When my bedroom starts to feel like a bomb-site, the rest of my life swiftly falls out of place. It’s a common theme - tidy space, tidy mind - but no one can balance Uni and life to perfection. If you happen to be feeling extra crazy, block out some me-time to get things back on track.
A bit of self-care can help you to understand what your strengths (and weaknesses) are, what you want to achieve, and just how much you’re capable of. It can also help manage the symptoms of many mental health problems, and help to prevent some problems from developing or getting worse.
1. Start by focusing on your surroundings, but don’t get rid of everything.
Your Uni room is a slice of home, so fill it with things that inspire you. If you’re not a typically organised person, tactically declutter and detox to make more room for peace, creativity and productivity. Whilst doing so, think of your primary senses, and do not underestimate the power of scent. Our olfactory response is linked to the emotional centre of the brain, and certain scents are proven to relive the likes of stress, anxiety and depression. Lighting a nice candle could improve your quality of life and sleep.
2. Establish a regular sleeping pattern.
Perhaps the hardest step of all for a student - nights out and 9ams can destabilise your sleeping pattern. I know how hard it is to wake up for an early morning lecture, especially if its a one-off. Notice just how much sleep your body needs to properly function, and try your best to establish a regular sleeping pattern. Gradually wake up earlier each day, and form daily habits to make things easier. A way to care for yourself is to not press snooze… since when?
3. Take time to replenish your motivation.
It’s good to want things for ourselves and to have high expectations, but its unrealistic to think we can be on and operating at our full capacity at all times. Have that ‘night-off’ to thoroughly enjoy the little things. Genuinely appreciate a bubble bath or a face mask, read a non-course related book, order your favourite food and binge watch a TV series (something we don’t need to be told to do). Especially amongst assignment pressure, take a bit of time out to enjoy things that are guaranteed to make you feel happy.
4. Write everything down.
If you’re a massive worrier, you’re probably well accustomed to the to-do list. It doesn’t work for all of us, but for those of you bundling it all up in your mind, give writing things down another chance. Get a cup of tea, sit at your desk and brain dump your feelings on a piece of paper. List your intentions and motivations, set out goals you want to achieve and feel that relief when you scratch off a lurker - a job thats been there for absolutely ages. It’s a habit that takes time, but listing definitely pays off, helping to create a nice balance between your social life and Uni.
5. Value your free time.
Besides that ‘recharge’ moment, the rest of our free time is a reflection of our priorities and values.
Focus on your own personal development, and when faced with a choice, try and stick with the best option for you. Stay social and organise activities with friends, try to exercise, work in a coffee shop as oppose to your room - a change in environment is sometimes all you need. Unplugging from social media can also be helpful, even if it is just for a few hours a day.
6. Lastly, pay it forward.
Many would leap out to live out your worse case scenarios, so try to remind yourself of the situation you’re in. Smile at a stranger, hold the door open or give compliments to those around you. By forcing yourself to project a sense of contentment, you’ll soon forget that you’re faking it.
So when you find yourself stuck, or lost, or paralysed, take everything back to the bigger picture. Don’t doubt yourself, just try your best to shift your frame of mind. Call the process what you like - be it self love, self care or self worth - but understand that you have to comply with it in order to get your life together.