Hannah's blog posts are written in collaboration with our partners at Yellow House, which is a space and community for Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Colour at Queen's. Thanks to Yellow House for their partnership. Make sure to check out their Instagram to stay current with their events for Queen's QTBIPOC students!
It feels as though the last few weeks have barely been a reality. Academia feels like an endless winding road, riddled with lectures to attend, assignments to write, readings to annotate, and concepts to grasp. Navigating the messiness of adulting—of being a student—is as thrilling as it is terrifying. I have spent the better part of these winter months avoiding social media, walking in sunlight as often as the sky allows, savoring the blessing of Starbucks TAMs by drinking copious amounts of vanilla cappuccinos, constantly splattering essays into the void of a Google Doc, and fighting off inevitable winter colds.
As much as my life has felt swamped by the demands of academia and what feels like my full-time job of figuring out what it means to be an adult, the most vibrant part of the last few months has been my humble attempt to usher wellbeing into my day-to-day life. I have slowly accumulated a short laundry list of things that have helped my mind and body breathe as the semester seems to engulf me in endless things to do. I want to acknowledge that beating burn out is not easy, and juggling all the demands of simply being a human is inherently tiring. However, the little things on this list have felt like they boosted my mental health. In turn, they gave me more space to feel equipped for the demands of my day-to-day life. Prioritizing taking care of myself doesn’t have to mean huge changes.
1. Drinking tea – or maybe just a teensy bit more water than before
I heard somewhere that we’re all basically plants with more complicated emotions. And as trite as this sounds, a little bit of daylight and some fluid makes me feel a lot lighter. It may be a myth that you need to drink endless amounts of water to stay healthy, but staying hydrated with a warming cup of tea is such a pleasure.
2. Eating something that reminds me of home
I have found that when I feel maybe a tad homesick, or just swamped and caught up in to-do lists and who knows what else, a little pick-me-up that tastes of home helps me breathe a little easier. Home for me is in those rice noodles at the grocery stores. With a little bit of soy sauce and sesame oil sprinkled on top, they make me feel more grounded. A few minutes of cooking and I’m already a little better.
3. Stretching before bed
I have found that my mental health has thrived most when I have given myself the capacity to be intentional with my evening routines. I’m always happier if I am well-rested, and stretching a little bit, maybe even doing a few deep breaths before bed, helps establish a sense of calm and centering before bed.
4. Listening to music
When I have been at the lowest moments in my life, music has always been a comforting haven of rest and hope. Various melodies hold such symbolism in my life, they are the streetlamps that light my way back home to myself. Lately I have been listening to lots of Taylor Swift, Billy Joel, and some classic 80s mellow songs that remind me of my grampa.
I know it’s not always this easy. Mental health can be tough when you’re so busy. If you’re in need of help, please reach out to Student Wellness Services for support. They can offer professional counselling appointments or, if it’s out of hours, a 24/7 support line.
Here’s to Here Comes the Sun becoming our reality and here’s to resting more in the coming weeks. Why not take a few minutes right now to prioritize your mental health with some music, stretching, tea, or a homely bite to eat?