After the festivities over the Christmas and New Year’s break, and the time spent with family and friends, it can feel a bit sad returning to University. Not only is it the dead of winter, the next real break isn’t until the summer and with the January exams, it can feel anticlimactic. The break, at least for me, never feels quite long enough!
Returning to campus (if you’ve been away) or simply back to Uni work often feels a bit ‘meh’. Perhaps it’s the cold and wet, or maybe it’s the greyness, but the mood is a bit sombre and the energy a little lacklustre. I feel so lazy and to be completely honest, I could very easily spend January and February indoors watching shows, reading and snacking. And whilst that sounds like a pretty good idea right now as I write this, I know from experience that that wouldn’t be best for my general wellbeing.
I make a point of not doing any work for at least a week over the holidays (usually from Christmas to New Year’s) so I try and take advantage of how rested and refreshed I usually feel, and come up with a list of all the things I fancy doing and places I want to visit. Although many things and places on that list never get done or visited, several do and that’s what matters!
Before I share some suggestions to overcome the post-holiday blues, I want to clarify that these are what I’ve found helps when I feel a little blue or stuck in a rut. The University also offers student support and counselling services.
1. GET MOVING
I’m sure you’ve heard it lots already but some form of exercise does help. At the very least, it should improve your quality of sleep! Sleep’s often overlooked but it’s extremely important for long-term health and well-being. Whilst there’s always the option of going to the gym, here are some other ways to get your exercise in:
- Sporticipate – Try something new without committing to several sessions. Plus it’s free! Want to try out a dance class, team sports or maybe even quidditch?
- Indoor climbing – There are some great indoor climbing centres in the greater Manchester area, and even a place to try climbing ice walls!
- De-stress sessions – The university is running de-stress activities over the exam period including sunrise yoga, tai chi, street dance, dancefit and more. Check out the timetable!
- Start training for an event – Whether you fancy doing a 5k run for the first time, have your eyes set on running a marathon or doing a sportive, there are loads of events to sign up to! Check them out here or here.
2. GET SOME FRESH AIR
I know, it’s cold (and most likely wet). But you know being cooped up at home or in the library all day everyday doesn’t leave you feeling the best. So take a break, put those comfy shoes and warm coat on and go for a walk. Start off with 20 minutes around the park near you. Maybe put on some music or a podcast and just walk. I promise, it helps.
3. LEARN SOMETHING NEW
It doesn’t have to be a large undertaking or anything super serious. I truly believe the most important thing is you’re enjoying yourself. For instance a few years ago, I took a couple calligraphy classes. Whilst it isn’t a serious hobby (I’d say I practice about half an hour a week to this day), you can bet that I’ll have some fancy lettering on the birthday card I send you! Some ideas: calligraphy, photography, dancing, writing, drawing or sketching, cooking or baking, or a new sport!
Always have “Learn a new language” on your goals list year after year? Perhaps you have a trip planned abroad later in the year? Well now’s the time to get started! If apps like Duolingo don’t cut it for you, the International Society also runs language classes!
5. SEE MORE OF MANCHESTER AND BEYOND
I am certain there’s still tons of things and places to do and see in and around Manchester that you haven’t yet. We’re so fortunate that not only does the city have so much to offer, but we’re also surrounded by such great places. There’s all the quaint and historical towns in Cheshire, Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and more! Truly, you’ll never run out of some place new to visit. Here are some examples:
- The best day trips to take in and around the city
- There’s more to Manchester (and the North West) than just Oxford Road
- 8 places to explore in Greater Manchester
- 9 day trips for the perfect study break
- Camping in the Peak District
You can find volunteering opportunities at the Uni’s Volunteer Hub. Not only will you help others and a cause you believe in by volunteering your time, but you’ll also benefit from the experience. Read about how volunteering has changed Joe’s outlook here.
I hope you’ve found an idea or two that sounds like something you might like to try! And remember, there is a range of support and services available at the university to help you with your health and well being.