Around the middle of semester, it’s easy to get so caught up in study that we find it difficult to remind ourselves to take breaks and do things we enjoy. But to have the energy to tackle the rest of our classes, assignments and exams, it’s important to take time to reflect and relax when we can.
‘Rest is not idle, not wasteful. Sometimes rest is the most productive thing you can do for your body and soul.’ - Author and Rest Coach Erica Layne. Here are some helpful ways you can relax and recharge in your downtime. Have a go incorporating some of these practices in your weekend and see what works for you!
Stick to a Routine
This is likely the most important step to unwind and recharge effectively. It can be tempting to want to stay in bed all day doing nothing but eating and sleeping while mindlessly jumping from app to app or movie to movie, but this is a slippery slope. Trust me, you’ll regret it when you realise all your time off has been boring and had no real purpose. To combat this, set yourself a goal of a few (around three) things you want to achieve each day. Of course, more than three things can be accomplished each day but writing endless lists of things that need to be done can be more daunting than you think. A few small goals such as doing laundry, walking your dog and catching up with friends can give your day a sense of purpose while also leaving you with time to jump back into bed periodically if that’s what your body needs.
Both our body and mind should be exercised regularly. The Forum gym on campus allows weekly membership payments which include workout classes, gym rooms and the swimming pool, catering to gym-goers of all levels. It can be hard to imagine that going to the gym will help us relax but it can add an element of routine while producing endorphins that make us feel energised, reduce stress and improve sleep quality. For those not interested in joining a gym, something as simple as a walk or a YouTube home workout can help improve your mood and productivity.
Mindfulness is being present in the here and now, paying attention to your body and mind to reduce stress and increase wellbeing. There are many ways to achieve this, like reading, colouring, journaling or meditating to name a few. Spending time outdoors watching the sunrise, sunset or just taking a walk can be useful to enjoy time alone and refresh, calm our minds and appreciate the world around us.
Don’t wait until the end of semester to enjoy yourself, celebrate the little wins along the way! Congratulate yourself on making it this far by going out for dinner with family and friends or doing a fun activity. If you’re looking for a night out, why not check out The Jesmond Hotel, The Queens Wharf or the Great Northern Hotel. Or if you’re looking for something more activities-based, there’s heaps of things you can do in Newcastle like axe throwing, mini golf, escape rooms, or a sip-and-paint.
Although everyone deserves to ‘blow off steam’ and enjoy themselves, it is important that you drink in moderation, mindfully and safely. Don’t wander off or leave friends alone – after all, they’ve been with you through the difficult assignments, why would you not want to celebrate with them?
Remember to stay in touch with family and friends and learn to enjoy your own company! Spend time taking care of yourself by balancing fun, relaxation and day-to-day chores rather than slipping into bad habits that will make it more difficult to get back into study. Weekends are a great chance to intentionally carve out time for yourself, so make the most of these tips to enjoy every minute of it!
Written by – Ami O’Neill