Moving To Montreal

The new home is straight out of a winter fairy tale. #Montreal #snow #winter

A post shared by The X Class By Dana Iskoldski (@thexclass) on

I woke up with a splitting headache from the night before. We hadn’t been drinking, but waking up at 6AM after a night with friends which ended only three hours earlier isn’t exactly fun. When you have a train to catch, you do what you have to do. Continue reading

Ted Talk Tuesday: How To Stop Screwing Yourself Over

Hi friends! Exams are coming, so now is a great time to consider how it is that we’re going to stop screwing ourselves over. This applies to studying, nutrition, that personal project you want to start… the list goes on in terms of things we want to accomplish but somehow don’t. Over the weekend I watched a great TED talk (TEDx, if we’re being precise) that I couldn’t get out of my head, so it’s only natural that I share it with you. It lit a fire under my butt, and made me rethink my occasional (ok, semi-regular) laziness. Continue reading

Ted Talk Tuesday: How To Avoid Stress + Major TED Announcement

Guys, I absolutely loved this talk. He talks about looking ahead to figure out things that could go wrong (as all anxious, obsessive people do) and then setting yourself up for success. For example, keep things you’ll lose easily around the house – like keys – in one place always. But then he goes further, explaining how to take the stress out of making financial decisions, medical decisions, important choices. Basically his aim is to arm us with pre-planning skills so that when we do get stressed we’re not at a disadvantage, and he does it in a very real and helpful way. There are underlying similarities between this talk and Chris Hadfield’s on fear, and both are valuable in their own right. A definite must-see.

My huge announcement:

Continue reading

9 Things We Need To Stop Stressing Over To Make Room For Success & Happiness

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School is tough. And sometimes, caught up in the chaos of it all, we take the little things in our lives we’re unhappy about and turn them into major stresses. We have enough things to think about without the added pressure we put on ourselves to live the perfect life. So, if any of the following already happened, here’s what to do:

Skipping the gym. Those “problem areas” on your inner thighs and the “gains” you didn’t make will just have to sit tight until tomorrow, because what’s done is done. And while it’s true that exercise releases happiness-inducing hormones and is really good for you, it’s not like you can change the fact that you already skipped the gym. So, resolve to go tomorrow, maybe improvise a workout in your room, and accept that guilt won’t get you anywhere healthy.
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Not getting 90% on that quiz. So you got one bad grade. There was a beautiful piece in The Huffington Post recently stating that your mental health is more important than your grades, and I have to agree. A grade is a grade, it does not define you. Just study more and get some help for the next evaluation.
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Indulging via snooze button. If you wake up a half hour later than anticipated, just go with it. Take your cup of coffee with a lively jog to class and expedite your shower. Being five minutes late to class once in a while probably isn’t worth worth the headache you give yourself over it. For next time, set your alarm earlier or challenge yourself not to snooze for an entire week.
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Destroying that box of cookies last night. That wasn’t the wisest move on the planet, nutritionally speaking, but your stomach is punishing you enough for it. And don’t even think about feeling guilty over it, because studies show that people who associate guilt with food eat more, which is the opposite of what you want. Just drink lots of water and maybe stop keeping cookies in the house.
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Not looking perfect that time you ran into your prof. Professors are people too. They have late nights just the same and come to class with stains on their shirts sometimes (true personal story). Just stand up straight and act confidently, and your professor won’t know the difference. People don’t notice half as much about you as you think they do.
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Spending $6 on a latte. You realized mid-extra-whip-extra-caramel-drizzle-salted-caramel-mocha that you shouldn’t have spent all that money on a flavoured cup of milk. Too late now! Letting money guilt spoil your expensive drink sipping experience will only give the buyer’s remorse more power, so just savour it and DIY your coffee for the rest of the week to compensate.
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Not having a boyfriend/girlfriend. Repeat this five times fast: I am enough. I am enough. I am enough. I am enough. I am enough. And don’t let Instagram, romantic movies or your popular best friend tell you otherwise.
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Staying home alone six of the seven nights in a week. Let me put it this way: does anybody post picture after picture on social media of how much fun they’re having alone at home? No? Shocker. So the idea you have in your head of everybody’s happening social lives is at least a little misinformed. Focus on enjoying yourself (and maybe inviting a friend over?), not on counting how many nights out you’ve documented on Instagram.
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Having accidentally consumed 8 hours of Netflix in one sitting. Sometimes doing that hits the spot, and others leaves you feeling empty and dazed. When you feel the latter, stop and evaluate what you just happened. Were you looking to Netflix to fill an emotional void? Did you use it to distract yourself from nerves or anxiety? What controls can you put in place to stop it from accidentally happening again? What happened has already happened, so don’t beat yourself up about it.
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I hope this doesn’t come across as too airy-fairy (an actual term used in one of my law readings!) because the way I approach problems actually isn’t. Think of these examples as a practical, rational way of looking at what has already happened. [This is where I insert one of those cheesy “the past is in the past, no use trying to change it now” quotes.] It isn’t to stop you from trying to better yourself (by all means, try not using the snooze button ever again if that’s what you want), but I care about you guys and hope you aren’t needlessly beating yourselves up over things that, on the macro, aren’t life-or-death matters.
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Have something to add? Comment below!
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With love,
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Dana

Ways To Beat Nagging Anxiety This Fall (In Pictures)

12179951_10206318023823927_295330385_nI’ve been having an anxious day, so it felt natural to draw from how I felt and turn it into a positive for you. Plus, you guys loved my last post about nipping conversation anxiety in the bud and this is along the same lines. My anxiety started in the morning and made a home for itself in my chest, hungry to take up more space as the day progressed. Have you ever been there?

I’m saying this to you guys now so you know it’s normal to feel off on certain days. It’s truly an ok thing. Everything on this Earth moves in cycles anyway, and change is the only constant, so it’s ridiculous to expect to wake up with a  sense of “the world is mine for the taking” every morning (you know the one). But here’s a list of things I do to make sure at the end of the day that there are silver linings to light my night. You know, to give the next day a clean start.

In no particular order, here They Are:

Make something good to eat, and take your sweet time doing it

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Sushi bowls!

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Go for a nice, long hike

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Waterloo Park (if you’re in the area) and G Ross Lord Park (Toronto) are my favourites!

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drink something non-caffeinated (or only slightly caffeinated)

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When I’m in a certain mood, coffee only makes me more anxious so I opt for cozy tea. Other days coffee makes me happier. I guess it depends on my body’s starting chemistry – is there science to back this up?

look outside and take in how amazing the sky is

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Drown Your Problems in busy

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have a meal with mom

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Read empowering quotes

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smile! It’s never too soon to start.

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Remember, success isn’t about having your sh*t together every second of every day. It’s about owning what you’ve got and rocking it like its nobody’s business. So go turn your rainy day into a splash-in-the-puddles day!

What’s your go-to pick-me-up? 🙂

Lots of love,

Dana


In case you missed it:

An Astronaut’s Guide To Overcoming Fear (A Ted Talk With Chris Hadfield)

How Your Posture Impacts Confidence (A Ted Talk)

6 Ways To Beat Anxiety Before An Important Conversation (Hello Job Interview!)

One More Reason To Take That Nap Right Now (A Ted Talk)

Ted Talk Tuesday: One More Reason To Take That Nap Right Now

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As if we didn’t know sleep was important. But according to Jeff Iliff, here’s something else to consider: our brains work differently than any other part of our body, specifically when dealing with waste products. Where our lymphatic systems continuously take care of bodily gunk, our brains are different. They wait until we’re asleep to do it. Cerebral Spinal Fluid (that clear stuff our brain is encased in) then starts to wash through our brains and take away waste. So skimping on sleep can affect the amount of gunk still left in your head, because the process takes too much effort to be able to manage in tandem with morning stop-and-go traffic. This is a one thing at a time deal.

The study Jeff Iliff conducted had to do with a certain waste protein in the brain that contributes to Alzheimer’s disease. The more of this protein you have in your brain, the more aggravated your brain becomes and that’s what enables (at least partially) Alzheimer’s. “The failure of the brain to keep its house clean may contribute to the development of diseases like Alzheimer’s,” he said. And we don’t want that.

What’s your favourite Ted Talk that you’ve seen recently?

Lots of love,

Dana

3 Mantras To Help You Grow From Rejection

12166396_10206279056929779_1690168069_nAs the “not selected” messages pop up on my screen for job positions I’ve applied to through co-op I can’t help but think back to a movie called The Help. If you haven’t seen it, do, because there’s a specific scene I’m talking about: Skeeter walks into a big newspaper’s office to apply for a column writer position. She’s asked for a reference letter, which she presents, and then this happens:

Mr. Blackly: Well! This…this is a rejection letter.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Uh…Uh…not exactly. See uh…Miss Stein…
Mr. Blackly: Stein?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Elain Stein, from Harper & Row Publishing in New York.
Mr. Blackly: Oh, lord!
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I’m gonna be a serious writer, Mr. Blackly. But, I applied for a job with Mrs. Stein…
Mr. Blackly: She said, no!
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Well, until I gain some experience. See…
[referring to her letter]
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: It says right there. ‘Great potential. Gain some experience and please apply again.’
Mr. Blackly: Oh, Christ! I guess you’ll do.

Skeeter gets the job because she’s ballsy. Resilient. I guess that’s the point, but it’s not easy. So, here are a few things we can tell ourselves when we get rejected to keep our chins up:

  1. No doesn’t really mean no. It just means not yet, because someone out there is bound to say yes. You just need to find them, and hang onto your sanity patiently in the meanwhile.
  2. Success is a game of chance. And even if only one in a million people are going to accept you, all it means is you have to try a million times. It doesn’t mean you won’t succeed.
  3. Opportunity is everywhere. If you’re rejected because you lack experience, all it means is that you stand to gain some. So that no is just a learning opportunity in disguise.

Now this is obviously hard to accept when that job we really wanted rejects us (we’ve all been there), but I’ve found solace in remembering these three short points. Maybe you can, too.

What do you tell yourself to get over rejection? Please share!

Lots of love,
Dana

Ted Talk Tuesday: Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s Advice For Overcoming Fear

At the space station, astronauts are drilled thousands of times to prepare them for catastrophe. If your partner is incapacitated, if a parachute doesn’t deploy when you re-enter the atmosphere, that’s the kind of stuff they go through. So when Chris went blind while on a space walk, he wasn’t scared.

He’s a huge believer in doing what you’re afraid of. Of taking what makes you scared and doing it a hundred times. Chris, in his talk, uses the example of walking through a spider web to drive his point home, saying that if you deliberately walk through as many webs as you can find (making sure there aren’t any spiders in them) you will have fundamentally changed the fear you have associated with them. You’ll stop freaking out over the potential, remote danger of being fatally bitten and see the real (minimal) risk involved with the activity. Because fear is what holds us back from experiencing beautiful and great things. From seeing the “jaw-dropping gorgeousness” of our world, as he puts it.

So now I dare you to apply this to an aspect of your life. Do something today that scares you. It probably sounds beyond cheesy but, seriously, it’s not like you’ll be stranded blind in space if you fail. So just take a shot at something new.

What was your favourite part of the Ted Talk?

P.S. Don’t miss the song Chris plays at the end, it’s quite beautiful :’)

All the best,

Dana