Am I home sick or is it stress?

Coming back to school after the winter break has been especially hard for me. I don’t really know 100% why but it has been tough trying to get back into the groove of things. I have always been a person who loves school and learning, but lately I always find myself asking why am I here and is this what I really want to be doing. When truth be told I just want to be home with my family. I have always found myself to get home sick, and living away from home hasn’t really been easy for me. Trying to deal with new roommate and trying to get comfortable somewhere that just doesn’t feel like home. Let me tell you it sucks. I’ve never really been a person who makes friends easily, and it’s not because I’m mean or cocky or anything, but more that I am an extreme introvert and unless someone full out makes the attempt to talk to me I’ll just keep to myself. Out of my three years at university so far, I find that returning to school now has been the hardest and most stressful time yet. I find it hard for myself to pay attention and stay focused because all I want to do is be home with my family. My family and I have tried to see if me commuting every day would be worth it, but it is not. I live far and I actually would spend double the amount of time commuting, than the time I would spend in class, so that was out of the question. So it was either live in Oshawa or switch Universities, yet I do love this school and don’t want to change. So it is as if I am having a tug-a-war with myself and its draining me so much that I just don’t have any energy left for school. On top of it I am always stressed, I’m talking stressed about things that there should be no reason to be stressed over. So between the wanting to be home and the stressing over my school work and just school in general, it is as if I have come to a fork in the road and cannot decide which way to go if any, or if I should just turn around. My parents have asked me if I would like to take the rest of the year off or if I need a break, but the issue is I don’t know what I want. I don’t know if I am just going through a phase of feeling alone and actually missing home, or if the stress and exhaustion that school puts on me is doing this.

All this to say that I guess I am only to take it one day at a time, because how am I to make a decision if I don’t actually know what I want?
If you guys have any tips on being home sick or stressed please share 🙂



Roller Coaster

Image result for roller coaster quote
Sometimes it feels like I’m on a roller coaster that doesn’t stop, a series of ups and downs. As soon as things look up there’s always a 5ft drop.
The year after high school ended and going into college, I started becoming super close with my friend and her family who lived in my hometown, they were like a second family I guess you could say. Before I started college, even when she was at school, I’d be there with her parents and siblings. Most nights I went to sleep there, and most mornings I woke up there. It was like a second home to me. I spent every waking moment and chance I had with them. My parents during this time seemed rather annoyed that I spent all this time with them and not my family. During this time my depression and suicidal thoughts were on the rise. My “second family” was always there to support me, and even at one point brought me to see a counsellor.
Summer 2012 I had a falling out with these friends, this was difficult for me. Going from spending every moment with them to not at all was a big adjustment for me. I tried endlessly to work things out with them, but every time I did I made things worse. That summer, they ended up calling the police on me. I guess you can say when I tried to work things out, I was a little bit persistent with it. I’ve never been one to give up on people or let people walk away, even when they tell me time and time again to leave them alone. With summer coming close to an end and me moving to Peterborough for college, this was a positive for me. I’d have something to do, and would meet new friends. But as the school year started my depression and suicidal thoughts continued to climb. My “second family” eventually came around shortly after school started, on weekends I would go there. Slowly, the good started turning bad again with them.
With the end of first semester rolling around I learned that math and science wasn’t for me and dropped out of the pre-health program that I was in. I later applied to the Child and Youth Worker program for the winter semester.
Over the Christmas holiday marked my first suicide attempt that brought me to the hospital. I ended up over dosing on Tylenol and my sister brought me to the hospital. I spent a couple days in emerge, and a couple in the intensive care unit. This was a hard time for me over hearing doctors that I might need a new liver if things didn’t improve, and the concern my family had for me was really hard. I was so glad to be alive, it made me realize that I would never want to put my family through losing me. Eventually I was released from the hospital.
January 2013, I was back in school and meeting new people again. My parents were constantly on my case post-hospital visit and didn’t allow me to see my “second family” as much, along with that “second family” didn’t want me there as much. I think they were worried that things would go bad again. Slowly but surely, I lost them again. This was difficult but I managed to push through it this time, and even started seeing a counsellor at school. The child and youth worker program wasn’t for me either, but I applied to Police Foundations for the fall of 2013.
Fall fast approached and I started Police Foundations at Fleming College. I started making new friends, I got more involved in school, and my grades were well. Things were good, I had a group of friends at school that supported me, I found a program I liked and was happy with where I was at. But the roller coaster I was on went down again.

Walking on Eggshells

I have a close family member who makes almost every situation stressful. My entire family dreads coming home at the end of a long day because you never know what kind of mood he will be in. He might happily greet you at the door, or be screaming at you the second you walk in. Being around him is like walking on eggshells, you never know when he’s gonna crack.

Around a year ago, I came to a realization – as soon as I am in the same room as him I become extremely stressed and tense. Driving in the car is the worst and one night is a prime example of why – I brought him along with me to my friends’ house to help cheer him up. While we were there he suddenly grabbed my arm and said that we needed to leave immediately because he knew he was going to have a freak out. I politely told my friends we had to leave and that I would see them all later. We were driving home when suddenly he punched the dash board and began screaming. I stopped the car, terrified. He was in tears and got out of the vehicle, proceeding to walk down the street. We were in a neighbourhood he is unfamiliar with, so I followed him close behind. He then began screaming at me to leave him alone so I drove back to my friends’ house as it was closer than my own. I called my mom and asked what I should do. She said to go back and try and pick him up to bring him home. But I was scared to get back into the car with him. It was lucky that we were still in the subdivision when he first began freaking out as no one was around and I could safely stop the car. Had we been on a main road an accident was likely to occur. I decided to just drive home. My mom of course then had to go back and pick him up. He got home and yelled at me for leaving him on the side of the road, even though he was the one who told me to leave him alone.

Over the years I have learned the best way to cope with living in the same house as him. It’s important to stay calm when speaking with him and not to approach him without first observing what his mood is like, which can often be determined quite instantly through his body language and tone. By sticking to this approach, I have been able to avoid being the target of his anger in numerous situations and can only hope that this will continue in the future.

Where it all started

*Trigger warning*

I’ll start with some boring background information on how it all started.

My childhood was for the most part normal, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at a young age which made my childhood a little bit different but not much. I didn’t let my disease define me. My parents fought and eventually got divorced, I was too young to remember this. My sister however has more of a vivid memory of it than I do.With that we moved away from Toronto to Kawartha Lakes. This is where my mom met my step dad. Overall, I had a pretty normal upbringing and would say I have a good relationship with my family, with the exception of my younger brother. My younger brother and I have not had a healthy relationship for as long as I can remember. He’s like the typical bratty teenage brother who thinks he’s always right and has rude come backs for everything. I try to tell myself that he’ll grow out of it.

I never had many friends, growing up I was the “outcast”, having 1 or 2 good friends.

High school rolled around and with that I met a more stable group of friends. Being a teenager isn’t easy and most of us don’t even know who we are at that point, add on mental health issues and it makes the teenage years even harder. It wasn’t until I was 15 or 16 years old that I realized I was “different”. A lot of my friends during this time were discovering their own mental health and I noticed they were resorting to self-harm. During this time I was facing relationship problems with my on-again-off-again boyfriend of 3 years. This made me depressed and down at times, so I decided to do what my friends were doing and resorted to self-harming in hopes of this helping what I was going through. Self-harming slowly became thoughts of suicide as time progressed, none of which I ever thought I would act upon.

Stay tuned my fellow bloggers,


Exam crunch and how to stay healthy

Everyone is busy finishing last minute projects, bonus assignments and preparing for their finals, whether that be papers, projects or formal written exams. I am currently enrolled in the SSH practicum program and at the last minute came to the realization that come Dec. 6th, I must present my poster to the faculty and community partners.

My exam schedule is all over the place to put the icing on top. I have exams the first and last day with two others in the middle – however this isn’t my worst exam schedule. Second and third year I had three exams within 26 hours of each other, which meant I was super stressed. If you have this exam schedule, or a similar one I suggest you start studying now or at least plan how you will study, I believe in you though!

Here are some tips for staying calm and healthy during finals:

  1. PLAN- everyone I know who does well, studies over a period of time.
  2. Take breaks- your brain can only handle so much and after four hours your brain doesn’t remember as much; so take a quick 5-15 minute break
  3. If you can’t get a full 6-8 hour sleep try napping, there are so many articles on added benefits of naps – however, aim for 30 mins or less, you don’t want to be groggy.
  4. Eat regularly – eating regularly helps you focus and keep the energy you need to complete assignments and exams. Also eat healthy – we often grab take-out or pre-made meals and eating healthy will give your immune system a boost to keep you healthy during this stressful time.
  5. Breathe – during an exam or project when you feel frustrated, take a quick deep breath and clear your mind.
  6. Trust your GUT – you often know more than you think you do, even if C has been your choice for the last 5 questions.
  7. Visit office hour for last minute clarification.

If you are starting to feel a cold coming on battle it head on with soup, orange juice, and if you feel like it take cold and sinus pills. Sleep will be your best friend, take a day for yourself, it could help you in the long run.

Good luck my fellow readers on your finals! You can push through this semester and have a great break 🙂

Avoiding Financial Stress During the Holidays

This time of the year many of us face financial stress. The holidays can be expensive and fees for the winter semester are due soon. As students, most of us do not have unlimited funds and it is important to try and not rack up additional debt. There are lots ways to save money around the holiday. Here are a few:

  • Give yourself a spending limit – Figure out how much money you have to spend on the holidays. Don’t forget to including any additional costs you may face. Set an amount to spend on presents for each person on your list. Only donate what you can to charities, or even set a specific amount for this too.
  • Keep track of your spending and store all receipts – Your budget does no good if you don’t track your spending. A spreadsheet is an excellent way to keep track of where you have spent your money. By keeping receipts you are able to return things if you need to rearrange your budget. Having your receipts organized also becomes handy in case the sweater you give your dad doesn’t fit and he needs an exchange.
  • Cut back on extras/treating yourself – The little things add up. Avoid buying a coffee every morning and put that cute black dress back on the rack. If you are strapped for money, buying yourself gifts isn’t the best idea.
  • Try cheaper traditions – Holiday traditions don’t need to be expensive. Trying watching a favourite movie or building a snowman with your family. Going tobogganing is always fun too. Make cards and crafts with your friends, or have a baking party. If you love to sing, find a group to go caroling with. There are lots of fun activities you can do around the holidays which won’t break the bank.
  • Have a potluck – A great way to get your friends and family together is hosting a potluck. Ask each guest to bring one dish. You can enjoy some delicious food with great company.
  • Look out for sales – There are always sales going on. Keep an eye out for these when shopping for gifts and food for holiday events.
  • Start shopping early – There are lots of gifts you can buy all year long, so start shopping as soon as you can. This will also make your life a lot easier as you can avoid the jam packed malls.
  • Save money throughout the year – If you know you will be struggling to pay for everything during the holidays, put away a small amount each month in order to prepare.
  • Reuse wrapping – Bags, boxes, ribbons, and bows can all be reused for wrapping presents. These items can also be bought on sale after the holidays and found at the dollar store.
  • Know when to stop buying – You don’t need to buy everyone everything on their wish list. Most people would be content with a simple “Happy Holidays” or card. Getting gifts for people always feels great, but make sure you don’t go overboard.
  • Pay for things on debt or with cash – The best way to avoid debt is to put your credit card away.

Hopefully these tips help to reduce financial stress from the holidays. Remember to enjoy time spent with your loved ones and have fun.

Happy Holidays!

Burning Out: Is it to early to think about this?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “Burning Out” as   1) to drive out or destroy the property of by fire; 2) to cause to fail, wear out, or become exhausted especially from overwork or overuse.

Of course I am talking about the 2nd definition. As we are finishing up assignments and heading into our exam periods, it can become hard to be motivated. And for some, the potential of a good grade or passing a class, isn’t enough any more. The fire that was once lit under them – like the saying goes – is burning out. However, there are always signs. Below are Forbe’s “Top 10 Signs You’re Burning Out – And What To Do About It”. But like anything, please take this with a grain of salt and even add some of the signs you think were missed or even how you deal with it:


  1. Exhaustion

A clear sign of burnout is when you feel tired all the time. Exhaustion can be emotional, mental or physical. It’s the sense of not having any energy, of being completely spent.

  1. Lack of Motivation

When you don’t feel enthusiastic about anything anymore or you no longer have that internal motivation for to do work, there’s a good chance you’re experiencing burnout.

  1. Frustration, Cynicism and Other Negative Emotions

You may feel like what you’re doing doesn’t matter that much anymore, or you may be disillusioned with everything; feel more generally pessimistic. Negative emotions are becoming unusual for you.

  1. Cognitive Problems

Burnout and chronic stress may interfere with your ability to pay attention or concentrate.

  1. Slipping Job Performance

Compare your work performance now to your performance in previous years, because burnout tends to happen over an extended period of time.

  1. Interpersonal Problems at Home and at Work (or School)

This tends to play out in one of two ways: (a) You’re having more conflicts with other people, such as getting into arguments, or (b) you withdraw, talking to your coworkers (peers) and family members less. You might find that even when you’re physically there, you’re tuned out.

  1. Not Taking Care of Yourself

When suffering from burnout, some people engage in unhealthy coping strategies like drinking too much, smoking, being too sedentary, eating too much junk food, not eating enough or not getting enough sleep.

  1. Being Preoccupied With Work … When You’re Not at Work

Even though you might not be working at a given moment, if you’re expending mental energy mulling over your job, then your work is interfering with your ability to recover from the stresses of your day. [Similar may go for when you are out with friends and you are thinking about school work]. In order to recover, you need time to yourself after the actual task stops … and time when you stop thinking about that task altogether.

  1. Generally Decreased Satisfaction

This is the tendency to feel less happy and satisfied with your career and with your home life.

  1. Health Problems

Over a long period of time, serious chronic stress can create real health problems like digestive issues, heart disease, depression and obesity.


Take Relaxation Seriously

Whether you take up meditation, listening to music, reading a book, taking a walk or visiting with friends and family, truly think about what you’ll do to relax, and designate time for it.

Cultivate a Rich Personal Life

Find something outside of work that you are passionate about that’s challenging, engaging and really gets you going—whether a hobby, sports or fitness activities or volunteering in the community (along with other items we mention here, like relaxation, being able to “turn off” and participating in rewarding non-work activities).


While communication technology can promote productivity, it can also allow work stressors seep into family time, vacation and social activities. Set boundaries by turning off cell phones at dinner and delegating certain times to check email.

Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep every night is key in resting your body and mind for the following day.

Get Organized

Get organized, clear your head, put together a to-do list (or an electronic task list) then prioritize. That way, you don’t have to keep thinking about those things because you’ll have systems in place to remind you.

Stay Attuned

It’s important to tune into the precursors of those conditions both physical signs that you might be under too much stress: more headaches, tight shoulders, a stiff neck or more frequent stomach upset. As well as, mental signs like some of the top 10 signs.

Know When It’s You, and When It’s Them

Burnout is sometimes motivated by internal factors and sometimes it really is a symptom of external ones.


So, if the issues you’re struggling with are really serious and getting worse, you may need to seek professional help. Talk to a psychologist to get help beyond support from just your friends and family members.

Well wishes, L.R.

Gerry, L. 10 Signs You’re Burning Out — And What To Do About It. (2013). Forbes. Retrieved from

Staying on task this time of year

The end of the semester is approaching deadlines are right around the corner and stress levels are at their highest, and not to mention the holidays are right round the corner. With all this going on I find it hard to stay on track, stay focused and actually get work done. We are so close to the end yet so far, we still need to hand in our last few assignments, study, make it through finals and somehow find time to sleep and eat in between there. This time of year, I struggle a lot to keep on top of myself to ensure I am getting things done when I need to. So I thought I would share some of my tips to keep on tract for anyone else who has the same issue I have around this time of year.

  1. Make sure to get organized and eliminate as many distractions as possible
  2. Make a to do list and a schedule
    • Prioritize the tasks
      • The hardest or most time consuming item first to get it out of the way
    • Include breaks in the list
      • Allow your brain to take a small break – it will help you stay focused when you get back to working
    • Set realistic goals and expectations
  3. Surround yourself with people that will help push you to study and get stuff done ahead of time
    • Avoid studying with people who are known to cram their studying time
  4. Make sure to eat breakfast
    • It will help you stay focused and energetic in the morning
  5. Set times to eat during the day
    • I forget this one a lot, but it is easier to concentrate when I’m not hungry
    • Stay away from greasy and heavy foods it will only make you feel tired and gross, which will make it that much harder to focus and concentrate when you go back to studying
  6. Must set time to get a good night sleep
    • A good night sleep is key to allowing you to be alert and focus during the day
  7. For a courtesy to other people you should also insure you set yourself time to shower 🙂
    • I personally find water relaxing so I count my shower time as one of my studying breaks
  8. Most importantly let your brain relax now and then and reward yourself
    • At the end of a long hard day treat yourself – whether it is to indulge in ice cream, watch a movie or an episode of your favorite TV show – allow yourself to take a breather it will do you some good
      • Personally since I love the holidays that are approaching, I relax by watching a holiday movie so that the kid in me is happy to 🙂
    • Discipline yourself when it comes to your free time
      • Don’t turn a 1 hour break into a 3 or 4 hour break

Just because this works for me it doesn’t mean it will necessarily work for you. But I thought it might help anyone who struggles around this time of year like I do, and has not found a good way to stay focused.

End of the Semester Stretch

Every time the end of the semester hits I always get super lazy and complacent. It always happens… I want to get my stuff done and over with, but I can’t seem to just get it done. I stare at the paper for hours… I just want to give up and be done, but there is still so much more to do that I just want to sleep and not worry about finals.

Finals aren’t even a thing for me. I can’t study because all I want to do is again sleep. Maybe do a little crying and some stress eating.. and some more crying. I literally just want the semester over and I somehow cannot see the end in sight yet it is LITERALLY RIGHT THERE. I can never know why I cannot just get my butt off the couch and get the stuff done!

How do I beat this stretch and get on the ball? Well… usually I stop crying and hike up my socks and just take a mass amount of breaks and eat waaaaay too much chocolate. It may be hard but somehow I always get it done.

Basically, just try your best and breath. You are not the only one who is trying to fight the stretch and you can do it!! I believe in you! Good luck and kick some finals butts!

Time to get back on track

To say the last month has been a whirlwind would be a severe understatement. Having submitted my law school application (!!!!), I can finally sit back and relax to some extent. However, the last month I haven’t been taking care of myself mentally or physically.

I haven’t been following my prescribed nutritional plan because it’s so much easier to pick up a piece of pizza than cook a full meal, and a healthy one at that. Usually I’m in the gym five days a week, but I haven’t been in nearly a week. I also haven’t been taking the time to care for myself mentally – I’ve been letting everything pile up, not engaging in self care, and not opening up to my friends about my feelings as much as I should be.

That being said, I’ve been able to recognize that it’s time to get back on track. Taking a break was something I needed; pushing myself beyond my limits would have just made everything worse. But now that things are a tiny bit less hectic, I’m excited to work towards feeling better mentally and physically. There’s no sense in being hard on myself because I’m only human, and sometimes we all need to take a step back and do what makes us okay in that moment – and if that includes eating 15 mini Kit-Kats while I write a paper, so be it!

What I think is most important is not being hard on myself – it’s so easy to beat yourself up for eating that chocolate, or for not going to the gym when you know you probably should have. That being said, sometimes it’s a struggle to do the things you should, and as long as I get back to where I need to be, I’m not going to make things harder on myself.

Plus…that chocolate was totally worth it!