Starting a new term always feels a little bit like a beginning of a new year. New term, new you! Stay productive, work efficiently, save money, socialise, have a good work-life balance, etc. I’m not going to lie; last year, as a fresher, I felt a little overwhelmed at the beginning of each term. That’s why, this year, I wanted to start the term with a positive and calm mindset. During the process, I have gathered top tips on how to be at the top of your game (in a healthy way).
If you want to feel prepared and ready for the new assignments and exams – this one is for you! Let’s be honest, there is nothing more calming than starting a new term feeling like you have it together.
First, it has been found that if we break the resolutions and our new plans into smaller, more specific goals it’s more likely we will succeed. I know, it sounds easy and obvious, but where and how do we start? Invest in a calendar, always plan a day ahead. My personal tip is to prepare a ‘to do list’ every evening. Start with the most important task, be realistic and focus on a smaller task that you are sure you will be able to accomplish. Not a fan of a paper calendar? There are so many fun apps! Sticking to the plan will prevent you from stressing about doing everything last minute.
Second, remember to eat well. With so many food options it’s easy to get confused and overwhelmed. In London, you’re always tempted by so many takeaway deals and cheap instant noodles. This lifestyle may work for some time, but in the long run, when the real work starts – it won’t be beneficial for you in any way. I found it hard to develop good eating habits while living on my own, but it’s possible! Recently, I started to plan my grocery list on the weekends. Every weekend I try to prepare food for the next week – this makes me feel less stressed and I don’t have to worry about what I am going to eat the next day. When you’re cooking at home from scratch you know exactly what you’re eating, and it is budget friendly!
Remember, find time to relax! There are so many ways that can help your body rest.
- Stay active. Set a goal of 10.000 steps a day, go to a workout class (there are so many in London), go for a run with a friend! Honestly, you don’t even need a fancy gym membership, there are so many workouts online, you can even stretch for 15 minutes – whatever works for you! Most importantly, find something you enjoy, but remember it is vital for your physical and mental health. Exercise and physical activity in general, produces endorphins, which act as natural painkillers, they also improve our ability to sleep, which has a very powerful impact on stress reduction and general wellbeing.
- Mindfulness. As underlined by Professor Mark Williams, a former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, ‘mindfulness is simply the ability to focus on what is going on inside and outside of us. Simply, just stopping and noting the world around us.’ Paying attention to the present moment, your feelings, thoughts and to world around you can improve your mental wellbeing. It’s one of the simplest ways to relive stress and calm your mind. Just set a timer for even 5 minutes, sit down, close your eyes and try to focus on your breath. There is no right or wrong way of doing that, but if your mind wanders, just simply return the attention to the breath. If you are unsure on how to do it yourself, there are plenty of apps, which will help you (i.e. Headspace).
Lastly, but also most importantly, be positive! Before starting the term think of your goals – those towards which you are working, but also those that you’ve already managed to achieve. Don’t pressure yourself, acknowledge your progress and always remember to rest. Don’t take things too personally and remember – everything takes time. Enjoy yourself, take a 10-minute celebration between your study sessions, it can be a conversation with a friend, checking the news, or taking a walk. Do something for yourself!