Nine ways to love yourself more while you're studying
Study is a fact of university life. However, it doesn’t just have to involve sitting in front of a computer for hours on end until you don’t even feel like a real person anymore. Study needs to be for your own betterment, rather than a task you view without emotion. Here are a few ways you can take care of your physical and mental health while you’re studying at uni.
Become aware of your own rhythms
Think of your study like a partner: sometimes you love it, sometimes it grates on you. It is something you have to work with, not against. So, take time to work out how long you can comfortably work on a set task and work out a schedule that suits you. There’s no shame in only being able to handle banging out words for an essay for 20 minutes at a time.
Take a break from technology
The internet and its infinite attraction has become an unavoidable fact of life. However, we all hate when we find that we’ve lost two hours looking through the weirder parts of YouTube just to avoid work. Instead of losing yourself online, take small amounts of time to talk to a friend or family member, play an instrument, or do something else that you love to do.
Exercise in small amounts
While the Department of Health recommends 150 minutes of moderate physical activity and 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week, that seems like a lot if it’s been a while since you went for a run. So, start with small things that require little effort, such as squats, sit-ups or even a short walk.
Don’t hate yourself if you make a mistake
Pleasure -- or at least the avoidance of pain -- is hard to avoid, especially when temptations are around every corner. It gets easier over time to stop yourself from neglecting your work. However, if you lapse into your old habits, accept it as a minor trip rather than a major stumble.
Accept and seek out the help of others if you need it
One of the major causes of the insular nature of study is that you feel all alone, and that the problems you may have are insignificant. However, it’s best to speak to someone if you need to. Counselling services and help can be found at all universities at no cost. If that’s not possible, just call up a friend.
Find time to praise yourself
If you find yourself having to pull an all-nighter, it can be hard to find the love of others at 2am. Try to take a break to look through your past achievements or simply remember times when you did a good thing for someone else. Alternatively, find time to create something that you can be proud of.
Constantly try new things to love
There comes a time when the things you once loved become less enjoyable and you hit the enjoyment threshold. Find ways to make study more interesting by searching for methods of keeping your mind alert. This could include listening to light music, practising meditation or finding a new place to study.
Don’t hide away or ignore pain or fear
Emotional repression often seems like the natural reaction when you’re faced with a large task, even though you may feel sad or anxious. However, you should always acknowledge your feelings, or schedule a specific time to sit and feel them if you can’t at that very moment.
Make yourself a part of the lives of others
Loving yourself is only one half of the solution. You also need to appreciate the love of others, as well as give others the same. Being there for friends and family, or even signing up for some charity work, will help you put your studies in perspective.
Matthew Sims is completing a Bachelor of Journalism at Monash University, with a passion for film, TV, and the arts.