I think any student can agree that the workload, pressure, and busyness of University can wear down on your mental health. On the block system, you spend 3.5 weeks working tirelessly and intensely on a class – focussing most of your efforts on work and maybe not as much on yourself.
Here are a few ways to take care of yourself and your mental health while at Quest!
1. Exercise or Get outside
Even if you have a big assignment due the next day and you think you need every possible hour to complete it – STOP and take a second. Instead of taking hours to complete the assignment, many of which will be mostly procrastinating or freaking out anyway, take some time to get outside. Getting some exercise and fresh air is a great way to clear your mind and actually increase your productivity. By taking 30 minutes to do this, you might finish your assignment more quickly than before and get some genius ideas out.
2. Spend time with people you love
Take a break that’s at least 10 minutes to spend some time with your friends. Lots of hugs and cuddles will keep you sane and taking a bit of time to think of something that isn’t your work will help your stress levels. Remind yourself that you are loved and looked after!
3. Ask for help
If you’re reaching a point where you aren’t able to manage your stress, your workload is too overwhelming, or you’re stuck on a problem and becoming unproductive, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometime’s one person can’t do everything at once and it’s okay to reach out for others. Maybe someone’s new perspective will help you succeed, you just need a pep talk, or you need someone to share the load. At Quest, you can talk to your tutor (schedule a meeting or visit them in office hours), see a peer tutor, visit a counsellor, brainstorm with peers, or talk to your friends and family.
4. Write a list
Writing a list of all the things you have to do and scheduling time for each thing will help you keep everything sorted and prevent you from getting overwhelmed. Often you need to break things into smaller pieces and see where it fits in your day instead of looking at all the work you have to do at once. Remember to schedule in breaks (going outside, cuddling your roommate, etc.) between work hours! (If you have trouble with scheduling, talk to the Dean of Students, Melanie. She’s incredibly busy but manages to keep herself sane and relaxed – she’ll walk you through a schedule that will work for you and help you stick to it!)
5. Take a deep breath
Sometimes when you’re stressed out you’re breathing get’s irregular. You hold your breath, breath shallowly, or hyperventilate. Take a moment to breathe deeply – counting 4 seconds as you inhale, hold for 4 seconds, and exhale for 4 seconds. Keep doing this until you feel a bit more relaxed. This is easy to do all the time and has no time limit, so do it whenever you feel overwhelmed.
You’ll find ways to manage your mental health but hopefully these can be a starting point. And remember that you’re never alone! There are so many people around you that are ready to support you through difficult times, cheer you up, and inspire you. Take care of yourself.