Tackling Term Twos Tensions
Somehow we are already rolling into week four, and once again I seem to be finding myself caught up within the perpetual battle of simply catching up with myself. What’s more, it seems that when I do find myself -for that split Nano-second-of-a-minute- finally on top of my numerous, colour-coded and numerically ordered to-do lists; juuust as I prepare myself for the inexplicably and shamefully fulfilling task of scrunching that fully crossed out list into the bin, bam… up springs another dozen or so things to be added. I don’t know whether this constant struggle I seem to be facing has been exacerbated by the fact that I spent the last year gallivanting around the globe, or whether this is simply the reality one faces as an admittedly rather conscientious third year language student. Nevertheless, I would be lying to myself if I said that university life this year has so far been a breeze. Far from it.
In fact, even finding time for those pleasurable extra-curricular activities we all need every now and then to switch off has been hard, whilst sleep (as someone who finds it difficult to get a good night’s sleep on the best of occasions) during term time, has often proven impossible. Often by the time I get into bed, I find my head spinning in a mixture of English, Italian and Spanish, or rather having been running around like a headless chicken all day, it is only when I am in bed that I start thinking…about everything. Not helpful when you desperately need to get some precious hours of sleep before that painful 9am tomorrow which are decreasing by the minute. There must be many others out there who know exactly what I mean. Forcing yourself out of bed every day after a mere five hours of interrupted sleep, just counting the hours before you can crawl back in again? Sound familiar?
On a side note, how beautiful campus has been looking recently!
I mean, despite the gale force winds that have tried to blow me into the lake on numerous occasions.
Anyone who knows me will know that whilst there is certainly a very spontaneous streak to me; one that often has the tendency of manifesting itself in the form of on-the-spare-of-the-moment trips and decisions; I am also someone who loves routine. Yes, in fact much to my friends’ amusement, it often takes me ages just getting into bed at night due to such an extensive ‘before bed’ routine. This is something that anyone who is a regular reader of mine, will know only too well.
Therefore, rather than regurgitating what we are always told about the importance of ‘de-stressing and unwinding’ (ah if only it were that simple) I thought this week I would compile a little list (oh how I love them) of some of my personal top tips for tackling those terms two tensions… (can we all just take a moment to appreciate the alliteration here)
Warning: can cause serious addiction. Albeit one that is utterly worth it and life changing. Yes, I have been blamed on numerous occasions for unintentionally causing friends to become reliant upon these little diamonds. What can I say, especially when living at university, whether used to power through mountains of reading, an essay, or just trying to get a decent night’s sleep, for years, these wax coated muffles earplugs have proven a life saver. Once you have discovered their magic, there really is no going back.
Forget all the foamy/plastic ones out there, it’s all about these ones- trust me…expert over here.
Whether in the form of drops, body lotion, soap, or even better, little bags of this wonderfully calming plant itself tucked under your pillow, lavender is not only scientifically renowned for its soothing qualities, but is something I swear by.
Keep your hands moisturised at the same time- everyone’s a winner
3. TIGER BALM
I don’t know whether this has just become a psychological thing of mine now, or whether it really does help, but I always dab a smidgen of Tiger Balm across my forehead and temples before I go to bed. As a long-time sufferer of chronic daily headaches and tension-inducted migraines, this is a great natural alternative to popping another pile of pills (something I am certainly guilty of doing, yet trying as much as possible to avoid). Even if you are not someone who suffers from headaches, Tiger Balm works by relaxing and soothing your muscles which, let’s face it, we can all do with from time to time especially when trying to unwind before bed.
Small yet mighty (as you will notice from your first whiff)
4. HERBAL TEA
This is my saviour. I genuinely do not know what I would do without my cup of herbal tea before bed (which technically comes in between my after dinner bowl of fruit and before bed mug of muesli…yes I told you I wasn’t normal). I prefer to use a combination of actual plant leaves and flowers whether camomile, sunflowers, or mountain tea leaves. However, there are so many crazy different types out there so go explore them. There is nothing more satisfying than curling up to a warming herbal tea dressed in your alpaca socks and pyjamas, embracing life as a twenty-something year old nonna.
Plus, it makes a fabulously artsy Instagram. Credit goes to the mother for this one though.
Physical activity is so important, especially when it comes to the mind. I know I am a self-proclaimed gym bunny and I don’t mean that you should suddenly start going to the gym every single day, but regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress, ward off anxiety and feelings of depression, boost self-esteem and most importantly, improve sleep. This also doesn’t have to have to mean hours and hours on the treadmill; it could be anything from a half-hour walk, a swim, dance…the list is endless. Just half an hour a day will make you feel refreshed, energised and give you an adrenalin boost. Don’t tell yourself that you don’t have time, you have to make time. I promise you will be so much more productive afterwards.
First time back on the ice in over 5 years
On another side note, figure skating was something I have always done from a young age, however sadly as A-Levels seemingly took over my life; it was something that was sadly put to one side. However, with a rink just 15 minutes away in Coventry and with a newly established group of avid Warwick skaters, as of last week it is something I have decided to try and do again from time to time; just for pleasure and as a far more enjoyable substitute for the gym.
6. EAT RIGHT
I might get teased occasionally for eating too much salad by my flatmates, but eating healthily doesn’t just mean living off lettuce leaves. I can assure you my salads (which ok when not veg, do more often than not accompany my meals) are more colourful and exotic looking than even my collection of alpaca clothing. I may be a bit of a health freak from the looks of my shelf in the fridge, or much to my flatmates’ amusements, the stacks of different vitamins and minerals pots in my cupboards, but it is something I believe is so important. As clichéd as it sounds, plenty of fresh fruit and veg will assure a healthy mind and will make you feel revitalised inside rather than sluggish and lethargic. Try to avoid calorie and salt induced shop bought meals, sandwiches and take-outs; you would be amazed how much rubbish they are often filled with, and never skip meals. And drink water! All the water in the world in fact! Forget sugar-filled energy drinks and just keep it natural, even it means that like me, you are peeing quite literally all the time. By cooking and eating plenty of fresh produce, you will also notice how your weekly supermarket bill will reduce dramatically. This is something I talked a fair bit about during my blogging in first year which you can still have a nose through by the way (…oh those were the days…) but is also something I plan on elaborating on much more in future posts.
You must admit, it looks tasty right?
So there you go. A couple of nifty tips to help tackle those tense times. Ooh and now that’s another thing to tick of my to-do list…even if I am just realising that it was never written down originally…never mind, there is nothing more satisfying than adding things you have already done so that you can cross them off immediately…oh dear, what has become of my life…