Friday, January 29, 2016

Breaking the Ice

I'm very passionate and motivated to research ways to promote positive well-being in myself, my colleagues and students regardless of age, however, I wasn't quite sure where to begin. As I tried to determine where to start I began to realize the preconceived ideas I had about students', and particularly my own well-being. I noted in one of my earlier posts that the well-being of students is often jeopardized due to their lack of time and money. Activities like going to the gym, yoga classes and even getting a pet have been suggested by numerous sources to reduce student stresses but these activities tend to add up in cost and cut into time that we set aside for homework or part-time jobs. But is this really what is holding us back?

I had this idea that as a student I should constantly be doing school work in order to alleviate stress. I assumed that being productive took place in the form of school work and that to reduce the stress of school I shouldn't be doing anything else. I have always considered myself to be good at time management - I get my homework and assignments done well in advance on top of attending classes, working three to five days a week and spending quite a bit of time commuting to school. But as I tried to begin this project I started to question my time management abilities...

I told myself that I would try out stress reducing strategies and report back on my findings. However, when planning out what tasks I wanted to complete in any given day, I found that any stress reduction strategies I wanted to explore were the first thing I decided I didn't have time for. Why was this? What made taking time for myself less of a priority than my school work?

Now I'm not going to argue that money is not a factor in partaking in some stress reduction activities, such as going to the gym. But I believe that if we take the time for ourselves to explore all of the free stress relievers there are out there we can positively contribute to our own well-being... we just need to make this time!

For me, making time means scheduling time specifically for stress relief, this is never something I have done in the past and I've never been the type of person to drop everything and take a break. Every morning I make a to-do list, typically consisting of school assignments or household chores I aim to complete in a given day. I have now begun to add in time to explore stress relieving activities on these lists every day. I have started with just a half hour a day (I find it easier to only get up a half hour early, or take a half hour break from my school work) but I hope to increase this amount of time as I learn to prioritize my own well-being.

Breaking down these preconceived ideas and learning to manage my time to include my personal well-being has certainly been a challenge in getting my Genius Hour research going, but in the time I have designated for hands-on research of stress reduction has been a blast! I have experimented with some yoga and colouring and I'll start to share some of my findings in my next week, stay tuned!

I'll leave you with a quote I came across in my research that I hope inspires you to take some time for yourself and to improve your own well-being...

"It's not selfish to love yourself, 
take care of yourself
and to make your happiness a priority. 
It's necessary."
                               - Mandy Hale  

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