It’s that time of year where exams are imminent and dissertations loom. The third term can get stressful and isolating when you’re working independently. But there are plenty of ways to unwind and look after yourself…By Isla Stroyan
“Self-care” was a phrase that until recently, I didn’t like. It screamed self-indulgence and thinking of yourself before anyone else. But the last term I took the module Feminist Pedagogy/Feminist Activism and on the reading list was Sara Ahmed’s “Selfcare as Warfare”. Sara’s blog refers to Audre Lorde’s belief that self-care is about self-preservation: making sure we look after ourselves enough to exist in the world whilst saving our strength for when we need it the most. For lots of us, no amount of bath bombs or avocado on toast is going to make us feel better, but if we find something to do that improves our well-being, then that might go some way.
Over the past few months, I’ve really got into pom-pom making. I wanted to spruce up the house but on a student budget of course! I got inspiration from Pinterest, and adapted the images to something I thought I’d be able to achieve – I’m really pleased with how it turned out! Crafting is a fab way to switch off from readings and essays, and I feel great that I’m being productive with my spare time, even if I do make them whilst watching the TV! You could even sell on whatever you make as a way to top up your student loan, although I can’t yet part with this one…
It’s so important to eat well, particularly in times of stress when you need some extra energy. If you wanted to do your bit in helping the environment and maybe even feeling a bit better as a result, you could switch out a meat meal for a veggie or vegan one. ‘Meat Free Mondays’ at The Bread Oven look amazing, with options changing every week. There’s also the Food Market, held twice a month on the piazza – make sure to check out Fresh Rootz vegan and veggie food whilst you’re there – the pakora wrap is heavenly and the owner is really friendly too!
The Sports and Wellness Hub
Have you been to the new sports centre yet? If you haven’t, put it at the top of your list! I went for the first time last week and can’t even begin to describe how amazing it is!
The climbing wall looks like SO much fun. I’m severely lacking in the arm strength department and would probably give myself a 3-out-of-10 when it comes to heights – so you might well find me wailing from approximately two metres off the ground, but I’ll be there! I’ve got myself a swimming pass; there are always lanes available for free swim no matter what time you go, so you can fit in a session to suit you.
If you just want to use the swimming pool and sauna or squash and badminton courts, as a student you can join for £28 for three months. If you want to use all the facilities, it’s £110 for everything, which is still an amazing deal considering you get all of this: swimming, gym, classes, squash, badminton, tennis, climbing AND you can book courts further in advance. Or if you don’t want to commit straight away, you can always pay as you go: the staff there are really welcoming and are on hand to answer any questions you may have. Or if you’re on campus, Warwick Sport has a list of walks/runs in the area, all different lengths and routes to suit you.
Now, I may not be the best person to advise on this…I have always struggled with sleeping. Some days I drift off straight away whilst others are a real nightmare (pun intended). There are a few things that I’ve found that can help – one of which is flipping your pillow. This means the pillow is cooler on the flipped side which can prove useful as a first attempt. If that doesn’t do the trick, I move my pillow to the other end of the bed…I have no idea what the science is behind this, but it sometimes works! If all else fails, I put on a podcast, shut my eyes and eventually, the morning comes. Going to sleep at the same time every night can also be useful to keep you in a good routine.
It’s really important to keep on top of your wellbeing and check in with yourself – knowing when you need to take a break is vital this time of year as exams and dissertations are on the way. Remember to check out what’s on this term with Study Happy – they’ve got creative and sports events, mindfulness spaces and lots of biscuit breaks, so you can find the event for you. If you’re still stuck on how to find ways to de-stress, take a look at Ciara’s blog on the best ways to take a break from your studies.
What does self-care mean to you? How do you de-stress? Tweet us at @warwicklibrary, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment below.
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