Life @ U of T

Introduction

Self-care and slow down

Self-care and slow down

Filtered landscape photograph of a fountain in a park surrounded by banners shaped as wings
Early Morning Calmness

Self-care. This seems simple enough, doesn’t it? We’re all in university, we all know how to take care of ourselves—don’t we?

After the two months that I’ve had, I honestly don’t know. The past few months have been a journey for me to practice self-care and just slow down.

After going to school downtown with a massive student body, I’ve gotten used to the fast pace, being a face in the crowd, and the ever-disappointing, overstuffed subway. But just before school started this fall, I got a concussion and found myself preparing to enter the battle grounds of balancing 4 jobs and school under a whole new set of circumstances.

When I started getting my concussion symptoms I didn’t realize just how much my normal day-to-day routine was really not that normal. My usual quick 10-minute morning routine to get out the door was replaced with over-sleeping and endless symptoms. My daily routine was overwhelming me in ways I had never experienced before.

I didn’t want this concussion to set me back, so I tried to push myself when I needed to and then just rest at the end of the day. Needless to say, that did not work and I inevitably relapsed two weeks after: I had to put my blog posts on hold to take care of myself properly. I’m slowly working my way back, and I wanted to share bits and pieces of my experience with you as I’ve learned that self-care is needed (concussed or not) and that there are resources on campus that really can help. Here’s some of the tips I’ve learned in how to let some self-care into your life:

1. SLOW. DOWN.
Let that fast five-minute walk take ten: allow yourself to breathe and take in your surroundings. When my symptoms were at their worst, I noticed every little noise, every bright light. Allow yourself more time. The stimuli that we endure every day in this big city is honestly remarkable, so give yourself a break once in a while.

2. SAY NO
This is something that I still am struggling with. If you are feeling run down or just can’t do something, sometimes the answer is: don’t! I pushed myself too many times to do things because I thought that’s what people wanted of me. I didn’t want my injury to get in the way of my obligations and responsibilities. But what I didn’t realize is that me not prioritizing myself and my health was really me getting in the way of my recovery.

3. TALK TO PROFS/REGISTRARS/FACULTY/DOCTORS
These. People. Are. Amazing. Before my semester began, I tried my best to mention my situation to my professors and I was surprised about their understanding and willingness to accommodate. I think because of how big our school is everyone feels as though they can’t speak to their profs. It’s not always true, but if you feel like it is in your situation, another option is to go through your registrar and ask them to speak on your behalf. I have found the most support from my registrar, and honestly don’t think my school experience would have turned around without her.

4. DON’T APOLOGIZE
Your injury or illness is not your fault. You don’t need to apologize for your need for accommodations or extra time. You need this and that is okay.

And lastly:
5. BE KIND TO YOURSELF.

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