By Samiha Rahman
This is it. You’ve made it: you’re either starting your first, or another year at YorkU. There’s somehow already deadlines to be filled, papers to be written and names to be remembered. You’re overwhelmed and it’s only Wednesday. But there is one thing that can promise you assurance and calm: your own peace of mind. That little voice inside you can either make or break you, day in and day out. Here are seven tips and tricks to keep your peace of mind (I learned the hard way) freshman year at YorkU:
Give your stress the spotlight. Acknowledging what’s going on inside you can help self-validate your feelings, and relieve initial stress. It will also help you to potentially seek further help (like the free YorkU Psychology Clinic (YUPC) at Behavioral Sciences Building, Reception Room 104) So, accept the chaos, then choose your next plan of action (or not).
Have a “vent buddy” on-hand.
We all need that one friend who can listen. Sometimes, all we need is to simply talk about it. Effective dialogue can help reduce stress by increasing our understanding of the situation and our goals and expectations, from more than one perspective. By doing this, we’re also imaginatively “giving it away” back to the world — or, in this case, your vent buddy.
Make use of Personal Counselling Services.
YorkU has so many free drop-in sessions for various areas of mental health such as mindfulness, group yoga sessions and Personal Counselling Services located at the Bennett Centre for Student Services. I was surprised to see the variety and availability of events that take place every month, usually posted on the colleges’ calendar section on their website. Sometimes it can be tough to commit to going, but try making it a group activity with friends or use up those spare hours in between classes. You have nothing to lose, just insight to gain!
Make “me-time” the best time.
Transitioning from high school where you see the same faces all year long, to riding solo around through Vari Hall and attending your own classes can be quite difficult to adjust to. You find yourself spending more and more time alone. But, this is also the perfect opportunity to rediscover yourself and utilize your own company. Be confident in the person you’re becoming and actually go to events you’re interested in around campus — even if it means doing it alone!
Surround yourself with good people.
When choosing your squad, don’t be afraid to be selective. Be mindful of how people make you feel and don’t stick around with ones who put you down (bad vibes). Create a strong support network, whether it is through family, friends or both. Here’s yet another reason to seek out activities on campus — it’s where you meet new people! Try other options too, like joining study groups or talking to students in your favorite class.
Break the cycle.
You wake up, grab a coffee, down your breakfast, then head in and out of class. Sound familiar? Our routines may make us more efficient, enhancing our feelings of security and safety, but a little change of pace and adventure can perk up a tight schedule, so that 8:30 a.m. class isn’t something you dread all week. Take a new shortcut to class, plan a friends/group study session (at the new second student centre!) or take a walk through a building on campus you’ve never been to before. Even changing up your daily coffee order can help keep things interesting, in ways you have control over.
Write it down.
Yes, you’ve probably heard this before — keep a diary, make to-do lists — but how many times have you mindfully tried it? Recognizing your academic, professional and personal goals, then writing down the steps to achieve them can declutter your mind and help you realize your goals are more attainable than you thought. This includes long-term and short-term goals. Post it up on your wall by creating an inspiration board or download a to-do list app that’ll help you navigate through your daily errands.