The Magic of Writing It Down

I was going to write a “love list” post today, because there are just oodles of things that I’m loving right now. My life is currently summery and lovely, and so many new things are making me happy (read: iced coffee), and I wanted to record them, for posterity’s sake. But then, as I sat down to write the list, this post decided it wanted to be written, and who am I to say no? So.

The magic of writing it down. I should probably put a disclaimer up front: I have no idea whether this “technique” will have the same effects for you as it does for me (and my Mom – hi Mom!). Second disclaimer: as a topic, this one is painfully obvious, so I’ll try to keep it short. Third disclaimer: I’m definitely not trying to re-invent the wheel here, I’ve just been recently noticing the beautiful, simple magic of writing things down.

Today, Be Gentle

When in doubt, take action. I’m not entirely sure if that’s a phrase, but since I’ve started this post four times, in a fit of indecision, I’ve just coined it, in case it’s not. Because I know I need to write something today, get something done, so I can feel better. This is me, trying to give myself what I need. Indulge me.

Today’s not a very decisive day. I’m not feeling very productive. I’m self-doubting. Regular old hump day, don’t you think? How is your Wednesday treating you?

The past few days have whizzed by in a storm of productivity. Books were bought, courses were registered for, exercise + healthy eating happened – generally speaking, I was on top of things. But today, my muscles are sore. It’s -21 outside, if you count the windchill (and I always count it). It’s overcast, as it tends to be for the bulk of winter. It feels almost as if today is a day to pause, and process. To take stock of everything I’ve been accomplishing lately for myself, and tug in the reins a little before I hit burn-out.

I’ve been eating healthy, cooking all my meals. I’ve exercised for at least 30 minutes, every day for about a week. I’ve done my readings, gone to my classes, taken my notes. I’ve gone to the gym! I’ve spent time with friends. I’ve made cupcakes with pink roses on them. I’ve spent a lot of time alone. I’ve worked things out in my journal. I’ve made wall art.

So today, even though I feel unproductive, even though my first exercise plan was thwarted (I made it two blocks before turning back, it was that unpleasant), even though I don’t yet have a beautiful picture for project 365, I’m still going to be proud of myself. One of my 2012 intentions is to be gentler, with myself and others. And that means taking the time to listen to my body, figure out how I feel, and no matter what, being proud of the little things. Not taking anything for granted. Being proud of what I’ve managed to accomplish.

And I’m proud of you too, all of you! Good for you, for going back to school with a bang. I’m glad you sat down in your chair and did the work. I’m excited that you started a new health resolution and have been sticking to it so far. It’s amazing that you’re making positive changes for yourself. It makes me happy that you’re making a list of things that bother you and tackling them one by one. I’m happy you’re doing the right thing for you! Just remember to go easy on yourself, don’t push too hard. You’re doing a great job. 

So today, be gentle. You’re doing your best. Don’t berate yourself for not doing enough, for needing a nap, for sleeping in a bit too late, for not hitting your most important goal-of-the-day right off the bat, for eating too much or too little, for not exercising enough or too little, for not being perfect today. Be gentle. Take a minute to take stock of the positive things you’ve been doing lately. Make the voice inside your head that of your mom, or your best friend, telling you that you’re doing such a good job. There’s no rule saying that you have to bust your butt until Friday, and then have downtime. Maybe Wednesday is the low, stagnant point in your week – that’s fine too. So take it easy today. Be quiet, be still. Be gentle.

101 Things To Do On Study Breaks

Photo thanks to WeHeartIt
Please tell me I’m not the only one chained to my desk these days! I’m in the middle of my final exams, it’s freezing cold outside, and I am feeling equal parts frazzled and exhausted. But I’ve still been taking time to schedule in as much fun as I can make time for. I’ve compiled a list of things you can do for fun on your study breaks, most of which can be accomplished at your desk in the library, or without having to go on a time-consuming outing. I know we students don’t have time for much besides studying these days! So just pick a few of the activities below, and maintain your sanity for just a few more days. Enjoy your study breaks to the fullest. Happy studying!
  1. Start a blog
  2. Start a tumblr
  3. Join
  4. Bake cookies
  5. Make dinner
  6. Call your Mom
  7. Skype with friends
  8. Get Starbucks
  9. Go for a run
  10. Read the headlines
  11. Do a crossword
  12. Have a dance party
  13. Do yoga
  14. Put all your favourite blogs into a blog reader
  15. Catch up on your favourite blogs
  16. Clean & organize your workspace
  17. Clean your room
  18. Record a video or podcast
  19. Write an article or short story
  20. Sketch a picture of yourself studying
  21. Get a massage
  22. Paint your nails
  23. Make origami swans
  24. Meditate
  25. Write someone a letter
  26. Brainstorm your next year’s New Years Resolutions
  27. Journal
  28. Work on your Life List
  29. Create an issuu magazine
  30. Start a scrapbook
  31. Look through old pictures
  32. Watch one episode of a funny tv show
  33. Sing along to musical theatre show tunes
  34. Play an instrument
  35. Make a list of things you’d do in your city if you had time
  36. Deactivate your Facebook account
  37. Start a Pinterest account
  38. Pay your bills
  39. Watch a TED talk
  40. Watch movie trailers
  41. Look at the Spring RTW shows
  42. Troll FoodGawker
  43. Build a snow man
  44. Decorate your place for Festivus
  45. Write a to-do list
  46. Play brain games on Lumosity
  47. Start a massage train with your friends
  48. Listen to really old pop music
  49. StumbleUpon
  50. Get lunch/brunch/dinner with friends
  51. Do the dishes
  52. Walk around the block
  53. Read a chapter of a book
  54. Make paper snowflakes
  55. Moisturize
  56. Take a bubble bath
  57. Take a nap
  58. Make a cup of tea or hot chocolate with little marshmallows
  59. Clean out your bag and wallet
  60. Give a loan on Kiva
  61. Play FreeRice
  62. Apply for something: volunteer position, internship, job
  63. Play hangman or tic-tac-toe with someone
  64. Watch videos of puppies or kitties playing
  65. Read Jezebel
  66. Read TextsFromBennett
  67. Give yourself a pep talk
  68. Switch up your study spot
  69. Do jumping jacks
  70. Do your laundry
  71. Start using Evernote
  72. Make a list of things you want to do around Christmastime
  73. Write a song
  74. Go out for a drink
  75. Eat a few seasonal clementines
  76. Learn about common misconceptions
  77. Go to the gym
  78. Buy + eat a chocolate bar
  79. Clean out the fridge
  80. Have a shower
  81. Have a snack
  82. Read a magazine
  83. Listen to lots of holiday-themed music
  84. Plan your dream vacation
  85. Plan a holiday party
  86. Do some online shopping
  87. Create a countdown until your exams are over
  88. Do a workout video in your living room
  89. Go grocery shopping
  90. Start a Facebook/BBM/text conversation with your best friends to share news and pictures
  91. Discover some new music
  92. Browse the local book store
  93. Learn a new skill online
  94. Play agoogleaday
  95. Dress up and get outside
  96. Catch up with a friend over coffee
  97. Pray
  98. Get take-out
  99. Daydream about having free time again
  100. Create a plan for studying
  101. SMILE
Stay sane, stay happy.
All my love in this hard time!
What do you do on your study breaks? What are exams like for you? Do you need motivation, or do you need to slow down? What are your favourite activities? 

How To Survive Exam Season, Part 3

Here’s part 1 and part 2!

Photo thanks to WeHeartIt

It’s that time of year again folks: the blasted exam crunch time. Previously, I’ve written about how to stay physically healthy and how to find the study system that works for you. This year’s edition is more focused on mental health and stress-reduction strategies. Intrigued? Read on!

I find that this time of year requires a lot of discipline, focus, and motivation. Those things aren’t always easy to find, especially not when you also feel frazzled, stressed, and probably lonely. But finding time for fun activities can be so insanely hard, especially when you always have this looming dark cloud hanging over you, telling you “YOU SHOULD BE STUDYING RIGHT NOW”. How oppressive! I’m sure a lot of you are nodding in agreement – there’s always this sense of obligation or duty to be studying, and even taking an hour to catch up with someone at Starbucks feels very wrong.

The more we’re isolated, the more awful we feel; but the more we take time off from studying, the guiltier we feel. Stress central! Here are some of the strategies I’ve been exploring to stay sane this exam season.

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