Only a matter of weeks now until we all pack away our books and pens and switch off for a month of Christmas relaxation – If you are anything like me you will sometimes find it hard to manage all the things you have to do this time of year at Uni, deadlines, deadlines and more deadlines, but in this months blog I want to focus on some easy tips of how to manage everything easily so you can get through your work better and effectively with as little stress as possible, and so you don’t let the dark nights cause you to have dark days as well, and when you go home for Christmas break you can all just switch off and enjoy yourselves :o)

November is here and the nights are drawing in a lot earlier now, which if you are anything like me can be quite hard at times! I used to suffer really badly with it getting dark early and would find myself getting down for no real reason, wanting to stay in my room and just generally feel blue, add in the pressure of uni work and looming deadlines and it’s enough to make anyone want to hide under the covers! However – in this last year I have learnt so many tips and ways of overcoming the winter blues and dealing with stress at uni to make it so much easier when things get a bit much.

First of all, make the most of the days, even though its cold outside it is still important to get out and about, so whilst we all hate it some days it really does pay to set an alarm so you can get up and make the most of the day and enjoy the daylight even if it’s just to go out for a wander, and girls it could also be a good excuse to go out and treat yourself to some nice new gloves and scarves etc (nothing like the odd bit of retail therapy every now and then) and they are a practical purchase after all ;), sometimes just wandering around getting some fresh air in the morning is the absolute best way to start the day, it boosts your mood and clears your head. Just allow yourself twenty minutes or half an hour a day to wander around listening to your music or going to find a nice spot to sit and read your book, and if it’s raining go and get comfy on a sofa in a coffee shop somewhere and enjoy a good book or a catch up with friends.
Work wise, it can be very easy to let things get on top of you this time of year with all the looming deadlines that come in December/January and it can be very easy to put it all off until the last minute (I know I have before) but there are so many easy ways to help stay on top of your work load. First of all there are plenty of people who are there to help you at University if you need help planning your time or help with essay writing etc, so do not be afraid to ask for help, we all have personal tutors and it is their job to help us when things get a bit difficult so make use of their help if you need to. Another really simple thing to do can be to just write yourself a study schedule, look at your calendar and mark the weeks until deadline, and work in an hour of study each day for each subject, figure out how long you will need to tackle each assignment or each subject for revision and plan in advance so when it comes to deadline you will not be in a mad rush. Once it is all written out in front of you into manageable study sessions it seems a lot less daunting believe me and you can tick things off as you go and watch your work load disappear before your eyes!
Another thing I have said before and will say again is if you are getting stressed and fed up then now is the time to apply for counselling at your University! Honestly, I started my counselling at this time of year and it was the best thing I ever did, it was just for one hour each week and I put it in my calendar and it helped me so much, it just became part of my routine and in many ways I actually looked forward to it because it did me so much good so please just give it a go!
Staying social at this time of year is really important, it can be so easy to stay inside curled up in bed watching movies or reading or staying on the computer all night but like everything else you need to make time to see your family and friends, if like me when you get depressed the only thing you want to do is be by yourself it’s just a matter of disciplining yourself to get out of the house, as soon as you do it you feel better, movie nights, meals out, cinema trips, group dinners, book clubs, etc there are so many things that you can do instead of being by yourself, so whilst it is nice to have some ‘me time’ don’t make it all the time.
If like me you are looking forward to Christmas or at least the long Christmas break and getting back to your families and friends at home then keep that in mind and make a countdown to the day you finish for the Christmas break and you can enjoy your time off – which is another reason to get lots of work done now so you can really enjoy your Christmas break and have some fun!
Whilst it is important to stay social and not make all your time time you spend by yourself, as always it is really important to have some ‘me time’ where you treat yourself to something nice just for you, whether it be a movie and a hot chocolate, or a couple of hours curled up reading a book, or a night of pampering with face packs and nail painting and watching crap tv you must do it! It is those little things we do that make us feel better and give us a boost, so sometimes the best way of doing this is saying to yourself ‘OK if I spend this afternoon in the Library and get 2000 words written for my essay then tonight I am going to treat myself to that DVD I have been wanting’ or a takeaway or just something frivolous and for you to give yourself a little goal, plus you will feel no guilt at all when you are enjoying your me time because you will know you earned it!
I know my tips and advice may sound too simple and daft but I honestly am speaking from experience, there was a time when I wouldn’t get out of bed until it was dark and got absolutely no daylight what so ever some days and it just made things about a million times worse! It wasn’t until someone helped me and gave me these sort of tips and I started putting them into practice and making my own little daily routine that I felt myself feel so much happier to the point where I barely notice the early evenings now! Autumn and Winter are beautiful months, yes its cold and wet sometimes but it’s also a great time of year and you don’t have to let it become a time of year you dread and get yourself stressed out.
Just make yourself a plan for studies, make time for friends, and most importantly make valuable time for you where you treat yourself. Get out and about and enjoy the winter sunshine we get – has anyone else noticed that we get more sunshine in winter than we do in summer?! It’s madness I know but I actually took up photography in Autumn because I loved how gorgeous everything looked this time of year – a great way of using your time and making yourself feel better is throwing yourself into something fun and creative like writing or photography or anything that inspires you!
I really hope that some of you take on my ideas and try them out yourself and realise that you can take control of everything and have a great time doing it – and think how much better you’ll feel when the Christmas break comes and you have your work and everything organised!
I hope you all have a great month and don’t stress about Uni work, you are all there because you can do it and have everything at your disposal to do amazingly well, don’t feel you need to do it alone, you don’t nobody can do everything alone, everyone needs help sometimes and there is absolutely nothing wrong at all with asking for it.
Have a great November everybody :o)