Totem poles, different angle

Developing Those Intercultural Skills, Pt. 2: An Outing to the ROM

As I had mentioned in a previous blog post, I’m participating in something called the Intercultural Learning Program (ILP) this year. Apart from the introductory workshop which I talked about in that post, I was definitely looking forward to the experiential outings part of…

Group of empty chairs arranged in a circle, facing each other

Finding Support Through Group Therapy

Knowing how to find and use the mental health services available to you on campus can be a daunting task. I’ve heard from students who have found great counsellors at the Health and Wellness Centre and others still who, not knowing what kind of support they were exactly looking for, were overwhelmed with where to start.

One of the things I found most helpful among the mental health services that I have had experience with were the CBT groups offered at Health & Wellness.

Group of empty chairs arranged in a circle, facing each other
source: outlookcbt.com
Identity bubble map. Some branches include "third culture kid" and "hobbies/passions"

Developing Those Intercultural Skills: An Introduction

I’d like to think of myself as pretty “internationally-minded” (whatever that means) and I suspect a lot of Torontonians would too, seeing as we live in such a diverse and multicultural city. Apart from that, I lived in a few countries growing up and am still sometimes in conflict with my own cultural identity and what or how I choose to identify myself to others. For me, the question of “Where are you from?” can evoke different responses depending on the situation (and how interested I think the other person is in hearing my entire life story).

Since I chose not to pursue a major that deals directly with issues of multiculturalism I’m always looking for ways to learn about intercultural topics in more formal settings, especially as I’m equally fascinated by the theory part of all this as well.

Canadian passport

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

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).

Finding Your Way Back After “Failures”

Even though everyone experiences failure, nobody wants to broadcast them. And it’s definitely hard to talk about them at a competitive school such as U of T. When you’ve experienced academic setbacks at a high-achieving school it’s hard to convince yourself that you can bounce back from it. At least that was the case for me. I saw the ‘failures’ as now-permanent features of my character and less like ‘stumbles’ or ‘setbacks’ (which, in the grand scheme of things, they actually were).

So what’s important when you’re trying to bounce back from setbacks?

Robarts Library
Coming back from setbacks can all be rather intimidating, just like Robarts.
(c) University of Toronto
Hart House exterior

Getting Some Good Reminders at Mindfest 2016

Taking care of your mental health can be a bit of a chore if that’s not something you’re already mindful (ha ha) of. To be honest, taking care of your health in general can sometimes be a chore. I think it’s hard to self-discipline yourself when you don’t feel the immediate consequences of your actions. It just doesn’t feel like not sleeping well or not eating healthy is going to affect you right. now. and so it’s easier to just give in sometimes.

So it’s nice to have reminders every once in a while to keep yourself on track, especially during times when things are going relatively well and you think you don’t actually need those reminders.

This past Wednesday was Mindfest, a “festival to create awareness and gain appreciation for mental health.” I had missed out on Mindfest last year (check out Madelin’s blog from last year if you missed out as well), and so I was glad I had a chance to go this year.

Hart House, U of T
Most of the day events and presentations were hosted at Hart House.