Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy

Opinions_dont burn out

Take it easy and don’t burn out too early in the year

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published by The Other Press. January 13, 2015

Pace yourself. For those who are working and going to school, taking a break periodically at the start of the year can do wonders. Let’s be honest, the holiday season is not as relaxing as you would have wanted it to be. In fact, some might say that running around, buying gifts, attending parties, and mingling with old friends and familiar relatives is as stressful as a communications project. Now that you are back into the groove, take a moment, breathe, and relish in the start without anticipating the finish.

If you have chronic stress or if you don’t want to develop it, there are few things you need to do: avoid exhaustion, stay motivated, dismiss cynicism, and get cognitive rest and take care of yourself.

We often overload our schedule early in the year or try to harness the momentum that dwindled a bit after the festivities. There is a bit of holiday hangover though, so although we are optimistic, we must also be realistic. While some people are busy making New Year’s resolutions, you may consider taking a break. Ease up, allow yourself time to soak in the new environment, new classrooms, new responsibilities, and new opportunities.

Why do we burn out in April when it’s exam season? Why do we feel overwhelmed and stressed? It’s because we weren’t taking care of ourselves earlier on. We weren’t preparing ourselves properly. Once activities and assignments pile up, there is no time to rest, but there is plenty to stress.

Instead of doing frivolous work or starting anything new, consider how far you’ve come since the previous year and maybe reassess your goals. Mark milestones you would like to hit throughout the year and plan. Planning an event in May will give you energy in March, so even if you start burning out in the latter half of the season, know that you’ll be rewarded by someone who cares: you.

Relaxing is serious business. While the grind up ahead seems daunting and preparation is a must, relaxation is the act of staying attuned with your body and mind. A body builder doesn’t go to the gym every day and doesn’t work the same muscles every day. Neither should you.

Trust in yourself that you will survive this year with grace. Exemplify vitality. Don’t beat yourself up for having a day where you get to sleep. Not every day needs to be productive, especially early on in the year. You’re about to climb a mountain, a mountain you have climbed many times before, a mountain that lasts 365 days. Look up, visualize all that you want to accomplish, and then take one step at a time. Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy the view.

New year, old news

Opinions_new year predictions

A pessimistic look towards 2015

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published by The Other Press. January 6, 2015

Here’s to another new year—but let’s be honest, as much as things change, the next 365 days will probably contain some scenarios that will feels as though history is repeating itself. This is because numerous unresolved incidents, like lawsuits and wars, can just drag on and on. Other occurrences may seem spontaneous and random, but after the smoke clears, we’ll see that it’s much of the same.

I have high hopes for 2015, I think it’ll be a great one, but don’t be surprised if some of these scenarios occur without warning to derail our plans.

Death of a star: Each year we seem flabbergasted when we hear about tragic deaths of celebrities. It’s nothing new. Death is inevitable and stars burn out. Some might be aging legends, others are troubled individuals, and a few are just ill-fated tragedies.

At the start of 2014, none could have guessed that we’d lose Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Joan Rivers. Shirley Temple, Lauren Bacall, and Richard Attenborough were not that surprising, although the pain lingers still. By the end of 2015, we’ll be recuperating from another year of mourning.

Health crisis: In 2014 Ebola scared medical workers, border guards, and pretty much everybody else in the world. Every few years we get an epidemic scare. Here’s a brief list of diseases we’ve survived so far: H1N1 (swine flu), E. coli, H5N1 (avian influenza), Listeriosis, mad-cow disease, SARS, etc. With that in mind, let’s be ready for the next one. It’s bound to happen with so much filth in the world. Let’s trust in the warning systems and the institutions that protect us. Let’s make good health practices and laugh in the face of death one more time.

Aircraft tragedy: Since 9/11 and the disappearance of Malaysia Airline’s aircrafts, getting on an airplane is a risky and stressful experience. While flying still remains the safest method of travel over great distances, aircraft tragedies have become an international crisis whenever they occur. Tenerife, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, and Captain Sullenberger are all memorable stories that have made a significant mark in our lives and in the year when they occurred. Don’t be too shocked when another aircraft crash lands into our headlines and leaves us wondering what if.

Cyber controversy: The world of technology is an exploration people have just embarked on and we are all discovering the wonders and the horrors of the Internet and the devices we use. From newly implemented laws such as distracted driving to chilling crises like security breaches and hacks, 2014 was full of stories involving technology, proving that although we can send files across the globe we have yet to master this new tool. The celebrity nude images scandal and the Sony/North Korea hack were proof that the cloud and the ether are no safer than a dark alleyway. As we venture deeper, more awfulness will be discovered and hopefully vanquished.

Natural disaster: Finally, we come to natural disasters. Unlike 2012, 2015 does not have any prophesized apocalypse, and I hope Mother Nature knows that. Any act of God this year will undoubtedly be a shock whether it be an earthquake along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a volcano on an island nation, blizzards on the east coast of North America, or maybe even a wildfire close to home.

Bad things happen. They’re bound to happen and they’re probably happening already, but don’t let that ruin our year. We can rise above it; we have before. Here’s to a great year!