This blog was written by one of our amazing volunteers, it will give you some examples of self-care tips that you can use during exam times, or any time throughout your studies. Enjoy the reading.
Colouring is my top tip for self-care just because it allows you to do so much with just one activity. It helps you feel more confident as it proves that you can be creative even if you cannot draw a cat to save your life. The variety of colours and patterns used are beautiful and inspiring. Even just 5 – 10 minutes of colouring can really brighten your day. Ask a friend to colour with you for some added TLC.
2. Watch cute animal videos
If you are away from home and your own pets, this may or may not be a good idea. Nevertheless, cute animals have unbelievable powers to allow you to appreciate the good things in life and in our world today. Their innocence and just pure adorable antics would be a great start to the day, inspiring us to get out and enjoy whatever life sends our way.
3. Get creative.
Maybe you’re a creative person, or maybe you’re not but attending a class or short course for something creative whether it is creative writing or painting a pot is a great way to unwind and get distracted. An added bonus would be to try something new and unusual.
Whether it’s just a walk or a short run, exercise is an effective way of relieving stress. As with my last point, an added bonus to this would be to try something new like a new dance class or a new sport. Look at the various societies and clubs with the Edinburgh University Students Association and the Edinburgh University Sports Union to find something interesting and just right for you.
5. Long walks
If exercise isn’t really something you want to do, taking long walks just to enjoy being in nature and getting some fresh air is a great way of self-care. Walks combine exercise, nature and even possibly cute animals, which make it such a great way of relaxing. Take a short break from the library sessions to take a stroll in the Meadows for a very healthy dose of self-care.
Social media is a blessing and a curse, something we all know and agree on to varying degrees. As the source of a lot of the stress and negativity in our lives, unplugging and disconnecting from social media may not only be relaxing but could also be empowering. In this era of connectedness, disconnecting from social media and effectively the rest of the world may seem daunting but being able to step back from the very things that make us need self-care, this may be the best form of self-care there is. A few hours away from social media, or a whole day (if you can manage it) could potentially feel very empowering as you learn to be independent and present as you observe and fully take in everything that’s going on around you, learning to cope in the process.
7. Listen to music
Listening to music is always a good way to unwind and relax but it is also a good way to get excited and ready for the day. I always play an upbeat Spotify playlist as I’m getting ready in the morning because I know if I have an upbeat song stuck in my head, I’ll also be upbeat for most of the day. A good playlist of calm music is good for the end of the day to help you sleep.
8. Mindfulness or other relaxation techniques
Mindfulness meditation is derived from Buddhist practices intended to help you stay present and calm in the midst of our hectic lifestyles. If the word meditation scares you, don’t worry, it’s not as intense as it sounds, but if it still doesn’t feel like something you’d want to try, there are various other meditative or spiritual practices that don’t involve sitting still for an hour. The Chaplaincy Centre has a host of different sessions with different meditative practices that run across term times but you can also find some resources on mindfulness online to get you started.
9. Treat yourself to good food
A healthy diet is important for general productivity, but why not treat yourself to dessert or some not-so-healthy snacks once in a while to reward yourself for achieving the goals you set out for yourself. Taking time out of the day to go to a nice café for coffee and cake, maybe with some good company as well, is great self-care.
10. Plan a fun activity or a fun day!
As students, the end of a week doesn’t really mean an end to anything. If anything, it just feels like the start of a new phase in the endless cycle of essays and deadlines and life. But assigning yourself a day off, no matter what day it is in the week, could help you stay motivated during the week while also avoiding a total burnout. Put a few of these self-care tips together into one fun-filled, relaxing day, maybe starting off with a walk, and ending it with a nice bath and spa time.