By Naomi Finnen a 3rd year NTU English student
I’m pretty sure we can all agree that as the nights get colder and the days get darker, the weather often leaves us throwing any kind of motivation out of the window. With the added exception of lockdown 2.0 this winter, getting into a routine appears to be harder than ever for most students.
Life may be feeling a little like it’s on pause and repeat but as a student mental health champion, I’m here to remind you that now is the time to focus on YOU! And when I was approached by my team to write a blog, I figured I didn’t want to bore you with the same ‘let’s preach happiness and positivity without showing how’ message many seem to have adopted but would share the best student secrets I could find to help YOU become the best version of yourself this lockdown.
1) There’s Nothing a Good Nights Sleep Can’t Fix
Saying this one louder for all the night owls in the back. Being a student swapping countless all nighters in the library for endless online lectures, sleep is a personal favorite of mine. The hours you spend sleeping are literally the only time your body has optimal time to rest, recover and heal. Getting in those 8 hours during lockdown may seem like a drag compared to scrolling on your Tik Tok FYP but structuring what time you get to sleep and wake up is the best medicine for your physical and mental wellbeing. Lockdown means there’s more time to fit in those extra z’s! So why not try keeping your blinds open and waking up to natural light rather than that awful iPhone alarm that gives us all flashbacks of running to Thursday morning 9am’s- miss you Ocean .
2) Don’t Forget Your Vits
Seems a bit of an odd one to incorporate into your lockdown routine as a student but being stuck indoors during the coldest time of the year means you are more likely to miss out on essential vitamins that help maintains your bodies health and immune system. Good vitamins to start with include Vitamin B5, Vitamin C and Vitamin D. B5 is brilliant for memory, helping to regulate brain health and improve memory and concentration. Vitamin C keeps your immune system in check at university, helping your body get over those boozy nights in with your house mates. And my personal favorite, the sunshine vitamin known as Vitamin D, is an essential to add to your lockdown supplements. Due to the lack of sunlight exposure meaning its harder than ever to get the daily requirement for this vitamin, taking one every day will help support your immune system, improve muscle function and maintain bone health.
3) Eat well, Feel Well
Living off cheap and cheerful pot noodles and cup a soup is all well and good until you start to crave your mum’s homemade Sunday roast. Creating a balanced and healthy lifestyle starts from understanding what you put in your mouth and now is the perfect time to sort out your nutrition. Take the time to write a meal plan and don’t be afraid to try out something new, create a shopping list so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by the lockdown, supermarket madness and meal prep- the most underrated student food hack and a complete time saver!
4) Get to Know Your Fitness Data
If you haven’t already started tracking your steps, activity and sleep now is a great time to get started. Fitbits are a brilliant investment, meaning you can ensure you’re hitting your 10,000 steps. But let’s not lie, buying one will be making a dent in your student overdraft. However, most of us have iPhone and activating the health app not only does this for you but can also help us ladies track our menstrual cycle, which has hugely opened my eyes to why my body is functioning differently at different times of the month. If you do have a spare bit of cash, investing in a MyZone fitness belt is brilliant for tracking calories burnt during exercise and your BPM, allowing you to set a benchmark to beat for your next workout.
5) Remember Its Okay If Every Day Isn’t Super Productive
Yes, sticking to a routine is super important, but sometimes we all just want to lie in bed, slob out, watch Netflix on repeat and eat your bodyweight in pizza. And that’s 100% okay. These days are super important as they stop us from feeling overworked and burnt out, so don’t feel guilty for taking the time out to rest and recharge.
If the first lockdown didn’t go for well you, make this one yours to boss! Because not only does life rarely give us second chances, but in a few months when all of this is a distant memory, I guarantee you’ll look back and be thankful that you took the time to invest in YOU.
For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
Support from NTU
Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
Struggling at Uni? Go to Student Minds
10 Keys to happiness