Don’t Worry; Be Happy
For me, it’s the end of a magical first semester studying in an incredible, new country; and for many of you it’s the last week of term 1 – and for most of my friends, their final year seems to be going far too fast! So at times like this it’s always good to look back on the past few weeks and also think ahead to what you can do to keep yourself positive and make yourself happy (even during the stressful times).
Surround yourself with people who make you happy…
Seems like an easy one at first glance, but surrounding yourself with friends and family who have a positive effect on you and keep you smiling really is the key to keeping your spirits up. I have had a difficult first week or so adjusting to ‘normal’ life back home and trying to find my place within my old group of friends who themselves have adjusted to life without me there. It’s harder than I ever imagined, and actually something that I didn’t realise would be such a challenge of my year abroad. But visiting family members who I love and spending precious time with my parents has really helped me through this and is something I cannot stress the importance of; whether you’re coming home from a long period away, or simply needing some support through those Christmas deadlines.
Don’t dwell on the past…
Nearing the end of your first term is always a tricky experience because you tend to feel as if you haven’t achieved much and you still feel extremely lost with the new academic year; we’ve all been there! But instead of thinking about the difficulty of the term and wondering whether the next term will feel just as confusing, try to concentrate on improving the experiences you’ve had. I know it may seem a bit ‘year-12ish’ making goals for each term but it really does help to get your focus back on track. Maybe you need to try and start your essays a day or two earlier, maybe you need to try and wake up 15 minutes earlier to have a proper breakfast, or maybe you simply need to try and keep an evening free to socialise and spend some time out of the chaos of essays and revision! All of these are important for bettering yourself and helping all aspects of your life in the long run.
Care for yourself…
This one is a biggy for first years and final years alike: make sure you’re properly looking after yourself! It’s the end of term 1 and you’re deep into the academic year; this is usually when most people start to forget to look after their physical and mental health. When you have chance just stop and think to yourself for a couple of minutes and ask yourself these questions:
Have I eaten proper meals today?
When was the last time I went for some fresh air?
Have I spoken with people properly?
When did I last get a decent night’s sleep?
All of these things might seem insignificant on their own but when put together if you can’t answer the questions or can’t even remember the last time you did them then you need to start taking some more time to care for yourself. Getting overwhelmed at the end of my first term last year was a huge factor in what turned out to be a very serious mental health breakdown. It was a super scary time for me and I always think that if I had asked myself questions like these then maybe I would have realised sooner that I wasn’t acting myself and I needed some support. If you think you may be struggling mentally – no matter how small it may seem – ALWAYS chat to a friend, family member or uni counsellor about it; it’ll help more than you realise.
Do something that makes you happy…
And finally onto something more positive! Make sure you take time to do something each day that makes you smile! Maybe it’s watching an episode of your favourite TV series, maybe it’s treating yourself to a midnight snack, or maybe it’s simply having a laugh with your friends. No matter how busy you may feel you will always have time to do these things; they’re more important than you know!
Keep these in mind over the Christmas break and you’ll be ready to tackle second term head on.
Have a fantastic Christmas and New Year!