Flying out of my comfort zone

I never imagined myself living a whole ocean away from Toronto; away from U of T, my parents and my comfort zone. In my final summer at U of T, I took a leap of faith and applied for the summer abroad program. This just happened to be the first year that they offered a psychology course and it was a topic that I was extremely interested in. Not to mention, they were offering 1.0 credit in just a month, which also made it easier for me to convince my parents to let me go to England by myself!

 

Worcester College Quad!
Worcester College Quad!
Text reading "Keep calm and kickbox".

Feature: Cardio kickbox at Goldring

I’ve never really participated in a group fitness class that wasn’t a quiet, restorative yoga session. As such, I had no idea what to expect from the “Cardio Kickbox” drop-in fitness class offered at the Goldring Centre. I came into the class without expectations, exhausted after a long day on campus, and somehow I walked out energized and uplifted.

Woman seen frolicking through a field of flowers with a text overlay which reads "This is me after signing up for kickboxing!"
Basically.
Source: memeshappen.com

9-5 Wars: My Journey from full-time student to full-time employee

I lived near campus when I was a full-time student and I still had to rush to just barely make my 10 am classes but lately, I’ve been out of bed by 6:00 am and out the door by 7:00 am. I recently started working full-time while being in school part-time two days a week. I didn’t quite feel done with my undergraduate experience when I first got the notification of having completed my credits so I decided to step into the workplace and get the experience but still stay in touch with academia. Before this new position, I had never worked 9-5 every day; I have had summer jobs but all with odd shift hours or 4-6 hours per shift which made sense for me at the time. Now that I have joined the workforce, I am in complete shock of how much more my body is capable of in a full day.

Tim Hortons cup in Sargam's hand
coffee and I, what a wonderful love story
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
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).

In Which Sargam Seeks Help!

For Self-Care week, I want to share an experience that literally changed the course of my entire university career and perhaps, changed how I will live my life from now on.

Okay, yeah, I’m overly dramatic usually but I’m not exaggerating here, promise. Brace yourselves.

a box of assorted cookies
PS. A lot of my self-care tips include food, in one way or another.

My Five Favourite Self-Care Activities

In the midst of midterms, taking a refreshing break can often be the last thing on students’ minds. We may take procrastination breaks all the time — YouTube videos, Buzzfeed, scrolling through social media — and these are definitely valid in their own way. However, I find that more than a half hour of such activities often leaves me feeling guilty or more stressed. Instead, allotting the same amount of time for a calming, self-care activity tends to make me feel much more at ease. Here are several of my favourite ways to temporarily detach from work.

  1. Taking a bath. One of my favourite feelings in the world is sinking into a tub of hot water. Taking a bath is a wonderful, low-commitment de-stressor because I can bring a book along and do my readings in a more relaxed atmosphere. Usually, I like to choose a fun, enjoyable novel, and since I am an English major, this works out. Sometimes, a change of environment is all it takes to refocus. In this way, I get to relax without feeling too guilty about abandoning work.
Book and mug on bathtub tray
Source: homeedit.com