All of us at Monash can unanimously agree that we are currently on the worst few weeks of the semester. Essays, mid semester exams, presentations, lit reviews…. ARRRRGGGHHH. Everybody has different way of coping, and if we’re lucky, they work. There are some things that I do, and I thought I should share them with my awesome readers, because personally I could use all the help that I could get and I assume we’re all on the same boat. I’m going to share with a few relaxation and positive thinking techniques that work for me, in order to calm my nerves and get back on track with finishing that nauseating pile of assignments.
I cannot tell you how much I loathe going to gyms. As someone who likes my own comfort-blanket-esque space, I find gyms to be rather intimidating. Unfortunately I have also found that a good workout is a great way to let all the stress and negative energies pass out while the endorphins rush in. Stuck in this pickle, I resorted to solo sports like swimming and jogging which worked for quite a while. But eventually it stopped being fun, even though the end result was magnificent. Then I stumbled upon dance aerobics. This was something that combined my passion for music and the benefits of a workout. It works like a charm and ends up being something I look forward to a couple of times a week. It only takes less than half an hour and there are several Youtube videos with instructors showing choreographed moves to your favorite pop songs. They are not difficult danced moves like the ones you see on So You Think You Can Dance, but moves that anyone can try out. At the end of the day it’s free, easy and fun, and suddenly you are a Britney Spears or a Justin Timberlake entertaining an imaginary crowd at an arena show.
While it does make me feel guilty to segue into food after speaking about working out, I am gonna ignore my guilt for a little while. On a relatively sucky day where my lecturer was completely unreasonable or my assignments don’t make any sense, it really helps to step back and get some comfort food. It is called comfort food for a reason and it works wonders with helping you set aside an issue for a little while, giving yourself a treat and then coming back to it afresh. You really do deserve an extra cheesy bowl of warm mac-and-cheese or a large slice of cheese cake (or both! Hey I’m not the boss of you!). Don’t get me wrong, this is not to be confused with stress eating- it’s just giving yourself a few seconds to appreciate you, and grease the motivational cogwheels (WITH CHEESE!!!). The importance of taking breaks cannot be stressed enough. It largely affects the quality of your work and your state of mind. So essentially it’s a win-win.
Meditation is a trick that really helps me with staying focused. If I catch the larger portion of my mind wandering into a psychedelic universe while the smaller portion is aimlessly reading words from a journal article, I stop and meditate. It’s as simple as closing your eyes and giving all your attention to the sounds around you. Once you have immersed yourself in the sounds, slowly shift your focus from the sounds to your nostrils, and let your ‘imaginary eye’ watch the breaths come in and out. Your mind is not obedient and it will always try to make a move, but gently bring it back. When you open your eyes after that, you will instantly feel soothed. Two to five minutes of that and I’m sure that journal article would make more sense. Additionally, after a long hard day I also like to sit on the floor of the shower, shut my eyes and listen to the water hitting my head. I also like to close my ears with my palms to feel this sensation better. For me it is a spot-on relaxation technique- no questions asked.
My friend’s supervisor told her that students usually tend to work on their assignments during the last 10% of the time given. I can feel you all nod in agreement. How about you try changing that for just one assignment? See how that works for you and you can decide whether or not you want to continue. One final technique to help you push your way through is with positive thinking. When you feel useless and angry about your work, just take a minute to think. Why do I enjoy this major I have picked? What are the benefits of this assignment? How big of a relief am I going to feel once it is over? What kinds of cool new scientifically proven information have I learned in the process? Sure enough, you are reassured with reason and satisfaction, and life does not feel so bad anymore. And in the end when you go out to party, every shot you down and every song you dance to, is going to feel like you deserve it.
So there you have it, a few tips that work for me and would hopefully work of some of you. If somehow it didn’t, then that’s what these adorable animal-people photos are for! With that said, I hope you all have a peaceful and positive week!
Chamie is a psychology student at Monash who attains peace by bowing to the wonders of art, while tackling an unruly monster named Thesis. He values feedback as much as he values dessert.