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Mental Health over Marks!

An Insight into What’s I’ve Really Learned This Semester

Hey all, this semesters has been crazier than last between work and course work I’ve been bogged down both figuring out how to effectively manage my time, expectations and down time. Indeed, it is a tricky balance and now that, that period is all wrapped up there’s an important lesson I’d like to share with you- whether you’re a student yourself struggling to manage or just need that extra reminder- the biggest lesson in all of this learning for me has been the importance of mental health and taking breaks. It’s important not only to acknowledge, but to actually act on this thought is because it seems that we’ve all been programmed to push through under the not so healthy beliefs that if we can just make it one more week or perhaps one more month or even one more day than all will be well. “Barrel on through the days stresses” we tell ourselves because it’s part of the experience of working hard that for the most part can be a source of pride. We also may do so because we believe that if we continue to work hard the chance to step back will occur naturally. Which, sometimes it does. Sometimes that break between semesters is it or between the busy season at our jobs comes to us naturally. While other times it takes us doing that for ourselves to realize exactly how needed it was to properly take a break.  As someone who recently experienced this myself, I know it can be tough to make that decision when there may be more than one commitment or thing we are stepping away from, but if indeed the objective of taking a step back from things is to take a break from the things that stress us out, then as I’ve learned we’re all the better for leaving them behind temporarily. For me, this stepping away came approximately halfway through the semester and a few good months being back at work. I was at this point in the year where mental fatigue was already starting to set in, and knew that if I didn’t take the opportunity to step out I could find myself getting burnt out even more.  I also knew in the back of my mind that giving myself a break would help me figuratively and literally catch my breath. The choices for me, were do I give myself a full break and play catch-up on assignments upon my return (i.e. mental health) or do I work at them during my break and choose marks over mental health. It was seemed like half-a-dozen of one and six of the other, but really once I had granted myself the time off and it came time to enjoy it, the final choice made all the more sense. In that a) I would have to do the school work eventually and b) that if I looked back and didn’t take the opportunity to rest during the break would regret that even more later. So, as the title of this blog suggests I chose mental health over marks. It was an important move that came with an even more important lesson and that’s sometimes in the thick of things we need to make these choices for ourselves, even if it means playing catch-up later upon our return or choosing one thing over the other. For me, in that instance it was 100% worth taking that time because doing so allowed me to a) realign my thoughts *and actually hear them*, be present during my time off, which then allowed me to feel better equipped to return back to work after my time off and power through my assignments, which I did great in the end anyways. So my question to you is: What’s one small thing you can do to boost your mental health? Calmly Yours, Kylie