It’s the middle of winter and if you’re an HDR student like me, it’s quite possible that you didn’t manage to take a proper uni break.
Research is not a sprint, and we need to make sure we’ve got the stamina that will see us through. Here are some of the easiest things other students are doing to make sure they can incorporate some self-care into their busy weeks.
- Review your stress response – Are you an avoider? Processor? Or a problem-solver? Identifying your default response to stressful events can help prevent you from burning out. When you’re in your calmer moments, evaluate how you cope with challenging times, is it helpful? What would you do differently? Other HDR students find it helpful talking about their worries and their stress responses with the support of a counsellor.
- Self-compassion – Don’t compare your pain or struggle. What would you tell a friend? Practice that same empathy with yourself.
- Say it – Express thankfulness, don’t just write it down, tell someone. This also helps combat feelings of isolation.
- Highlight – Replay the best part of your day. Sometimes we get tunnel vision when we’re desperately trying to solve a problem and all our focus just goes into seeing the things that are not going well. Other students say that taking a step back and then recalling the other happier moments in their day stopped them from spiralling into distress or burn out.
- Journal your worries – Don’t bottle it up. Journal it and let it go for a bit.
- Move and sweat – Whether it’s going for a walk, a run, a swim, or going out dancing with friends, moving your body almost instantly helps you step away from the growing feelings of stress in that moment.
- Play – Maybe it’s karaoke, or game night, or a fancy dress party, whatever it is, reach out and connect with friends and family. Give yourself a break and a reset.
- Switch off – Take a break from things that you know stress you out, whether it’s taking a break from the news or putting in place a little social media detox weekend.