Posts Tagged ‘stress’

The world is such a busy place.  The simple life has gone the way of the dinosaur.  In fact the only thing that is “simple” about life today is how easy it is to rely on technology.  We are so caught up in over complicating our lives with things like cell phones and other devices.  We are connected twenty-four seven to the workplace.  Gone are the days when we left your work at the door on the way out of the building. We now take it with us everywhere we go.  So it should come as no surprise that we over complicate Christmas!

Gone too are the days when Christmas was about spending time with loved ones and family.  Nowadays it seems to be all about the shopping and the hustling and bustling to beat the crowds at the stores to get the hottest items on the shelves. Our lives are already so caught up with long working hours. For some odd reason society seems to be driven to the need to take away more of our personal time so that we can spend it in overcrowded stores spending more money than we should on gifts.

The emphasis on Christmas seems to be more on what are you getting me this year? rather than I’m so glad we can spend time together.  For me, and maybe it’s because I’m over simplistic, Christmas is more about spending time with my family.  I really could care less about the gifts.  Christmas has always been for me the one time of year that we can all take time out of our hectic lives to spend together in one common place.  We always share a delicious Christmas dinner and good laughs and cheer later on throughout the evening.

When I think of Christmas it takes my stress away because I know I’m going to get to spend time with family.  But I always get a little chuckle when I hear other people talking about how stressed they are that December 25 is right around the corner.  We have overcomplicated the day so much that, what was meant to be a relaxing time with family seems to be just another day of stress and tribulations like the other three hundred and sixty four out of the year.

I’m sure people of days gone by would get quite a kick out of how complicated we’ve become.  I don’t let myself fall into this trap.  Christmas is a day to relax and enjoy family togetherness.  I don’t let it become anything more complicated than that!

—Matthew Casey

Take It Easy…The Eagles had it right!

Posted: December 1, 2009 by Matthew Casey in Commentaries
Tags: , , , ,

Okay, so the end of the semester crunch is definitely on.  I’m inundated with projects and tests to study for.  There are only twenty four hours in the day and for me right now it seems like each and every hour is being eaten up by something.  Every class is demanding a piece of my time.  I’m sure that I am not the only student who feels this way at this time of year!

When we get caught up in the rush of everything we tend to forget the simplicities of life, the little things that might just brighten our days ever so much.  For instance the other day I was writing a hefty research paper for an English class and was getting so stressed out.  After three solid hours of dedication to this task I decided to simply go outside for a little walk.  Just some fresh air made me feel so much better; it took a lot of the stress away.  The air sort of cleared my head and allowed my thoughts to flow so much better when I got back, and the walking didn’t hurt anything either.

Another important thing to keep in mind during this crunch time is perspective. Yes school is very important but in reality why get so worked up over it?  There are things that are more important such as family, friends and our own personal mental health and well being.  Just do your best, set out a list of things you want to accomplish during a day and do what you can.  Don’t over criticize yourself and don’t beat yourself to death if you’re stuck on something.

In the end I always tell myself, I am one person, I take it one step at a time and I can’t do miracles. This keeps me grounded.  Even if I don’t quite get the best mark in the end on the project I still don’t fret.  I know that I still have family and friends who care about me just the same regardless of how I did on that project for that class.

—Matthew Casey

Lately when I’ve had time—not that I have much of that being a full time student and all—I have been reading the book called “Traffic (And What it Says About Us)” by Tom Vanderbilt.  It is a really fascinating look into the human mind and how we drive.  I recommend you read it; it will definitely make you think about your own driving habits a little more closely and make you pay attention to those of others when you’re driving next.

I must admit that when I moved to Toronto from a small city in the Maritimes I had a lot to get used to when driving around here. The attitudes of drivers in the big city are so different than those of drivers in a community of only a little over one hundred thousand people! Driving in Toronto is such a daunting task and I am still getting used to it even after three months of living here.

First off, road rage is a big factor in bigger cities like Toronto.  In this city it is not uncommon to be honked at several times on an average drive.  I’ve been honked at for reasons that are entirely out of my control.  In this city cars honking give Canadian wild geese a run for their money! I really don’t understand why the person behind me feels the need to honk their horn at me when I can’t move any faster than the car that is ahead of me. The horn in this city appears to be an instrument of stress relief.  But whatever makes you feel better I suppose…

The next big factor in getting used to driving in a big city is to get used to how aggressive drivers are in these cities.  They take so many unnecessary risks.  Even when in my mind I’m thinking there is no way this guy is going to turn left in front of me there is clearly not enough time, the car just turns left right in front of me forcing me to slam on my brakes! But I don’t use my horn; I haven’t been corrupted into using that just yet.

Finally I just have to say that when I’m driving on a major expressway in traffic that is stopped, I wish that people would just quit switching lanes! Drivers weave in and out of the lanes thinking they are going to get out of the jam faster but in turn it makes the traffic jam worse.  According to the book by Tom Vanderbilt changing lanes actually makes traffic flow worse.  Cars have to slow down or stop to let that car in front of them, which in turn slows down every car behind them in the lane. So if people would simply just stick to their lanes and not weave in and out of the exit lanes and other lanes, perhaps things would move a little smoother.

I would suggest just walking everywhere in the city, but even that is dangerous.  Pedestrians and motorists share the road, but the motorists tend to think that they own it. There are a lot of pedestrian-vehicle collisions in this city, so even walking is a daunting task at times.

Again, I recommend you read this book, it is very interesting and might just change the way you drive as well.  I know it has changed the way I do! Hopefully for the better.

—Matthew Casey