The academic year follows a constant rotation of deadlines. Holiday waypoints signal a break in studying. Reading weeks are often used to catch up and to travel home for a short break.
Before you know it, you’re back at a desk somewhere, or at a job, wondering where all of your time has gone.
Evenings are usually the prime opportunity for taking a little time for ourselves; let’s call it ‘me time’.
Sometimes we can manage to squeeze in an hour or two to catch up on some dearly missed TV or maybe catch up on some reading. Sometimes we might even get to do something we love.
But, and this is a big but, do we ever (really) take a day to ourselves? To set aside our work priorities, our obligations and errands, to simply sit back and do something that will help us to recharge.
The answer is a likely no. We’re either running to and fro, chasing an upcoming deadline or worrying about what little care we take of ourselves.
So, here are some ideas and tips for you to take a ‘you day’, how to stop feeling guilty about prioritising yourself and how to take a day to recharge your batteries.
Give yourself permission to do something, or nothing at all.
The life of a student can largely be separated by spending most of your time working and the rest of your time wondering why you’re not doing something productive.
Sometimes, it’s okay to give yourself permission to do nothing or to do the things you love. ‘Wouldn’t it be great to go back to bed with a cup of coffee and read books all day?’ So do it. Take the guilt out of doing something for yourself and indulge.
Struggling through a busy week on a diet consisting entirely of junk food is likely going to run you into an extended power nap every day.
Manchester has some of the finest places for you to source local, organic, nourishing foods to help you stay awake and to fuel your concentration.
Walking a few minutes North of University Place will lead you to The Eighth Day Cafe; a haven for all those who know about it and a gem for all those yet to discover it.
Why not treat yourself to some amazing local produce, some natural beauty products or a hearty meal at their wonderful café.
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, consider venturing to Unicorn in Chorlton, a supermarket for all of your veggie needs. Find cheap store-cupboard essentials and fresh, organic fruits and vegetables for a fraction of the price of smaller convenience stores.
A trip to either of these spots is a small exercise in self-care.
It may seem rudimentary to proclaim the benefits of staying hydrated but it cannot be echoed loudly enough. Make it your late resolution to drink at least two litres of water a day.
Treat yourself to a fancy reusable bottle if that’s an incentive. Campus is dotted with plenty of spots for you to refill and besides, the money saved on expensive bottled water or sugary drinks will thank your pocket, too.
Try staying hydrated for a week and notice your need for constant caffeine drop and your ability to stay awake and alert increase tenfold.
4. Go someplace new
Everybody’s heard somebody talking about some wonderfully eclectic neighbourhood they visited recently. Most people know about these various different neighbourhoods in the Greater Manchester area.
So why not go? Get to know your city a little better and take a leisurely afternoon in Chorlton or Urmston or Didsbury Village.
There are so many other coffee shops, bookstores and spots for you to indulge in a little ’you time’ outside of the city centre. Plus, the quieter atmosphere only adds to the calm of a trip outwards.
5. Do whatever you like
There are no confines or limits to what it is that relaxes any one person. Going to sit in a café, lost in a novel may sound torturous for the more adventurous soul.
Whether it’s catching up over coffee with a friend you haven’t seen for a while, venturing to the cinema to see that film you’ve been meaning to see, cooking yourself something comforting or just taking a hike; the possibilities are endless.
6. Switch off
No really, switch off. In the time spent answering a constant flood of emails, or the time spent scrolling through feeds or social media, we’ve travelled from point A to B without noticing what’s going on around us.
The terror of switching off our phones is, arguably, the best way to recharge your mind.
Those emails will still be waiting for you when you get back, but before you know it, you’ll be feeling calmer than ever without the constant threat of breaking news or an email request that just has to be answered.
Consider the last time you really took some uninterrupted time for yourself. Can you even remember?
This Sunday, whilst your cramming your week full of appointments and study sessions, make some time for yourself, and don’t even begin to feel guilty about it.