Choose Something Lighter {A Mental Health Week Recommendation}

I have a habit of choosing a really large, serious, depressing novel to read right in the middle of a term of six courses. Maybe it’s just me, but it’s a hard switch to make, going from complicated reads in school to trying to reading just for fun. But that is, truly, what reading is supposed to be – fun. Movies, meetings with friends, fitness – these are meant to be positive activities. If that 6am run isn’t working for your head, and making you feel guilty when you don’t do it, maybe a dance class would be better.

Something doesn’t have to be hard to be good for you.

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Summer is thought of as the time for light beach reads, about romances and travel and humorous stories of families going through nothing particularly serious. I think we should turn the tables, and opt for light winter reads. Summer might be a perfect time to read that chick lit you’ve had on the back burner for a long time, but a beachy romance could be even more beneficial in the dark days of February.

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May 2-8, 2016 is mental health week with the Canadian Mental Health Association and across the country people are opting to #GetLoud about mental health. It’s great that conversations are happening across Canada about what is being done for mental health, suicide prevention, and education about mental health as well as physical health. Stuff is hard. Life as a student is hard. But it is only made harder when, on top of all the school work, our supposed ‘fun stuff’ is actually a downer.

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So this week, I’m choosing something lighter. I’m opting to pick something light to balance out all the heavy that’s going on in life. For me, it’s the continuation of school readings and papers- yes, even in the summer.  Sometimes all that philosophy and politics is depressing in itself, and I need to remember that reading light, fun novels on the side is a good thing, and to try it more often. If reading isn’t your thing, you can still balance out those hard days with something light to look forward to. Maybe a movie you’ve been saving, or tea with a friend, or a drive to the ocean. On days with appointments and deadlines and interviews and bad weather, plan something you can look forward to.

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Stop choosing the hard stuff on top of pre-existing challenges. I, for one, don’t really want to read Nelson Mandela’s biography after spending the day deep in upper year university readings. If it’s only Monday, and you’re already dreading the rest of the week, choose something lighter to brighten up those days. Mandela can wait until June.

I hope you’ll join me this week planning some fun stuff to balance out the challenges life throws at you. Tweet me your lighter choices @oneredphonebox or share on Facebook!

 

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