Shining light in the darkest hours: How to maintain a positive mentality
As winter looms over us with it’s colder weather and shorter days, you can be forgiven for feeling a fair amount of deflation after the exceptional summer we’ve just enjoyed. Whether you’re a first year coming to terms with academic life, a second year really trying to establish a work/life balance living off campus, or a final year with the omnipresent fear of graduation, we can all be forgiven for being a bit more negative and grumpy as we get deeper in term 1. However, these mindsets can cause detrimental harm to our own mental health and academic studies, if not acknowledged and actively discouraged. Having an off day is fine, however, create a deeper habit of negativity is something we all need to be more aware of.
Keeping up attendance
With Freshers flu still actively plaguing campus and the colder weather bringing in illness more generally, pulling the occasional sick day is an inevitable consequence of human contact. However, it’s easy to give yourself a bit too much of a rest, when in reality you don’t need it. This means you get behind on work, and could lead to you panicking about being behind, created more stress and leading to a spiral of issues which is far harder to come out of then a common cold. Even if you don’t attend, ensuring you’ve done the work and are in communications with your tutor to make sure you are on the right track is the best way to deal with your illness without causing more stress for yourself.
Going out and enjoying yourself
Again, as it gets darker and colder, going for a ‘cold one with the boys’ is something which falls out of normal tradition. However, maintaining social contact and getting out of the house are the best ways to uphold a positive mentality, as it means you remain active in your life and get light relief from academic stress. It is also good to have a good moan about your deadlines and all the reading you have to do, as hearing others have the same issues as you can remind you that you’re not alone in how you feel and that you can do it. If you don’t get enough social interactions or spend too much time in your house, you can easily become isolated and demotivate yourself from work, which will negatively affect your work and your own mental health.
This goes without saying that maintaining a good diet goes a long way in maintaining positivity. This doesn’t, however, mean eating salad for every meal and constantly trying to lose weight. Eating well means eating enough and in a good enough pattern to ensure your body and mind are sharp. A big thing students can be guilty of is missing breakfast, but this will often mean that for the 9 am you barely managed to attend you won’t retain any information and really struggle to concentrate, ensuring you gain very little from your valiant effort in the long run. Eating well allows you to be at your best, and means you can maximise everything you do, making your life far easier in the long run, decreasing stress and allowing your positivity to flourish.
Although these 3 tips may seem obvious, they are the basics which many including myself easily let slip. When everything is piling up, it’s easy to take a day off for yourself to maintain your own sanity, but this can easily spiral to a point where all positivity and motivation is gone. Ensuring you are positive mentally makes your academic studies far easier, changing them from what seems like a necessity to something you actively enjoy, as it should be.