Keeping a Balanced Life at UTSC: A Review on October’s Mental Health and Wellness Month

What is Health and Wellness Month?
As a student, we all know how important it is to keep healthy during stressful times, to try and keep a balance between work and pleasure, and to find a way to stay positive and happy during your time as a student. However, trying to keep up this healthy lifestyle is easier said than done. This past month U of T dedicated its time to mental health education and promoting a balanced, happy and healthy lifestyle through various events. UTSC took part in four main events on campus, the Mental Health Understood Fair, Tree Top Trekking, Flourish, and not to mention a guest lecture from sports caster Michael Landsberg. What are these events you ask? To get a closer look, incase you missed out, here’s a brief recap of each!

How UTSC Got Involved:
To begin, UTSC’s Student Services and the Mental Health Network joined forces to bring you a variety of events to create awareness of Mental Health and Wellness Month:

Mental Health Understood Fair
The Health & Wellness Centre and UTSC’s Mental health Network team first kicked the month off with the Mental Health Understood Fair on October 8th, which took place in the meeting place where there were interactive booths with Student Service related peer groups and local organizations.  More on the Health and Wellness Centre’s wellness peer program: https://www.facebook.com/WPPUTSC

Tree Top Trekking
Brought to you by Move U and UTSC Athletics and Recreation, Tree Top Trekking took place on October 15th during reading week where students took a break from studying to get in touch with Mother Nature.  Find out more about Move U here: https://www.facebook.com/MoveUofT

Flourish Ambassador Training Day
Students attended a full day workshop on October 17th focused on recognizing their strengths and understanding how to use them more effectively.  They explored different types of strengths, worked on team physical activities (which exercised their strengths) and discussed scenarios that required them to specifically apply their unique strengths accordingly. 
Visit Flourish here: http://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/projects/flourish/

Michael Landsberg Guest Lecture
On October 29th UTSC was fortunate enough to hear from Michael Landsburg, the sports journalist host of “Off the Record”, about his struggles with depression and how he continues to fight each day. Michael emphasized the fact of speaking up about depression and was able to connect with students on situations and discuss solutions to working through your feelings. Follow Michael’s twitter account @heylandsberg!  If you are new to Michael Landsberg check out a short documentary about “Off The Record with Michael Landsberg” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9l_iWQh5U8

Student to Student:
Here are some tips from fellow students at UTSC on how to keep a healthy lifestyle both mentally and physically:

Find Your Balance: Finding a balanced life style is key to keeping your mind and body healthy. What you need to do is find a balance that is unique and specific to you because each and every individual is different in how they handle stress. Find what works for you, whether it’s taking a break to workout, play sports, or even go for a walk, and make the effort to see through it.

Get Active: Take your mind off the stress by completely focusing on the physical activity that you are doing. However, make sure that you have time manages and that by taking off an hour of studying, you wont get more stressed. Find what routine works for you and stick to it. Having a routine will give you something you have to follow, making sure you keep your life balanced.

Stay Positive: Although it’s hard to stay positive in a time of stress, find your silver lining that will get you through this time. Maybe it’s buying that pair of shoes, or getting to watch your favourite show, setting a reward for the end of exams (or in stressful situations) gives you a break and gives you something to look forward to. If you fight through it by staying positive, chances are you wont put so much pressure on yourself, giving you a relaxed and composed outcome.

It’s important to stay healthy both physically and mentally during times of stress. Remember to try and keep a balanced and happy life, and to stay positive. For more information on Mental Health and Wellness Month go to: http://life.utoronto.ca/stories/october-is-mental-wellness-month/

Acknowledgements: Thank you to Alyona Koulanova and Laurie Wright for their contribution to this article.

Get involved: Find Balance