Staying sane in self-isolation (with links)

Right now, we are all in the same boat…stuck at home. We are trying to adjust to our current normal of figuring out how to stay busy, with our newly freed schedules.

It could be in different ways, but we are all affected in some form or another by the COVID-19 pandemic. I know that a lot of us are used to being “on the go” and don’t ever have a chance to be this available. Sometimes it’s so boring it’s awkward. It’s like when you’re in a group photo and the photographer can’t get it right so everyone is just standing there smiling, not sure what pose to do, next to each other in silence.

I’m here to share with you how I have been keeping my sanity during this very strange and seemingly lonely time. I know it feels lonely, but we are all going through together, just in the privacy of our own homes.

Some people have chosen to succumb to the fear surrounding the uncertainty of this situation. Even though I am barely adjusted to my new city, am across the country from all my family, have been laid-off, and don’t know what my future holds, I am choosing to see the bright side. For me, seeing the bright side means that I have (quite literally) all the time in the world to do what I want. Well, inside my home. Seriously, how often does that happen?! NEVER. Plenty of times I feel like there’s “not enough hours in the day”. Now, I can catch up on all the cleaning that I usually make excuses not to do, I can fold the clean laundry when it’s dry, I can try the new recipes, I can read the books I bought months ago, I can learn a new skill, I can focus on me. I don’t think my time is better invested in anything more than personal growth. When all of this has passed and we have to start over again, that’s when self-development will truly shine through. The seeds we plant today will undoubtedly harvest later. You might look back and regret eating all the snacks and binge-watching every show on Netflix and Hulu, but I promise you won’t regret doing the inner work. Of course I haven’t done ALL of these things EVERY day, and I definitely have my binge days. We all need them.

My intention with this post is to help people who are perpetually bored during this time and have convinced themselves that they can’t do the activities I’m about to mention. You can do it. Yes, even if  you think you are not good at it or you’ve never done it before! I’m here to tell you how it has helped me and where you can help yourself.

If you are sick and tired of feeling bored out of your mind and unproductive, but you don’t know where to start…keep reading!




  • Deep breathing

Coping with the fact that we cannot do many of our favorite activities that we are used to having at our fingertips is hard. Realizing that you or someone you love could be infected with the virus and could become hospitalized, or even die, is scary. The fact that your bills might not get paid and you don’t know where your next paycheck is coming from is stressful. This is true for everyone. In uncertain times like this, we are blessed to live another day unscathed. One of the best reminders of this is our breath. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take 5 DEEP breaths before you allow it to get the best of you. I’m not talking about the kind you give the doctor when they are listening to your heart. I’m talking about the kind that fills your lungs so full, it feels like your belly is going to burst. And then when you exhale, your lungs are so empty, the walls of your abdomen and back could touch. Yeah, that kind. It is possible that you have never even taken this type of deep breath on purpose. That’s okay, but I challenge you to do it now. Even let out an audible *sigh* on the exhale if you need to. I like to close my eyes and imagine that I am breathing in hope, faith, gratitude, and positivity. Then, imagine that I am exhaling the doubt, fear, stress, worry, and negativity. It sounds simple, but it takes a few minutes of focus and has surprising affects on your mind and body. After this practice, you will feel lighter. PLUS, it strengthens your lungs, making it easier to fight against a respiratory disease (wink, wink). Learn more about the benefits of deep breathing at WebMD.

  • Writing

I know that some people do not enjoy writing as a hobby and would never consider keeping a journal or “diary”. I’m not asking you to do that. For me, simply writing down words to match my feelings helps me to work through them. It’s like once I morph the thoughts into a word and physically write it down, it transfers to the paper. It’s okay if you feel corny doing this. Nobody has to know, and if you are afraid of someone seeing what you wrote, rip it up into a million pieces and throw it away. Sometimes putting a word to our feelings can be difficult, so you can use this wheel to help. If you say you don’t have any feelings about these current events, you’re not fooling me. Nice try, though!

  • Stretching

Some people might refer to this practice as yoga, but I think that the technical term “yoga” scares people who have never tried it. Because of that, I am going to call it stretching. We have all stretched before, even if it was X years ago in PE class. By the way, if it has been that long since you took the time to stretch, PLEASE use this as an opportunity to do it. Stretching our body and muscles is a great way to pass time because you have to hold each stretch for at least 10 seconds for it to be effective. I like to start up at my neck and work down to my ankles. Not only will you become more flexible and less likely to injure yourself, but it is believed that trauma can be held physically in our cells. Work that out! Here’s a beginner’s routine.

  • Adult coloring

Getting back in touch with our inner child can remind us to not take life so seriously. Since I am not amazing at drawing, I like to use “adult coloring” books. I like these books for several reasons- it makes me feel artistic and creative, it takes me back to the good ol’ days, it is satisfying, and it calms me down. There’s just something special about seeing a black and white design, and then using your favorite colors to give it life. Since this has become trendy in recent times, you can find an adult coloring book almost anywhere, and with any theme. I particularly enjoy the floral designs, plants, nature, etc. I started making masterpieces with these cheap finds: book and markers.

  • Dancing

Oh, you think you suck at dancing?? Well, guess what? You’re stuck at home and nobody will see you. Theres a groovy beast waiting to be unleashed from within you. I dare you to turn on one of your favorite pump-up songs and let your body move. Only do this after stretching, of course. Dancing like nobody is watching (because they aren’t) is so liberating. It helps you clear your body of stagnant energy, gets your heart pumping, and boosts serotonin. Don’t believe me? Click here. It doesn’t have to be like an audition for Broadway. Get silly, perfect your 1, 2 step if you have to and laugh at yourself!


Dancing is SERIOUSLY not your thing? Fine. Just be sure to get your exercise, even if it means taking a [socially distant] walk through the neighborhood. Home workouts are always an option too, but kids and pets can make it a real task.

  • Meditating

I get it, meditation sounds like a hippie thing. Well, it’s not just for “hippies”. It’s for me and for you. For all of us. I used to think meditation was a special skill that you had to either be Buddhist or an expert in order to do it successfully. After several years of practicing meditation, I’ve learned that just isn’t true. It does take practice to get really good at it, but anyone can do it. If this is foreign territory to you, start with just sitting down in a quiet and comfortable place. Close your eyes if you want, but not if you will fall asleep right away. Focus on your breath and your thoughts. Just allow yourself to exist. No music, no phone, no distractions. Just you, sitting with your innermost thoughts. Your mind might wander to strange places. That’s okay. Clearing your mind can seem impossible at first, but you will get there with time. Especially with a guided meditation. I LOVE guided meditations because they are timed and they can take your imagination on a wonderful journey, like a daydream. You will imagine things without even trying, and that’s your mind’s eye doing the work. See what your mind’s eye wants you to see. If you use Spotify, I highly recommend the Meditation Minis Podcast. If not, YouTube is a great resource! Here is a great 5-minute meditation for anyone. In my opinion, 5 minutes flies by, so try 10 if you’re up to it.

These activities are not going to work for everyone, and not everyone will find joy in my little acts of self-care. I understand that, but I ask that you at least give them a try if you haven’t before. You could surprise yourself! I know that these easy activities are helping me keep my sanity and fight against cabin fever. Maybe they can do the same for you! Stay safe, stay healthy, follow precautions, and don’t allow yourself to slip into a funk. Remember, unlike many, none of these activities can be canceled by the virus!

Fun activities in Laramie that you probably didn’t know about

Living in a small town like Laramie, there’s not always a ton of things going on. You must get creative! You also must be willing to do a little bit of research.

If you’re tired of staying home on the weekends, and you’ve already finished your favorite Netflix series, I’m here to help.

Below, I’ve listed activities that are a great way to spend your time, no matter what type of person you are.


I bet you’ve never heard of this one! Letterbox is one of Laramie’s best kept secrets. Letterbox is a scavenger hunt full of adventure and code cracking. There are little boxes hidden all around the town (mostly along the greenbelt trail) that contain clues to the next box. Make sure you bring a special sticker or stamp with you to make your mark in the booklets found in each box. This treasure hunt sequence can also be found in all parts of the state and the country. To get started, visit this link. You will find clues there.

The Laramie Mural Project

While looking for letterboxes (some are hidden downtown), you can stop to marvel at the local paintings. The murals located in historic downtown Laramie have been grown within the last few years. Talented artists from around our community are constantly coming up with new ways to decorate the walls outside of businesses and inside of alleyways. Each mural is interesting and unique, putting a special touch to the town. You can browse information about the Laramie Mural Project on the website and can even download a walking tour brochure.

Tea & Tarot

Get in touch with your spiritual side at The Herb House, located at 214 S. 2nd St. You can grab a free cup of herbal tea and receive messages from the divine through a $15 tarot card reading! The readings are offered every Friday and Saturday afternoon from 4-6 p.m. In addition to that, The Herb House has countless unique natural remedies for almost anything.

Chalk & Cheese

Find your perfect wine and cheese duo and Chalk n’ Cheese, located at 209-211 S. 2nd St. If you aren’t 21, don’t worry! You can make up for it with a charcuterie platter. This business offers a multitude of personalized experiences.

Pop Up Paint Party

Not super artistic? That’s OK! No judgment here. Let your creative juices flow in a guided painting session to create your own work of art at Pop Up Paint Party. You can host your own paint party, or you can join one of the weekly group events.

Newly released movies, $5

Yes, you read that correctly. Studio City UW Plaza is Laramie’s newest movie theater, located near War Memorial Stadium. If you’re ballin’ on a budget, no need to worry. Every Tuesday, movie tickets are $5.50. Just sign up for Studio Rewards, which is super quick and simple. Time to load up on goodies at the concession stand.

Now get out there and take advantage of what Laramie has to offer!

How to combat anxiety & learn to live normally again

This blog is quite a bit different from what I usually post, but it is something that is very important to me. I have noticed that I’m definitely not alone in the ways I’ve felt. This blog is dedicated to other people who know where I’m coming from and I hope at least one of these methods can resonate with you.

For some unfortunate and unclear reason, anxiety has been a popular topic of discussion in recent years. I’m not sure if this is due to the some of the advancements in our society (the way we interact with technology) or the fact that more people are comfortable recognizing/admitting they are not 100% mentally healthy. I hope it’s the ladder, because it is about time the mental health issue becomes something that we can all accept, understand and discuss.

I usually only open up about these type of issues with individuals that I feel a very strong connection with. Because I have noticed that many people suffer from anxiety, I am willing to share my experiences and advice on this topic. A little over a year ago I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). I once felt like I couldn’t come forward with my anxiety and I felt alone, like I was going crazy…like there was no way for me to fix it. I’m here to inform you that you are not crazy and you CAN work through it. Now I’m not sure if the methods that work for me, work for you. Everyone is different. Each person experiences anxiety in a unique way, therefore there are several different ways for us to cope with it. I can only hope that one of my ways to combat anxiety speaks to you.


If you’re a student, I highly suggest getting Spotify Premium (it comes with Hulu too) for $5 a month. I’m not sure if these podcasts are on Google Play or Apple Music because I only have Spotify. I have two favorites that always help me through anxious days. One is called Affirmation Pod and the other is Mini Meditations. Isolating myself in a calm, comfortable environment and listening to one of these episodes can help me reset my thoughts. It might not be the exact same, but if you can’t get Spotify, there’s always YouTube!


This is another great way to clear your mind. You can really focus on deep breathing and slowly working the stress and tension from anxiety out of your muscles. Try to be conscious of where you hold tension. Relax all of your muscles. You might notice yourself clenching your jaw or tightening your throat. Acknowledge this and then release the tension. Listening to soft music can also improve this experience.


Sometimes its much easier for us to write down our feelings than say them out loud to another person. It can be really gratifying to open up a notebook or journal to  blank page, grab your favorite pen and let your mind do the writing. Write down exactly how you feel. Then, write down what you think might be causing you to feel this way. Finally, next to each item, write down an idea on how to work through this feeling or to avoid what causes it.


Even if you’re not the greatest artist in the world, I believe that getting in touch with your creative side can be very therapeutic. I personally like using vibrant colors that represent my feelings at that time to draw or paint. It doesn’t have to be anything special, just do whatever feels good.

Attitude of Gratitude

Each night before you go to bed, think of all the things you are grateful for. It can also help to write these down. Think about why you’re grateful for these things and how they make your life better. Remind yourself that there is so much to be happy about and that you’re doing just fine. You can also replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts throughout the day when you feel yourself creeping back into a negative mind space.


Create an atmosphere that is comfortable and positive. For me, this includes diffusing essential oils, dimming the lights, lighting a candle or two and having a clean/tidy space.

Integrating each of these small changes into my everyday life have helped me work through my anxiety tremendously. I wish the same for you. It will be okay 🙂

Love & Light!

10 Experiences I Wouldn’t Have Without UW

Before I begin, I think I should provide some background information. I was born and raised here in Laramie. I have never lived anywhere else and I haven’t been away from home for more than 10 days at a time.

I basically grew up in a sea of “Poke Pride”. The Steamboat was imprinted on me at a young age. Despite my love for brown and gold, I initially didn’t want to stay in Wyoming for college. At the time, I knew many of my peers were moving far away, to big cities and top universities. I felt like if I stayed, I wasn’t going to be able to grow. I was caught up in the hype of everyone leaving Laramie. I didn’t truly appreciate all that Wyoming has to offer until I was in college. Little did I know, I would discover a fresh perspective on a place I’ve always known.

I decided it was best to attend the University of Wyoming because all my family is here and the affordability-tied with the up-to-date facilities-was difficult to pass up. I was OK with calling Laramie my home for a few more years.

Now that I’ve spent the last five years on my own and attending college, I can truly say that my perception is completely changed. If I left Wyoming, I would not have experienced the undeniable benefits of staying in state. The following list includes 10 awesome experiences I could only find at UW.

  1. The Hathaway Scholarship plus the inexpensive tuition, equals a money saver’s paradise!
  2. The rowdy bunch that is known as the student section.
  3. The luxury of clean, fresh air at any given moment.
  4. The multitude of amazing and inspiring professors.
  5. The opportunity to have important personal connections with those professors.
  6. Free transportation, tutoring, chair massages and doggy de-stressors.
  7. Watching Skater Guy practice his tricks in Simpson’s Plaza…never gets old!
  8. Under no circumstances experiencing a traffic jam.
  9. Using the cold or the wind as an excuse for a bad hair day. Beanies for everyone!
  10. Always feeling safe and a part of a tight, friendly community.

I want to emphasize this last point. Laramie has shown that it can be considered a home for anyone who dwells here. The university and the locals have built a bridge between one another, welcoming all and bleeding brown and gold together.

I didn’t always recognize that attending UW had so much to offer, but I’m glad I do now. A lot of these experiences can only be found at here. I’m thankful that I ultimately decided to stay in my hometown for college because I have a new sense of familiar surroundings. I’ve never been more of a Wyomingite.

Laramie’s oldest standing bar debuts expansion

September 12, 2017

Contact Jason Tays

Buckhorn Bar & Parlor


LARAMIE- The Buckhorn Bar has been in business since 1900, but after five months of construction, the bar held a grand opening for its New Parlor over the weekend.


The New Parlor is not just an add-on, but a fully functioning bar, independent from the other three in the downtown establishment.


“Previously we had some issues with ventilation, but this expansion features its own air system and allows the upstairs capacity to double to around 260 people,” Jason Tays, Buckhorn Bar & Parlor manager, said.


The New Parlor required an additional oak staircase to be built from scratch, creating a total of three separate entrances/exits. Exclusive to the innovation is a stage, the latest sound system technology, LED lighting and a large restroom.


“The grand opening went really well and I heard nothing but compliments,” Tays said. “Our operation ran smoothly and we are meeting our goals of improving our customer service and providing enjoyable entertainment for patrons.”


Marella Fox from Laramie agreed that she has a great night at the grand opening.


“I like how much more space there is upstairs now,” Fox said. “The music they were playing was awesome and I’m going to be making another visit in the near future.”


For the New Parlor, physical construction may be over but tweaks will be made throughout the semester.


“It is definitely a work in progress and will be continuously improved,” Tays said.


Some modifications will include colorful window lighting and an LED screen or projector.

The Buckhorn management also hopes to host several different live music acts that can use the brand-new stage.

The space may also be rented out for private occasions, outside of normal operating hours.


For those interested in checking it out, the New Parlor night club is now open every Thursday through Saturday, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.


For inquiries or updates on upcoming events and specials, contact Tays at (307) 660-6740 or check .



Combining the multimedia production components- Blog 10, Final Project

Over the course of this semester, we have learned and practiced how to properly interview subjects, collect audio, take photos and hone our skills for online multimedia production. For this final project, it was our duty to combine all of our newfound knowledge to create an all-encompassing video. What better way to end this course than with video storytelling to sew it all together?

Annie and I partnered up once more (from the audio interview) because we worked so well together last time. Annie is a part of the women’s UW rugby team and she told me about their Rookie Rugby camp. I thought it was a great opportunity to shoot a promotional video story. The college rugby players help with the camp and assist in coaching.

Wyoming Rugby hosted their very first non-contact Rookie Rugby camp this November/December. You can browse their Facebook page here.


I had no previous video shooting or video editing experience, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to do with this project. I didn’t know what to expect and I figured we would have to try more than once to get the footage we were looking for.

I really enjoyed shooting this video. We used a small digital video camera to get a better quality than we would with our iPhones. For it being the first Rookie Rugby, the atmosphere at the camp was fun and informative. I had a great time watching the kids learn about rugby and their excitement to play. It quickly became obvious that teamwork is important to the coaches and players. I enjoyed getting in the action to record interesting footage.

There were quite a few technical difficulties when it came time to edit. Once we got everything running and understood the basics of Adobe Premiere, the video editing process came easy to us . After our stress passed over the technical issues, we were able to have a good time creating our video.

There wasn’t a lot that I didn’t enjoy about this assignment because it was a necessary learning process for us. I learned a lot about how to combine my skills and how to do basic editing with video, which turned out to have similarities with audio.

However, I can say I didn’t enjoy our encounter with technical difficulties. First, Adobe wasn’t cooperating and then we had problems figuring out how to transfer the video from our camera to the computer. It took about two hours to save our content. I learned that when dealing with so many different planes of technology, I have to plan extra time for unexpected events (in the case of computer crashes, long exporting or loss of content).

I was surprised that the kids didn’t mind being recorded. Some of them really liked it and opted for screen time. I was also surprised that the project overall wasn’t as difficult as it looked at first. We did record our footage on the last day of the camp and for this reason I wish we decided on our topic sooner. The camp was held three Saturdays before we shot our video. We could’ve had a better variety for the final outcome if we were able to go to the other camp days. Annie also mentioned that there were a lot more kids in attendance the previous week.

Of all the skills I learned in this course, I think I am least likely to use video in my career. I am not opposed to it and I am happy with how our video turned out, but I think it would take a lot more practice to use it in my career. Shooting and editing video is the most difficult since it combines several aspects of journalism. It is something that takes time to become good at. Hopefully I can learn more about video and will be up to the challenge in my future career.

P.S. I am sad that (due to the technical difficulties) other students in this class next year might not be able to do this final project. I think it was an awesome way to tie up the semester and is a great test to our skills/knowledge.