I’ve practically finished my first week of orientation at the Training College. We’ve had a lot of different orientations – to uniform, to education, to prayer and more. Yesterday, we had a session called “Coping with Change”. We have all had to go through a big change in order to come to the Training College. At a very basic level, the shift from Perth to Melbourne was a big change. We were discussing yesterday the differences in language that we share – from Milk Bars and Delis, to Stobie Poles and Power Poles and even the way we pronounce Lego.
One thing we did was to create a well-being plan that focussed on some goals in four areas – Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual. By setting goals in these four areas, we can help take control of certain areas of our life so that we can deal with the change better, but also be in a better mental state. Part of the exercise was to write down some names that we would share the plan with so that we can be accountable with it. So I’m going to share my goals with you, and post regularly on how I’m going.
Exercise helps so much with staying focussed and your general mental health, that it’s really rather important. For me, I’m committing to at least 3 blocks of exercise a week, with one of those being high intensity in the gym. I like working out in the gym, but I also enjoy walking with Liesl, as it often gives us time to chat. So by saying one of them will be high intensity, allowing the rest to be walking in one of the various parks around college, I can get that exercise in and still have that nice thing to do with Liesl.
At the training college, we get our meals provided. They often provide desert. While desert is nice to have, it’s not great to have all the time, and it’s not great for weight control (especially as I’m looking to lose a bit more weight). So I’m not going to have more than three deserts a week, one of those being a healthy desert (fruit, yoghurt etc).
Water is also really important, and it’s something that I’ve often neglected a bit. I’m going to try and drink 1L of water each day. This will keep me hydrated, and allow my body and mind to be working as intended.
Finally for the physical side, I’m going to set up a sleep routine that allows me to get 6 hours of sleep per night. I find that 6 hours works well for me, and allows me to function as needed. By setting up a sleep routine, I can set myself up in the right frame of mind for sleep, by doing the same things before heading to bed each night, indicating to my body that it’s time to wind down.
I had difficulty choosing goals for the mental side, because often it’s hard to find a mental goal that has a specific, measurable outcome. Their suggestion of one was “every time I catch myself thinking negative thoughts, I will reframe these into positive ones”. For me, I find that a difficult one to measure, which means it’s not very achieveable because I can’t be accountable on it – and if I’m not accountable on one goal, then I won’t be accountable on any of the goals.
Instead, I set myself a goal of spending an hour a week planning my schedule and organising my week. If I don’t have a plan for my week, I know that I can end up doing not much. This could be very dangerous here, as I could quite easily get behind in my assignments. Instead, by devoting time to scheduling and planning, I can look at what time I have during each week, as well as looking at what deadlines I have approaching, and I can block out time accordingly. This should hopefully calm my mental state because I know what is happening, and know that I am on track with assignments and the like.
Spending time with family is very important, and a must for the emotional side. I plan on spending an hour a day devoted time with Liesl – chatting, or watching a tv show together, or similar. It’s important, because she’s very important to me. When our baby comes along, I’ll also need to spend time with her, so I’ll need to be very careful with my scheduling to make sure that no-one gets forgotten.
As well as family here, I need to make sure I spend time talking with family at home, as well as my mates. I’m going to make sure I set aside time once a week for a video call with my parents so that I can catch up with what’s happening with them, and stay in close contact. And a suggestion from the guy who was running the session was to set aside time to e-mail friends to stay in contact with them. So I’ll be e-mailing one of my mates each week, so that I can stay in contact. They have so much happening in their lives at the moment – one’s getting married, ones about to become a father, and a third is in the process of building a house. These guys were a big part of my life – they were all part of the wedding party – and I need to stay in contact with them.
While you would think studying Ministry would allow the spiritual side to be covered, you also have to be intentional about it. For me, I’m going to be intentional about finding a regular time to spend half an hour in personal devotions and prayer. I think this is going to come – for the first part of the year at least – from a book that I received from my work at the Uniting Church called A Celtic Primer.
Also in the spiritual side is setting aside time for the things that you enjoy. For me, it’s music and Golf. So I’m going to try and learn an entire Bach Sonata or Partita by the end of the year. I’ve tried to be realistic about this, in that my time is limited, so I won’t get much practice done. So I’ve chosen one that I’m already familiar with – the First Sonata in G Minor. I performed the 3rd and 4th movements of this at my graduation recital, so I know these, and I’ve played through the first movement enough to know the general layout of it, which just leaves the second movement – the fugue – for me to learn from scratch. Even still, if I plan it out, I need to learn an average of 6 bars a week to have it complete by the end of the year. That shouldn’t be too much of a stretch.
Finally, with golf, I’ll aim to get out on the course once a month. It may be difficult – particularly around assignment times – however I really enjoy golf, and want to keep it up – so I shall try for once a month. I’ve already bought a scoopon for a round of golf at the fantastic Eynesbury Golf Course, so I shall head out there one day, and the Royal Park Golf Course is a short walk from the college, so hopefully I can squeeze 9 holes in there fairly regularly.
I’m hoping that with these goals, the journey through college will be made easier (mentally), and that I will enjoy a lot of it. I’ll be keeping accountable, posting regularly on here about how I’m going (about once a month).
- How Exercise Impacts Your Mental Health (myyeartothrive.wordpress.com)
- Playing Golf Will Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions (azgolfandhome.wordpress.com)
- Hone Your Mental Skills, Part 1: Goal Setting (stack.com)
- Music and Mental Health (kractivist.wordpress.com)