Newbie Noelle: How I incorporate new, fun challenges into my week


Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Noelle Grimm

There have been too many changes recently that I am struggling to wrap my mind around. This pandemic has been a tragic start to the new year that no one was prepared for. I certainly didn’t expect to have to finish out my first year of college in my room at home, away from my friends and Kent’s campus. 

The idea of “Newbie Noelle” was one that thrived in a campus setting. There were so many opportunities to try out new, exciting things in Kent. Being home has significantly limited my ability to think of creative ways to challenge myself each week. 

This week’s challenges may seem simple, but considering this pandemic we have all found ourselves involved in, simple challenges are the best I can do under the circumstances. I also believe any form of a distraction is helpful right now. 

Health/Wellness Task: Go for a walk to the park each day

Pre-Task Thoughts: 

I’m sure many would agree in this current state of the country that it’s easy to feel restless and trapped at home. Most people are working from home and adjusting to being around their family members all day long. I am still finding it incredibly difficult to adjust to this new work environment, even with the flexibility my professors are providing.

Though unnecessary travel has been put on hold, there are no restrictions on people stepping outside of their homes to get some much-needed fresh air. I have a park right down the street from my house that I used to frequent as a kid. I think it would be very beneficial not only for my physical health but also my mental sanity if I took a walk each day to this park.

Post-task Thoughts:

My neighborhood is full of families with small children, which means this park was more crowded than I anticipated. I had no intention of getting close to these neighbors in light of the pandemic, so on some days I had to avoid the park and take my stroll elsewhere. 

Many of my other neighbors had similar ideas of getting fresh air, as I often saw other families riding their bikes or simply walking their dogs. I couldn’t imagine if this pandemic was happening in a colder month… we are at least fortunate to have this warmer weather. 

Why Not? Task: Start journaling and focus on positive reflections 

Pre-Task Thoughts: 

As a kid, I used to keep a diary. I’d try to remain consistent with my entries, writing about my daily activities or ranting about my siblings. After a while, I stopped because more important things in my life took over my schedule, but I remember my entries being almost cathartic, as boring as my life might have been then. 

I was always writing with my future self in mind. I wanted to be able to look back on my old diary entries and get a glimpse into my childhood. This pandemic will be a significant point in our history when it’s all over. Though I wish I didn’t have to experience it, it’s a depressing reality. 

Journaling may not only provide relief from this trying time, but it can also be interesting to look back on when this quarantine is over. I don’t want to make my entries all about this pandemic though, as the goal is to distract and reflect on positive insights. 

Post-Task Thoughts:

The best time to create journal entries is right before bed when your thoughts are running wild from all that happened throughout the day. This is at least true for me, since I can never seem to put my thoughts to rest when I’m trying to sleep. 

Putting everything on paper, both the positives and the negatives, really did act as a stress reliever. In a way, I felt like I was clearing my head with every entry I wrote. It allowed me to go to sleep and wake up each day with a clean slate. Anything I wanted to remember at a later point had been written down in that journal the night before, so there was no sense in worrying about it the next day. This is how I looked at it, and it made a difference in my outlook for each day. 

My entries weren’t always long, as sometimes my days were uneventful or I felt too tired to put my thoughts into coherent sentences. I think the act itself was beneficial and something I’m willing to try in the future when I feel especially overwhelmed. 

Mindfulness Task: Research astrological birth chart…Is there any truth to it?

This Libra constellation necklace was a gift from my sister. You can find it on amazon here

Pre-Task Thoughts:

I have grown increasingly interested in the astrological world. I always find myself looking at my daily horoscopes to see if I should expect a good or bad day, but I never knew how deep astrology actually went. 

Upon downloading the app Co-Star, I realized everyone has a specific birth chart that details more than just your “sun sign” which everyone typically knows corresponds to the month and day you were born. I decided to analyze this birth chart to figure out what it means and if I believe there is any value to understanding it on a deeper level. 

Post-task Thoughts: 

As it turns out, we all have multiple signs that correspond to our personality. The three main signs that represent your personality as a whole are your sun sign, moon sign and rising sign. Your sun sign is what most people collectively know already. For example, my sun sign is a Libra. The sun represents yourself on a basic, general level. Your moon sign represents who you are when no one is watching. It’s your emotional self, and mine is in Aquarius. Thirdly, your rising sign is how other people perceive you, perhaps when you first meet them. My rising sign is in Pisces. So what does all this mean?

As a Christian, I was tentative to research more about astrology, as I’ve heard mixed information about whether astrology conflicts with the Bible’s teachings. I decided there is no harm in doing some surface-level research about my own birth chart, if only for the purpose of learning something new. 

That being said, my birth chart does seem to accurately describe me. Libras believe wholeheartedly in balance and justice; our symbol is the scales. Naturally, I resonate with that because I have never been a person that only sees one side to a situation. I’m the mediator of my family and friends, trying my best to hear both sides of every story. This holds true for even researching my birth chart to begin with, despite its possible contradictions to my Christian upbringing. 

My moon is in Aquarius, which is supposed to represent my authentic self when processing information or being on my own. Co-star says, “…your emotional self is intuitive, observant, detached and rational. You are often in your own world, but are scared of how you truly feel.” Reading this statement startled me with its accuracy. I often feel that when I’m dealing with my emotions, I have to detach myself entirely because being honest with myself can be scary. This is where I possibly see the benefit to researching your birth chart; it provides supposedly honest truths about yourself, whether they’re negative or not. Learning how you process information can only help you in future situations. 

According to Co-Star, your rising sign changes every two hours, so it is heavily dependent on your accurate birth time. Mine is in Pisces, which means when people first meet me I can, “…come across as kind, dreamy, imaginative and sensitive.” I cannot say exactly how accurate this is because it’s based on others’ perceptions of me, but I know I am a daydreamer so this description doesn’t surprise me. 

Overall, I think astrology is an interesting subject. There is so much more to my birth chart that I don’t fully understand, but learning more has provided me with some insight about myself I might not have considered on my own. Co-Star’s app breaks down everything for you in a way that’s easy to understand, which I appreciated. I can’t say I’m a firm believer in the astrological world, but I will say I’m interested on a basic level and have found some truths within my chart. Whether you’re interested in astrology or not, it’s simple distractions like these tasks that have helped make these quarantine days go by faster.