10 Silly Things Getting Me Through Exams

“How are you doing?”

“I’m surviving.”

- Every interaction at UCT for the past three weeks

 

It is that time again, friends.  I’m not even going to say the “e-word” or detail the stress we’re all dealing with now...let’s just say things could be better. But there is good news! Life may be tough right now, but it’s also full of beautiful little things that are waiting to brighten your day. Here are some of them.

 

1. Woodbine Road

 

This lovely little street runs parallel to Stanley Road (i.e. the giant hill that goes up from Lover’s Walk to the tunnel by the rugby field). Whether you’re walking to or from campus, need a lil exercise break or just want a good place to cry - it’s worth a visit! It’s full of greenery and flowers and there are lots of happy little butterflies to make you feel like a magical fairy human.

https://goo.gl/maps/FKT3HPF5yQ22

 

 

2. Cheap flowers

 

I love flowers, but they can be mighty expensive. HOWEVER, a few months ago I discovered that Checkers sells bunches of what they call “sweetheart roses” for R39,99. They look small and pathetic, but given a few days they bloom into the most stunning lil bouquet (#relatable). I also highly recommend the flower stall across from Riverside mall! The womxn there are lovely and can fix you up a custom bouquet, and their prices are very reasonable. I buy myself a bunch pretty regularly, especially in the sad times. It’s such a treat to wake up to such a wonderful sight, and a reminder that you don’t need anyone else to bring beauty into your life - the power is all yours.

 

3. Touching every animal I see

 

Maybe this is just a me-thing, but I believe animals are a reminder that the world is remarkably lovely...and so are you. Like...a dog will start wagging its lil tail just because you say “HI!!!!!” in a high pitched voice - it’s just so excited to meet you! An exchange of love with a fluffy little soul is just the best way to bring some sunshine to a dark day! And if you don’t see that many floofs day-to-day, a visit or a donation to an animal shelter is a great way to help both yourself and them!

 

4. Bendy things

 

I recently started trying out this yoga thing, largely to impress people at parties with handstands and splits (so far, an unsuccessful pursuit). But, as it turns out, there is something quite magical about devoting time to quiet and intense focus on your body and your being. There is so much to be said for the benefits of yoga, and I will not ramble on. What I will say is that I’ve found it to be calming, strengthening and a time for me to reflect on the value of my existence (especially helpful for us anxious and depressed babies). There are so many great resources out there to ease you into the practice. I thoroughly enjoy Boho Beautiful, a YouTube channel with a diverse range of videos to follow. They even offer a bedtime routine that you literally do with a pillow...in bed. Perfect to de-stress and get some good rest after a day of hard work!

 

5. Productive procrastination

 

Everyone is familiar with this nonsense. I can always tell when my flatmate has a big project due because suddenly his dishes are done, our floors are swept and our bathroom is sparkling clean. I wholeheartedly support this form of procrastination. The other day I spent about an hour clearing out my Gmail inbox. Did it help with the essay I was supposed to be writing? No. Did I feel accomplished? You bet. And now my inbox is neat and tidy and I feel much less stressed checking my email. Every now and then you need a reminder that academics aren’t everything, and you can be useful and successful in many other ways. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself as I ignore deadlines in favour of my cupboard that could really use some organisation...

 

6. Grass

 

Again...maybe this is a me-thing, but it’s really special to take off your shoes once in a while and let your toes sink into a patch of cool grass. It creeps up between your toes and cushions your soft little feet, a very real reminder of the vibrancy of life. Sometimes we need to be (quite literally) brought back down to earth, especially when academics are at their most stressful. Just a few seconds and a few deep breaths to calm your mind and strengthen your steps.

 

7. Vines

 

I don’t even think I need to explain this one. Vine was one of the best things to grace the internet, and bless the thousands of people who have created compilations to keep us sane following its death. Let us also make mention of their fantastic choice of titles, which perfectly capture the existential and nihilistic sadness of millennial humour. See: “ancient forgotten animal vine to watch when you’re depressed af”, a personal favourite of mine. It shames me to admit how impactful Vines can be on my mental health. I highly recommend a good binge in between crying sessions.

 

8. Getting fancy for dumb occasions

 

In my first year, I developed the habit of getting incredibly dressed up on Thursdays, because they were my least favourite day of the week. I instantly felt more capable and badass because of a face of make up and a cute lil' outfit. This has carried over the years, but has become slightly more odd. For example, I never put more effort into my make up than when I need to bang out an essay...nevermind the fact that I am locked in my room and no one will see me. That’s not the point. If I can get my winged eyeliner to be even, then I can do anything.

 

9. Straight up asking for validation

 

I am very lucky to have lovely friends who understand my anxiety issues and who I can always count on to remind me that I am a badass womxn. Lately, I have decided to truly embrace the love that my friends have for me, by legit just asking them to say nice things to me. I was having a sad day a couple of weeks ago, and I messaged two of my best friends asking them to just help me remember that I am strong and beautiful and worthy - and boy... did they deliver. Voice notes for daaaaaays. Maybe I should feel ashamed or awkward about openly asking for validation...but I really don’t, because I know I’m always game to hype up my friends and remind them that they are amazing. We have to be there for each other in this world, and we have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to ask for help when we need it.

 

10. Being kind in little ways

 

As much as treating yourself is an absolute must, treating other people to special lil things is one of the best ways to boost your day. Thanking your lecturers for their hard work, sending your friends a good luck message for exams, giving what you can to those that really need it, moving a lost little critter back to a safe place...these are all ways to add some light to the world. And, yes, it’s disgustingly cliche, but your kindness to others will come back to you tenfold.

 

There are many silly little things that may brighten your day. Allow yourself to enjoy them, to set aside time to just enjoy life’s little pleasures. In the end, maybe it’s the little things that mean the most.  

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