University is a great place. There are clubs full of lovely people you’ll eventually become president of in third year. Classmates you’ll like, dislike and just be grateful for, and either way still spend too much time with because every class has a group project. And at home? ‘Twilight Tuesdays’ have finally incorporated ‘Taco Tuesdays’ in your flat due to a day-long discussion about the possibility of a flat meeting, and how you’re all besties but you can’t possibly live like this – and you thought you came to Massey to study.
When times are tough and you feel like your world might be swirling, that is when you plant your feet firmly on the ground and start the self-care process. But what really is self-care? Well, after spending all your time rescheduling Twilight Tuesdays to make the flatties happy, preparing the minutes for the next running club meeting and still cramming that marketing assignment in but never making that doctor’s appointment you keep threatening to make when your mum calls – it’s probably about time to forget everyone else and start paying attention to yourself for a while.
Put your health first
The hardest part of self-care is often making time to look after yourself. Your true friends will understand you needing to take time out to look after yourself, and if they don’t understand then they’re not really worth it. Trust me, in the long run your body won’t thank you for disregarding it. Show it some love by relaxing with an herbal tea, your favourite magazine or a hot shower – just enjoy yourself!
Keep positive people in your life but make room for yourself too!
Friends can be some of the most important people in your life. They’ll be there to lift you up when you’re in need of a study break, a quick coffee or just a good ol’ gossip after work. But all relationships are a two-way street – you can’t be all-giving and never taking. You see, sometimes the people we’re the closest to just aren’t the best for us and that can be draining. You deserve to be treated with respect and gratitude, and all the relationships in your life should reflect this. Self-care is all about taking some time out when you’re feeling overwhelmed and not having to apologise for doing so. So, next time you want to have a private Frozen sing-along sesh without the crew, just remember – love means never having to say you’re sorry.
Dance, dance, dance
Dancing counts as exercise, even if it’s only in that tiny gap between your bed and the wall. It’s a huge stress reliever, a way to burn off excess energy and a great way to alleviate assignment anxiety. Feel free to sing along next time ABBA comes on – singing also releases endorphins, the happiest of hormones. A double whammy of stress relief, the combo also helps if you really belt out ‘Mamma Mia’ – it means you’re probably breathing deeply.
Our bodies heal themselves when we sleep, and when we try and get in the way the system just crashes. I know what you’re thinking; ‘I get like, 5ish hours a night… maybe… a few nights a week…’ right? And then a cheeky giggle to your mate next to you who’s also reading this? Well friend, I’m not one to say no to a party/gig/assignment night either, but the very real threat of gaining weight, ageing skin and depression is most definitely forcing me to reconsider my life choices. It’s 6-8 hours a night sleep these days kids, and that’s that.
Change your scenery
We are creatures of habit, and sometimes sticking on your favourite song or grabbing a long black just won’t cut the mustard when you’re feeling crap. In these stressful times, you’ve just got to say, ‘fuck it all’ and run. But not too far. A new change of scenery isn’t hard to find – for example, if you normally study in the library, try studying in a coffee shop. Or a different section of the library. Small changes can boost motivation and morale – go forth and find your new spot this year!
If you’re still feeling like you’re not really in a great place, Massey does provide free counselling services to students. The university also provides cheaper healthcare if ever you do make time for that doctor’s appointment.