Learning Self-Care Through Parrots

When I learned I had to write my blog about self-care for Self-Care Week, I wasn’t sure what to do. I don’t think I’ve ever deliberately set time apart to recharge before. Sure, I’ve procrastinated and goofed off when I should have been doing work, but I always felt guilty about it afterward. So, for Self-Care Week, I decided to get out a jungle-themed colouring book for “mindfulness” and destressing that had been sitting on my shelf for a while, and set aside some time in my schedule for self-care for what was, probably, the first time in my undergraduate career.

A picture of the cover of a colouring book with designs of the Amazon Jungle. There are partially coloured insects, birds, and vegetation

Who knew a colouring book would lead to an epiphany?

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When Life gives you Readings, Find a Library

I live alone.

I chose to live alone, and for all intents and purposes I truly enjoy living without a roommate. I have the freedom to walk around in my boxers as I please while singing nineties pop songs at the top of my lungs. On a more practical level, I thought that living alone would allow me to live in a haven of focus and concentration. A space where I could hide away and focus on my studies without distraction. It turns out that my apartment will probably never become a distraction-free study space.

A photo of a lap top screen in front of a television screen with a lady on the television

super meta, I know!

But to compensate for the bounty of distraction that I face in my apartment, I have learned the value of essentially living in various libraries, and by various, I mean three different ones. So I thought I would write about them.

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Staying on track with your self-care

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I think maintaining the self-discipline to actually keep yourself well, both mentally and physically, can be hard at times. Knowing about and trying out different self-care strategies is great, but sticking to them can be another thing. As we’re writing all about self-care this week, I started thinking about why some of the self-care activities and strategies I’ve experimented with haven’t stuck while others have…

Painting of an umbrella (representing and labelled as "self-care") in the rain.

by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer of Balzer Designs.
I love looking through her art journals (click through for an example) when I’m looking for inspirations for my own “art journals” (I use quotations because my attempts are more chicken scrawl than art, to be honest).

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Tutorials 101 or How I Went From a Skeptic to a Believer

I didn’t know if I was going to like tutorials when I came to U of T. I’ve been notoriously known for not participating in class and it was never for any reason except for the fact that I preferred to listen rather than input my thoughts. When I received those syllabi for the first time, my heart dropped. How could participation in tutorials be worth 15% of my final grade? I dreaded going to that first tutorial because I had so many questions. What was a tutorial? What was a TA? How would I participate? What if I said something ridiculous? Never fear, I have the answers here (Ha, I rhymed).

Picture of University College

I once had a tutorial in the basement of UC, which was difficult to find. Can anyone relate? (Source: uc.utoronto.ca)

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Take an active break! : A small gym exercise routine

October is a terrifying time of year – and that has nothing to do with Halloween. I have never before been so overwhelmed with things that need doing/studying/writing. But we’ll get through this… right?

I’m kidding of course, we always do and we will again – that thought has always been helpful to me when I’m swamped and feeling hopeless.

When there’s so much to be done, it can be hard to squeeze in some physical activity. As many of us live in residences and apartment buildings with small exercise rooms, I thought I’d put together a simple small gym study break as a perfect addition to my self-care routine!

Try 1-3 sets of 10 repetitions of each of the following exercises for a fast, full body workout between textbooks!

Annette is shown in 3 stages of a pushup.

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In Which Sargam Seeks Help!

For Self-Care week, I want to share an experience that literally changed the course of my entire university career and perhaps, changed how I will live my life from now on.

Okay, yeah, I’m overly dramatic usually but I’m not exaggerating here, promise. Brace yourselves.

a box of assorted cookies

PS. A lot of my self-care tips include food, in one way or another.

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A Friendly Reminder To Be Kind To Yourself

Hey guys, this week is Self-Care Week at UofT. By definition, self-care involves the things you do to take care of your physical and mental health. This week is part of the University’s HealthyU Month, which is an entire month dedicated towards celebrating mental and physical health.

Although it may not be obvious at first, self-care is directly linked to academic success because reaching your goals becomes easier when you are healthy, physically and mentally. In the spirit of self-care week, here are some common self-care practices that can boost your academic potential.

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“Treat Yourself”

What do you do to make time for yourself? Between lectures, emails, practice, homework, exams, and all the other things that fill up my schedule, I always make sure I make some time for myself. Am I the only one whose high school teachers had posters that said “fail to plan, plan to fail”? I think that taking the time to care for yourself simply applies to this quote. Continue reading

My Five Favourite Self-Care Activities

In the midst of midterms, taking a refreshing break can often be the last thing on students’ minds. We may take procrastination breaks all the time — YouTube videos, Buzzfeed, scrolling through social media — and these are definitely valid in their own way. However, I find that more than a half hour of such activities often leaves me feeling guilty or more stressed. Instead, allotting the same amount of time for a calming, self-care activity tends to make me feel much more at ease. Here are several of my favourite ways to temporarily detach from work.

  1. Taking a bath. One of my favourite feelings in the world is sinking into a tub of hot water. Taking a bath is a wonderful, low-commitment de-stressor because I can bring a book along and do my readings in a more relaxed atmosphere. Usually, I like to choose a fun, enjoyable novel, and since I am an English major, this works out. Sometimes, a change of environment is all it takes to refocus. In this way, I get to relax without feeling too guilty about abandoning work.
Book and mug on bathtub tray

Source: homeedit.com

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Planning for Uncertainty

A picture of different ice cream flavours: strawberry, mango, bubble gum, cotton candy

I didn’t plan to have ice cream today. But sometimes uncertainty can be a good thing.

When I signed up for the Career Centre’s Planning Your Career workshop, I was ready to plan. And planning I did. I plotted out my career goals for the next three years with the help of a nifty linear diagram. My plan even had a pretty good end goal: landing my dream job after university.

This was all fine and dandy (I’ve been making colourful five year plans for the past ten years), until I remembered an underlying theme of the Planning Your Career workshop: it’s almost impossible to see the end goal of your career, since a lot of jobs are found through chance. In other words, plans are a good way to explore your career options and help develop your goals, but they don’t factor in all the unpredictable elements that go along with actually landing a job.

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