Laugh it up!

I bit the bullet last week, gave 12 whole dollars to a student in my faculty and signed away my Tuesday night. For what you ask?! Why a trip down to Blue Jays Way of course, all the way to Second City! It was a faculty event to get in some fun, social time with classmates and to unwind.  It was the “Improv All Stars” event and it was hilarious! I mean, I actually lol’d, and not just the kind of lol that you send in a text,  I literally laughed out loud!

I’ve been looking to de-stress a bit before exams and think that a few extra laughs, coupled with my regular workout routine, might do the trick! I can tell you: both laughing ridiculous amounts and sweating profusely can leave a person feeling much better.

Where’s the exercise in that you might be asking? Well, let me just say that my abs got a hearty workout, I said goodbye to a whole lot of stress and I slept like a baby that night. The bonus? You can’t overdo this kind of exercise, the more laughter, the better! I know it’s not on campus but it really was just a short walk  away and with a large group of UofT students it felt just like home.

That’s the thing, getting rid of stress shouldn’t be serious. Exercise should be as fun as getting in some laughs. It shouldn’t  feel like a chore; make it fun with a Zumba drop-in class.  If you bring a friend, I can guarantee you’ll have a great time. You might start off laughing at the awkwardness of it all, but once you warm-up, you’ll be letting loose and feeling limber! Not ready to throw your hips about in that sexy, Latin salsa way?

Perhaps a  3-on-3 bball tournament  will do the trick? Check out the graphic and you’ll see, this is not a serious tourney: sure the competition may be stiff, but something tells me fun will be the priority.

Whether or not you’re looking for laughs to relieve stress or a physical way to do it, you’ll be glad you took a time out.  I’m looking to yoga at the Athletic Centre to work on my inner peace and flexibility foundation (more on that to come). With exams just around the corner, it’s a great time to solidify your get-physical routine! This way you’ll mitigate the repercussions of the exam anvil falling on your tired, sluggish, over-worked student body!

If you’re sitting at your desk and you can’t possibly tear yourself away find yourself a fave comedian online. Personally, I’m partial to Louis CK and I recommend this clip…

If that doesn’t seem like enough laughs then perhaps catching an episode of The Daily Show or Modern Family will do the trick. Or check out a movie, a friend recently reported that Tower Heist was surprisingly good!

Don’t take my word for it though, find out yourself. Frankly, getting out of your room and hanging with friends for a laugh, or getting some form of physical activity, will do you a world of good! Let me know what places you find and best of luck!!

 

Later Skaters.

 

-Laura

Don’t fear the Procrastinator

Everyone does it, and I know for a fact that you, as a student, do it all the time. You procrastinate!

The first step to combating procrastination is to admit that you’re guilty of doing it, and also to realize that succumbing to it is inevitable. The second step is to find a solution. Easier said than done, right? For years, I tried to stave off my bad habits with remedies that I’ve found online, in magazines, self-help books, and of course, the customary lessons from my teachers and parents.

I started putting post-it notes all over my room, I tried keeping an agenda of all of my activities and I took breaks often when I was working and rewarded myself when I did well. I even deactivated Facebook (albeit briefly). But to be frank, most of these “solutions” felt much like putting a band-aid on a broken leg. Yes, they were all terrific habits to develop, but none of them were providing a real solution to the fact that I simply didn’t want to do the things that I didn’t want to do. Procrastination is not about forgetting to do things; it’s about replacing the seemingly boring tasks with ones that we find more enjoyable. This was my problem.

Eventually, I stopped looking at procrastination as the enemy, and embraced it as a natural habit that most fun-loving members of society take part in, no matter how bad it is for us. So I played with this idea of welcoming procrastination, and instead of trying to cut it out of my life, I tried to find ways to fit it in. I took notes of my habits while I did things that I didn’t necessarily enjoy doing, and what I quickly found out was that it wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to do something, but that I didn’t enjoy doing singular tasks for very long periods of time.

This should have come as no surprise to me, for two reasons. I’m a member of the many Y-genners who think a YouTube video longer than three minutes is too much of a commitment. And two, as I’d later discover, the average human being begins to absorb less information after a period of focus longer than 45 minutes to an hour. No wonder my five hour late night crams weren’t working out.

But then the problem became exacerbated when I was still having trouble focusing on one task for even an hour at a time. I could no longer blame the shortcomings of the human brain. Even after fifteen or twenty minutes, I’d find ways to procrastinate. I needed a solution to my solution.

So, I began making lists of things I had to do in order of priority and separated them between lengthy, more demanding tasks — class readings, assignments, etc. — and shorter, easier ones — responding to emails, exercising, making dinner, paying rent. All things that I needed to do, but all requiring varied levels of effort, focus and time.

What I’d then do was start at the top of the list with a high priority item and start working on it. If after 20 minutes, I found myself drifting, I’d stop what I was doing and move down the list, taking on a shorter, less intense task, and then once I was finished I’d get back to what I was doing before. What I soon discovered was that employing this tactic, not only would I no longer get frustrated with myself for failing to concentrate, but I was also able to work consistently for longer periods of time, and I was truly being more productive. By mixing activities up in a more natural way instead of say, studying for three hours and then running personal errands for another two hours, I was able to keep myself occupied and not get bored doing any one thing for too long.

The trick was to procrastinate by doing other things that I needed to do, and ultimately, get more done! I’d conquered procrastination with procrastination. It’s important to note though, that catching up on the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother or checking your Facebook status is not something that you need to do!

Of course, like every piece of advice, this is a bit autobiographical, and what works for me, may not necessarily work for you. But who knows, we may be more alike than you think.

In any case, here’s a fun video about procrastination to distract you from doing something else that you probably should be doing. Enjoy!

Until next time,

~ Chad