A guide throughout our days for nurturing the health and benefit of our bodies, minds, and souls.

Start 2022 off right!

Chloe Pittard

Start 2022 off right!

Chloe Pittard, Staff Writer

As we enter into 2022, each and every moment is an opportunity to nourish ourselves so that we can fully flourish! Our day-to-day lives present choices that only we can make, let’s find ways to make the best ones!

Webster’s dictionary defines health as being something “beneficial to one’s physical, mental, or emotional state.” So being healthy isn’t necessarily related purely to our physical state, as we typically think. The body, mind, and soul all run together; when one is off, they are all affected. That is why we must focus on each substance that makes up the entirety of who we are, not just one over the others.

Schooling at iUniversity allows for such a flexible schedule, am I right?! Thankfully, we can each use this for our benefit. The wonderful teachers at iUP have encouraged us to create a schedule for ourselves when it comes to schooling that creates a sense of normality throughout our days, which then allows us to use our time and resources Wisely! Let’s go through a typical day’s schedule and find ways we can make healthy choices together!


Beginning the day

It takes forming a repetitive sleep schedule to get your body and mind in a productive rhythm. According to John Hopkins medical center, teenagers need about 9 hours of sleep per night. This is because the body grows during our sleep; we must give it plenty of time to accomplish that. Going to sleep no later than 11:00 and waking up around 7:00-7:30 creates a sleep schedule that allows for the most productive hours of the day to be used. Taking time to properly prepare your body, mind, and soul for the day ahead is just as important as brushing your teeth and putting on clothes! Studies have shown that hitting the snooze button for just an extra 5 minutes of sleep can actually make you feel even more tired than if you got up at the first alarm. That’s hard to do right? Imagine being all warm and cozy in your bed, experiencing a wonderful dream, then you get woken up by the blaring of an alarm. Don’t you just want to, even feel like you have to, hit the snooze button? During sleep, the body and mind go through several stages. By waking up at the first alarm and attempting to go back to sleep for a few minutes after hitting snooze, you’re not able to go through all the stages. As a result, you feel extra tired because your body attempted to go through all the stages but was interrupted. As well as getting good sleep, do yourself a favor and leave your electronics in another room. Just like interrupting your sleep with the snooze button, don’t interrupt your sleep with screen time. As much as some of us don’t want to believe it, screens aren’t our lives. Before you reach for the phone, reach for clarity within your soul, especially before you begin the day.

How can we fill our day with healthy decisions from the very start?

When you first wake up, take a few moments to remind your mind of where you are, let yourself become familiar with your surroundings. With your eyes closed, begin wiggling your fingers and toes, with the rest of your body remaining motionless. From there, gently move your hands and feet. Next, your arms and legs, then hips and shoulders, then waist. Move your chest by breathing in and out, in and out, taking those deep breathes that send oxygen throughout your body. Softly, roll your neck and do small arches in the back, getting your body intact. Wiggle your ears, if you’re able, then your jaw, nose, and eyebrows. Last but certainly not least, do three blinks with your eyes, which results in them fully opening. Just as when you go to sleep at night you have to relax your body, when you wake up it is just as important to let your body wake up too! Once you have done that, take a few minutes to connect. No, I don’t mean connecting your phone to whatever you connect it to, I mean center yourself on you. Remember who you are, and begin the day confident!


As most of us already know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Along with having a healthy sleep schedule, forming a healthy eating schedule is beneficial to your day-to-day life! It seems easier to just reach for those frozen waffles and pop them in the toaster, right? But each and every decision we are able to make can be a good one. For breakfast, try replacing frozen foods with a variety of fresh kinds.  An example of a healthy breakfast that provides good carbs is….oatmeal! You can top it off with a dash of brown sugar and mix in some fresh berries for a delicious flavor, or whatever suits you best! A lot of times when doing school online, our bodies’ natural habit is to reach for that bag of chips just so we are preoccupied. Instead of snacking out of boredom, let’s try to eat only when our stomachs tell us they want food. An example of a healthy snack option could be, my personal favorite, veggie straws! Like veggie straws, there are snacks out there made of healthy materials, it just takes finding the ones that you like!

When it comes to lunch and dinner, we have to ask our parents’ least favorite question….”What are we eating?” If you have an idea of what to eat for dinner, you’ll be able to evaluate what you should eat for lunch. For example, if I plan on having pasta for dinner, I probably shouldn’t eat a large meal for lunch in order to avoid feeling too full later. Instead, I might choose a salad or sandwich with meat! Of course, meat’s not for everyone, when it comes to setting your daily diet, always make sure to consider what your body best responds to.

Now we come to our favorite topic…sweets! Don’t we all just love having a bit of sugar each day? Or at least something a little off the charts of completely healthy? In fact, having a little bit of sugar each day is not something to feel guilty about! It’s the excessive consumption of sugar that is an issue. What has helped me limit my sugar intake is to allow myself a small portion, if at all, of sugar or something unhealthy each day. Did you know our bodies get addicted to whatever we seem to consume the most of? If your current diet is eating a lot of sugar or unhealthy foods, slowly try to cut back on the amount you eat each day. When you’re tempted to reach for the candy bar, try some natural sugars, such as those found in fruits! Sure enough, your body will begin to crave substances other than sugar as you reign yourself back on the amount of consumption.


Don’t we all just love schooling at iUniversity? I know I do! But there come times when I feel so burnt out from being in the same place, at the same time, every day. I bet I’m not the only one who’s felt that way, so I’ll share some schooling tips that have helped me!

I just got my license this September, so naturally, I love driving places. If you’re able to, I highly encourage you to go to a library or some other public space suitable for school work in the mornings. As mentioned above, starting work in the mornings allows for the most productive hours of the day to be used off of the computer, and it can be nice to have a change of scenery! If you aren’t able to drive or don’t always like to go out and about, no worries! There are many days I get so comfy in a blanky (if you know me you know I’m usually found wrapped in a blanky during live lessons), I have hot tea, and it just feels like one of those stays home days. If I’ve been doing schoolwork in my “schooling” room most days, I try to find alternative workplaces in the house. Possibly options for you are the kitchen or dining room table, an office, or even outside!

Wherever you choose to do work, it’s always important to have a functional workspace. This could mean complete quiet, or like me, having soothing music playing softly in the background. Make sure you are in a location where you can focus. If there are any distractions, such as screens (which we’ll get to later), try to remove them from your eyesight or even the room you are in. This allows for complete focus, and you are able to get your work done much faster when you dedicate yourself fully to what you are working on at the moment! Another thing that was so tempting for me, yet ended up being harmful, was how much work I do per day. I like getting ahead on work, but I have to remember to give myself permission to stop. I have to allow time for work but also allow time to not work. That’s not saying we should only do a small amount of work each day until we have assignments piled up. Instead, we can limit the number of hours we work or the number of assignments we do so that we give ourselves a break and don’t become overworked. Even taking brain breaks during work to then come back and finish is beneficial! Whenever you need to stop, don’t force yourself to keep going. Remember, it’s OK to listen to your mind when it says to rest.


Phones, computers, TVs, gaming systems, watches, or just about anything else with a screen can become toxic to your lifestyle if used excessively. As talked about before, screens during the time dedicated to your sleeping is a big NO. But what about during the day? Technology will always be debated on whether or not it is good for people, especially kids. I say they are good if used properly. Otherwise, they can infect our life with toxicity. I am a very social person, and because I’m online at iUP, communicating with friends on a daily basis is primarily online. Of course, communicating is one of the many blessings of technology, but just sitting on my phone when there’s a day to be lived? That’s where I had to draw the line. I’m sure many of us have that issue but don’t always know how to solve it, so here are some alternatives to being on our screens:

Like the candy bar from before, when we are tempted to reach for our devices without a productive purpose, let’s try reaching for a book, or even just using the device to listen to music. Taking walks and leaving the devices behind in order to connect in nature really puts in perspective how there is a world outside the world in our screens. Maybe you enjoy art, sports, or another activity not that doesn’t involve screens. Those activities are wonderful alternatives to direct our energy to instead of those meme videos that have gone viral.

As well as not having screen time right when you wake up, having screen time right before bed is a very bad habit. The blue light emitted by screens restrains melatonin production, which is the hormone that controls your sleep cycle. This causes difficulty going to sleep and waking up.

In summary, screens can be good for you if used for productive reasons. It takes a lot of discipline to remain off of them voluntarily.

Free time

We all love having free time, right? But sometimes we don’t know how to use it.

Just like those math problems (some of us would rather not do) work the muscles in our brain, it’s always good to work out our bodies. I get it, working out isn’t always fun, believe me, I used to dread the time I reserved for working out. Side note, reserving time for exercise is just as important as reserving time for school or other activities. It takes carving out that time to incorporate it into your daily routine. Anyways, back to the point, our muscles need movement and our bodies need to work off the fat we produce. You don’t have to do an hour of weightlifting to have a good exercise unless you prefer that! Start with low-intensity workouts such as walking or riding a bike for a short amount of time, and slowly increase intensity. Maybe your goal is to just exercise longer, or switch up your exercises. Cardio workouts, where you just get your whole body moving, transfer oxygen throughout your body and it gets your blood pumping. Also, did you know weight workouts are more productive for muscle growth when the reps are fewer and slower? No matter what you choose to do for exercise, nurturing your physical health will also nurture your mental health. Keep in mind, you shouldn’t work out because you want to change your body, you should work out because it is good for you. When that is your mindset, working out feels less of a job and more of a journey to benefiting the wonderful person you are! (Also, I found a very helpful tip to put my tongue to the roof of my mouth when doing ab workouts, it restricts the pain of the neck muscles).

Using free time to get involved in the community is another great option to dedicate our time to. There are wonderful people out there with such great stories to tell, perhaps you’ll use free time to tell your own! I love journaling my days; I write down details that stuck out to me or moments that meant a lot to me, and I look back on days past and I’m so grateful I wrote them down. Otherwise, I might’ve forgotten how I got to live each day to the fullest! I hope your free time is used to capture memories as well! Whatever you enjoy doing, do it! Even if it doesn’t make sense to anyone else, do what you love because you only die once, but you get the chance to live every day.


As my mom says at bedtime, it’s sleepytime in night-night town! When you get ready for bed, reflect on the day. Just be thankful for every breath that you take, because we aren’t promised the next one. As you lay your head down to sleep, go up your body relaxing it. Let go of every muscle, and focus on what you were able to do with that part of your body to benefit you today. It takes lots of practice to do this, but practice getting out of your head. Let all thoughts go and just be. Being, even having time for just being during the day, centers your soul. Reserve that time, reserve that time to be still in a consistently moving world.


Lastly, let’s talk about you. Your mind is where you spend most of your time, make it a nice place to be! Each time you look in the mirror, compliment yourself. It’s ok to focus on you. After all, people will come and go in your life, but you’re the one you will always be with. Notice every detail of yourself, knowing that no one else was made just like you. You are unique, and you are wonderful. Throughout the day, look at the details within it as well. Details that often go unnoticed are the very details that we are meant to pay attention to. A smile from a stranger, the blowing of the wind, the color on the leaves of a tree. It’s all there for you to experience. There will always be negative things in this world, but there will also always be positive ones. Pay attention to the positivity, it lifts you above the world so you can see each situation from a greater perspective. Take care of yourself, because you belong to someone you love….YOU!


We’ve all heard of New Year’s Resolutions; they are a wonderful way to create goals you would like to achieve over the upcoming year! Maybe you’re wanting to learn a new skill, or even just to practice continually looking for the positive side to all situations. Here are a few of our iUP Owls sharing their resolutions:

K.M.  is going to create a schedule to stay on task in order to work on her resolutions of doing good in this second semester, as well as to remain ahead on assignments in her school subjects. She is also hoping to find a hobby she enjoys! By creating this said schedule, K.M. will be able to see what assignments she wants to get done by a certain date so that she can include her resolutions into her daily life. What a fabulous way to use time Wisely!

Anonymous in 11th grade originally didn’t have a resolution going into the year, but after taking a look at the semester ahead, she realized what she can do to benefit her in the year to come! As a junior at the beginning of 2022, she will be ending the year as a senior. We know what that means…SAT/ACT tests! Anonymous is choosing to use her time Wisely to study with the goal of doing well on these tests. She is also wanting to get a job coaching this year. To prepare for that, she is going to learn compulsory routines in order to be ready for when that opportunity comes!

Evan Larson in 10th grade has two goals which both involve his creativity to be used to the fullest: Writing a book and creating a “real life” sonic screwdriver! He had intended to write his book last year, but 2022 is filled with many opportunities to accomplish it this year! Creating a sonic screwdriver sounds difficult, but Evan has a plan to practice with arduinos and 3D printing that will eventually result in the real thing!

These owls sure have some amazing resolutions and goals they are excited to accomplish! And if you don’t have a resolution or goal in mind right now, no worries! The best thing you can do each and every day is to be you! I think I speak for all of iUniversity Prep when I say…you can do this owls, go be owlsome!!!


I hope after reading these healthy day-to-day living tips you will be able to make choices that will only empower every part of you to take care of yourself. Your body, mind, and heart will thank you. With the self-discipline it takes to follow healthy guidelines, you will see a change in yourself. Then, you can change the world around you by shining your light!

Happy 2022, I hope this year is filled with so many fantastic opportunities for you!!


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“Teenagers and Sleep: How Much Sleep Is Enough?” Johns Hopkins Medicine,

Person. “8 Big Lies about Sugar We Should Unlearn.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 19 Aug. 2020,

“Why It’s Time to Ditch the Phone before Bed.” SCL Health,