How Do I Cope with Depression and School?

It’s like 12:48 am right now but that’s okay (k, yes everyone needs their proper amount of sleep so don’t follow in my example, however I did take a long nap in the afternoon so yeah…) but, I’m here to write about something very serious (as you can tell from the title) especially with what’s going on with me right now. Also I made a master post on my tumblr blog about this but I want a more detailed focus on what I do so, if you want to read that post you can click here (some content from that post will also be posted here as well).

Recently, I relapsed back into depression about 5 months ago (about July) and I started my senior year at a new school in September (I know. Wrong timing). So I had a lot of ups and downs there and here. In short, I want to talk to you guys about how I personally cope with mental illness while at the same time trying to reach my full potential and pursue what I want academically. I recently got a question on my tumblr blog asking how do I cope with depression and at the same time go to school.

Just a side note: Please keep in mind that I am not a medical professional but I did beat depression 5 years ago (and I'll try to do it again) so this is what I know and what I'm continuously doing to help.

Accept that You Have a Problem

 The first step is to always accept that you have a problem and that you need to treat it ASAP! When you let it sit and wait, it’s just going to grow and manifest which can alter your performance in school and effect how your view yourself overall.

Around October of last year, I went to my guidance counsellor, my dean and vice dean for immediate help. This was a tremendous step to getting better even though it was scary to get help (it felt so awkward too). Soon after she (my guidance counsellor) offered to have therapy sessions which really helped. I learned many new techniques (which are again in my recent tumblr masterpost) and it helped me get through it.

Overall, letting the right people know can really help and make you feel better. Plus it’s also great to have a support system.

Take It Easy 

A common mistake when you’re studying while depressed is that you need to pretend that everything is okay and just go on with full force with everything thinking that it’s just going to go away on its own. No. Just no. Remember to watch and listen to yourself.

My routine to watch this when trying to do an assignment goes a little like this (I don’t do this every single time since I tend to change it up).

  • Find a very blank place that’s very tidy so that your mind is focused on only one thing. I like studying or doing work on the floor in an empty corner with a blanket (I feel like I’m one of the only ones who does it… Am I?)
  • Put calming music on to get a rhythm going to help you pace while work.
  • Study for 30-35 mins without procrastinating (turn off your phone or put it into sleep mode, no tv, no distracting human contact, only you and that’s it).
  • Take a short break (around 5-8 mins).
  • Repeat.

Try to Take Care of Your Priorities Not Others

It’s without a doubt that we have to deal with toxic people. When you’re around them they just hurt you and that’s not what you want for yourself, especially if you’re going through a mental illness.

Recently, obnoxious people have been trying to get into contact with me and have been trying to cause drama however, I did what I was taught to do (thanks to past therapy session), I ignored it and gave them a more mature response then of course, I blocked them online and in reality (just ignore them when in person and go on with what’s important). This is the only way. I don’t expect to fix it since I don’t have the time plus I’m dealing with more serious issues (lol they’re not worth the time right now).

Just cut them out of your life but don’t be mean and toxic back instead, be stern and serious that you need space then move on. Trust me it’s worth it and it gives you another lesson that it’s their problem not yours so just focus on yourself. Remember it’s school not a reality show so just do your thing and let others do whatever they deem “worthy”.

Build Yourself Up Not Break

I’ve spent so many years being hard on myself. I’ve learned to not necessarily look on the bright side since that should never be the focus when something goes wrong because it doesn’t actually help your case. However looking at your failures and saying that it’s an attempt and a try should be a better way at looking at it instead of changing the subject with distractions like “Oh, hey at least I’m good at…” Look at what happened and think about how you can make it better next time.

Also thinking about the good times can actually help. For me, I tend to spend a few minutes when I’m alone to remind myself that I’m still here and that I’m still very much like very human – We all make mistakes but we still keep on going.

Become Motivated

When you have grit and the will power to succeed, you can accomplish anything. I usually like looking at famous people and their accomplishments to get me inspired. If you go on the Academy of Achievement site you can read and watch people and their success stories and the struggles that they faced.

Also ted talks about getting motivation also helps as well. I also have a few favourite Youtubers and bloggers for instance College Info Geek by blogger/youtuber and cute nerdy geek Thomas Frank, who also has written a book about motivation and how to succeed in school called 10 Steps To Earning Awesome Grades. He also has a library of podcast about anything that can help you succeed on his blog. You can also watch his very useful tips on his Youtube channel here.

Looks like another farewell (until the next post hehe). I hope this helped (forgive me for no images this time) and make sure that you listen to yourself as well and think about what other methods can help you get through this. If you have any questions please message me on my tumblr blog. Ciao!

Book of the Month and 10 Benefits of Reading

Hey guys, so I was thinking that since one of my New Year’s resolutions includes reading a book, I was thinking that maybe I should do a book of the month type of thing to get you guys reading books too. I was thinking that each month, I should read a new book and at the end of the month do a book review! Sounds good? I think it is!

Now before you guys go crazy, let me explain why reading everyday is good for you.

1) Stimulation of the mental mind: Since you’re keeping your brain active, you lower your risks for Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Just like your muscles in your body you need to exercise your brain as well, so just remember the phrase “use it or lose it.”

2) Stress Reduction: With all the stress in our daily lives slipping into a nice story or an engaging article is a no brainer. Just letting go and relaxing into a nice novel will smooth away your stress and make your mind healthier.

3) Knowledge: Whatever you choose to read, it fills your brain with new little bits of information that you’ll never know would come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the more efficient you are when it comes to tackling obstacles. And knowledge, unlike money, can never be taken away from you.

4) Vocabulary expansion: Did you know that the more you read, the more exposure to new words you’ll receive? It’s a fact! When you read, your brain finds and stores new words and their meanings that you can use in professional and academical circumstances! It’s also seen that those who are more articulate in language and composition tend to be more knowledgeable, which can come in handy in your career.

5) Improving your memory: Let’s face it. When we read books, we have to remember the characters, chapters, plots, places, problems, situations, and the contexts of what is being read in order to understand. So amazingly, your brain is trained to remember these in order to make connections with the rest of the story. Interestingly, when our brains do this, it makes new pathways for future content and strengthens old ones.

6) Powerful analytical skills: When you read more and more, your brain is able to pick up familiar patters that makes you predict similar or even precise outcomes when reading a novel or story. This is very handy when you’re required to explain the plot of the story or the author’s intentions. Having strong analytical skills can aid when trying to solve problems as well.

7) Focus and Concentration: Yes, similar to that hand clapping game of concentration but even more amazing. When you read, you’re able to train your brain to focus on absorbing information, instead of being distracted by the world around you. This can help you when you’re required to read a text in class in a short period of time because due to your ability of focusing on the meaning of the text.

8) Improved writing skills: When you read, you learn and when you learn, you’re able to use it when writing complicated writing pieces. Increased reading, teaches you different writing styles from different authors, which can help you with your own writing.

9) Peace: In addition to relaxation and tress relief, making yourself quiet and reading is similar to meditating where your mind is at a spot where it can be nourished.

10) Entertainment: This may not apply to everyone but, reading is very fun. If you think about The Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, Harry potter, etc. The reason why they’ve become movies is because, the books were very well written and therefore, entertaining to the reader that they wanted to bring it to life. Speaking of brining words in the book to life, did you know that one of the secrets of reading is imagination and creativity? When you read, you illustrate your own pictures of what is going on in the story, which is the same pattern that directors do when they decide to bring a book to your screen.

Now that you know the 10 benefits of reading, I think it’s time for you (and me) to pick up a book and start that wonderful journey!

 

 

6 Practical Ways to Cure Procrastination

Who here has ever had those moments where your teacher assigns a 6 paged paper to be done in 3 weeks? All of you guys? Yeah, I’m no Doctor (not yet anyways) but I think you’re diagnosed with chronic procrastination (*gasp*). Anyways, so in the beginning you’re all confident and had this goal of being the over achiever and said “Hey! You know what? I’m going to get this done in 1 week instead.” So then you go on your laptop, open up Word and started typing out a couple of sentences. Then you got tired and went on Facebook for 2 minutes which turned into 2 hours then Tumblr came along knocking on your door so you invited him in and of course your favourite show came on. And that blinking cursor on Word is forgotten… This continues on for the next two weeks and then you realized that the paper is due in 5 days and started pulling off all nighters to just get the whole 6 paged paper done. Then you hand it into your teacher and you promise yourself that you won’t ever procrastinate ever again… Until the next assignment comes then the cycle restarts all over again.

1) Breakdown your work into small little bits: I don’t mean that you should take your papers and shred them to pieces but just make sure that when you’re working that you focus on one step at a time instead of simultaneously working on multiple steps. For instance, if you’re working on a research paper/essay do the following steps one by one- (1) Research (2) Deciding on the topic (3) outline (4) thesis (5) rough draft (6) good copy. When you take little nibbles of your work (don’t actually eat it, I’m pretty sure that excuse will land in you in a place worst than detention), it makes you think that the big assignment is actually just a bunch of small little tasks.

2) Change your environment: The term workplace refers to a place where you’re able to do work efficiently not just work and get nothing done. I want you to get up and look at your workspace (just don’t forget to come back). Are you back? Good. Now let me guess, you had a hard time trying to come back because of all of the distracting things. Yeah, it’s time to get rid of those distractions by revamping your workspace where it’s noise free, has a lot of light and comfortable (but not too comfortable; you really don’t want sleep knowing that your assignment is due the following day).

3) Create a timeline with specific deadlines: This is an extension of the first step mentioned above but, if you give those tiny little tasks a deadline, it actually has a profound effect by keeping you motivated to get things done. Just make sure that you get to actually follow that timeline and not just leave it to the side. Unless if you like working without knowing when to stop or not (if you do then the only Dead-line here is you when you get a zero on your assignment or the dead straight-line of a heart monitor).

4) Get a restraining order on those procrastinating thugs: The screen in front of you has a lot of traps that will get you procrastinating so I suggest hat you disable any automatic notifications. This also means to close any tabs that has a social networking site like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc. (If you have any of those or anything similar close them down right now, I mean it; you’ll thank you later).

5) Be friends with those who work hard: Use this to your advantage! If you have a partner for a class project or presentation, picking someone who works hard can inspire you to work hard as well (it rubs off!) and working with people whose only goal is to get things done will limit distractions like useless conversations that does nothing but guarantee you a failing F- on your report card.

6) Remember to Zen but not Zzzzzz: Keep things balanced! Don’t forget to feed yourself and get relaxation time. When your mind is healthy then your work effort will be just as healthy. Exercising is a great stress reliever, trust me (it also keeps down freshman 15).

Now that you know the 6 practical ways to stop procrastination, get to it! Oh, and if you’re reading this to procrastinate now you know. I also have a video for you on how to stop procrastinating:

8 Great Things to Do While on Winter Break!

Bored over break?

It's two weeks off so don't just let the weather or those crazy busy holiday preparations get you down!

1) Get your fair share of the cold element (literally): Life is considered short so don’t miss out on what’s outside of your house! I know, I know! Mother Nature is just so cold. Well, if you think about it, you can make the cold weather an enjoyable atmosphere of fun! Try getting your friends together to have fun in the snow! Try building snow forts or igloos, trust me that’s one of the best parts to do while the snow is still here! Ice skating, tobogganing, or even hockey can get you in the winter festive mood! Just remember to be responsible and dress for the weather! Oh, and drink hot chocolate with your family and friends after a day of fun!

2) Plan a get together with the close people of your life: Now that you’re home from a long semester filled with work, it’s time to put the books away and hit a new type of novel, relationships. Two weeks off will go by pretty fast and then you may not have that time with that special person in your life or even your friends when the upcoming mid-terms kick in! So, go to the mall, and just build those relationships for the best while you still have them! One of the most classic ways to capture those memories is taking a group selfies at a cool Christmas party! May I suggest a picture with Santa Claus to finish that thought?

3) Polish up that résumé: The winter break is a great time to polish up your résumé and pursue your dream internship. Update your résumé by adding your latest work experience, relevant course work, and volunteering activities. It’ll put you steps ahead of the competition!

4) Get those New Year Resolutions Going: It’s the last month of the year! So reflect, think back and of course try to come up with atlas 3 new goals for the following year! Make sure you choose something that you can do and something that will make a huge impact on your life! It’s doesn’t need to be a huge big goal but as long as the commitment is there, it’s a goal that’s worth for shooting at! For a majority of us, eating healthy, exercising, maybe taking up a new hobby or sport can be great choices for your New Year’s Resolutions. Got any ideas? Write them down, just remember to do them.

5) Try to fix that upside down sleeping pattern: It may be tempting, but pulling off all nighters just because you’re on holidays isn’t actually a risk to do. If you really value, your health, body, spirit, and your mind read this very carefully. Okay I said read this carefully not get close to the screen. Anyways, try setting up a new sleeping pattern so that you can sleep on time, wake up early and not have those marathons to brush your teeth to eating breakfast. Trust me, when the break ends you’ll be thankful for taking this advice!

6) Read a book: Do you know that literature gets more entertaining though age? There’s so many different types of novels to get into for the holidays! Most of them were turned into movies! So go to your nearest book store or library and get a book to read. It really does improve your literacy skills! It also makes you look smart.

7) Go get a new wardrobe: It’s out with the old and in with the new this season. Do you still remember those old shirts that you hardly wear? Yeah, it’s time for them to go. No! Not in the garbage, people in developing countries were forced to make that! Donate them to a thrifts store or anywhere where they can be given to the less unfortunate, besides it’s the holidays so it’s a good thing to be charitable this season!

8) Review past lessons and assignments: Yes I know, I know. It’s winter break but, that doesn’t mean that you can let that noggin rot now. It’s a good time to just brush up on past assignments and class notes so when exams come, you might be the only one in the class who actually gained a couple of IQ points for the win!

Back to School Safety

It’s always best for every child regardless of age to be safe when they’re at school. Whatever the cost may be.

To all parents out there, it must be tough (or easy in a challenging way; whatever comes to mind) when you have to get up early to make breakfast, pack their lunch, get their stuff together, making sure that they’re brushing their teeth, etc. All the while, trying to beat the clock till the school bell rings and dings. Yeah, I bet that this must be an excruciating routine to do everyday but, in the end you’re happy that they’re back to school making their future’s brighter than the sun. Although, after dropping them off or waving goodbye at the school bus stop, do you ever think if it’s final? That maybe you may never see them ever again and that mad circus morning routine was your last moment together? I know that must be a nightmare but, it does happen to people and that it’s your job as the parent to lay some rules or remind them of the common mistakes of back to school danger.
Let's flashback to the good, the bad and the ugly
Last year at the beginning of my sophomore year, a teenage girl in Wrinkler, Manitoba was fatally hit by a speeding vehicle after school near the school grounds of Northlands Parkway Collegiate. If you want to read more about this click here.
After her death, government officials legalized that speed limits must be close to 30 k/h or lower when near the opening and closing time of all schools or academic institutions.
Now what can we learn from this? I know that it sounds rather cliche but, remember that old saying by your folks? The one that goes like this, “always look both ways before crossing the street dear.” I know that it must be annoying to constantly say that to your kids but, at least they’re getting the message! So when the time does come (which is almost everyday for many students who walk to school) they’re always prepared to take safety precautions when crossing the street. And on the side note, teach them the rules of the crosswalk, you know the ones with the patrols, lights, cars, etc. Just to get a refresher. You can never be too safe.
Now focusing on the other side of the pedestrian corridor are the new novice drivers of the road (oh my!). I recently got my driver’s licence and even though that I’m now a young man cursing the road, I still have the responsibility like all other drivers. So maybe try to have an open comment conversation with your teenage daughter or son about your expectations regarding the safety of themselves, their passengers, and other people across the road. Remember to keep in mind the even though they may have passed the test, they’re still young and when you’re young you can still do some idiotic stuff. Just remind them of the consequences of what the role of a good driver is.
Now the final note, don’t do the whole “talk but no walk” act because as the parent you are the role model for your kids, and that their decisions can be influenced by you. Remember this “Children see and children do, so please parents don’t be stupid fool.” Keep it, lock it, and stick it to your pocket, and now you’re done.
Other common precautions to know
  1.  Stranger Danger: “If mom and dad don’t know, don’t go.” These very words were taught to me by a policeman when I was just in first grade. And I still somehow stuck to it even now. I would recommend to show your little youngsters some easy to watch resources concerning this issue. I’ve here one of my top choices to handling this safety pre-caution.
  2. Cyber Safety: Let’s face it, the role is different now compared to a few decades ago. Smartphones, tablet and laptops oh my! Yes, in this generation social media and technology is the most strongest trend for most teens and tweens. I would like to take some time to re-call the suicidal incident of Amanda Todd due to constant cyber-bulling. If you want to know more about this issue click here, if not then continue reading. Due to the convenience of having a mobile device with you, a perpetrator’s harmful intentions will also be in the back of your pocket so, please teach your teens to be techno wise, so in the long run they’re going to handle the situation or even avoid it with ease.
  3. Insurance: You can never be too careful so making sure that your child has insurance for the unexpected is beneficial! If your school offers this service sign up for it! It may save your young one’s life in a give or take moment. There may be schools where this may not be covered so it’s always best to ask questions directly to whom the issue is concerned.
Have a great school year
With safety first as a priority, your child can now enjoy their months of endless learning and fun with care when you have safety as a priority. Just remember, if things do start to get out of hand there are emergency numbers and groups that are willing to help. Have a great school year and don’t forget. Be safe.