By Florie Moran
There may be some student-unicorns amongst us who manage to stay calm in the face of encroaching deadlines and the pile of reading that just keeps getting higher, but believe me, getting a little overwhelmed at uni is completely normal. Although Michaelmas may only be a formative term, it still comes after a few months of doing next-to-nothing and it can be hard to get back into the academic grind.
We all know that self-care is important for both your mental and physical health. However organised you might be, allowing yourself some time to switch off from work pressures and stresses is literally vital to keep your brain ticking away. If, like me, you try your hardest to avoid the Netflix sinkhole that’s so easy to fall into, here are some alternative tips to treat yo’self when it all gets a bit much in the next few weeks…
1. Go for a mindful walk
If you’re cooped up in your room or the library and your brain feels like cotton wool, throw on a coat and step outside. If possible, leave your headphones behind and focus on all the details around you. Walking meditation is a great way to combine both exercise and relaxation. Feel the sun (cough, rain) on your skin and listen to the wind in the trees and your footsteps on the pavement. It’ll calm you down and get your body moving, leaving you refreshed and ready to take on the next Jstor article.
2. A cup of tea goes a long way
There’s nothing better than a good natter with a pal to take your mind off things. Stick on the kettle or head down to Flat White for a brew and some verbal-detoxing. Just try and avoid the topic of work…if you can.
3. Yoga my friend
You might roll your eyes but this is a tried and tested method to give the mind and body some TLC, and you really don’t need to be a human-elastic-band to go to a yoga class. Hit up the Aerobics society who put on a weekly session in the DSU for all abilities, for just a couple of pounds. You’ll be touching your toes and feeling all zen in no time.
4. Cook up a storm
This may be trickier if you’re a fresher, particularly if confined to the Bailey, but spending an hour or so lovingly creating a meal to nourish yourself is my absolute favourite form of self-care. Stick on a podcast or some cheery tunes and try out something new. Cooking something from scratch is such a satisfying form of productivity and it can quite easily be called ‘productive procrastination’ if needs be. You have to eat, so why not indulge in the process?
5. Get physical
If running about on a field is your thing, be my guest. Alternatively, the gym is a great place to get the blood pumping and endorphins rushing. Although exercise might not sound ideal to a lot of people out there, it is literally ‘self-care’. Anything that gets you up and about, away from your desk will do you so much good.
6. Pamper night
The epitome of the treat yo’self maxim is to lather up with some lotions and potions and let yourself relax. I realise a student budget might not stretch as far as a spa treatment, but with a coconut oil foot rub or homemade face mask you can close your eyes and pretend you’re at Champneys. Above all, remember that you’re allowed a work-life balance. It’s simply impossible to be ‘on it’ 24/7, so cut yourself some slack and give yourself some time off from thinking about anything other than number one.
Illustration by Kleopatra Olympiou