Hello and welcome to Saturday with your Health & Wellness Director Shal, for Saturdays with Shal. Last week I talked about the cons of drinking a lot of caffeine and I wanted to build upon that this week with some tips for drinking water. I know drinking water sounds like the most boring habit to get into (or, if you’re about that pun life, the most dry habit to get into...tehe). But it’s also one of the most beneficial. University of Illinois professor Ruopeng An found that people who increased their consumption of plain water by 1% decreased the number of calories they consumed, as well as the amounts of sugar, sodium, fat and cholesterol they took in daily. And this also applies to us as university students. Chris Pawson of University of East London (just one study among many conducted) found that students who bring water into an exam did on average 5% better. First-year students bringing water in did upwards of 10% better than their peers! That’s nuts! You might be asking why, and though it cannot be narrowed down to one answer, researchers attribute drinking water to alleviating any anxiety or nerves of exams and keeping the brain flowing (Pawson, 2012) (don’t forget the brain is made up of about 75% water!). "The amount of water intake you should have per day is 3 litres for men (so about 13 cups) and 2.2 litres for women (9 cups)" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Note: This is total water liquid, which you get some from the foods you eat. If you avoid drinking water because of it’s bland taste, try adding some healthy foods. AllRecipes.com says food like cucumbers, citrus fruits, melons, and mint flavour the water immediately. Apples, cinnamon, fresh ginger root, and rosemary need an overnight soak in the fridge. That’s it for this week, Daniels, I hope I see more of you with water bottles rather than coffee mugs. Keep it classy out there.
Hey! It’s your pal Shal with Saturdays with Shal. Do you drink a lot of coffee or energy drinks? I can honestly say I personally don’t, but If you do I thought I would give you nutrition facts on caffeine. I think this topic is important because as University students and specifically as Art-itecture students we have a high demand to be alert and stimulated at all times. Most students then turn to coffee and caffeinated beverages as a way of keeping up. But sometimes they may not consider the negative effects this has on their body (I still can’t figure out how affect and effect work so don’t kill me if it’s wrong). According to our own U of T Nutritional Sciences Prof Ahmed El-Sohemy, caffeine is becoming increasingly popular for youth, but also a dangerous popularity (I suggest reading the article attached below). "The majority of users consumed energy drinks for insufficient sleep (67%), to increase energy (65%), and to drink with alcohol while partying (54%)” (El-Sohemy, 2007). Michele L. Pettit, a researcher with University of Wisconsin wrote a research paper on Perceived Stress, Energy Drink Consumption, and Academic Performance Among College Students. Pettit found that positive correlations existed between participants’ perceived stress and energy drink consumption, and energy drink consumption and academic performance were negatively correlated. This means that students who had perceived stress were more likely to be drinking energy drinks and people who drank energy drinks were more likely to have lower grades. The side effects of caffeine according to Government Health Canada includes anxiety, sleep difficulties, irritability, shakiness and headaches.
Now, I certainly cannot tell you what to do. My job here is to provide you health information for topics such as this. I also look to encourage you to reflect upon your own caffeine drinking habits. Is drinking a cup of coffee a day going to kill you? No, but if you’re going above that limit I would be careful. Maybe it’s actually hurting you more than helping you. Try trading that coffee mug for a water bottle. U of T has a large number of water filling stations across campus (no comment on 665). That’s it today for SWS, have a good rest of your weekend. Stay classy!
Have you ever gotten that horrible feeling in your stomach moments before you present your studio project? That kind that makes it feel like you can’t breathe, your heart is racing a mile a minute and you can swear you’ll pass out if you try standing up. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed, we’ve all had this feeling at one point or another. Yes... me too. Oh my gosh do I ever get social anxiety about presenting. Your hands start shaking to the point where you don’t even want to gesture or point to your drawings / models because you’re afraid the critics will see your tremble. You feel like you can’t hear yourself and therefore can’t tell if you’re speaking too fast, too slow, or jeepers forbid not at all. This is all classified under the DSM-V (fancy Psych book called Diagnostic & Statistical Manual) as social anxiety. IN NO WAY AM I SAYING YOU HAVE SOCIAL ANXIETY. For the purposes of this, I am using social anxieties' etiology and treatment as a researched method into overcoming presentation anxiety. There have been countless studies done on students and anxiety, and under those more specifically, public speaking and anxiety (Strahan, 2002). For social anxiety, the most successful approach to treat it is cognitive behavioural therapy (Clark et al., 2006). This means that, for the most part, social fears are due to faulty, maladaptive, or unhelpful thinking patterns and can be improved through cognitive restructuring. If you didn’t understand a word I just said I’ll rephrase below with non-psych terms:
So how do you get through this problem of presentation fears? I call it a problem because it can only get worse if you don’t actively and properly regulate it. Through mentally training yourself (cognitive therapy) to prepare for the crit, you can become a successful presenter. Here’s what Veale (2003) suggests:
-Modifying negative self images: You are here, and you are here for a reason. Instead of entering the presentation thinking you are quiet and timid, enter it like you deserve to be there. Through self-fulfilling prophecy (creating a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true), you’ll actually do better with confidence.
-Shift your attentional focus: Instead of focusing on how you think you come across as, focus on the social and attentional cues that truly depict how you come across. For example, if you think you’re all awkward and quiet, focus on how the audience is responding, AKA read the room. I love bringing in a relaxed and comfortable demeanour to my crit. Laugh with them, keep it loose, but read the room if it’s not working. This one is pretty tough to do without losing train of thought, so be careful.
Here’s what Stanford University suggests:
-Breathe deeply: This is a personal must for me. Always spend at least one minute breathing in for 6-8 seconds, then exhale for 6-8.
-Get enough sleep and have a good breakfast: Although majority of us will struggle with this one, it is still important.
-Speak loudly and with confidence: Relating back to self-fulfilling prophecy, if you speak with a loud, confident voice you will actually start to believe and feel you are. It works against you too; if you go into the presentation thinking you’ll do bad or your drawings suck, chances are you’ll start actually presenting bad and feeling worthless. This is always the bad day example. The one where people say if you’re having a bad day, try smiling a lot. After a while you’ll actually start feeling happy. That one.
-Keep good posture: Stand with a confident body language. I like to face forward at the audience and talk with my hands. Harvard Business School Professor Amy Cuddy suggests that keeping your hands engaged with your conversation actually helps the audience stay in tuned and keep the attention on you. Good profs know to do this in lecture so sleepy students pay attention and keep their eyes on them.
-Stop seeing your presentation as a performance: Rather, look at it as a “person-to-person conversation.” Just you having a conversation to your critics.
There’s an important saying I learned in a business class where we had to present a lot: “nervousness is a sign of respect. It shows that you care about the audience you are presenting to.” This was a long post today but I hope this has been helpful in overcoming those presenting anxieties you may have for your upcoming crit. Have a good holiday break Daniels, good luck in your final reviews, and I’ll see you in the New Year with new SWS posts. Keep it classy this holiday season.
Hey Daniels. Today on Saturdays with Shal I wanted to add to my mini series on Time Management. I started with sleep, moved up to time management and now part III of The Shal Mini-Series (Shal that’s not a thing) is on getting involved! Yes it sounds cheesy, yes it sounds lame, but I truly mean this. Since I always refer to my own personal experiences here it goes: I’m in my fourth year of university and this is the first year I’ve ever been involved with my student union. Ever been involved with anything with the university really (except sports and intramurals, but lets be honest we saw that coming). FOUR YEARS! I hate myself for taking that long. This has been the most fun year I’ve had so far! (Sidenote: I was totally going to say funnest but thats not a word… I think?).
Back to getting involved, well what can I do Shal? You can start by many things that don’t even require you leaving the comfort of your own bed. Go like and follow our AVSSU page on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! This assures you stay up to date with events, contests, and announcements. If you're not a social media person keep up with our website! Which I’m assuming the only way you can see this is because you are on those, so yayy step one done! Next, apply for the AVSSU social commitee! Check Facebook for more info. Then, come to our events, starting with Destressor Week. I’ve heard from some students that they almost feel overwhelmed with how many events we at AVSSU throw. What? This is a great thing! We are catering to everyone’s interests, schedule, and time. Come to as many as you can. They really only take 1 or two hours of your time. Bring your friends so “you’re all in this together”, not a High School Musical reference.
The amount of people you will meet is very important. Research by Denis Coleman et. al states that "companionship in shared leisure activity appears to provide effective relief for people as they deal with excesses of daily life stresses." (Coleman, 1993). Additionally, Coleman states that, "leisure activities influence healthy by promoting positive moods. [They] help overcome loneliness and thus contribute to people's well-being." Take it from this guy, leisure activities and getting involved will help overcome your stresses. So get involved with some events! I don’t want you guys to be like me where I’m just realizing at the end of my undergrad experience that I missed out on stuff. Start at the start! You’ll probably thank me later (or boo me off the stage). Thats all for this week, Daniels. Keep it classy out there.
"Danny Danny Danny…." “oui oui oui.” I hope that gets stuck in your head for the rest of your Saturday, here with me for Saturdays with Shal. As promised from a couple weeks back I wanted to talk about healthy time management. Time management was definitely my personal success from 1st year to 2nd year university. My overall GPA between those years jumped more than 15% as a result! So yes, first years that may or may not be struggling, there is still hope for you.
The very first step in successful time management is the most obvious, make a plan to make plans. What do I mean by this? Take some time at the start or end of your week and actually plan out your weekly schedule. All of the experts from top universities in North America (i.e. Stanford, Harvard, Dartmouth, University of Chicago, and the list goes on), say the same thing: effective time management starts with weekly planning. Decide your priorities in terms of due dates and tests. My personal rule is studying for a midterm a week in advance (if my test is on Thursday, I start studying the Thursday before and do about one chapter, etc. per day.)
Next is work smarter, not harder. Even though you may tell yourself you did good by putting 20 hours into your studio project (jeepers I hope not at once), this isn’t always a good thing. Maybe your workflow isn’t as efficient or effective as you think it is, so you could try assessing this to see ways you might improve. I get a lot of 1st years ask me if studio gets harder, and I say yes it does… but you get better at studio, so it feels like it stays the same (upper years don’t kill me if you disagree).
And my final piece of advice (again, I’m being backed up by all the below resources), is TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF. That probably didn’t need to be in caps, but yes it’s true. When you make your weekly planner, leave open the possibility for friends and family.
And finally, slightly off topic but I need to stress this for everyone here at Daniels, but mostly at my first years… "Almost 90 per cent of students say they feel overwhelmed by their workload, more than 50 per cent say they feel hopeless and 63 per cent say they feel very lonely.” This was taken from a University of Calgary survey of almost 40,000 students. What I’m trying to iterate is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS! University can be so overwhelming, and if you get to that point where you can’t take it anymore and really need to talk to someone, please check out my previous post on our availability of Health & Wellness resources. Or you can contact me at email@example.com and I’ll let you know which resources are available. Take care out there Daniels, have a good rest of your weekend. Keep it classy friends.
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~acskills/success/time.html http://web.stanford.edu/dept/CTL/Student/studyskills/time_manage.pdf http://wellness.uchicago.edu/page/smart-tips http://cw.huhs.harvard.edu/tools/index.html http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/keci/students-report-stress-is-hurting-academic-performance/149517477
Bonjour! It is I, Shal, for Saturdays With Shal. Usually I write something lighthearted but on a more serious note today I wanted to talk about personal support offered here at Daniels, so personal advising and mental health. As the end of the semester starts wrapping up it’s becoming a stressful time of year for us students (come on Shal, it’s always stressful). If you’re wondering who to contact for support, here are your options:
-Drop-in appointments: Every Wednesday, 2-4pm, at Office of Registrar 230 College. Unless it’s an emergency (in which case call numbers below), please start here. The faculty is super helpful and caring and will guide you in the right direction of professional help, etc.
-Embedded Psychologist: Every Friday, by morning appointment. Dr. Amber Cohen is located at Koffler Student Services, you can call at 416-978-8030 and identify as a Daniels student to book.
-Emergency Contact numbers (24 hour):
-Good 2 Talk Student Line 1-866-925-5454
-Drug & Alcohol Helpline 1-800-565-8603
-Ontario Mental Health HelpLine 1-866-531-2600
-Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Care Centre 416-323-6040
And lastly, if you are unsure where to start or who to contact, please don’t hesitate to contact me and ask. As I am not a certified health professional I’m not allowed to give you advice but I can give you the right resources to get help. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any conversations held are strictly confidential. Check out www.safety.utoronto.ca for more info. That is it for this week, and I encourage you to stay healthy with tips from previous Saturdays. Keep it classy, Daniels.
Hey! Welcome to part II of “Get Your Butt in Gear” (physically) with me, Shal, for Saturdays with Shal. Last Saturday I talked about ways that you can get involved with U of T for intramurals or our facilities for working out (did I mention Hart House has a gym too). But I probably should’ve started with the basics: how much exercise someone our age needs to get everyday as stated by the Heart and Stroke Foundation (Link below). According to the experts, we need 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week (wow thats a tongue twister). And no I’m not talking about aggressively flipping through Netflix. Try something that includes a little bit of everything from the triple threat category:
-Endurance activities: Are continuous activities such as walking, cycling and tennis. I’m assuming you do a lot of walking whether you commute or not, studio is literally in the corner of campus. Endurance is especially beneficial for your heart, lungs and circulatory system.
-Strength activities: Such as carrying groceries (or textbooks!), and weight training. These strengthen muscles and bones and improve posture (I probably win the award for worst posture).
-Flexibility activities: such as stretches, yoga, housework or golfing (I’m gonna assume nobody does that last one…. or the third one). These keep your muscles relaxed and your joints mobile.
So now you can integrate this sciency stuff along with last weeks tips on where to go. In no time we will have a buff squad that will kill it at the bed races next year at orientation week! Thats all for now, keep it classy, Daniels.
Hey… hows your Saturday going? Mine’s going great. So was my Thursday thanks to our AVSSU Club Night! If you missed out I hope to see you at the next one. This is Saturdays with Shal to give you a break as you scroll through Facebook on that study break. Recently I was asked by a Daniels student how I manage to keep fit through working out four times a week and playing Tri-Campus Volleyball even with the busy schedule of a third year. My answer was simple: make time for the things that are important to you. They said, “thats deep Dr. Phil” but its true. Staying physically active and fit are important to me so I make time for those things. Now, I get it - maybe you’re not much of a sporty person or are intimidated by the university gyms but I encourage you to break out of that comfort zone! For all the intramural sports offered at U of T (yes, theres tons of them) there are different levels of competition that help everyone play to their level. Check out http://www.uoftintramurals.ca if you are interested in intramural involvement. As for working out at the Athletic Centre or Goldring, I suggest starting at Athletic Centre as Goldring is usually where the intimidating Varsity players go. Bring Tcard for access! I was also asked by another Daniels student during Orientation Week if getting involved with clubs or athletics is important because they were worried about commitment and balance. I told them that it is in fact very important, one of the main reasons being that you meet people at U of T outside of the Daniels faculty. Being in clubs and athletics introduces you to students that have the same interests as you, whereas you might not get that connection with some friends in Daniels. Well, I hope I’ve convinced you to at least consider getting more active and involved! Have a safe Halloween everyone (or if you’re like me where you don’t really celebrate it, have a good weekend). I’ll see you next Saturday. And if there’s a best time to say these next few words it would be for this weekend: keep it classy, Daniels.
Welcome back welcome back…. to Saturdays with Shal. This weekend I wanted to touch on the importance of sleep, and I feel this is fitting considering we are deep into midterm season and project crits. Wow, funny that “crits” just autocorrected to “cries”. Anyway, its no secret Arch and Vis students miss out on sleep. Our studio work causes us to work long hours to achieve tight deadlines, which in turn causes us to cut into sleep time. But sometimes it's not just school work that ruins our sleeps. The Canadian Sleep Society claims that "To get healthy sleep, people need to pay attention to ‘sleep hygiene,’ which refers to behaviours that encourage sleep. These include: sticking to a regular bedtime schedule seven nights a week; following a bedtime routine such as brushing teeth; not consuming caffeine and other stimulants; refraining from napping more than 20 minutes during the day; and avoiding cellphone, computer and TV screens just before bedtime.” (www.canadiansleepsociety.ca). Now, if you’re like me, you break every single one of these rules at least 5 times a week. But I challenge you to do better! (and in turn I’ll do the same). Below I have provided some resources for healthy sleep. Effective time management is the key to avoiding those long nights - and I’ll get into tips on healthy time management in the upcoming weeks. But for now, lets put the pencil down and trade it for a pillow! Your sleep-deprived body will thank me. I’ll see ya next Saturday, keep it classy Daniels.