Hello! Good evening and welcome to my very last Saturdays with Shal. I am super sad we have come to an end but I was honoured and excited to provide you with a weekly dose of health and wellness. I hope you enjoyed and benefited from them. For my last post I have an awesome surprise for you! Throughout the week I contacted some of the professors of Daniels asking them an interview style question. This came from my previous SWS of asking students what their favourite “little things” to do was. I wanted to expand this idea to interact with the faculty so students can get a unique perspective. So, “what is one piece of advice you could give to undergrad architecture / vis students that is related to anything Health & Wellness?” Here are three professors’ responses:
"Keep your community strong!
Look out for the people around you and keep lines of communication open. Architecture is a group effort that only gets better when people work together. As students and designers, the instinct is to sometimes isolate and work alone. Find the time to share your work with the peers you look up to and those you may even disagree with.
Take the time to stop and say hello to classmates and friends. Ask them how things are going and check in with friends who might be feeling stressed out or overwhelmed. A quick chat and a little laugh can go a long way!"
"Sleep is overrated. Cycle to class."
"My advice would be to have regular exercise of some sort, or evenly simply walking or biking to studio/work be a part of your average daily & weekly routine. As students and later in our careers, most us spend the vast majority of our time seated at a desk, in front of a screen. It's important to offset that physical inactivity, and doing so can have a positive effect on our our bodies and can also help clear our mind sometimes when we need to.”
“In a program as large as ours, it’s sometimes easy to forget that we (faculty, staff, students) are all in this together. Lean on your colleagues for advice on matters both big and small, and ask faculty and staff for guidance when you need it. We are a friendly bunch (I promise!) and some of the best encounters you can have as a student happen in spaces outside of the classroom or studio. Drink plenty of water, and remember to get away from your screens and take a walk (preferably outside) every once in a while; it’s good for your heart, and your head.”
Thank you to these four for taking time to respond. And thank you to everyone that gave me feedback throughout the year and the kind words. I loved my position here in AVSSU and am excited to announce that Naomi Litwack will be carrying on the responsibilities, I have a feeling she will do great! This is Shal, for Saturdays with Shal saying one last goodbye and good luck with your finals. Keep it classy out there!
Hey! Hope you had fun at Destressor Week and all the fun events we had planned. This is Shal, for Saturdays with Shal. Today I wanted to focus on procrastination since I know this becomes everyone’s favourite word during the end of the semester. "If it’s not the due date it’s not the do date", as I’ve heard so many times. According to Seth Gillihan, a clinical assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, there are two main drivers for why procrastination happens: it’s going to be a pain and I’m not going to do a good job (psychologytoday.com). After all, why start something that you think is hard and you’ll do terrible at (i.e., my PSY230 paper)? But this is where you can improve, because Gillihan provides 7 steps to break procrastination habits.
1) "Create manageable pieces." So start at the start. Make a plan of how you’re going to break that big paper or studio project into smaller tasks that are easier to work with.
2) "Decide to start." Honestly, just jump right in. There’s nothing worse than being in that mindset of, “I can start this right now, but first I’m gonna relax with 1 episode of Grey’s Anatomy.” Before you know it, you’ve lost half the day because you keep putting off starting. Start now, start now!
3) "Make space.” This one is a must for us studio workers. I’m looking at you 665 dwellers! Clean up your space before you work so everything is organized and less stressful. And most importantly, CLEAN UP AFTER YOU’RE DONE!
4) "Set alarms and reminders." When we're avoiding a task, it's easy to forget to do it. We're much more likely to do something when we've set aside a specific time to do it and have put it in our calendar with an alarm.
5) "Build in accountability." Telling at least one person about our plan to complete a specific task by a certain date can raise our odds of doing it, if only to avoid the discomfort of being asked why we haven’t.
6) "Reward yourself." We can also motivate ourselves with small rewards for meeting a goal. The specifics will depend on the individual and might include snacks, entertainment, or socializing. All I can picture are those memes of cats being all pampered, and the meme saying, “me after a long day of doing the bare minimum.” Try not to go overboard and fall back to step 2.
7) "Practice acceptance." It's difficult to change our habits, and accepting that it's hard work can go a long way toward increasing your willingness to do it. Remind yourself why you wanted to procrastinate less, and how uncomfortable you're willing to be in the short term to feel better in the long term. So that’s everything that he said on this (I just see practice acceptance as knowing you suck at not procrastinating, but don’t be like that too).
There you have it, 7 steps toward less procrastinating and more success. And much to my sadness, next week is the last SWS. In celebration of a great year, I have a nice surprise for it (and there will be no dogs named Danny involved). Have a great weekend Daniels, keep it classy out there.
Hey, how’s your Saturday going? This is Saturdays with Shal, where I will be talking about calorie consumption today. But before I do, I wanted to make an announcement… THIS WEEK STARTING ON MONDAY IS DESTRESSOR WEEK! That’s right, the week of March 20th to 24th is Destressor Week where we have lots of fun and destressing events planned for you! Now… back to calories!
I feel this is fitting since restaurants in Ontario have recently displayed calories on their menus. Under the Healthy Menu Choices Act, “new Ontario regulations require any restaurant with more than 20 locations to include calorie counts for all food and drinks” (Ontario Government). But how many calories do you need? Males ages 17-18 should be getting anywhere between 2450-3300 calories a day depending on a sedentary vs. active lifestyle. Ages 19-30 are between 2500-3000. For females ages 17-18, it is 1750-2400. And lastly, ages 19-30 is between 1900-2350. So now you have the number of calories you should be intaking per day, you have access to how many calories are in majority restaurants. But how do you keep track of your calories? My favourite app to use is called MyFitnessPal, available for iPhone and Android (https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/calorie-counter-diet-tracker-by-myfitnesspal/id341232718?mt=8). Owned by Under Armour, it’s an incredible app for calorie and exercise tracking. You can search by food if you went to a restaurant, or each ingredient if you cooked at home. If your phone has a pedometer in it, this app will even use your exercise taken from that and adjust how many calories you’ll need accordingly. Not only is this a good food tracker, but it also helps you lose weight, maintain weight, or gain weight. It takes your personal info and uses it to help you reach whatever weight goal you are reaching for. I strongly suggest downloading it and giving it a try if you own a cellphone. That is all for this week, Daniels, hope I see you in studio on Monday for Colouring & Jigsaw Puzzles during the day, and it’s Board Games Night starting at 7! Keep it classy out there.
Well hi there! Welcome to this week’s edition of Saturdays with Shal. As mentioned last week there were some people that wanted options for home workouts, hopefully in video form. This was awesome, thank you for the request. I’m actually going to hype some Youtube channels, workout videos, and apps today. So I’ll start with Youtube channels: Fitness Blender is an excellent channel devoted to home-workout style fitness. Here’s their channel -> https://www.youtube.com/user/FitnessBlender . Want Yoga specific exercises? YogaTX is a good channel for all skill levels: https://www.youtube.com/user/yogatx . If you’re looking for the highest intensity home workouts (let’s be real…. me neither) look for P90X or Insanity through Amazon. If you asked me what I think is the best, I would say apps. My personal favourite is Nike’s set of apps. Nike+Training Club is amazing (http://www.nike.com/ca/en_gb/c/nike-plus/training-app). They have everything from different skill level, to duration, to equipment, to intensity, to focus. NTC is interactive, meaning it keeps your time for you, a video explaining each workout, how many reps you need, and allows you to pause if you need a break. You can play your music at the same time and receive a progress report at the end. A specific feature I love is something called “My Plan.” You custom make your own workout plan using settings and the app does the planning for you. For example, "start up” is a 4 week plan that allows you to choose no equipment, how many workouts per week, and if you want to include running. This creates a day to day schedule for you… pretty awesome if you need motivation! Simultaneously with Nike+Training Club is Nike+Run Club (http://www.nike.com/ca/en_gb/c/nike-plus/running-app-gps). Similar to NTC, NRC is completely customized to your skill level and time management. Use "My Coach” to get started on a plan. Lastly there’s yoga apps. Just by searching “yoga” in the App Store or Google Play, you’ll find hundreds of apps available. Unfortunately most of them need to be purchased, but there are some free ones as well. I personally use Pocket Yoga. It costed $2.99 but gave me access to a large selection of yoga workouts.
Well that is all this week, Daniels. I encourage you to at least download the apps (if not these ones, try some others!) and check out how they work (then while you’re at it create a plan and started working out *evil genius, maniacal laugh*). See you next Saturday with tips on calorie consumption, keep it classy out there.
It’s Saturday! And it’s March’s first Saturdays with Shal. Today: ergonomics... especially a proper computer setup. Thanks to University of Michigan, there is a website on tons of info about this, https://www.uhs.umich.edu/computerergonomics . U of Mich talks about how you should set up your computer workstation, including using a proper chair and sitting posture. Your back should be in an upright and relaxed position, hopefully with lumbar support. Your elbows should be at a 90º angle and be close to the body. When possible, keep the laptop or monitor at eye level to prevent strain, and finally keep upper legs parallel and feet flat on the floor. Since we all sit in front of a computer for prolonged periods, U of Mich suggests that, “every 30-60 minutes, take a brief (2-5 minute) break to stretch and/or walk around" (www.uhs.umich.edu). What are some good computer exercises? Glad you asked! Here are some good ones below:
- Neck Rotation: Slowly rotate your head as far as comfortable to the right, then left.
- Shoulder Rotation: Circle your shoulders, then reverse directions.
- Head Side to Side: Bend your neck so left ear approaches left shoulder, then repeat for right. Add a little resistance by pressing your hand against the side of your head.
- Chin Tuck: Slide your chin inward, without bending your neck up or down. This is easiest to practice initially against a wall. Tuck chin in, attempting to touch back of neck to the wall while also maintaining head contact. Don't jam your chin down to your chest.
- Shoulder Blade Retraction: Pull your shoulders down and back.
- Shrug: Slowly raise your shoulders toward ears and hold for a few seconds. Gradually bring shoulders down and relax.
- Wrists: One thing that U of Mich doesn’t mention is that you should be stretching the fingers and wrists. Gently flex the wrists up, then down, then do some circular rotation.
As requested, I’ll be providing some resources for home exercises you can do next week. Make me proud and try these computer exercises after long hours of sitting. That’s it for now Daniels, keep it classy out there.
This is a sad day for Saturdays with Shal. Because in two days, it’s the end of Reading Week and back to the grind that is Daniels. But chin up everyone, this also means we are at the halfway point of the semester! To get you prepared for the final half of semester, I wanted to help you out with food locations around U of T that are handy for when you’re spending long hours at campus throughout the week. This can all be found here, https://ueat.utoronto.ca/campus-locations/ . If you find yourself always buying food at campus, I also recommend getting a meal plan (info on that is also on the website). U of T offers 57 locations throughout St. George campus to enjoy a meal. Luckily, most of these are close to the studios and 230 College. My biggest encouragement would be to prepare and pack a healthy lunch and snacks, but I’d rather have you buy meals then skip them altogether. From the Government of Canada’s website, here are some tips on healthy choices when eating out:
- Choose a healthier cooking style. Cut down on fat by choosing foods that are baked, broiled, poached, or grilled instead of breaded or deep-fried.
- Enjoy a colourful meal. Try steamed vegetables, vegetable soups, fresh fruit or vegetable salads, and berries with yogurt.
- Order healthier salads. Dark green salads are usually healthier for you than higher fat Caesar, taco, potato, or pasta salads.
- Ask for sauce and dressing "on the side." Get gravy, sauce, and salad dressing on the side and use a small amount.
- Limit sodium. Ask for your meal to be cooked without salt or MSG (monosodium glutamate), a seasoning that is very high in sodium. For Asian-style foods, ask for half the soy sauce.
- Pick a better pasta sauce. Order tomato-based pasta sauces instead of alfredo or cheese sauces.
- Choose whole grains. Order sandwiches, subs, or wraps with whole grain bread, buns, or tortillas. Choose one spread instead of two (for example, mayonnaise or margarine, not both).
- Limit cakes, cookies, and rich desserts. Get a smaller size or share with someone.
- Drink smart. Choose water, milk (skim, 1%, or 2%), fortified soy beverage, or 100% juice instead of soft drinks or sweetened beverages.
I have provided their website if you want more info. That’s it for this week Daniels, I’ll see you Wednesday for the final Wellness Month post. Stay classy out there.
Wow, we made it to the weekend! Welcome to this edition of Saturdays with Shal. Have fun and be safe to all those that are travelling for the break. And for all those that are landlocked like me, here are some things to do around Toronto during the break. We are being blessed with some great weather, so get out and do something productive. Firstly, to honour Black History Month, Toronto has a film festival until the 19th, go check it out! Some outdoor activities to do around Toronto include:
Hey Daniels, the weekend that is Saturday is finally here! To continue Wellness Month with Saturdays with Shal, I wanted to wish you all an early Happy Valentine’s Day. I’ve been excited to write this post for a while (you’ll think I’m weird to be excited about it in a sec), and knew attaching it to Feb. 14th was perfect. Do you have that special someone in your life? Making special plans for V-Day? If you can’t make it to our AVSSU Coffee with the Profs event, or spending it alone (Singles Awareness Day same), then I’m sure Tuesday night might be an important *night* for you two. That’s why I wanted to talk about Safe Sex today…... “Let’s talk about sex ba-by let’s talk about you and me.” Really hoping I locked that sucker down in your brain the rest of the day. But in all seriousness, safe sex is definitely something that more students should be educated on. It all starts with our very own U of T resources, this friend, the Sexual Education Centre (SEC) -> http://sec.sa.utoronto.ca . Not only do they have an extensive catalogue of online resources, they also have free safe sex supplies, such as "latex and latex free condoms, lubricants, nitrile gloves, dental dams, and much more.” (sec.sa.utoronto.ca). I should probably caps that word FREE to get your attention. Too shy to go get some? Not to worry, your pal Shal has ordered a bulk order for 665 and it should arrive sometime this week! They also provide resources for you, such as sexual health clinics, HIV/AIDS resources, abortion resources, sexual assault information and counselling, and LGBT resources. I’ve provided links below. Kinda new to all this stuff? Hey that’s cool, you can phone this number (416) 978-8732 to help you answer any questions you may have with regards to sex, sexuality, and sexual health in a welcoming, non-judgmental, and sex-positive environment. Or come in person to 21 Sussex Avenue, Suite #612. Oh, one more thing before I go! I’ve also provided a scholarly article on long-distance relationships for all my friends out there that are in one. Great read, hit it up. That’s it for this weekend, can’t wait to see you Wednesday. Keep it classy, Daniels (especially Tuesday).
Hey Daniels, to kick off Wellness Month I wanted to continue my interview style Saturdays with Shal with part II of what’s your favourite little things. Annnnnd here we go!
“Adaeze, what is your favourite little thing to do?” Adaeze replied with something that I believe more people should set aside time for: themselves. Just you and your favourite hobby. For her, it was going to the movies. Her answer was, “But yeah, my favourite thing is to go home and get all dressed up: full make, heels, etc, and go see a movie, by myself. Like i won't plan or anything, i would just go and see what they have, and pick some random movie, unless there's a movie I really want to see that just came out. Yeah I sit by myself, eat my popcorn by myself, put my feet up, take off my shoes, laugh as much as I want. It's so weird, but so relaxing. I do it all the time.” Thanks Adaeze!
Chaya: "I love to spend my down time reading fashion and food magazines while drinking hot chocolate (I think I'm the only one in this faculty who isn't a coffee drinker).” I laughed at this because I also don’t drink coffee, and I feel like us non-coffee drinkers are outnumbered (unless you took my advice three Saturdays ago on cutting back coffee). Thanks Chaya, that sounds like an awesomely relaxed time.
Veronika’s answer made me happy because she likes to get out of the house and go explore. "I mean it's not super crazy exciting but it's what I do lol. I either like to go on adventure hikes at different conservation areas and just walk around and explore and let my mind roam free, no worries, no stress, OR sometimes just plain and simple nap (bc I'm a crazy fun person).” Thanks Veronika, I think others should take notes on how you unwind.
Jay’s answer was something I also could definitely relate to. He said, “whenever I’m stressed out from school I like to put on my headphones and either listen to music at home or just go for a walk and let my mind wander. It’s interesting the places you can find when you have no set route.” Thanks, Jay, getting fresh air is a great way to refresh the brain.
Dina’s answer was also great but definitely makes me look 98.6% less sophisticated. Check out what she said… “My favourite little thing to do after a long day of classes is go home, play music and start painting whatever is on my mind. I usually find painting as a stress reliever and something that takes my mind off the stress of school.” I feel like I just picture some fancy Beethoven in the background. Also, I’m jealous because I’m a terrible painter. That’s so cool Dina, thanks!
Expect me to be posting lots for February’s Wellness Month! I’ll see you soon, Daniels. Keep it classy out there.
Hey, welcome to Saturdays with Shal. What is the difference between loneliness and solitude? In our constant schedules of always needing to be “on”, we lose much needed downtime. So instead of giving my usual advice backed by research and sources I thought I would switch it up and ask you folks what you do in your downtime. So what’s your favourite “little thing” to do?
Kathryn says that “every night before bed I make a cup of tea and read for like 15 minutes or so to turn off my brain.” This is the exact answer I was looking for. This is Kathryn, be more like Kathryn. Avoid using the cellphone or laptop at least half an hour before bed and instead curl up with a book. Thanks Kathryn!
Erik likes his downtime to be "spending a weekend pulling everything off my shelves, out of my closets, off the tables and cleaning and dusting then rearranging everything again according to some hierarchical system like colour, size, shape, or alphabetical placing. It’s satisfying and relaxing!” Awesome, thanks Erik, you are a true architect.
Similarly, Tian says, "I have a pre-downtime, downtime ritual where I clean and organize my room (on the surface, don't go into the drawers). If the space I'm in is organized then I feel like my life is too which helps me stay motivated.” I love it Tian, couldn’t have said it better myself. I believe in the saying, “your room / desk reflects your state of mind. A cluttered room is often a cluttered mind." Thanks, Tian.
Rohini - one of my favourite answers - said, “my favourite thing to do when I get home after a long day of classes is put on my polka dot pjs, crank up the salsa music, and have a little fiesta while marinating chicken for dinner.” Rohini, I appreciate you. You get comfy, destress, and eat a proper, nutritious meal.
How about some things on the go? Raza’s favourite "little thing" to do is to “walk in the snow while listening to music.” This is also a favourite little thing of mine, and it can happen while walking to class. Get some fresh air and bring a pair of headphones. Thanks Raza.
Tina’s answer is also something I can definitely relate to. She said, "When I get a few hours of me time, I love to curl up with my fuzzy blanket and turn on my little Christmas lights by the window and attempt to watch a movie. But, because of my indecisive nature, I spend the duration of a movie watching the trailers instead and eventually end up somewhere with funny people making me laugh at 4am. Things are always more funny at ungodly hours. Oooo and there's always lots of tea and chocolate involved!” Yeah I usually just try to gamble on netflix or pick the first one I sort of feel like watching. But yes, Tina, I love how this is your favourite “little thing.”
This was really fun to interview people and see their point of view, so expect future SWS “little things” posts in the future. Do you have a favourite “little things” ritual? Don’t be shy, comment below! That’s it for this week, Daniels. Be sure to make time for yourself like your awesome peers above. Stay classy out there.