“I cannot remove cancer, but I can strive towards ensuring that cancer research and the development of new treatments receives more funding and that the children in the affected families receive the support they need”, says Heidi.

Heidi wanted to do her part and find a way to make the world a better place. It was important for her to find a practical way of helping, one where all of the collected money went straight to the intended purpose. “Cancer affects many families, mine included, unfortunately. I have also always enjoyed being active. These are some of the key reasons why Team Rynkeby – God Morgon felt like such a suitable choice for me”, Heidi says.

 

What is it all about?

Team Rynkeby – God Morgon was started as a Danish charity project in 2002. It involves teams of cyclists that come together for one year. Each participating team organises events, collects funds, acquires sponsors, visits children’s cancer wards and cooperates with local cancer organisations.

Finland has been a part of the project since 2013. The collected funds are donated to children’s cancer research, the development of new treatments and providing psychosocial support to children and youths with cancer and their families. In 2018, Finnish teams donated over 1.1 million euros. In total, the Rynkeby project collected and donated a sum of 10.6 million euros.

 

Yellowshirts in Paris

Each summer, the teams start from their home cities and cycle to Paris in just over a week to bring more attention to the project. “It is only when you get to France that you realize how big a thing it is that 2100 cyclists come together and meet at Place de la Fontaine-aux-Lions”, Heidi recalls.

Everyone can apply to join. Those chosen for the team not only commit to charity activities, but also to training together. “For a working person with limited time on their hands, this provides the opportunity to combine everyday exercise with a good cause”, says Heidi. The participants pay for everything themselves, including travel expenses, bikes and cycling attire.

 

Shared objective brings people together

The teams bring people together from all kinds of backgrounds, from students to senior citizens. Everyone has the same desire to do good and work towards a shared goal. “If it hasn’t already happened before then, the trip to Paris is sure to bond the team together”, says Heidi with two trips under her belt. Teamwork is also great for learning interaction skills and how to motivate and lead people.

The cycling routes run on small roads and take the teams through idyllic old towns and cities. In some towns Rynkeby cyclists are a familiar and yearly sight and they are given a warm welcome – not least because of the worthy cause.

“Even though there have been some tough situations on the road, you also come to understand how fortunate you are. Especially when you still remember what you have seen and experienced during the visits to the cancer wards”, Heidi says.

 

Text: TEK Career Services

Photo: Getty Images

Sources: Interview with Heidi and www.team-rynkeby.fi

The climate crisis, world politics and the rise of extremism can make us anxious. Sometimes our anxiety can leave us paralysed, but it can also be alleviated in various ways. Here are some tips for tackling anxiety from a study counselling psychologist.

Too many students today are struggling with world weariness and anxiety. Have I chosen the right career path? Can I have a big enough impact on the future – both my own and that of the world? Do I have the skills, knowledge and abilities required to meet the challenges of our global world? Studies have shown that the post-millennial generation, or youths aged 15–25, are worried about the state of the world. Their anxiety is not limited to worries about their personal future, but they also worry about global crises. “This generation was born and raised in a world saturated with social media and technology. The amount of information that is constantly available is stupendous and young people feel that they have an enormous responsibility on their shoulders. It is understandable that this gives rise to strong emotions”, says study counselling psychologist Sanni Saarimäki.

Know your worth and your strengths

Anxiety can be alleviated in many different ways. Everyone should start with their own values. Think about these issues: what do you want from your relationships, your working life or from your time off? What would you like to move towards?

“People fare better if they feel that they are doing things that line up with their values”, Saarimäki says. Conflicting emotions can form in the workplace, for example, if one feels that the work tasks do not align with their values.

Regulating one’s energy level is also important. “You shouldn’t make a huge number of changes all over the place. What kind of activity would help the most while ensuring that your energy reserves last? What would serve you the most?” In addition to thinking about your values, you should also know your strengths. Think about what comes naturally to you. What am I good at? How could I make use of my strengths? You should also avoid binging on things that make you anxious. Saarimäki advices people to set a limit: how much factual information can I receive right now? “You should not deny facts, but you can always give yourself a break.”

Cooperation is empowering

Study counselling psychologist Sanni Saarimäki hopes that in the future there would be less competition between individuals and more genuine cooperation between people. “Nobody needs to have all the strengths. Nobody can save the world by themselves, but together we have a better chance”, Saarimäki says. When people belong to a community, they are better equipped to nurture their creativity, which is important in technical fields when new modes of thinking are called for.

“But anxiety can also reduce one’s problem-solving abilities”, says Saarimäki.

According to her, many people would like to get rid of their anxious emotions, but this cannot be done. “You should think about what could help you accept the emotions. You must accept a great deal of uncertainty, but you are both allowed and able to live with this uncertainty. Never in your life has it been certain that everything will work out just fine.”

Saarimäki emphasises that you shouldn’t create false hope, but you shouldn’t give up hope either.

“Hope comes from coming together and striving to do things that align with your shared values. Students have a tremendous amount of creative energy. If it can be harnessed, this energy sparks action and hope.”

Assignment

Stop for a moment and write freely about your thoughts and feelings. What makes you worried or anxious? How are you feeling? Where are the feelings coming from? Do not censor yourself.

Which of these things can you do something about in the present moment? Which issues require more time and consideration? What do you need so that you can keep moving forward with your emotions? You should strive to learn to live with your emotions, not try to get rid of them.

Notice which issues are important to you right now.

 

Text: Michaela von Kügelgen

Photo: Getty Images

Public discussion regarding work has been changing drastically in recent years. In addition to salaries and career prospects, today we also place emphasis on how meaningful we feel the work to be. Organisational psychologist Jaakko Sahimaa, who specialises in the meaningfulness of work, has done his part to advance this conversation.

Even though the meaningfulness of work has been a more frequently discussed topic as of late, defining the term is no simple task. Meaningfulness in itself is a multifaceted phenomenon that manifests itself individually and is dependent on many factors.

“The meaningfulness of work is affected both by personal and social factors. You must be able to be yourself and utilise your expertise at your job to a meaningful degree. On the social level, a feeling of solidarity is important, and the values of the organisation and the employee must align”, says Sahimaa. “When these factors come together, the work feels pleasant and motivating.”

Searching for meaningfulness

Because of his profession, Sahimaa has had a front row seat in witnessing how the meaningfulness of work has become more and more emphasized. “At the moment people in western countries live in a kind of meaning vacuum. Societal institutions and values – home, God and country – no longer provide meaning the way that they used to. This is why many people search for it elsewhere, in their work, for example”, he says. “The big questions of our age are also a factor. Environmental crises have shown that material well-being no longer adds to people’s mental well-being. It is therefore only natural to think about what we should strive towards next.”

According to Sahimaa, the search for meaningfulness begins with self reflection. Landing a meaningful job by chance is always possible, but often it requires charting one’s own values and goals. “Recognising your values plays a very central role. It is good to stop every once in a while to think about what you want out of your work and your life. Here you can make use of the literature about the topic and different tools, such as the value compass”, says Sahimaa. “You should also remember that often a person’s career is shaped by working – through trial and error.”

However, students are often hard-pressed to find work that completely matches their values or expertise right from the start. At first they might have to compromise on their goals. Here Sahimaa reminds us that meaningfulness can be found in any kind of work. “You can always fine-tune your own work and its aspects to be more to your liking. In practice this means pondering on and adapting your work methods, attitude and the social relationships in the work community so that they serve to increase your motivation. By putting in personal effort, any job can become meaningful.”

No reason to worry

Work doesn’t always have to be meaningful. The role of work can change over the course of one’s life. For example, a student may take their first job simply to make some money – and this is perfectly natural. Sahimaa also has encouragement for those who feel that meaningful work and clearly defined values are merely distant dreams. “If you feel that your thoughts are a complete tangled mess, you should work on them with another person, such as a friend or a professional. There isn’t a knot that cannot be untangled.”

Sahimaa also has some other tips for those looking for sense and meaningfulness. “At first you could try to identify at least one thing that brings you joy. Recognising and maintaining little joys is one aspect of finding meaningfulness in life. It is also important to remember that you are in no hurry with these things. Life is a continuous journey of learning, and you are allowed to get totally lost every once in a while. It happens to me too, even though I am an expert in the field”, Sahimaa says with a laugh.

 

Text: Lassi Linnola

Photo: Getty Images

 

I tried to have a chill hobby but ended up developing myself, by accident!

When I was 16, I let my hair grow long and bought a guitar.

The album Luihin ja ytimiin by the metal band Mokoma was the crucial point: I had to start composing metal music and enjoy the benefits brought on by being in a band. One of the most important benefits was the opportunity to hang out in the band rehearsal space located in the city centre.

I never knew that, in reality, I was every employer’s dream employee: the embodiment of efficiency who ruthlessly developed himself into a better employee.

***

As a band leader, you learn leadership skills when managing a team of six people, I aimed to encourage my troops towards the next gig or recording session. It improved my project management skills when I had to anticipate the ongoing projects of other team members when creating the schedules (going to the gym, hanging out with girlfriend, a world championship ice hockey game that can’t be missed).

On Sundays, I had a chance of training my skill of giving motivational speeches when the band’s only member from out of town was the only one at the rehearsals when all the local musicians were still catching Zs.

I learned about the results of distinguishable marketing, however false it was, when our friends’ band told me that they got a gig at a bar in Seinäjoki by writing “Free beer” in the e-mail subject line. Other things I’ve learned: video editing, basics of recording technology, social media marketing, organising events and so forth.

***

Well, during this era of maximising efficiency, I want to emphasise this, above all: The main purpose of a hobby is to relax and empty your head.

Surprisingly often, a hobby can make you more relaxed and also turn you into a more interesting employee for an employer. I also recommend bringing out the skills accumulated during hundreds of hours of hobbies in your CV and job interview.

Text: Jarmo Panula – The writer has worked as a journalist at Yle and Helsingin Sanomat.
Photo: GettyImages

A student starting out their studies at a university is facing many new things. Moving to a new city and learning the academic study pace may burden the student’s mind.

According to Pia Partanen, Study Psychologist at the University of Oulu, many great variables enter the life of a young person at once, which may be confusing and stressful.

“Even when the changes are interesting for the student, they are also stressful. Not all students understand that. However, you should keep in mind that routines are created and after the first year, many new things don’t put such a strain on you anymore.”

One big change for a student is finding a new group of friends, and befriending new people may be socially challenging for many. Partanen feels that tutor activities in small groups are a great way of entering the social circles at the university. Tutors can tell the students about different clubs and associations available for students at the university.

“Integrating in the student community and identifying with your field of study is not easy for all, and loneliness may be a great challenge at these times. Fitting into the crowd is a big thing. One factor promoting studies is that a student feels they are part of a certain group.”

When summer or graduation approach, moving on to a professional career may be nerve-racking for students.

“It’s good to be aware of the workplace etiquette and the operating culture of your own field. The workplace may have expectations when it comes to dress code, for instance. But always keep in mind that you have been selected as you are.”

 

Students spend more and more time online.

In the Finnish Student Health Survey of 2016, 25 per cent of students said that using the Internet hinders their studies.

However, online and social media form a big part of modern interaction. Partanen states that students must be able to take control of their own use of the Internet,if too much time is spent online.

“Finding a balance is crucial for a student managing their everyday life. Many students work first and play or use social media only after that, as a sort of reward for completed work. If you spend too much time online, it easily transforms as not getting anything done in your studies and everyday life.”

 

Text: Ville Perttula
Image: Gettyimages