Post exams

I’ve just finished all my second year exams and am embarking on a two week long bliss of freedom.

The exams didn’t go amazingly, but could have been worse, and since there’s nothing more I can do, I just want to try to move on! I have loads of things to sort out, like the tour I’m booking for my ringing society, researching for the lab project I’m doing soon, and finding something to do over summer, which are really stressing me out still. Mostly though, my lifestyle has become very unhealthy and made me less happy than I could be, so here’s ten things I plan on doing every day for the next two weeks:

  1. Getting outside – either by going on a walk or a jog, or just going into town to run errands, I will not be spending all day holed up revising for a long time!
  2. Take small steps in organising the things I need to organise by doing a little bit every day.
  3. Do a nice thing for my housemates or other friends who still haven’t finished their exams, to make life a bit easier for them.
  4. Write – I want to write a lot for myself, for this blog, and for my science blog which you can find here
  5. Take control of what I’m eating by keeping a food diary, cutting out or reducing snack foods like crisps, biscuits and chocolate, and eating a lot more fruit and veg
  6. Read a lot! Books, magazines, comics, I want to read them all!
  7. Relax by meditating or practicing yoga.
  8. Listen to music from a variety of genres, and really stop to listen
  9. Learn a new thing. Something completely separate from my degree – I’m considering teaching myself some of a new language or taking up the piano again
  10. Talk to anyone I can find. Talking to someone I haven’t spoken to in a while or a stranger or even people I regularly talk to really lifts my mood and my confidence, and I need to push myself to seek that connection again.

These are the ways that I think I can really improve my mood and my confidence – I’ll let you know how I get on!

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Being ill at uni

Freshers’ flu was over months ago, but now’s the time those midterm blues hit and everyone’s immune system seems to take a break!

Being ill at uni, especially in your first year or for your first time, can be much harder than you expect. All you want is to stay in bed and be waited on hand and foot, and no-one’s there to do it for you! Not to mention loud parties in the evening keeping you up, a cold house to save on bills and having to actually go out and buy your own soup and drugs.

Having had a very bad cold for the last week, feeling exhausted and freezing all the time, I’ve realised how much having a back-up supply of paracetamol and a few little luxuries can do to keep you going. I think it’s also important to try to keep up on work. Even if I couldn’t make it to lectures I tried really hard to get the notes sent to me and go through them every time I felt vaguely human. In these tough summative times it really helped me stay less stressed, which made me sleep better and feel a lot better emotionally.

Now I’m on the mend, and while I’m still somehow sleeping 11 hours a night, I know how important that sleep is and I know how much better I feel because of it. In the past I’ve neglected sleep as I’ve had so much to do all the time, and now I still have demands on my time but much more of it is more flexible about when I do it, which I’m very glad of.

I was also very lucky having my boyfriend come over a couple of times a day to make sure I was okay and to make me food! Hopefully you have someone in your life who’d do this for you too.

 

Seven things on a Sunday

I’ve had a really good weekend, and the things that made it so good were:

  1. Spending lots of time with my boyfriend, including going out for brunch and some shopping this morning. I’ve had a tough week, and sort of let myself sink in it instead of trying hard to stay positive, and he’s the person I go to with any problems and things that are upsetting me and he always makes it better.
  2. The University concert band. We’re playing some really great music this term, including my all time favourite Vaughan Williams’ English Folk Song Suite. I’ve started to enjoy brass band less as it’s at such a bad time in the week for me, and concert band reminds me how great it feels to play my trumpet, especially in a group
  3. Getting some work done at the beginning of the weekend, before having a good rest from Saturday afternoon to Sunday.
  4. Dedicating a few hours to writing an article for the University newspaper. I love writing and have never really written anything like it, but enjoyed doing it and felt really good when I’d done it.
  5. Going out for a meal with my housemates on Friday evening. I love them all, and we never manage to spend as much time together as we should be able to, so it’s really great when we all do things together and have a proper catch up.
  6. Watching Call the Midwife with one of my housemates is always one of the highlights of my week – it’s so engrossing and the hour just flies by. The stories are always so emotional and it’s really well made.
  7. Treating myself a bit more with my weekly food shop. I like to try to never have the same type fruit juice again straight after finishing a carton, or the same type of bread, and this week I splashed out on some more expensive yoghurts (thrilling I know!) and more varied fruits, which I’m really excited about.

It’s been a while

Once again I haven’t noticed time running by. After my ‘Five Week Blues’ post my mood actually got worse and worse. I was exhausted all the time and it made me irritable and impatient and my relationships and work suffered. I started to have panic attacks again, fight with my boyfriend more, shy away from social situations. I think in the six weeks after that post I didn’t have a single chunk of time longer than an hour to myself. I started cutting into time I should have been sleeping to get the simplest of things done.

This term I know I need to cut back. I need to keep the majority of my weekends free so that I can have that extra hour watching rubbish TV, that extra lie in, go out with friends and look after myself properly. I’ve established a bed time routine, I have a no technology past 10pm rule.

I thought last year I was doing so well with my big 8 hour a day plan, but I didn’t plan for anything else. I now need to be more flexible with my working time and allow myself a lie in or a skipped hour.

Maybe I’m being melodramatic but I feel better having said it. Hopefully this term will be better.

Five week blues

So this will be late for a lot of people, but it’s six weeks into my term and week five was definitely a toughy.

I knew in my head that none of this is true, but I constantly felt like a failure. I felt like people don’t like me and like I’m really stupid and worthless and everyone has their lives together while I don’t. I felt like I wanted to give up.

I didn’t give myself time to think about how I felt and remedy it.

I’ve been very very busy all term. I’ve been pushing myself to work 8 hours a day during the week and more at weekends, as well as being a member of two bands, the yoga society and being the master of the university bell ringing society. Everything was go go go and every weekend there was some ‘one off’ event which meant I couldn’t have a few hours to sort myself out, have a lie in, and ‘do me’ for a bit.

Because I felt so awful about myself I started to hate everything, and to avoid social situations or things that I wanted to do.

I’ve since done a few things and feel a lot better, and I wanted to share them in case anyone else is feeling the same. Some people may think I’m being melodramatic, but I truly felt awful, and I hope by talking about it I can help someone else.

The main thing I did was take a ‘me day’. I had a whole day with no lectures during the week (which I’m sure will never ever happen to me again so I’m glad I seized the opportunity!). I cancelled all my evening plans, promised myself I wouldn’t do any work, turned off my alarm and decided to do whatever I felt like at the time. As it turned out I didn’t sleep in, but I did have a little nap in the afternoon! I spent time pampering myself, resting, tidying up my room and doing a few things I’d wanted/needed to do for a while.

I normally beat myself up for days like that, because I haven’t ‘achieved’ anything, but I didn’t; I allowed myself to do what I wanted to do.

Just having had enough sleep makes you look at yourself differently. You have more energy to actively like yourself and others, and I think catching up on sleep was one of the best things I did to help myself feel better.

I started thinking deeply about who I am, what I like and dislike, what I want from my life, and how I want to get there. I made an effort to make a list of things I like about myself, things I’ve proud of myself for achieving, and things I like about my life.

I think the next step in this journey for me is to start thinking about what I can do for others, and trying to do some little things to brighten up people’s days.

Seven things on a Sunday

This is a precursor to a post I’ll be writing next week about the 5 week blues. I know that for a lot of universities this has passed, but it’s not too late for me and hopefully it’s not for a lot of people.

It’s important in life to be thankful for the little things and the big things, so sometimes I like to make a list on a Sunday:

  1. Fairy lights. I can’t remember how recently I said this, but there’s something very cosy about coming home at 6 in the dark, getting into your pjs, lighting up your fairy lights and maybe a couple of candles and spending an evening in, whether it’s working or reading or watching TV or anything else you might be doing
  2. My rain coat. I’ve forgotten it enough times to be very very grateful when I do have it!
  3. Days off. I recently cancelled all my social commitments for one day (I picked a day when I happened to have no lectures either) and told myself I wouldn’t work or do anything I had to, I would just do whatever I felt like at the time. I had a lie in, browsed ebay, watched some YouTube, did some yoga and generally had a fantastic time, and felt a lot better afterwards.
  4. Bellringing. It’s an unusual hobby I know, but I love it! Every time I go I feel like I’ve really achieved something by the end, and I love going to the pub afterwards and having a good old chat.
  5. Writing. I’ve been turning to pen and paper recently when I’m feeling down to write down how I feel and what I want to do about it, and it’s very therapeutic.
  6. The amazing view from my bedroom window. Every time I look out onto the hills in the distance I’m reminded how lucky I am.
  7. Cups of tea! Again with the coziness I know, but it’s nice to come home after a long day and have a hot drink.

Seven things on a Sunday

I’m back at university now, and since lectures haven’t started yet and not many of my friends are back, it’s easy to feel down. Here are some things I’ve been enjoying in the last week:

  1. Going for walks in the beautiful scenery, and exploring near where I live now.
  2. Going to the big Tesco I’ve been meaning to investigate all year, and discovering an Aldi and a Matalan!
  3. Learning to adult in the new house – washing, cooking, cleaning are all things I’ve done before, but never with no one else around!
  4. Watching Bake Off, and looking forward to the final next week!
  5. Going to the library and finally finishing off all the work I needed to do for the start of term.
  6. Texting my sister – at her demand I need to be a lot better at staying in touch this year, and it’s nice to hear about everything she’s been up to!
  7. Cosy evenings in with a couple of candles, some fairy lights, a cosy blanket and a magazine.