P.M. But let me tell you, as soon as I’ve started waking up early on a regular basis, my routine improved drastically.

Every morning, I wake up at 8 A.M. naturally. This is definitely not what other people classify as early, but it works for me! I let myself sleep in a little on the weekends, but for the most part, my sleep is consistent.

Since I make myself wake up earlier, I have time to eat breakfast, work out and catch up on work before my classes. This makes such a difference in my schedule since I’m no longer cramming before each class.

Try waking up an hour earlier than you normally do. I bet you’ll be surprised by how much you get done!

PAMPER YOURSELF WHEN NECESSARY.

This principle will differ from person to person depending on your financial situation and your own preferences. No matter how small or large, give yourself a reward every so often to recognize your hard work!

That being said, I like to get my lashes done once every month. I got my first set of lash extensions at the beginning of the year just for fun. Now, every month, I get a new set.

I love this routine because it makes me feel so pampered. Also, I rarely wear makeup anymore! Lash extensions are a win-win for my skin and my confidence.

Remember that rewards don’t have to be extravagant. Don’t hesitate to get new nail polish or treat yourself to a milkshake. You deserve it!

ALLOW YOURSELF TIME TO RECOVER.

Weekdays, for me, are extremely busy. I’m always working on a project, sending emails or cleaning my apartment. While I do have the energy for this since I budget my time, I tend to take it easy on the weekends.

That being said, I’m no stranger to spending my entire Saturday in bed. Although some people may see this as lazy, I see this as rewarding myself for getting through another tough week.

Since I’m very active, my muscles also need time to relax before I begin a new week. I love to cuddle in bed with my cat as I read a book for leisure. I swear that nothing beats those moments.

Reading book with cat
Original photo by Arden Ericson

Thanks for reading! I hope that these principles make you happier and healthier, sooner.

Arden Ericson plans to graduate from Penn State in 2023. She is majoring in Public Relations and French Language. She is very passionate about social justice, literature, and music.
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