Booklist

Here are some recommendations of books for enhancing and strengthening your mental health:

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are (by: Brene Brown)

This novel by Brene Brown, focuses on whole-hearted living and the tools for developing worthiness, which Brown classifies these as courage, compassion, and connection. Personal stories are provided as examples of how these concepts work together in real life. The book follows ten guide posts relating to the importance of accepting one’s imperfections. Brown engages reader’s minds, hearts, and spirits through this easy read best-seller.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (by Brene Brown)

In this best-seller, Brown explains how vulnerability is both the core of difficult emotion, such as fear, grief, and disappointment, and the source of love, innovation, and belonging. Common myths regarding vulnerability are debunked, allowing readers to see how deep vulnerability truly is. Brown argues that our vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage and explains the ways in which it can be used to transform our daily lives.

Rising Strong: The Reckoning, The Rumble, The Revolution (by Brene Brown)

Each one of us is going to stumble and fall at some point in our lives. The process of regaining our footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage becomes tested. Rising strong after a fall is how we develop wholeheartedness, which is an ongoing process. Brown teaches us that this process is where we discover the most about who we are.

Eat Pray Love (by Elizabeth Gilbert)

Eat Pray Love tells the story of a young women who seems to have it all, yet is not happy. Rather she is filled with panic and confusion. The story follows Elizabeth as she leaves behind her outward marks of success, and sets out to explore three different aspects of her nature. Through this journey, Elizabeth aims return to a health state in both her mental and physical health.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (by Elizabeth Gilbert)

Readers are encouraged to tackle what they love most, embrace their creativity, and face down what they fear most. Attitudes, approaches, and habits for living a creative life are discussed in this best-selling novel. Gilbert encourages readers to uncover the “strange jewels” which are hidden within each of us and learn how to infuse our lives with more mindfulness and passion.

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants (by Malcolm Gladwell)

This novel will change how you think about obstacles and disadvantages. A new interpretation of what it means to endure various setbacks is offered by Gladwell. Readers have said that this book serves as a constant reminder that no matter what the circumstances, anyone can succeed. This novel truly is an eyeopener.

Luck is No Accident: Making the Most of Happenstance in Your Life and Career (by: John Krumboltz and Al Levin)

Unplanned events and experiences often play a huge role in our lives, sometimes more than all the things we carefully plan. Luck is No Accident actively encourages readers to create unplanned events on their own, to anticipate changing their plans regularly, and to take advantage of chance events when they come up. This book has an easy style which encourages readers to make the most of what life has to offer, with personal stories which help bring the ideas into focus.

Mindsight (created by Wendy Stanyon) http://mindsight.uoit.ca

Mindsight is an excellent resource created by a professor here at UOIT. The aim of the module is to reduce stigma by promoting awareness of mental illness, as well as providing a greater understanding of the basic signs and symptoms of common mental illnesses. Self-help strategies and those for helping friends, peers, and/or family members are provided. Community resources are also available through this resource. There are 10 different sections to this training: stigma, depression, anxiety, substance use, suicide, self-harm, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, psychosis, and trauma. Once all the training and quizzes have been completed, a certificate of completion can be requested.

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (by: Miguel Ruiz)

The Four Agreements reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that frequently create needless suffering. Ruiz provides readers with a powerful code of conduct which can rapidly transform your life to a new experience full of freedom, happiness, and love. The Four Agreements are: be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and to always do your best.

The Secret (by: Rhonda Byrne)

This novel focuses on the laws of attraction providing historical examples of its application. A three-step creative process (Ask, Believe, and Receive) is outlined for making dreams manifest. Gratitude and visualization are highlighted as the two most powerful processes which can help make one’s desires manifest. The manner in which to use the law of attraction in various areas of life such as wealth, relationships, and health is discussed, allowing readers to understand how it relates to one’s life and the world.

The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (by: Jack Canfield)

The Success Principles will teach you how to increase your confidence, live with passion and purpose, as well as tackle daily challenges. Readers will learn to realize all their ambitions, through numerous principles which have proven successful throughout history. The fundamentals laid out in this novel are the same for all people, no matter how large or small their goals. Through learning these basics, you can move on to tackling the important inner work required to transform yourself into the person you want to be.

Strengths Finder 2.0 (by: Tom Rath)

This assessment is designed to help readers uncover their talents and learn numerous strategies for applying individual strengths to everyday life. Readers are informed of their top five themes and provided 10 strategies for building on each. A personalized action planning guide is laid out for applying your strengths in both the immediate and long-term future.

If there are any additional books you have found helpful regarding your mental health, please leave the title in the comments below!

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Time Management – How Do I Do It?

I am not trying to toot my own horn here but I am actually the best person I know at time management. I mean I would have to be with having two jobs, school full time, being on a committee and being a peer mentor…basically if I didn’t have amazing time management skills I think I would lose my mind. A lot of people ask me how I do it and I have decided to compose a list of ways you can be better at time management:

  1. Organization is everything – If you are not organized in your notes, daily schedules or things you do, then how do you expect to be organized in your head? I can admit I am not perfect and there are things I forget about all the time (supper is my best example) but by keeping some aspects of your life organized it will help to multi-task.
  2. Keep track of what you need to do, when you need to do it, and where – Keep a calendar, sticky notes, hell write it on your hand if it helps! It helps with organization, time keeping and it keeps you on track for what you need to do.
  3. Make a weekly schedule – Plan out your day, week, month, or even year! Determine how long you want to plan things for and do it. It honestly helps me when I know I have a deadline and make time around everything I need to do and what work needs to be done.
  4. Try to get your work done ahead of time – By making these schedules not only will you be able to work around other schedules like work and extra circulars, but you will be able to feel ahead of the game and be on the ball!

By following my list you should be able to be on your way to being a successful time manager!

Drawn and Quartered

I have committed high treason…against myself…AGAIN! I once again have begun to spread myself to thin. Breaking promises I told myself like, “I’ll go to bed by 10:00pm” or “I’ll stay on top of things”, and the classic “I’m fine, of course I’m not taking on too much”. But I’m not fine.

School, work, friends, family, volunteering, applications, planning for my future, meetings! (in no particular order). Sometimes it just gets to be to much. Constantly being pulled one way, whilst another part is being pulled in the opposite direction, all by my own hand. My decisions, and mine alone cause me stress, panic, and anxiety. And I can’t stop. Apart of me wants to, but another part of me knows (or at least thinks it knows) what’s best for me. I can’t tell anymore whether I’m worthy of a break, or if my judgement is on point, I just don’t know.

So many things and so little time. Or maybe its just my time management skills. Because honestly I can’t tell anymore. So much work and effort has been put into making me who I am, because no task is to big or to small when others ask; it’s not a problem. But I think I have a problem, or maybe I don’t and its just the lack of sleep. I just want…to be happy I guess. And I know this anxiety, this ball of fire in my chest burning me from the inside out will die down, maybe even go away entirely (eventually). But right now, all I want to do is lay down and not think.

I’m always thinking. Brain racing, head thumping constant reminders that there’s still so much to do. My future is riding on what I do, on my choices and it scares the hell out of me. Like a deck of cards, one small move, one misplaced card and all my hard work is gone. As if it was never there. Poof! And then what? Disappointment. The ever crushing, self loathing, let everyone down type of disappointment. The type of disappointment that makes your body feel like a thousand pounds, and yet like it’s floating. Untethered with nothing to keep you from floating away, from losing yourself, from ever caring again. So many expectations, and so many things to tend to. And sometimes, its all too much.

Being pulled apart sucks, its sucks a lot more when you are actively doing it to yourself. And I wish I had some positive ending statement about hope floats and precious words of encouragement, but I can’t even believe the ones I tell myself right now. But I’ll still be here. Day after day. Grinning and baring it till I get home, back to my bed, my safe place where I retreat inside my head.  I really wish I had something more positive to say, but I can’t. I can’t lie to myself or anyone else and say it will be okay. Especially when there is nothing wrong with NOT being okay. No one has to be it all, no one has to achieve it all. I don’t just want to be good, I want to be great, to surpass everyone. But who I should really be focusing on is myself. I want to be better, I want to be stronger…but right now I can’t. And I have to learn to be okay with that.

Well wishes,

L.R.

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The final push

I thought my last semester in my undergrad would be great. However, I have little motivation to really try, I’ve already got accepted and paid for my program that starts in May. I have very little motivation to put in a lot of effort into my work both at my actual workplace and in my school work very type

I am very typeA and this lack of motivation really bugs me. So to help me get through lack of motivation slump I have been dealing with for the last 6 weeks I have used my personality to kind of help.

I have created mini goals each day that helps reach an even larger end goal. Each class, work, banking and other obligations have a colour in my planner, so I fill out each week and use different colours for each task. This helps also with visual learning.

I would like to know what other people do to help themselves when they are unmotivated, please leave a comment below!

Feeling Pressured to Grow Up

We are all different. We do not all have the same goals, the same wishes, and the same outlook on life. This does not mean one is better than the other, this simply means we should try to see the world in others’ points of view.

That being said, have any of you felt pressured to grow up? Have you felt pressured to conform to what everyone else is doing in their lives? I know I have, and I know we aren’t the only ones.

Backstory: I am 22 years old, I have been in a relationship for 7 years, I still live at home with my mom, and I do not feel ready to leave the nest.

I always get bombarded with the questions about marriage, moving out, buying a car, when I want kids, and why my boyfriend hasn’t proposed yet. As a university student, I am just not ready for these things, and I have come to the realization that it is OK! We all grow at our own pace, we deal with things differently, and we all have our own paths laid out for ourselves. I want to continue with school, go on for my PhD, and slowly settle in to “adulthood”. Many friends of mine are starting to get into their careers, want to save to buy houses, want to get married, and want to have children in the next couple years. At times, it is discouraging seeing how my friends are settling into their lives and I am still sitting here in school barely able to afford my coffees for the week with my part time job. I sometimes wonder if I am holding my boyfriend back because we won’t be able to purchase a house or really get our lives started together until I am finished my schooling. As down as I feel some days, I always remind myself that these are my goals. Just because my friends have different goals, does not mean I should look down on my own. I should embrace the process of growing at my own pace; never force yourself into situations or back out of your dreams just because your path deviates from everyone else’s. That is what makes you unique, what makes you you.

Moral of the story: Do not worry about what others think you should be doing. Pursue your hopes and dreams, and everything will come together at one point or another. Keep pushing – as winding and bumpy the path may be, just remember you chose it for a reason 🙂

The Calm Before the Storm

It’s now the 4th week of school, and the first round of assignments are either done or quickly approaching. And I am in a strange in-between. Coming down off the high that is staying up late to put the finishing touches on an assignment, but also trying to maintain it because I know more is right around the corner, and after that its midterm exams.

I’m trying to do my best at keeping calm, trying not to let the ever creeping, over powering, stomach twisting, mind frazzling anxiety take over. On that edge of “I CARE A LOT!” and “well, I really don’t want to do anything”. Because Its one thing to have motivation and no desire, because you can still get the job done. However, for those like me who have that powerful desire but a somewhat dwindling motivation it can be extremely hard to get started. I know its coming, you know its coming. Assignments! Tests! Quizzes! Projects! GROUP Projects! But right now its quiet.

I’m in power save mode. Trying to do things here and there to prepare, but still feeling like I’m somehow forgetting something. Each year, each semester becoming a challenge, as it should as we advance to higher learning. But I can’t help but long for a simpler time. It wasn’t that long ago even; it was my first year of university. It was a new found freedom, exciting but scary. When the word “free time” actually meant time where I didn’t have to be doing some form of work. But…I am honestly happy at where I have progressed to. The simpler times of first year may be over, but things have gotten a lot more interesting as the years have progressed. New topics, new people, new initiatives to be apart of. Watching things grow and/or fizzle out. Feeling like a train in motion, headed straight for my goal, what I, like many students have worked so hard for, graduation.

However, I’m not in such a hurry anymore. Where the calm was once deafening, it is now comforting. Where I once was unsure, I am now still unsure but have the resources and tools to help me find my way. Right now, I feel like I can take on anything, even though in reality I may not be able to. But I have hope and determination. I can feel my levels of desire and motivation finding a happy middle to meet. Not too much motivation where it blinds me to the world around me and causes me to feel like I’m burning out. And not too much desire that I’m distraught when something doesn’t turn out the way I wanted. I am in a happy in-between; a mixture of emotions. Right now I am in the calm before the storm, I have my life jacket tied tight and my boat is in good condition. I. Am. Ready.

Well wishes,

L.R.

New Year, New Me?

Welcome to 2016 everyone!

I can definitely say, I did not write in this blog as much as I would have like last semester. With the new year upon me, I decided to do some self reflection on my past, and whether there really is such a thing as ‘New Year, New Me’:

At the start of 2015, I chased after guys who didn’t like me, trying to overcome my introvertedness by becoming more popular and putting others in front of myself.

In hindsight, I regret nothing.

It was eye opening to see how fighting for affection from others ended up tearing me down because in the end, I needed to support myself. 2016 is all about becoming a happier girl seeking out how to be ME and not the ‘me’ I thought people wanted me to be. I still get anxiety and self doubt, and I realize that it is a long road to reach where I want to be.

In order to do that, I created a list of ‘goals’ that I wanted to have for 2016. These are not hard and fast resolutions, they are not things that I can easily falter on. There are phrases that will push me to become healthier in both mind and body. I thought that I would write about each one over this month and encourage all of you to make up a few little ‘action phrases’ to boost you up over this new year!

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