Enjoying a few of my favourite things

Cloudy evenings

I hope the term is beginning well! I'm new to the team this year and I'll be in Surrey, U.K. for fall and maybe winter too. I study mechanical engineering, and last season I lived on campus in St. Mike's for my first year. Even though it's looking difficult for me to return to campus, U of T has migrated online, so apart from playing football (soccer) and a few other things, I'm not missing much else. I have very diverse interests, which I hope to explore this year. I am excited for the year ahead and my best piece of advice would be: keep trying everything.

Over the summer months, I thought about my goals and things I am grateful for. I feel good about setting targets. When I didn’t have a schedule before school, I needed things to aim for motivation - I started making a bucket list. With all that time to myself, I’ve spent the last few months tackling the list. I'm back at learning French; over 10 years of French throughout school didn’t take me that far and taking tests and exams didn't make it fonder. Yet, now I'm closer to speaking to my bilingual friends than before.

I’ve also picked up the guitar and piano again. As a kid, I can’t say I didn’t pretend to practice for music lessons and I find it quite ironic that I wake up these days and start my day with it. Usually, at the end of the day, when we could, I'd go for family walks in the British countryside. It's nice to get out and appreciate nature a bit more.

It's quite nice to get out and the cows are friendly!

The British Countryside

As part of making a routine, I use a journaling and mental wellness app called Stoic. I’ve only used it for around a month and a half now, but in that time it has been refreshing. I feel like I’m having an honest conversation with myself. This keeps me centred and grounded. With all the hectic schedules and fall semester deadlines, the app is a way I can easily merge it into my week and encourage mental calmness. It focuses on me as an individual, and it’s a positive self-reflection that I enjoy. I have tried many other apps on the app store and I have kept physical versions, but Stoic seems to make the tricky nature of adding self-reflection to our daily routines more familiar and easier.

It’s crucial to be careful with all our screen time schedules. I want to dictate my day, and not be dragged along by it. I aim to spare 5 minutes and think about myself. We’re a community and even socially distanced, it’s amazing to be aware of how our wellbeing affects our classmates, friends and family. I take some time to think about my day. And for that, I need to be active and create healthy thoughts. It's hard to build this up but my sleep routine gets better, work-life balance is more stable and this keeps me happy. And by doing a lot of smaller things each day, I know who I am.

I take the time for my favourite things and they keep me balanced. I haven’t held back from trying new or older hobbies again. I tried to make face masks (it was frustrating) and I finally got an opportunity to remember what my old school sewing lessons taught me. I’ve got back into gardening, skipping (jump rope) and baking. And I bike about 40 miles each week along the hills, and it's beautiful.

The little joys we experience each day are so important and if we can keep our bucket list goals or things we love to do (travelling the world or playing sports or etc.) in the back of our mind, it makes this interlude not so unpleasant.

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