For me, the end of the year always brings about some deep self-reflection. I like to glance back at the year and consider the major changes, the obstacles, the struggles, and the successes that helped me grow as an individual. Specifically, I related back to some of the worthwhile tools that helped me in a significant way in 2018. Each of these investments has been truly life-changing and I hope to share these hacks with you. Perhaps you’ll find some value in using them too.
I started listening to many podcasts that have sparked new ideas and provided new insights, knowledge, and wisdom from various individuals’ lives and careers. If you don’t already listen to podcasts, I highly recommend giving it a try. Podcasts are an excellent way of on-the-go learning and have made my commute time much more satisfying. My favourite podcast is Freakonomics, which explores issues from every aspect of life and dissects it in a way that is both easily understandable and entertaining.
As someone who always has a racing mind that leaps from idea to idea, I found it particularly difficult to relax my mind at night. Some nights I would lie awake for hours (or for an entire 7 hours!) blankly staring at the ceiling. Meditation has been a life-saving hack that helps me stay mindful and detach myself from my mind. Many free apps and websites such as YouTube provide free videos and audios of guided meditation that teaches the foundation of meditation.
Ever since purchasing a vacuum sealable, heat-retaining water bottle, I have changed my water drinking habits forever. For many years, I had a small, aluminum water bottle that did not retain heat at all. The bottle could not keep ice water cold nor hot water warm. Having a dependable vacuum sealed bottle enabled me to have control over the temperature of my water and I have never looked back since.
You may be raising your eyebrows at this one, but the tomato timer is a website that breaks your work hours into 25 minute segments. For myself as a student, the timer has helped me break my studying and working sessions into 25 minute chunks that help me stay on track more easily and remind me to take healthy breaks. Science has also shown that breaking your work hours into small chunks fools your brain into staying focused and productive.
After a stressful midterm season, I made a curious purchase (some might call frivolous). I decided to invest in a diffuser, humidifier that allows fragrances to be disseminated in a room. This serves two functions for me. Not only does it help keep the room moister in the dry environment of Alberta, but it also helped calm my anxiety and adrenaline rushes during the day. The colored LED light transformations and scent from herbal oils has been helpful during my meditation sessions.