I don’t know about you but February seems to have dragged on this year, and it’s meant to be the shortest month! Thankfully the end is nearly in sight (hooray!) and the start of spring is on its way with the promise of sunnier days as we leave winter behind once again.
It’s at this point in semester two of an academic year that I start to feel more tired and stressed out with looming Easter deadlines and exams. Being a final year student (sob sob) I’ve noticed my lack of energy and motivation more this year, and I’m beginning to notice other students in the same position. I call it the ‘mid-semester blues’ and there’s quite a few out there with the symptoms: students walking around campus in a zombie like state with dark circles under their eyes and others literally buried under a pile of books in the library.
Buried under a pile of books. Literally.
Working for a degree is undoubtedly hard work, but it also provides students with many opportunities to have a lot of fun too. This time around I am determined to beat the mid-semester blues so I’ve put together my top five suggestions that I hope will help you overcome them as well, regardless of what year of study you’re in.
1) Get out in the fresh air and blow the cobwebs away!
Sometimes when you don’t plan to do anything but work on a weekend you can find yourself feeling cooped up in the house and going a bit crazy. Although the city centre makes a nice change of scenery, it is still very busy with weekend shoppers and it can make you feel even more stressed out having to fight through the crowds.
Why not take a short train journey to Ilkley or Harrogate, or even York? You can take a beautiful and peaceful walk up on the Ilkley Moors which will definitely leave you feeling refreshed. Harrogate is much smaller than Leeds but it still has several high streets shops that are less busy than those on the Headrow. Harrogate and York are both home to a Betty’s Tearoom which are famous for their delicious cakes and afternoon teas. Going with your housemates or a group of friends as a special treat one weekend would make for a great change from Leeds city centre.
From first-hand experience, the cakes ARE delicious!
2) Bake a masterpiece that would impress the likes of Mary Berry.
Being a student normally means that there’s little money left over at the end of the week which does make it difficult to plan things which cost a lot. Baking makes for a good distraction from working and revising, but it helps to keep your brain thinking because you have to follow instructions. Plus, you get to eat the end results which is always a bonus!
Baking something different each week will mean you have something to look forward to and once you’ve bought a big bag of flour and sugar the only things you’ll need each time is some milk and a couple of eggs. It can be an individual thing or something that you do with housemates or friends, but either way it will definitely put a smile on your face!
Hopefully your efforts won’t end up like this!
3) Throw a spontaneous party!
When everyone seems low on money and your non-stop energy for going out four times a week has subsided, Friday and Saturday nights can seem a bit boring. But getting out the speakers and inviting round your friends for a dance and drinking games will be sure to change that. Buying a cheap second hand game of Jenga online and then writing daft instructions on the blocks is an ingenious idea for improving what would have been another dull night in front of the television. You could even start planning a small get together for the weekend just before St Patrick’s Day which is on Monday 17 March.
4) Pamper yourself, you deserve it.
When you’re feeling a bit down about your workload giving yourself a manicure and painting your nails a bright colour can instantly improve your mood. Who wouldn’t want to stare at beautifully painted nails whilst typing out an essay?
And don’t just stop there, buy some cheap face masks if your skin is compatible with them and a deep conditioning mask for your hair. You’ll feel relaxed and refreshed for when you begin working next. When you feel good about yourself you’ll have more motivation to do more things during the day because of the natural high of having glowing skin, painted nails and glossy hair. Cue envious looks your way.
Because life’s better with a manicure.
5) Leave Leeds. (Not permanently of course…)
When even going to Ilkley doesn’t beat the mid-semester blues you have the perfect excuse to go and visit friends in other cities, or take a trip back home for a heated house and home cooked food not from the microwave. Taking a couple of days away from all things university related can be the perfect antidote to mid-semester blues as no-one can be expected to work all the time. Seeing friends that you haven’t seen properly for a while is always really nice and if you book train or bus tickets in advance you might not even spend a fortune going to see them.
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