Sometimes, University gets overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong – I love studying, and I’m passionate about what I do, but there are times where I just feel totally swamped. At Uni, not only do you have to study, you also have to maintain your life. Now that I do my own laundry and my own dishes and my own cleaning, I have to factor those things into my day. Yesterday, I had to go to the BANK. What am I, a forty year old accountant named Greg?
I’m sure you have those times at school where it feels like there are a million things piling up, and about five minutes a day to get them done. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but those times won’t stop once you graduate. But, never fear! The tasks keep coming, but dealing with them becomes way more fun. The best part about being a grown-up is that you have more freedom to deal with overwhelming times in whatever way you choose. You’re no longer stuck at school six hours a day, beholden to the rules of teachers and parents – you can go places, you can do things, you can cope in whatever way you choose. When the bad days come, you can decide how you deal with them.
Today, I was very much having one of those days. Assignments, lectures, laundry, bathroom cleaning, dishes – it sometimes feels like I’m drowning in a sea of little tasks. This led me to reflect on the little things I like to do to make myself feel better. I thought I’d share them with you now, in case you find them helpful when you come to a difficult time.
There is quite literally no better feeling than having the sun on your face and a gentle summer breeze on your back. I always feel instantly better when I get some vitamin D, and I feel more motivated to study when I’m in a lovely location. Sometimes, changing up your normal study spot is that jolt you need to get stuff done. On those days where you can’t stop hitting the books long enough to get some exercise, take your laptop or your books out into the fresh air. I promise, the effect will be immediate. Some of my favourite outdoor spaces are the Student Quad, on the tables outside the back of the Old Choral Hall, and at the Shaky Isles Cafe.
Getting A Sugary Drink
Have you ever had to finish an essay by the morning, and taken a nap instead? I have, five minutes ago. Sometimes, your energy reserves have been shouting “CRITICAL LOWS” at you for a week, and you’ve been slacking and sleeping as a result. The best thing for me in these times is to put on my headphones, walk somewhere a little ways away, and get a sugary drink. A Coke usually does the trick, but sometimes (if I’m feeling fancy) I’ll get a smoothie, or even a Starbucks if I feel REALLY swanky. Their new Cookies and Cream Frappuccino is absolutely dynamite. The exercise combined with relaxing music and a pick-me-up will always leave me feeling much more energetic and ready to face the tasks of the day. It’s worth taking a little time out to rejuvenate yourself, rather than trying to stick it out and actually getting nothing done.
I LOVE BLANKETS.
Sometimes, sitting down to write an essay feels really overwhelming. I occasionally get anxious about starting an essay because I know it will be difficult. When I feel this way, it’s really helpful to wrap myself in a big fluffy blanket when I sit down to work. It’s a lot easier to write two thousand words about Wuthering Heights when you feel lovely and cozy. It’s all about creating an environment for yourself where you feel good, so that you can thrive. Studying doesn’t have to be this difficult, austere experience; you have more control over your work at Uni, and you can choose to make your learning environment welcoming, comforting, and a nice place to be.
Taking A Shower
At any time of the day or night. If you have access to a bath, that’s even better. If you’re struggling to focus, or you keep losing your train of thought, or you just feel dreadful, get yourself under a nice warm shower with a nice-smelling body wash. You’ll come out feeling brand new. This might be a little harder to do at any of hour the night if you live at home, but if you’re coming to live in the halls, you’ll have total independence. Again, it’s all about doing what feels good for you.
In order to fully complete my transformation into a ninety year old granny, I have taken up knitting recently. It is So Unbelievably Soothing. It’s engaging enough that you have to focus, but not so hard that it’s frustrating. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a little bit like meditating. When I’m feeling stuck for ideas or struggling to get my argument right in an essay, a fifteen-minute knitting break is usually just the reset I need. It’s important to have fun hobbies that you love to do outside of studying, no matter how time-consuming your degree is. Without them, you’ll go round the bend.
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