Kat’s Korner by Kat McNamara

Kat's Korner

EXCLUSIVELY for BYOU Magazine! 

BYOU-Exclusive-starIn every issue of BYOU Magazine, Shadowhunters star, Katherine McNamara shares one of her favorite quotes and her empowering advice and tips for girls!

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Below are some of Katherine’s previous columns with lots of inspiring and empowering advice for girls.

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Kat’s Korner in our Honor Your Body issue! 

“The first wealth is health.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Photo courtesy of WallFlower Jeans

When your schedule is busy and you’re focusing on your responsibilities, it’s important to focus on yourself too. You have responsibility to take care of you and your own wellbeing; in doing so, you will be better able to take care of what needs to be done. If you are ever feeling overwhelmed, don’t stress– that’s the worst thing you can do. Stress has many mental and physical effects that can be a huge detriment and even a danger to you. It’s essential that you take a breath and fid your own way to de-stress. Take a moment at the beginning of each week to look ahead and find a system to manage your time effectively. It helps to find an outlet to blow off some steam and help you relax and re-center yourself, like working out, meditation, sports, art, a hobby, or even a good old fashioned walk.

It’s important to take care of yourself physically too. Find ways to stay active– it will help your body maintain energy as well as keep yo healthy. Plus, if you are doing something good for your body, your self-image will be healthier as well. It’s all about having a positive outlook and recognizing that you are healthy and happy. People come in all shapes and sizes, but as long as you feel great on the inside, the outside will follow!

Perhaps the most important part of staying healthy is simply just making the choice to do so. If you make the conscious choice nutritionally, in your activities, and in your outlook, you can be naturally healthy and truly be the best person of you– the you can tackle the school year with extra energy and light! Have fun!

Kat’s Korner in our Be Yourself issue! 

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Photo courtesy of WallFlower Jeans

There is so much opportunity for diversity in the world– so many places, languages, cultures, talents, shapes, and sizes of people– all existing on one planet. What continues to baffle me is that the world and society sets standards that encourage people to be the same instead of letting their individualities shine. Now that it’s sporing it’s time for a fresh start, fr new beginnings. Let’s embrace this and make this spring one of acceptance and one in which we are unafraid to truly be ourselves. 

Seeing is a time for new things to blossom and grow, right? Let yourselves be like those flowers– grow beyond your wildest imaginations. Let your inner light shine and your spirit bloom into something truly beautiful and unique. It’s not always easy in a world that seemingly has so many rules, rigid paths, and predetermined roles to be filled, but if you make your own path, you may be surprised at how much happier you are, how much more you feel true to yourself, and how much more you are accepted by those that matter most. A genuine spirit and a unique nature are so much more valuable than anything that you may assume the world expects of you. Never forget– just BE YOU!

Kat’s Korner in our Gratitude issue! 

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” -John F. Kennedy

kat-mcnamara-gratitude-2

Whenever the holidays come around, I always pause to look back at the year and all the fun memories it held. When looking back, it is so important to be grateful for everything that has happened. Being grateful isn’t just about saying “thank you”. It’s a way to live your life. If you live your life with a grateful heart, you won’t take anything for granted. You can truly appreciate every little thing that brings you joy to your life. It’s about showing your appreciation by being kind to others and reciprocating the positivity you are feeling to others.

The holidays are the perfect time to start this habit. There are so many opportunities this time of year to spread holiday cheer through random acts of kindness big or small. These can be anything from a food or gift drive at your school, to a bake sale to support your favorite charity, a cookie exchange party, a gift to a friend, or a smile a stranger. By sharing your kindness with others it shows them and the world that there is something to be thankful for in this world, like kindness, warmth, and friendship.

As the quote about says, we must live by our words of appreciation in order to truly make a difference. I’ll begin… Thank you for reading. Happy Holidays, loves! May your season be merry and bright.

Kat’s Korner in our Girl Power issue! 

“Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.” –Mahatma Gandhi

People talk a lot about power these days. Power is the controlling and driving force to nearly everything. People crave it, people take it, people use it—and people don’t understand how precious it is. Many people see power as a negative force, but what if, instead, we could use it for good?

Kat McNamara quoteLet’s talk girl power. Some girls use power to control others by pointing out their insecurities. They can use people’s flaws against them as leverage to make them feel less than worthy. If people are made to feel bad about themselves, they are easier to have power over and control. This twisted thinking is so messed up. What if we used love as power? If we empower each other and celebrate our differences and flaws, we can all use our gifts for good to work together and make the world a better place. Love and positivity bring so much more strength to the world than negativity and fear. If girls, or anyone really, band together and be kind to ourselves and one another, we can accomplish so much more. This respect for others will promote a self-respect and self-love unparalleled by any other power. This power is fueled by the strength we give each other through love and respect.

We are so much stronger together than on our own. People do not need to be controlled in order to give a few power. People need to be encouraged to share their gifts and let their inner light shine. If we do that, we can give each other so much more power than anyone thought imaginable.  xo, Kat

 

Kat’s Korner in our Dream Big issue!

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”–Henry David Thoreau

Ah summer! The time to rest, relax, and refresh from the busy year. Summer can be a great time to just sit around and do nothing for a time, but after a while, that can become pretty dull. Why not take advantage of your time off to motivate yourself and chase your dreams? Instead of sitting around every day, get out there and challenge yourself. Set goals, make plans, and accomplish things you never thought possible. There is no better time to get a head start on your dreams and goals. Don’t be afraid to take chances, make mistakes, and put yourself out there. You never know what will happen until you try. Even if you mess up or don’t accomplish your goals on your first try, don’t give up. When you make a mistake, you learn from it, almost more so than if you succeeded right away. Be ready to work hard since you have the time to commit to whatever your dreams are. If you put yourself on the right path now, you can keep that head start even after the summer ends and continue pursuing your passions.

Kat's Korner - Kat McNamaraThoreau’s quote above just might be my favorite one. If you envision and live your life as though your dreams have come true, you cannot help but head in the direction of accomplishing your goals. I certainly use that technique when I am truly hoping and wishing for something to happen. I put all of my energy, focus, and drive into doing everything I can to achieve that particular goal. It doesn’t always work right away, and remember, even if what you think is supposed to happen doesn’t work out, don’t be discouraged. Keep yourself open to whatever opportunities come your way—there could be something even better in store, you never know! One thing is certain however—if you passionately pursue what you love with drive and abandon, you will be happy, fulfilled, and motivated to keep dreaming for the future! xo, Kat

 

Kat’s Korner in our B-Healthy issue!

“You are in pretty good shape for the shape you are in.” – Dr. Seuss

In today’s world of Photoshop and fashion magazines, we have so many images around us of what the “ideal” look and shape is. However, what many people don’t realize is that some of these images we see are altered and manipulated to look a certain way. Often, the models in them don’t even really look that way in the original photo. As such, many women and girls have unrealistic expectations for what they think their body should look like. What is so beautiful about life is that we are not all the same. Everyone comes in different shapes and sizes and that is wonderful. Being healthy is what should be most important when it comes to body image. When you are healthy, you feel better about yourself, your mind is clearer, you are more focused, and overall happier with who you are. As Dr. Seuss put it, you are looking good for you — that is the goal.

Kat's Korner - Kat McNamaraAs young women, it’s so important to find a fitness and health routine that works for you—not to lose weight and become a stick figure—but just to stay active and be healthy. Find an activity you enjoy and make it a habit you participate in often. Never be afraid to try something new! I’ve been a dancer my whole life, but I recently tried spinning and yoga classes and now I love those too! There are so  many options out there for fitness. Don’t forget to eat right too. What you put into your body is what you will get out of it. We all splurge and have that mall pretzel, ice cream, or pizza night occasionally, but be sure to be conscious of what you are eating. Make healthy choices and respect your body—you will feel healthier and be happier the more often you make smart choices. Be well. B-YOU! xo, Kat

 

Kat’s Korner in our Positive Thinking issue!

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible!’” – Audrey Hepburn

It’s 2015…new year, new you, right? Are you taking charge of all the new opportunities this year has to offer? Remember, the sky is the limit and anything is possible! As Audrey Hepburn says, it is impossible for anything to be impossible – even the word itself. A new year is the perfect time to remind ourselves of the never ending possibilities for us.

Truly, anything is possible at any time of year with a little positive thinking. Positivity is one of the keys to success in any venture. If you believe you can accomplish something, the odds of you succeeding are exponentially better. You have the power to give your life a burst of energy simply by looking for the silver lining in any situation. Just as it takes less effort to smile than to frown, positivity makes any task or goal, even a difficult or unpleasant one, so much easier and more gratifying in the long run.

Looking at yourself positively is another important aspect of this quality. So many girls look in the mirror and focus on the negatives they see. Take a positive path to love yourself by positively focusing on qualities you love about YOU every time you look in a mirror. As long as you feel good about yourself—inside and out—and know that you are the person you want to be in your heart , it will start you on the path to positivity and set you on your way to achieving the impossible. xo, Kat

 

Kat’s Korner in our Challenge Yourself to B-Smart issue!

“We must accept life for what it actually is–a challenge to our quality without which we should never know of what stuff we are made, or grow to our full stature.” –Robert Louis Stevenson

As summer is ending and we start to look forward to the upcoming school year, it can be quite easy for us to let things slide. We want to savor and enjoy those last few moments of summer, right? However enticing that may seem this time of year, instead, give yourself a challenge to keep your mind and body active so you can start the new school year as the best version of YOU! Set goals for yourself of a few new things to try by the end of the summer. You could get a group of friends to walk or jog around your neighborhood, or even play games to help each other stay active. How about making a summer reading list and read them yourself or start a book club? You could find a charitable organization about which you are passionate and volunteer. The possibilities are endless! By challenging yourself, you can use your time wisely and do something new and fun to accomplish things you never thought possible!

I have decided to challenge myself by picking up guitar again. I am also taking a multivariate calculus class over the summer for fun! 🙂 Just think about your interests, something you have always wanted to try, or something that you would love to do but never thought possible…and just go for it! As Robert Louis Stevenson says, without challenges in life, we can never know the true extent of what is possible for us. So, this summer, be smart, take a chance, and challenge yourself to be your best YOU! xo, Kat

 

Kat’s Korner in our It’s Fun to B-Silly issue!

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin

Summer is just around the corner! That means fun in the sun, pool parties, sleepovers, vacations, and spending all day with your best buds! When you’re preparing for all your fun summer plans, don’t forget to be silly! It’s always important to take a moment to lighten up, let loose, and just laugh a little. The end of the school year can be a bit stressful with final exams and prepping for the next year. At busy times such as these, we can sometimes forget to stop and appreciate the little silly moments life has to offer.

We need laughter in our lives. Some people truly underestimate the power of such a joyful outburst. Laughter is infectious. No matter what kind of day you may be having, hearing a person laugh at something they found silly can lighten any mood. Being silly and laughing with your friends can create some of the best memories you will ever have. As Charlie Chaplain says, a day isn’t complete without laughter. So in this busy part of the year, be sure to find time to giggle, take silly selfies, tell a joke, play charades, and just be silly! If you do, the bright sunshine will pale in comparison to the warm glow of your happy spirit!  XO, Kat

 

Kat’s Korner in our The Importance of Sisterhood issue!

In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips. -Author Unknown

Kat McNamara and Olivia Holt

Kat (left) with friend Olivia Holt. Says Kat, “Olivia is like a sister to me!”

As girls, we always need to stick together. No one understands our hopes, fears, insecurities, joys, and dreams like another girl. We get it! We are going through or have gone through the exact same situations! As such, sisterly relationships are some of the most important a girl can have. Some of us, like our lovely cover girls this issue, are blessed with biological sisters. This is a wonderful gift that must be cherished for a lifetime. Others of us can find friends who become so close that you are all but related by blood. This sisterly bond can form with anyone. No matter how you gain these sisters, they will stand by you your whole life. Even if you go your separate ways and lose touch, you will always find your way back to one another.

I don’t have any biological sisters of my own, but there are a few girls who are my sisters anyway, no matter who our parents are – we are family. No matter what happens between you or around you, we must always be there for our sisters as they are there for us. Sisters are the giggles late at night, the hugs through the tears, the advice on boys and clothes and everything in between, and the little sweet morsels of memories you will remember, cherish, and laugh about together for the rest of your lives. Love to my sisters! Thank you for always loving me as much as I love you and for making life a little sweeter! <3 xo, Kat

 

Kat’s Korner in our Be a Do-Gooder Issue

“Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” – Anne Frank

As the new year starts, we take time to reflect on the past year, what we accomplished, and how we grew as a person. We also look forward to the new year—creating goals, dreams, and a strategy for moving forward. In doing so, it is important that you take into account the good deeds you did in the past year and that you plan to do in the future. As Anne Frank said, people are good at heart, so it’s not that hard to do a good deed. A good deed is any kindness toward another person. It can be as simple as a smile, a wave, a hello, a compliment, or a “how are you?” It can be something you do to help another person or a loved one, like helping someone in their garden, carrying their groceries, or anything else they may need. A good deed doesn’t have to be for a single person, it can be for your community or even the whole world. If you help out the philanthropic organizations in your community and volunteer your time, it can help everyone around you.

In this time when we are thinking about the year ahead and about those we love, let’s take a moment to realize that good deeds are simple to do and can inspire others to do good as well. Also, as an added bonus, when you do good for someone else, you do good for yourself. In helping others or making them feel good about themselves, we know in our heart that we have done the right thing. This gives us a warm fuzzy feeling that is unmatched by anything else. So believe in yourself that you can do good in the world, and who knows what you will accomplish! xo, Kat

 

Kat’s Korner in our Focus on Being Kind, Not Popular issue!

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” – Audrey Hepburn

The holidays are my favorite time of year. People seem to have more hospitality, generosity, and go out of their way to be kind to one another. I only wish people would take a cue from their holiday actions and continue their kind works all year round. People can get so caught up in their own problems and concerns that they fail to see the needs of others. Being kind to people you know—and even strangers—is not as difficult as it may seem. It could take as little as a smile or a compliment to make someone else’s day! Try it!

Popularity can get in the way of being kind. So many kids are concerned with being popular that they will do anything to achieve what they think is the perfect social status. However, the thing to remember is that it is more important to have real friends than it is to be popular. You will make more friends, and win the respect of more of your peers, by showing them a good heart and a kind spirit. People will appreciate you and love having you around because you make them feel good about who they are. And by making other people feel good about who they are, you will get that warm fuzzy too!

So this holiday season, pay attention to how you and others exhibit kindness and generosity to those around you. Take these actions to heart and make them a habit for the entire year! By being kind to one another and truly seeing the good in every person, popularity and bullying will no longer be issues. As Audrey Hepburn says, if we have a kind heart and see it in others, we will never be alone. Audrey is right. Being kind is the only way to be. xo, Kat

 

Kat’s Korner in our B-Smart, Don’t Dumb Yourself Down issue!

“Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.” – John Adams

As the magic of summer ends and we all look to starting school again, there is a whole mix of emotions. The sweet reminiscence of summer memories, the longing for an endless summer, and the excitement of starting school again. Every year, we have a new class and want to be sure that we will have friends and people to talk to and share our experiences with. In order to do that, some people will try to change who they are to make themselves “fit in” with their peers. One way in which many girls will do that is by “dumbing down” and pretending they are not as smart as they really are. Ladies, don’t fall into this trap! Knowledge is power and being smart is really cool! Don’t worry about what others think of you. Your smarts will take you far in life and your true friends will embrace every part of who you are. I love school and math is my favorite subject! I’m a self-proclaimed nerd and I never ever change who I am for someone else. If someone doesn’t appreciate your intelligence or understand how spectacular you are, that’s their problem – not yours. As John Adams said in the quote above, it is most important that we understand how incredible it is to have knowledge. There are so many people in this world who do not even have the opportunity to learn to read or write – especially girls. Therefore, we should celebrate our educational opportunities and successes and strive to share these talents with the world. Your education and the knowledge you possess will stay with you the rest of your life. Make the most of it, celebrate it, and cherish your beautiful mind.

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Read about Kat McNamara’s show, starring as Clary Fray in Freeform’s Shadowhunters HERE

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