As I look outside, I can feel the winter in my bones. I know the atmosphere of short days and cold weather can contribute to feeling down this time of year. This time of year also brings with it a great deal of work and pressure. It’s human to feel stress as it is a common part of life that can come and go with shifts in commitments and workload.
In my student days, I often reminded myself two things that I think are important to always remember during this time of year. One, between midterms and the occasional marathon study session, I remembered that I was working hard towards an accomplishment worth many of the challenges you are facing now.
And, two, it was important to acknowledge when stress started to take hold of you all the time. Recognizing when the strain is becoming abnormal and knowing where to turn for support are key steps in maintaining positive mental health.
On that same note, it is also important that we take the time to recognize when those around us are becoming anxious, tense or increasingly isolated. We are a campus that stands together and recognizing mental health struggles is key to staying a connected and caring community.
It is important to support one another in any way we can and remind one another that we are not alone. Often times we need time to pause and decompress from the everyday challenges we are facing.
Taking the Time to Rest and Reflect
With Reading Week starting in a few short days, I urge you to take a little time for yourself. It’s the first break since the end of the holiday season and is an excellent opportunity for all of us to catch our breath and reflect on our accomplishments.
Try to take stock during this break to evaluate how you have felt over the course of the year so far and even look at implementing strategies and habits to take on those stressful times with a plan. This could include building a close support network to rely on when you need to talk or simply setting aside time in your schedule to take breaks or a long walk. Extended days of rest like Reading Week are the time to not only rest but to reflect on your health, both mentally and physically.
As the weather has turned a little colder in recent weeks even our friendly Canadian geese have taken a break from their activities to huddle together to rest. Let us take a page out of their book next week and relax with our friends and families and come back ready to take on the back half of another exciting term.
Don’t forget that you are never alone. If the stress and pressures are becoming too much please seek assistance whether it is through friends, family, professors or Counselling Services.
Know that we are a community that constantly strives to support and grow together and we are here for you.