This past week I attended one of U of T’s stress management workshops. If any of you have time I definitely suggest going to the workshops offered by Academic Success—and for those of you who can’t, have no fear because I’ve got you covered! They’re about 2 hours long (though you can leave early if you need to) and are a great way to see more of the U of T community in a more intimate way.
“You are more than your grade. You are more than your stress.”
One of the hardest parts about going to U of T is the constant pressure we are all under to consistently perform well. Many times that results in everyone, including me, feeling like just a number. But hearing someone tell me that my self worth is not dictated by the grades I get was one of the most relieving moments at the university.
So many people at our school are so used to being stressed out that it can become the only way they know how to live. Having to be out of school for the past two months has made me feel unfulfilled because I am not up studying until 3 am every night, or constantly feeling exhausted.
During the workshop, we went around the table and shared how many hours of sleep everyone gets. Some (including me) said 8, some said 4, and it wasn’t until one person said 2 hours that I truly started to realize that this is no way to live. 2 hours. Can you imagine? Day after day, only getting 2 hours of sleep? The scariest part was that I was more impressed than shocked over their sleeping habits. To be impressed that someone manages on such little sleep shocked me, and made me rethink my idea of what makes a stellar student.
The workshop leader explained that stress is a normal part of life, but that chronic stress is a mental habit. To break out of this habit we need to start doing things to prioritize our mental and physical health over everything. Sounds simple enough, right?
Have you ever planned out your day, including things like a wake-up time, what you’re going to eat for breakfast, and what time you’re going to go to sleep? Having a regimented schedule two weeks in advance can help you visualize your upcoming goals while making your life a little easier because you know exactly what your day is going to consist of. Visualizing your time can also help you visualize the time we DON’T have, which can help you not put too much on your plate.
Stay tuned for a part two where I’ll talk about the “tapping technique” and how it can help us understand and manage our stress! You can find a list of Academic Success’s upcoming workshops at http://www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/asc/workshops.