Stress and mindfulness – taking charge

It’s that time of year, when assignment deadlines are looming, exams are uppermost in our minds, and to top it all off winter has arrived and it is sometimes hard to appreciate the beauty of the days when they seem so cold and short.

In the Library we have a variety of resources to help you cope with stress, time management and practice mindfulness. How to deal with StressStress Management and Prevention : Applications to Daily Life Mindfulness,Pocketbook: Little Exercises for a Calmer LifeOverworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative. If you prefer to watch a video, has several on managing stress: Managing Stress, Managing Your Time, Overcoming Procrastination, and Improving Your Memory may be good places to start.

You may have noticed the All Right? Wellbeing Campaign – Healthy Christchurch which has been promoted in Christchurch since the earthquake, it’s a social marketing campaign designed to help us think about our mental health and wellbeing. The All Right team have recently launched an app created to give you daily wellbeing mini-missions that will help you feel good – get Appy.

Wanting some time out? How about sitting down and doing some colouring in, here in the Library. Colouring books for adults are a growing trend, and CPIT Student Services have made available an array of colouring in designs and pencils for you to use.  There is a crossover with mindfulness activities where the brain is engaged just enough to stop it whirring, but not so much that the concentration is tiring. So take a break, be mindful, and know that colouring in is good in assisting with relaxation as well as being jolly good fun!

colouring station (2)


My Kitchen Rules my study skills

I am not proud of myself for watching My Kitchen Rules. My housemate watches it, and it’s a way for us to hang out and talk, or at least that’s how I explain it to myself in the long dark night of the soul. Nonetheless, I have more than passing familiarity with the show, in which contestants compete against each other to eventually win some kind of fabulous prize. Each time they cook, the teams are given a time limit, perhaps an hour, to complete their dish- a time limit that frequently leads to disqualification as they fail to bring it together in time. Because of these dire consequences, it would be unthinkable if some groups of contestants were arbitrarily given much more time than others to create their meals. Recently, in dealing with a stressed-out student, I drew a parallel that I hadn’t picked up on before, between this kind of show and the process of writing an assignment or preparing for an exam.

The student in question had prepared thoroughly, but had made a minor but fundamental mistake in preparing, and had to start over, with only a day or two until submission. From our conversation, it was clear that some busier or less diligent coursemates had not even begun to do the research at that point, and it got me thinking.

The analogy is this: When you put off starting work on an assignment, you are essentially giving your coursemates the same advantage as the game show competitors would enjoy if they had a day to prepare their food, rather than an hour.

Tutors expect reading and research from you as part of the assessment process, to enable you to develop your subject knowledge. By failing to make a start on this before the last minute, you are allowing those who do make an early start to get streets ahead in their understanding of your subject, but more importantly (since you don’t compete directly with them) you are denying yourself that advantage.

The version of yourself who started early, even at a stately pace, would be streets ahead of you in compehension. They would find assessments easier, because there would be ample time. They would graduate with much greater knowledge of their subject, and a correspondingly greater chance of success beyond CPIT.

You owe it to yourself to master the time management skills to get a fair shake at each assignment, in the same way as the contestants of this show owe it to themselves to plan their meals to be complete with the time frame available to them. Otherwise, you are setting yourself up for, if not failure, then a lesser success, and a loss of your potential. The library has stacks of books (that’s a little library humour. I won’t be giving up my day job.) on the subject, but if you recognise yourself in what I’ve written above, why not have a chat to the good people of Learning Services? They have the training (and the bedside manner that books commonly lack) to help you make the most of your time at CPIT.