How to stay in shape during quarantine

Graphic: Evan Keck, 42Fifty

Now that the majority of the United States, including Illinois, is under quarantine, many restaurants, jobs, gyms, cinemas, and stores are closed down due to the pandemic, and most of us are inside our homes 24/7. A lot of people are finding it hard to stay productive. Many use this time to sit around, sleep, or snack on unhealthy foods. However, it is important to keep your mind and body occupied during these times.

First, it is important to check up on your health during this period of quarantine. One big component of your health includes your physical health. When we are stuck inside our homes, you may find it hard to do any physical activity. As of now, we don’t know how long this quarantine will last, so one cannot remain sedentary for extended periods of time. 

Here are some ways to stay active and in shape during the quarantine. For those of you who already have gym equipment at home, you are in luck! Use these to your advantage. Whether it involves running on a treadmill for thirty minutes to an hour daily or lifting weights to tone your muscles, any form of physical activity is essential. Working out for at least thirty minutes every day is recommended for youth and adults. Make sure to keep the equipment disinfected and clean, especially if multiple people in your home are putting the equipment to use.

For those of you who don’t have any gym equipment at your home, don’t fret. With a simple internet connection, you have access to millions of videos, guides, and apps online designated for at-home workouts. The majority of these won’t require any gym equipment. With the search bar, it is easier to target specific types of workouts you’re looking for, such as HIIT, cardio, low intensity, muscle building, or toning. Even further, you can navigate it down to specific body parts you’re looking to work on, such as your abdominals or legs. If you have a smart TV at home, you can play YouTube videos on the big screen to follow along. However, a simple smartphone will suffice. Something to note is that not all apps or videos online are free, but because of the quarantine, many companies are giving out free videos and trials. Some popular YouTube channels to check out are Chloe Ting, POPSUGAR Fitness, and Pamela Reif. You will find tons of effective, quick, and beginner-friendly workouts under their channels! 

If you are not a very active person, you can try meditation, yoga, or going out for a simple walk outside! If you have a dog, try taking them out for a walk one to two times a day. Everyone needs some fresh air. Since this pandemic has brought a lot of stress in our lives, meditation and yoga are effective ways to relieve that tension and stretch. They do not require high-intensity activity, so this is suitable for people who are not too active. Down Dog is one of the best yoga apps for mobile phones, and they made the app completely free through May 1st, as well as free for students, teachers, and healthcare professionals through July 1st. 

In order for these workouts to actually work, you need to watch what you eat. When we are bored, we tend to eat even though we aren’t hungry. To prevent this, keep yourself occupied. If you find yourself looking for snacks in the pantry or checking your fridge often, you might not be hungry, just bored or thirsty. Try drinking some water and keeping yourself busy to prevent binge eating. If you want to snack on some things, try switching out crackers and chips for carrots, celery, nuts, or smart popcorn.

You are still free to go outside, so playing sports in your backyard, going to a park or forest to run or walk, or simply taking some fresh air, is highly encouraged. Just make sure to choose isolated areas and contact should be limited to those who you are already in quarantine with. 

Although it is very frustrating to be in quarantine, all this free time could be put to good use. Working out and staying active is one way to release stress, get in shape, and feel better about yourself. Don’t miss out on the thousands of free resources and videos online that anyone could follow along, beginners or not.

Time management: An unofficial guide

Photo Credit: Carter Zwart

With school, homework, friends, and possibly a part-time job, it is important to learn time management skills early on to improve your productivity and quality of work. It would be best to learn these techniques now, so when you get into the real world, it is already routine to manage your hours with everything going on. Here are some ways to help you plan your time wisely.

Planning it out

One way to help manage your time is to schedule your tasks in a notebook or planner, or to set reminders in your phone. Whenever you plan, you know what’s going to happen and can avoid setting up too many activities in one day. Having a schedule can also assist in balancing out your work, school, home, and personal life.

Setting deadlines

Assigning deadlines is an excellent way to work out your time by setting a realistic goal that can be achieved. If you have a really big assignment due, you can set up due dates for small parts of it, so when the deadline comes, it doesn’t take the majority of the day doing a huge amount of homework.

Knowing what is urgent

Many people sometimes have too many events going on in a certain day, and need to know if it’s actually urgent or just something that’s important to do/get done. If anything is urgent, it usually means that it needs to happen with all of your attention or there will be big consequences, like a drastic change in your grade. If it’s something important, it typically means you can do it another time – like an appointment that doesn’t affect you as much as a homework assignment. It is important to do everything that is urgent first and put off things that are not as major. Also, you shouldn’t try to multitask all of your priorities at once, but instead try to put all of your focus into one thing to be as efficient as possible. It is still necessary to do activities that are important, and not push them back until it’s not relevant.

Keeping it clean

Having a messy work space can often lead to losing essential papers and items. Taking too much time searching for papers can often just discourage a person from actually finishing an assignment if they can’t find it in the first place. It is best to not clutter your area and instead have a clean and organized space. Having a neat and orderly area can make finding important items easier, and takes away all of the time that would be needed to search through a pile of unorganized papers.

Picking the best time

Most people have a time period that they work best for completing their task. Whether it’s in the morning, afternoon, or night – it’s best to work when you are most productive. If you don’t, it is more likely you will procrastinate and not get what you need to be done. Even if you are tempted to put off the work, one way to help is to think of all of the activities you can do after your done, and all of the stress that will be taken away once your finished.

These are some ways to aid in managing your daily life and not be overwhelmed by not planning your time. With a lot of people just trying to keep a mental note and often forgetting, using these techniques will help plan your time.

BriGuy’s 6 tips on dealing with senioritis

Sticky note that reads
Graphic Credit: Mack Hulke

Are you feeling like you want to do the minimum amount of work, and you just want to sit down and kick back a bit?  Then that means you have senioritis! Senioritis is when you feel like you need to take a REALLY long break during your senior year, and then your grades go down afterwards. There is no known cure for senioritis—however, this does not mean all is lost. Here are my tips on how to prevent senioritis.

1. Grades still matter

My first tip is to remember that grades still matter. If you think you or your grades are untouchable, you’re dead wrong. Your grade will go down because you think you’re good enough to pass. Don’t bet on letting your grade stay the same for the entire school year or semester, because it won’t. My suggestion is to do as much work as you can so that gets your grades go way higher than they were before. Students get better grades by working harder, participating, etc. There are lots of ways to get that grade up. Like getting a higher grade on a test/quiz, and turning projects on time.

2. Focus on earning college credit

My second tip is to focus on earning some college credit depending on which college you want to attend. If you want to go to the college of your choice and you’re not in a good position, then you need to find a way to catch up immediately. If you have any missing work, turn it in, if you have to make up a test, think of a good day to do it, and make sure to give yourself enough time to study too, and ask the teacher how to make your grade go up a letter grade or two. So If you want to go to whatever college your bound to go to then work hard to meet their requirements whether it be better grades or better SAT score.

3. Set specific goals for yourself

My third tip is set specific goals for yourself, whether it be to get back to work, to focus more in class, or just do whatever you need to do. A lot of people use goals as a great way to get things done, and to push people beyond their usual effort. If you need a little boost in your work, goals are a big help with that.

4. Don’t get into bad habits

My fourth tip is to not get into bad habits. It’s hard to break bad habits, especially when we have about three months of no school during the summer. However, you have to learn to get used to it eventually. Don’t make a habit of slacking off during your senior year, and don’t make a habit of putting your work off, either. For example, if you have a paper due in like two weeks and you decided to hold off on it until one week before it’s due, then then that doesn’t give you a lot of time left to do it. So if I were you in that predicament, I’d say to make every second of that time count.

5. Stay busy

My fifth tip is to keep yourself occupied. I’ve mostly been known for working on, like, 1 million things at once, and I never got senioritis because of it. So, if you have about three things to do and all of them were due on the exact same day, I’d say do them all, not at once, but rather one at a time instead.  

6. Have fun!

My sixth and final tip is to not to forget to have fun, because high school doesn’t last forever. Even though it feels like it has lasted forever, it will be over before you know it. Go to a party, hang out with friends, do what you think is fun. Plus, it’s more fun later to get that nice high school diploma in the palm of your hand, telling you, “you did it, buddy.”

Well, there you have it. Those were my six tips on how to prevent senioritis. I hope you find them useful in some way. Think of being a senior as being a college student in training. Like I said, your high school years don’t last forever. Do what every high school student does: make every single piece of work count.  

Photo and graphic of the month: February

Photo of the month: Mr. Pelzer

The February photo and graphic of the month has been chosen! The winner of the photo of the month goes to News Editor Lizzy Sorensen, and the winner for graphic of the month goes to Staff Writer Ben Larson.

Photo of the month: Mr. Pelzer

Lizzy Sorensen’s photo was taken for the cover for Mr. Pelzer’s “Teacher Feature” that she also wrote. The photo was chosen for its use of lighting, its angle, and composition.

The lighting of the photo was extraordinarily well for it being taken in an office space. Office lighting, like most indoor light, is very yellow, and usually drowns out the figure, but Sorensen did a good job avoiding this. The light is coming from the left upper corner of the photo, highlighting his facial features, which leads the viewers eyes to the more lighted areas. While highlighting Pelzer’s face, the lighting didn’t cause a glare with his glasses, which is very common with high light sources. Sorensen did a great job avoiding this by using the correct angle.

The angle was taken from a higher standpoint, which was a smart choice. The angle of the photo allowed her to capture a waist up portrait, making the photo look very professional. As stated earlier, the angle helped with the lighting of the piece, allowing the light to flow throughout the figure. The photo loses lighting towards the bottom, which helps to the focus on his face instead of his torso.

Lastly, the composition of the photo was also very well done. The background was blurred a bit, bringing more focus to the figure. The detail of the figure was captured nicely, and the folding of the clothing along with the highlights and sharpness of the facial features weren’t lost.

Overall, the photo was clear, didn’t have any fault, was amazing in many aspects, and was extremely deserving of the photo of the month title.

Christ Brown Silhouette Graphic
Graphic Credit: Ben Larson

Ben Larson’s graphic was made for the cover photo of an arts and entertainment piece about Chris Brown’s previous arrests. The graphic, although having minimum color, really stood out because of the jail bar effect Larson conveyed. The graphic was also chosen for the technique and creativity.

Larson used three colors: black, white, and dark pink. Although a risky choice, it worked out well because the piece really popped. The figure being the dark pink draws the viewer’s eye to it, and the rest of the bars and background created contrast throughout the rest of the image.

The creativity was phenomenal. Most would have made the bars grey, the background brown, and done a realistic figure, but Larson decided to take a more abstract path. Making the figure a silhouette was an interesting choice, let alone making that silhouette pink, seeing as most are usually filled in with black. The background being black and white was also smart because it was abstract but also didn’t take away from the silhouette.

Lastly, Larson’s technique, although not perfect, was exceptional. The lines of the black jail bars were sharp and straight. The silhouette wasn’t perfect, but overall, the lines were done well. The only thing I’d change about this graphic would be that the silhouette doesn’t completely meet the bottom of the page, leaving a small white gap at the bottom, but was well hidden by the black bars.

Both pieces are definitely deserving of the graphic of the month, and were both very well made. I’m proud of both Sorensen and Larson for their hard work this month.

How to install a windshield banner

Civic in a parking lot
Photo Credit: Danny Wiltfong

In this video, 42Fifty staff videographers Wylie Marquis Daniel Wiltfong show you how to install a windshield banner on your car the correct way.