Let’s Talk Mental Health

Fit things into your day that genuinely make you happy. The key here is to make a conscious effort to sub out 10-30 minutes of your day and give yourself downtime and reflection.

Today we’re talking mental health (because you can’t be productive with a foggy mindset). And also it’s #BellLetsTalk day – a great initiative to end the stigma around mental health.

Keep reading for advice on how-to find time for yourself, tips on mindfulness, and the steps to create your very own self-care survival kit.

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Finding your own time

We are all busy. No matter the situation it seems like we don’t have enough minutes in the day to do everything that we want, and this is a source of stress for many. If you are like me, you forget to take time out of your day to reflect, relax, and just breathe. But I’m here to tell you it’s not that hard.

First, I suggest fitting things into your day that genuinely make you happy. The key here is to make a conscious effort to sub out 10-30 minutes of your day and give yourself downtime and reflection. If you like meditation, sit quietly. If you like watching cat videos, go for it! Just do it in a place that makes you feel comfortable and secure.

Another way to find your own time is to listen to music.  Just plug in and escape. In the security of your headphones no one can hurt you. Blast your favorite track and let the rhythm take you over, bilamos Enrique Iglesias joke. 

Mindfulness

What is mindfulness you ask? Yourmentalhealth.ie suggests that mindfulness is simply paying attention to whatever is happening in the present moment and experiencing it without judgement and, if possible, with kindness.

2018 definition: staying woke.

When I practice being mindful, I find myself constantly looking inward at myself, and trying to position my place in the world. I understand what I can offer others, and how my current state fits into a bigger picture.

Now, I am not saying this is the #1 best way to take control of your mental health, but it’s a damn good start. Practicing mindfulness helps bring you into the present, and each moment as you’re living it. It helps you to truly focus on what’s happening right at that moment and it’s a great tool to have on your ‘adult-ing journey’.

“Sometimes, life will kick you around, but sooner or later, you realize you’re not just a survivor. You’re a warrior, and you’re stronger than anything life throws your way.”- Brooke Davis

Self-Care Survival Kit

You prepare for physical emergencies with a first-aid kit, why not prepare for emotional emergencies too! A self-care kit is very easy to make. It allows you to prepare yourself and have tools available in a time of crisis or when you’re feeling overwhelmed. My kit may not look exactly like yours but here are some ideas for your self-care kit:

  • Adult Coloring Books and Colored Pencils – very trendy and an alternative to meditation
  • Bubble bath and Epsom Salts – relax naturally in a soothing bath
  • Scented Candles – relieve stress through smell, or simply watch the flickering flame
  • Mints – help with nausea or anxiety
  • Affirmations – read some of your favorite encouragements
  • Stress Ball – keep your hands busy
  • Handwritten Note from a Loved One – to remind you that you are not alone

Thanks for Reading this Urban Guide. I am not a mental-health professional. If you need to speak with someone call the Mental Health Hotline at 1-866-531-2600.   

The 3 things every intern should know – Somewhere between school and work is a unique opportunity to be a “working-student.”

Use the opportunity as a chance to reflect on how you’ve grown and the skills you’ve learned. While it’s fresh in your mind, update your resume and practice speaking out loud about your learning for future interviews.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy this Urban Guide.

Internships and co-op experiences allow students and/or recent grads to gain work experience in industries that interest them. So keep reading to find out the 3 things every intern should know. 

I recently started my position as a business technical analyst intern in the corporate office of a non-profit organization. Now, this is not my first rodeo in a ‘trial employment’ situation. Back when I was interested in pursuing a career in broadcast journalism I worked closely with a local producer at Rogers TV and found that working with adults that were already established is a great learning experience for any student. The following are great ways to make the most out of any internship: 

1. Guide your experience with learning goals 

Entering the position a normal student may feel a mixture of excitement, nervousness, and well, confusion about what it is they will be asked to do. This is why you should start your internship with 3 or 4 learning goals that can better structure how you approach the position. Goals do not have to be permanent – they can be modified each week or month to better guide and organize your work.

Share the learning goals with your supervisor and make it a priority to communicate why you are there (because after all, you may or may not be getting paid here). Using outcomes that are meaningful that can be used to develop your resume/portfolio are just as good as a salary. 

Some examples of learning goals:

  • Enrich my knowledge of broadcast journalism by participating in live and taped productions.
  • Develop my professional network by stepping out of my comfort zone and introducing myself to 6 new people.
  • Enhance my design skills by creating a poster for the new business campaign.

2. Take Initiative 

Want to be a memorable intern? Standing out amongst the other co-op students by focusing on how you can excel at tasks that are within your capabilities is a great way to do that. (It may sound harsh but it’s what a leader would do).

Given that you are new to the organization wont know everything. However initiative can be as simple as finishing work efficiently, before deadlines, and/or volunteering to take additional work. 

Speaking up and asking questions to upper management.

Introverts: We live in a communicating world. Just take a deep breath, prepare your thoughts, and speak. 9 times out of 10 the person will be more focused on answering your question/statement than how it was asked/said.

Working with the learning goals you set for yourself can be used as a way to show initiative. Ask for feedback about your performance and align the constructive criticism with those goals, modify if necessary.

Just get involved! 

3. Leave on a positive note 

It is important to remember that this internship may or may not be paid. Nonetheless, considering the references and letter of recommendations you may receive can be extremely helpful in securing your next ‘real’ position.

Many jobs nowadays ask for 3 to 5 years of experience which is ridiculous because how do they expect us students to manage working that much while we’re in school. A benefit that internships have is they allow your ‘working-student’ experiences to count as relevant work experience.

So again, focus on building a positive relationship by putting your best foot forward and leaving the position on a positive note , it can make all the difference further down your chosen path.

Conclusion 

Use the opportunity as a chance to reflect on how you’ve grown and the skills you’ve learned. While it’s fresh in your mind, update your resume and practice speaking out loud about your learning. Most likely it will come up in a future interview so practice practice practice!

Consider situational interview questions such as:

“Tell me a time where your displayed initiative?”

“Describe a challenge you overcame, and how you did that?”

“How do you work in a team? Provide an example of a time you worked collaboratively.” 

The Expert in anything was once a Beginner. – Unknown

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Study, sleep, class, repeat – Read helpful hints on how to keep your cool when it comes to school

This post will identify some ways to help you stay focused throughout the ‘never-ending’ school cycle, offer some tips on how to talk to professors, and suggest some ways to beat the mid-semester blues.  

Has your five-minute procrastination break turned into an hour? Well stay right there this will only take another minute.

This post will identify some ways to help you stay focused throughout the ‘never-ending’ school cycle, offer some tips on how to talk to professors, and suggest ways to beat the mid-semester blues.

School has been the most important responsibility of mine for as long as I can remember. As students we are strapped to the conveyer belt and filtered through the school system to identify how we will become productive members of society. If you are like me then you can appreciate all the benefits this system has, but also see the major flaws traditional schooling has for the coming generation. So the question remains; what can you do?

Make a Study Schedule

The last thing you want is to walk into an exam that you are not prepared for. I suggest compiling a list of assignments, tests, and quizzes with detailed information on what you need to learn. Having a master list to refer to will help you identify areas of strength or weakness and allocate study time accordingly. In the long run, this will save you valuable time.

Here is an example of a study schedule:

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Talking to Profs

If you struggle with this, you are not alone. Talking to an instructor can be a daunting task, as they are very knowledgeable and potentially influence your success.

When talking to a professor in person or via email you want to start by making yourself known and offering commentary on the course material so far. Next, you’re going to want to ask your question or give your comment in the clearest way possible. I’ve found that teachers are more receptive to help you if they can see that you have tried to understand the content by yourself.

To finish the interaction, be honest about your learning. If you are still lost in the material ask for additional resources and opportunities to meet again. If they helped you understand a concept, thank them. Education is valuable; try not to forget that.

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Keep it Cool

Here are some activities to help get you through the semester:

  • Fuel your body with a healthy diet – fruit is an optimal study snack
  • Exercise – working out produces endorphins, which make you feel good
  • Meditation – take 10 minutes a day to sit quietly without distraction
  • Sleep – quality sleep always helps (don’t forget to add it to your schedule)
  • Laugh – hang with some friends, watch your favourite movie, just laugh

Thanks for reading, stay tuned for more Urban Guides

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