Friday, October 4th, 2019...10:26 pm

Why Not Wellness?

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October weather is here so naturally I write this from a nice cozy spot on my couch, enjoying the excuse to stay huddled up inside.  It is a nice break from the constant rushing around I’ve been doing and reminds me of the importance of breaks and how easy it is to forget them.

Do you feel, or have you ever felt, that if you aren’t rushing around and feeling stressed all of the time, that you’re not working hard enough? I used to have this mindset but now I feel more strongly that I cannot do what is meaningful to me in the way that I want to do it when I don’t stop to take a break.

This isn’t to say that these moments do not happen, because they do. And sometimes taking a break can be difficult. It is important to realize that moments that we take for ourselves to relax and recharge, are not selfish; it does not mean you are slacking. If we keep going and going, we eventually burn out.

Has anyone ever reached this point? I have. A drive to achieve is something that is commonly experienced at university. Burnout can be experienced differently but there are some common elements:

  • Constantly exhausted, feeling like you’re running on empty
  • Unable to cope with even the smallest things
  • The work, research, classes that you enjoyed so much before are now things that you can’t stand and have no motivation for
  • Increase in headaches and/or stomach aches

So how do we deal with these things when we start to notice them happening or ideally prevent it from getting to the point of burnout? Here is one of my wellness tips for when things get really busy.

I keep a list titled: Daily Wellness Plan. It contains things that I try to do every day, even if things get extremely stressful. They do not have to be big things, in fact one of the things on my list is making sure I brush my teeth. This list helps me to maintain small elements of wellness every day and helps me to stay on track because it is little things like this that I find tend to slip when I start to veer towards burnout. Here is what I have on my list currently:

  • Brush teeth in the morning and at night
  • Eat three meals a day
  • Go for a walk (even if just around the block for 10 minutes)
  • Wash face at the end of the day

I usually don’t put more than 4 and this list can change depending on the time of year. To choose these things I thought about:

what do I feel like when I am well?

When I think about this, two big themes that come up for me are the adjectives: clean and energized. Therefore, some key wellness things for me revolve around cleanliness (brushing teeth and washing my face) and feeling energized (three meals a day, going for a small walk).  As the semester picks up, it can help to be aware of this question and the ways we can find support when things get hectic.

As I said, sometimes things get out of hand, or life takes an unexpected turn. Sometimes we need help to manage our wellness. There are also a variety of resources available to graduate students through UofT. For more information on each resource, just click on its image.

For more information on these resources and others, check out the Graduate Wellness Portal here.

I hope you will be able to take some time to invest in your wellness this weekend. Know that if you need support, that you are not alone and there are people ready to listen.

Talk soon,



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