By Stefanie Guillard

It’s September and you’re in the thick of it already.

It’s hard to think of taking care of yourself when you have deadlines and group projects to manage. Fact: you cannot expect to add to your plate if you haven’t taken something away. Unfortunately, we tend to take our own self-care away first and this leads to burn out, mental health issues and feelings of resentment. Stress comes from being out of balance: using our sacred time to make others happy.

Being a student is learning to use your voice and your time wisely. Feeling bad about saying no is a typical mind trap that keeps you stressed and stuck. You are not a bad person if you can’t attend your family dinner or your friend’s birthday because you need to take care of yourself: you are a person who has goals and has a right to meet those goals. Achieving your academic goals means refueling your body.

How to say no:
“That sounds like fun. I hope you have a good time.”
“No thanks, that’s not my cup of tea.”
“Sorry, I have to focus on some other things right now.”
“Unfortunately, I don’t have the capacity to do that.”

Sometimes, we say, “no” to everything. This is where we end up isolating, not meeting new people, losing perspective, and being unbalanced.

Quote:
“If you say no and someone else gets angry, it doesn’t mean that you should have said yes. People are responsible for their feelings. You are not responsible for other people’s feelings.” – Stef G.

How do you know what to say “yes” to?
Will this be something that relaxes me, energizes me or releases tension?
Is this one of my favourite things or my favourite people?
Have I done too many things already this week?
Have I already scheduled time for my body health (art, creativity, etc.)?

Resources:
Video: Ted Talk – How to succeed? Get more sleep by Arianna Huffington
Workshop: The Inquiring Mind. Visit https://naitsa.ca/event/the-inquiring-mind-fall/2019-09-28/ for more information.
Books: Mind Over Mood by Dr. Greenberger
App – WOE Bot (effectively gets your mind out of mind traps)
Book an appointment with a counsellor to talk about boundaries, saying yes and no, and healthy communication. Typical wait-times are two weeks for regular appointments.

Hello!

Photo supplied by Stefanie Guillard

I’m Stefanie Guillard, one of the student counsellors at NAIT. I practice mindfulness by cuddling with my hedgehog, Charlotte. I am energized by meeting up with friends a few times a month.

My favourite way to care for myself is an elaborate evening wind-down routine and a slow wake-up stretch. I am also currently publishing my second book, Dear Kin.

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