It's Wellness Wednesday again, friends! Check out this blog post about habits for keeping healthy:
In any program that demands academic excellence, rigor and sacrifice, it can be hard to maintain a balance between work and play. This applies especially to architecture. For those warriors who want to finish the year strong, its going to become increasingly more important to stay on top of your work. In my opinion, the best way to accomplish this is to be able to step away. This means taking some you-time to let your unblinking eyes focus on something other than your CAD file. The best way to do this is to find a healthy hobby that can reward you and keep you focused when it’s crunch-time. For me, this hobby is rock climbing.
I’ve been climbing on-and-off for close to 5 years now. It’s certainly had its ups and downs, but what’s been keeping me coming back is the community and the challenge. Don’t get me wrong: I love the Daniels community, but when it’s 2:00AM and some people are scream-talking to stay awake, it’s the last place I want to be. As a first-year, it can certainly be challenging to make friends outside the faculty if you don’t participate in clubs or social functions. Although the mutual sufferance makes your Daniels friendships unbreakable, it will never come close to the bond you have with someone who literally holds your life in their hands with a half-inch diameter rope 3-times a week. And that’s just the community for rope climbing. When I go to the climbing gym, I normally boulder, which involves climbing with no ropes, above crashpads, and no higher than 20ft off the ground. Since there’s no one to belay you, it’s a more individual sport, but if you find someone who climbs at your level, it can be fun to collaborate on a single route until one or both of you sends it. Even if you’re not climbing at the same level, giving someone pointers or cheering them on can help build a strong bond. Since climbing’s such a physically demanding sport, you’ll find yourself resting for a good part of your session. Having someone to banter with during that time makes it that much more rewarding, and talking about the sport is a great icebreaker! The best part about climbing is talking a weekend or summer trip to the crag to get some time on real rock. Being outside with some cool people can make for a great study break and can certainly clear your headspace.
The other part of climbing I love is the challenge-reward cycle. Starting off, everyone pretty much climbs at the same level. No one really uses grip and finger strength to the extent of an avid climber, so those muscles will generally be weak to begin with. After a while, you get better and better and if you catch the climbing bug (as most people I’ve seen do), you’ll be topping out some seriously hard routes in no time. With climbing, there’s always a challenge. There’s always a harder route you can project. There’s always ways to push yourself and there’s an infinite number of holds you can pull on. There’s no satisfaction quite like sending a route you’ve been trying for weeks, and after the hype subsides, it’s onto the next project. In my opinion, taking a break from some gruelling course work to go rock climb is all I need to stay motivated in my studies and having a healthy hobby to revisit when the going gets tough can help you stay strong mentally and physically.
Rock climbing is just one way to strike a balance in your busy life. I have friends that do yoga, doodle, play badminton at the AC, and everything in between to take their minds and bodies away from architecture. Finding a passion outside of design can be rewarding and exciting. I know sometimes all I want to do is crawl into bed with Netflix, but finding a way to stay active and engaged outside of your computer screen can give you that extra boost of energy to push through your assignment.
Stay healthy, Daniels!
Hey AVSSU! Welcome to another special edition of Wellness Wednesday on a Thursday!
Our theme this month is healthy habits. In the past we’ve given resources regarding a lot of subjects on which it’s important to develop habits, so this month will touch on how to develop these habits.
The core of healthy habits is routine. Doing something as simple as eating at the same times each day help your body relax, process food better, and sleep better. That brings me to my next point, as a regular sleep schedule is critical to health in every form. A lack of routine perpetuates in a cycle, so here are some tips to reset that cycle to help you:
Focus on one thing to keep as a routine. You already have your classes as a regular occurrence, so if you struggle with attendance, double down on getting to class. If that’s hard because of your sleep schedule, backtrack the issues one step at a time. Eating a large meal less than two hours before bed can keep you from getting restful sleep, so it may be a good idea to eat dinner four hours before bed (in which case a snack before sleeping is okay).
If you’re in a position (like me some weeks) where regular meals are not a thing for you, you can try an Apple, Chrome, or Google Store app for meal reminders. I have the times written in my calendar. I also try to go to the gym around the same time each time I go so that my internal clock has a better sense of when to be tired (ideally nighttime).
As for what you’re eating for these meals, UofT has something called the Student Kitchen where you can find tips on nutrition and preparation (team meal prep all the way). http://ueat.utoronto.ca/the-student-kitchen/
Don’t take the food pyramid too seriously though, as it comes from eco-political ties to dairy and grain industries. Read this for more: https://www.vox.com/2015/12/15/10220358/food-guidelines-around-the-world)
You can also check out the UofT Student Life email for more ways to feel more secure, such as academic help (http://www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/asc), social connection (http://www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/connect), and wellness tips (http://www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/bewell)
The most important aspect of developing healthy habit is that you enjoy them. This is MUCH easier said than done in university life, but starting with food and exercise, you can pick healthy foods you enjoy and exercises you enjoy. Then the habits will form and you can try new things to enjoy.
Until next time, AVSSU! Stay well!
Welcome to a special edition of Wellness Wednesday happening on a Thursday!
CW: sex mention, STI mention, pregnancy mention, sexual violence mention
During university, many students begin exploring sexuality. Like any new venture, it’s best to minimize risks by being knowledgeable and taking precautions. Most importantly, make sure you’re aware of internal and external pressures that might be pushing you toward something you don’t want or somebody else doesn’t want. Nothing is a race or a challenge and respect for boundaries is absolutely essential. Here are some resources at UofT and nearby to help you learn and prepare.
“The University of Toronto Sexual Education and Peer Support Centre is a 100% not-for-profit, volunteer-run student service/student group at the University of Toronto, St. George campus.” 21 Sussex, room 612 is where you can go to get any safe sex supplies you need, such as condoms of all different kinds, dental dams, gloves, and even menstrual supplies and pregnancy tests. They also offer peer support programs and educational programs.
The Health and Wellness Centre offers services related to birth control, emergency contraception, STI care, pregnancy support. If you have OHIP or UHIP, you can access University health services
If you’ve experienced sexual violence or know somebody who has and may need help, you can try contacting the Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre. On this link is also contact information for other resources around the GTA.
And of course, if you’re in danger, you should call the police at 911.
Be safe and healthy, AVSSU!
Happy Wellness Wednesday, AVSSU! Here are some thoughts about nutrition from a student here at Daniels. While we aren't professionals, we hope that our experiences can be of use.
The New Year holds lots of resolutioners. Not uncommon among the ranks of resolutioners include the budgeters, the gym-goers, and the dieters. What underpins the success of any resolutioner is a strong moral resiliency. It’s in good conscious we make the decision to better ourselves, be that in a tangible or immaterial way. However, the resolutioner is often blinded by an end-goal which, so glorious in the mind’s eye, can often overshadow the small, necessary steps that keep your mind and body in fighting form. The most elemental consideration for anyone, resolutioner or otherwise, is nutrition.
Now, I’m no health guru, but being conscious about what we’re consuming and when we consume can radically affect the way we go about our days. Have you every woken up late to class and hastily gathered whatever half-granola bars you had lying around your room, stuffed them into your backpack and booked it out the door, only to find half way through the lecture that your stomach hates you and you’re finding it hard to focus? I’m sure it’s happened to you, because it’s happened to me and I’m only a few months fresh into this whole UniversityTM thing. What you have in the morning inevitable shapes the outcome of your day, so start off mindfully.
First things first, I drink a glass of water as soon as I get up. Sometimes it’s hard to have an appetite in the morning—say because of the events that transpired the night previous—and we dread hitting up your local caf for the same powdered eggs and a “peanut butter” sandwich. Getting some water in your system helps to get the gears turning, and drinking water never hurts (and it can certainly hurt you to not drink enough). Water is key. I often bring a water bottle to class so that I stay hydrated throughout the day and have an excuse to take a bathroom break when your prof is going on a bit. Water can clear up your skin and helps keep you going when you decide to embark on your weekly 20-minute visit to the AC for to scroll through Instagram on the elliptical (just kidding).
The second thing is I try to give myself enough time to sit and eat. I’ve been trying out mindful eating—spending anywhere from 20-50 chews on a single mouthful. I find that the process of eating becomes a fulfilling way to stay in tune with my body and having some extra me-time is beneficial to mental wellness.
The last thing I do is to try and eat consistently throughout the day. I like to stay constantly fueled throughout the day so that my body gets that constant stream of energy it needs to keep going, especially during the most tedious of classes. It’s important that you do what feels right to you, each body is different.
Even as a little experiment, I encourage all of you to give these simple tips a try, and If you’re looking for a resolution, this might be a good starting point.
Have a healthy and happy 2018, AVSSU!
As always, Wellness Wednesdays is brought to you by the Health and Wellness Commission, a team of Daniels students who are not professionals but want to share what we know to help you live your healthiest and most well life.
This month we’re talking about nutrition. One of the hardest things about moving out of residence is losing the meal plan and having to cook for yourself. A great way to do this is to meal prep. A system that has worked really well for me is to pick a day where I know I have a good amount of free time, usually on the weekend, and cook a big batch of something. My personal favourite is chili; you can make it with ground beef, turkey, or if you're veggie try a butternut squash and black bean recipe which can be found here: http://www.simple-veganista.com/2012/10/butternut-squash-and-black-bean-chili.html (trust me, it’s so good). I’ll usually freeze half of what I make and then eat the rest throughout the week, interspersed with things that are quicker to make such as pasta, salads, and veggie burgers. Cooking can be a good and productive break to take from all that reading and model building. If you are struggling with finding the time to cook at home, the University of Toronto does offer meal plans for people who aren't living in residence. The information can be found here: https://ueat.utoronto.ca/meal-plans/.
You can also find out about UofT research on nutrition here: https://www.utoronto.ca/news/tags/nutrition
If professional help regarding nutrition is something you’d be interested in, you can make an appointment with a dietician at the Health and Wellness Centre. You can walk in to make an appointment or call, find their hours and numbers here: https://www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/hwc/contact-us
Stay well, Daniels
Welcome to Wellness Wednesday!
We hope that your reading week treated you well! This month's stress management tip is to check in with yourself and get enough sleep.
Though the name contains a word relating to schoolwork, using the time off school for non-schoolwork can be even more important. School is stressful, our program is stressful, and stress takes a toll on your body.
I've heard this exchange several times since the end of reading week:
"How much did you get done over reading week?"
"Oh... not much, I was so bad, I mostly slept."
If that was you, that's perfectly okay! It's not bad to listen to what your body is telling you. Getting enough sleep is absolutely vital to maintaining your health (unless you're Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, who sleeps 2 hours per night. Are you the Rock? I don't think so, go to bed on time).
Your reading week doesn't have to be a binary between relaxing and productive. Relaxing IS productive if it helps you stay healthy. If you did manage to progress on work over reading week, congratulations and treat yourself to an early bedtime with that extra time. If you slept and marathoned movies starring Strong Independent Women in the workplace or superhero shows or the Rock's movies, also congratulations!
Stay healthy, stay rested, AVSSU.
This month’s Wellness topic is healthy relationships. For many people, a strong sense of community is vital for a successful university experience and life in general. Clubs and interest groups are a great way to create this community on campus. You can find information about recognized campus groups here: https://www.ulife.utoronto.ca/organizations
Another great way to connect in Facebook groups within the University of Toronto network. There are groups for graduating classes, specific courses, colleges, and all sorts of different things.
Sometimes, though, these communities can be a source of stress. We often feel an intense need to belong, which can keep us in damaging situations like toxic friendships and relationships. If you’re struggling with something like this, you should speak to somebody you trust about what options are the most healthy for you. You can also make an appointment at the Health and Wellness Centre to see the Daniels embedded counselor.
Last month, our registrar sent out an email with some helpful information for anyone struggling with these kinds of issues or others. Here’s the information:
Drop-in appointments Wednesdays 2-4pm- Office of Registrar and Student Services
If you are struggling and are not quite sure what to do, don’t know what resources are available to you, or you just need someone to talk to, please stop by the Office of the Registrar and Student for a drop in appointment on Wednesdays from 2-4pm or call book an appointment to speak with an Advisor, 416-946-3897.
Friday appointments available
To better meet the diverse needs of our student population, all Daniels students can access counselling services from Justin Sharpe, registered social worker with Health & Wellness. Tailored to the challenges presented by university life, the focus of appointments is on strengths, resiliency, and skills-building.
To book an appointment with Justin call 416-978-8030 and identify yourself as a Daniels student. Justin will hold appointments in room 334 at 1 Spadina Crescent on Fridays. These appointments are confidential.
On-location International Transition Advisor
Drop-in appointments Wednesdays 11:30am-1:30pm in Daniels Commons (outside the new Café 059)
International students are encouraged to meet with Yaseen Ali from the Centre for International Experience. Get advice and support for adjusting to academic life, life in Canada, language, immigration policies, and more. He will be located in the Daniels Commons every Wednesday for drop-ins between 11:30am to 1:30pm or you can book an appointment by emailing email him at email@example.com or use the [cln.utoronto.ca]Career Learning Network (CLN) portal.
TW: discussion of body image, food mention, sex mention
It's time for October's Wellness Wednesday blog post!
This month is a busy one. There's pumpkin carving, pumpkin pie, pumpkin boat races (it’s a real thing!), and of course coming up with a costume that tops last Halloween. Unfortunately, for many, many people, myself included, this can be fraught with anxiety. See, for people who don’t fit our society’s idea of an acceptable appearance, we often feel pushed away from costumes we might otherwise like to wear.
That’s a load of barnacles.
Last year I finally gained the courage to wear a costume I had spent years telling myself, “Maybe next year when I’m thinner.” While I am working on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, I’m not going to sit around for a fairy godmother to turn me into a kingdom-approved princess. I’m already a superhero. (I was Black Canary from DC Comics last year; this year’s heroic costume is TBD.)
I want everyone to feel empowered to wear the costume that they want without the pressure of either a sex-shaming or a sex-pushing society. This kind of attitude shift won’t happen overnight, but I’m hoping anyone reading this will feel at least a little inspiration.
Step 1 - Centre yourself
In the words of Mufasa, former King of the Lions, remember who you are. You are both the author and the protagonist in your story, whose chapters are open. You can be a warrior, a maker, a supporter, a hero. You can be a pirate, a tomato, a sexy pirate, a sexy tomato.
And in the words of a true Halloween icon, don’t dream it, be it.
Step 2 - Brainstorm
When it comes to creativity, there’s no such thing as a bad idea, only bad executions, so let the thinking flow! To get started, think about categories like book characters, movie characters, superheroes, animals, household objects, real life people (friends, family, public figures), and puns. Just be careful not to make a culture into a costume. Bounce the idea off some friends or read up on cultural appropriation.
Got an idea? Great! If not, don’t worry, something will come to you. Try running through your clothes and seeing what could be turned into something else.
Step 3 - Fight the fear
Once you have a costume idea, the following thoughts might occur to you:
“Oh, but this character has totally different hair and skin than I do.”
“I wish I could pull off a black leotard, but I guess this stapler costume isn’t happening.”
“But if I’m a sexy Eiffel Tower, I’ll have to shave my body hair.”
And here’s how you gotta respond to yourself:
This is your costume, not anyone else’s. Don’t let the haters get into your head with fear and negativity. Halloween 2017 only comes by one time, do you want to spend another year wishing you’d be brave enough to wear the costume you’ve been dreaming of?
Tell these fears to a trusted friend or family member who’ll help you feel secure in your choices.
Read more body positive blogs and Instagram posts.
Fight the fear, be courageous (like a lion).
Step 4 - Get spooky!
Now that you have that idea and a little more confidence, get out there and make your costume (or buy it, we all have busy lives). Be sure to check out Value Village on Bloor or one of their other locations in the GTA for discounted clothes and costumes. Near UofT there’s also Malabar on McCaul and Spirit Halloween on Yonge and on Queen. Unfortunately, like many regular clothing stores (although who am I to say that costumes are “"""irregular""”" clothes?), they may not have all sizes, so be sure to call ahead for these.
Step 5 - Hold your head high
You may run into enemies along this hero’s journey that you’re undertaking. You may have people staring at your body and making unsolicited comments that may fetishize or harass you. Just ignore them. They think that by hurting others, they might feel better about their sad selves. That’s pretty sad. You know what’s not sad? Wearing an awesome costume for the awesomest holiday. Ignore the haters and remember why you’re there (hint: to have scary, spooky fun).
We at AVSSU hope your Hallo-season is filled with confidence and fun frights. In the meantime, you can find me at Value Village being indecisive about which DC Superhero to be.
Hey Daniels! It’s Wellness Wednesday!
This month’s theme is body positivity. You may have heard the phrase before, but what is it? Wikipedia’s entry for the Body Positive Movement defines it as “a movement that encourages people to adopt more forgiving and affirming attitudes towards their bodies, with the goal of improving overall health and well-being.”
One of the beautiful things about body positivity is how open-ended it is! It can also mean self-acceptance, self-love, self-compassion and more (probably starting with ‘self-’)!. Most importantly, it’s a journey. It’d be pretty great to wake up one morning with complete confidence and freedom from insecurity, but in truth it takes time and effort. Framing your self-image with a positive light isn’t always easy, but can lead to a happier and more relaxed life. If your self-image is something you think you might need professional help for, you can get in contact with UofT’s Health and Wellness Centre to find out the best fit for you, which may include the services of the Daniels Faculty embedded psychologist: https://www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/hwc/services-offered
The Centre for Women and Trans People offers a peer support program for a variety of subjects, including body image and mental health. Find out more about it here: http://womenscentre.sa.utoronto.ca/programming/peer-support/
Also check out this guide to strategies to become more positive about your body!
Finally, social media can be a powerful tool to implement body positive thinking. Search the hashtags #bodypositive or #bodypositivity on Instagram and Twitter. Comment your favorite body positive advocate!
Here at AVSSU, we wish you confidence and self-appreciation of your awesome self. If you have a story to tell regarding body positivity (As short or long as you'd like!) you can submit it here to be posted for WW: https://goo.gl/forms/vMGvKQKt0fR7z5iO2