Top 10 Tips for University

It’s been a little while since I last posted, I had a bit of a burn out situation. I feel a lot better now since I created a schedule…sort of! I feel like I have managed to find ways to organise my time a bit better and ensure I don’t forget important tasks! I combined Outlook, GoodNotes and a note book to organise my daily and weekly tasks a bit better.

I have a few updates since my last post and it mainly revolves around me starting my own YouTube channel! At the moment its a bit random and I feel like I will be mainly focusing on lifestyle and cooking so I will link a videos down below! The next main update is I am currently getting on with the degree I started last year! I’m going to be honest I have had quite a few issues with it so far but I know it will get fixed and soon back to normal! 

This blog post is actually focusing on some points I mentioned in my first YouTube video! So in short here are some tips that I found helpful to do before and during Uni with some additional tips that I think you could do after you finish a class or leave for a holiday break!

University may be very difficult this year for many students, some are even unable to go to physical lessons which is really going to make a lot of people feel very alone!

Handling negative feelings and mental health

Spending a lot of time alone or fearing the unknown especially when it comes to announcements and everything going on at the moment with the pandemic, can be extremely stressful and isolating. Now the best thing to do is talk to others and understandably this may be difficult but try to make some friends online via University groups or just reconnect with your friends back at home. Use and utilise social media to help you feel connected to those that may not be around you. Another thing you can do is utilise your universities help line, they may be able to guide you to services that can help you manage your mental health. Just please remember you are not alone.

Self-care

In my opinion this is one of the most important pieces of advice and that is ensure you keep up with self-care, make sure you take breaks and enjoy your time, uni is hard and it can be very stressful sometimes but you have to remember that at the end of the day this is your time and you should be spending it doing what makes you happy. Spending all of your time studying is fantastic but you won’t create any memories hiding away, try and join some clubs or socials to do during your free time, this is something I wish I had done while I was away at uni. 

Create a schedule 

This can be rather hard but try and create a schedule and include your sleep, studying, socialising time and self-care. Also as Humans we aren’t made to remember everything so writing down or organising important aspects of your life will really help you finish tasks and not forget important details. 

Create some goals

What do you want to achieve this year, try and create some little goals to help you stay focused. I like to create some goals around reading and activities that I really want to do during the year! My goal for this year was to read 15 books, create a blog, learn more about rabbit diets and enrichment, create a YouTube channel and even some really simple ones such as drinking enough water everyday etc. It helps you feel like you’re making an impact and you can begin to create some healthy habits and get things done because well, achieving something makes people feel good and if its something positive then thats so great!

Organise 

Something that I learnt to do regularly is organise my work, during uni you tend to have a lot of different classes and deadlines. I decided to have different notebooks for each class, I put all my deadlines on a calendar so I can see what I need to prioritise and I organised my papers by popping them into files in order. Doing this means that I will be able to find past work easily and use it for essays or reports! So I really recommend filing your work or at least storing it in ways where you can easily find what you need. I must also remind you to backup your work! Use a USB or an external hard drive.

Diet and exercise 

I am aware it is hard to exercise and have a nice balanced diet during these times especially if you’re isolating. However, there are plenty of options when it comes to exercising all you need is a little bit of floor space (which hopefully you’ll either have access to or if you’re lucky your room is big enough). You can use lots of online sources such as YouTube and certain apps eg 8fit. As for your diet, try and eat a healthy and balanced diet, if you are really unable to do this due to it not being available, try and supplement your diet with vitamins and supplements because you really don’t want to feel under the weather when you’re trying to study.

Start a meal plan and budget 

Now I know a lot of people enjoy the weekend antics of the pub and clubs but I was never that person so I usually spent my money on food and activities such as museums. Creating a budget and a meal plan ensured I wasn’t over spending on food at the supermarket and had more money for activities and treats on the weekend! You can also try and save some money for the holidays which is very satisfying. 

Keep your area clean and tidy

Just spend 10 minutes a day tidying and cleaning up your area, you will find it easier to study and work when your environment is clean and tidy. So simply just tidy regularly and keep up with your washing and space. 

Keep up with your CV

This is something I noticed was that a lot of the students around me didn’t have a CV or an up to date one at least. This was mainly due to the fact most of them came straight from school which is absolutely fine but while you’re at uni you’ll find a lot of career events that may give you an opportunity to work during your degree of even the holidays. Having a CV already made and up to date will mean you can just send it off without having the stress and time constraints of creating one. 

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help and just be yourself

This is a hard time for everyone and thats ok, but if you need help, advice or just a chat don’t be worried, just ask. Your lecturers, teachers and tutors would rather you talk to them then suffer in silence. Be honest with yourself, learn your limits and be open with those around you. 

Travelling during a pandemic

I want to discuss the situation of travelling during this hard time. Of course yet again a disclaimer:

*This is purely my thoughts, opinions and situation, please do not use this as a guide or as pure facts, this is just how I feel and how things have panned out personally for me, thank you for understanding* 

A rough description of my situation

I live at home with my partner and we both work from home and have been since March. We have both been isolating and only going out and seeing others when the guidelines had changed, we will always follow the guidelines to ensure our safety and the safety of others. The people we have been around are trusted and have been following the guidelines. 

Family

I discussed with my parents that if me and my partner came back home with positive tests we’d all isolate and me and my partner would do everything within our power to avoid contact with my parents; use separate towels, clean all surfaces, no sitting together or hugging etc. I believe it will not come to this as we have been extremely careful during our trip. 

Place of travel

I would then like to discuss the place of travel itself, we will not be travelling anywhere outside of the UK, we will only be travelling if we have isolated for a specific time before the travel date and we will ensure that our chosen locations are restricted and or follow the guidelines. 

We chose Southern England/South-West England due to the amount of activities we can do without being near anyone from the public. We are able to go on experiences that involve us being outside and or in our car which means we are less likely to cause any problems. We opted for an Air BnB as we will have our own kitchen and cleaning facilities, this means we won’t be a risk to hotel staff and we will not be at risk ourselves by being around many other people in a hotel. We also opted for a hire car to ensure no public transport is undertaken which of course protects both us and the public. 

Little things we ensured

We wore masks and ensured we used hand sanitiser with us at all times, we kept away from everyone and made sure we followed the social distancing rules. Something you can do when out and about during these times especially if you wish to travel or shop is reduce the amount of ‘touching’ you do when inside a shop or public area for example, you don’t need to pick up every book or every piece of clothing you walk past.

Reflecting on my Asperger’s and mental health

I particularly hated the airport, the main problem I had was the flight itself. They did not distance anyone on board and if I had known this would be the outcome I probably would’ve gone with another company or not flown. 

Another issue I have with traveling and just being out in public is the use of masks, my sensory problems really make wearing a mask a challenge, I feel as though I cannot breathe and I’m choking, it also brings my already very sensitive body temperature skyrocketing. I wear a combination of reusable and disposable masks depending on the situation and I will continue to wear these to ensure others around me feel more comfortable and I have to admit it does stop me from touching my face quite so much. Throughout this entire time I was very anxious and stressed, I struggled sleeping and suffered horrible doubts and thoughts surrounding illness, death and guilt. 

Shops were also very uncomfortable, some shops had rules and it was very slow and clinical but other shops acted as if rules were in place but people would not listen to the rules. This made me very uncomfortable when people pushed past or walked the wrong direction and disrupt the whole line. I dislike being constantly touched and having my personal space invaded even before this outbreak as I have always been nervous about illness, I do not have the flu vaccine as I get far too many reactions so I opt out and have to ensure I am protecting myself so the kind of behaviour I have witnessed upsets me in general as I am aware there are people who are extremely vulnerable and need to have the space to complete their tasks safely. Social distancing isn’t hard and its one of the easiest things you can do so please try your best. 

Over time I have come to realise that you cant stop your life or stop living. I’m not saying this situation should be forgotten or ignored but I believe it is here to stay, one day there may be a vaccine or herd immunity may help reduce the spread or many other things that I am not educated about may happen but for now it is here and we must learn and work together to get through it. You can travel during this time as long as you are aware of the risks and ensure you plan and prepare accordingly. No one is immune to this and you must ensure you are protecting yourself and others around you. 

Things to know when travelling

  • Traveling during this time may mean that you are unable to do things or go to certain places as they are shut so be aware that you may not be able to do exactly what you prepared for
  • The rules and guidelines are always changing so please keep an eye on the local area you are visiting to make sure you are aware and up to date with the latest guidelines
  • Different places may have different guidelines or rules, an example of this is coffee shops, some coffee shops don’t allow reusable cups or their own cups when you sit in but other coffee shops may insist that even if you wish to sit in that you must have a disposable cup
  • Masks, as of Saturday the 8th (I think) are to be worn inside of museums or certain attractions that may have not insisted masks be worn before , an example of this is the Roman baths in Bath, before Saturday you could choose to wear a mask but now it’s mandatory 
  • You may need to isolate when you get to your destination or when you return home so be prepared especially when it comes to work or family situation
  • Bring lots of hand sanitiser and ensure you have a mask with you whenever you go out, I hate the smell and texture of the sanitiser I’ve used in other shops and places I’ve visited so I for one enjoy using my own sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol
  • Ensure things haven’t been cancelled especially travel and accommodation 
  • Ensure you know the risks you’re taking and how to keep yourself and others around you safe, airlines may be crowded and you’ll be standing around near others which poses a higher risk etc
  • Some attractions social distance and you must follow a line, this means it may take much longer than expected to complete an experience
  • If you are classed as vulnerable or you have medical conditions that may make you more at risk maybe try to find a location that doesn’t involve travel like a stay-cation

Thank you for reading, please stay safe and ensure you prepare if you do also travel 🙂

Burnout

Sometimes its hard to figure out what you want and how to achieve it. Instead of sitting down, being patient and giving yourself the time and space to learn, progress and reach your goals, you tend to get stressed, panic and worrying till you no longer have the motivation and energy to progress. 

Burn out has hit me on so many levels during my life, throughout my school life, I had a 100% attendance then suddenly some issues arose just before my GCSEs and all of that hard work caused me to have a breakdown. Since then burn out has become a topic that I am fully aware about and know I need to work on. If I had taken the correct amount of time and learnt about myself maybe I would’ve dealt with my issues in school appropriately. I cant change what happened in the past so instead I must find ways to ensure it does not repeat itself. I am trying my hardest to improve my self-awareness and encourage myself to learn how I work and think so that I can reduce burn out and ensure I stay level. 

I want to talk about cognitive behaviour therapy in a future post as I think it is a subject that everyone should be aware about due to the impact it can have on our own lives and how we can influence others. This can be a positive subject to include in our lives, if we don’t know how to be ourselves then we will not only internally suffer but we will also cause pain externally. Its hard and it will take years of practice and experience but I believe we can each take control over ourselves and our actions to help us achieve our own goals and how to support others to do so as well. 

What is burnout?

Burnouts are different for everyone and each of us may choose to deal with them in different ways. However, there are a few signs that you can look out for that may indicate that you’re suffering from burnout: 

Feeling drain and fatigued- 

The first sign that really hits a lot of people is feeling exhaustion and drained, this can cause all sorts of problems especially in other areas of your life such as lack of self care, common stress problems such as anxiety may also become more prevalent and sneak up on you more often. 

Lack of motivation-

Lack of motivation can swoop in easily especially if you’re feeling drained or fatigued. You may lose interest in hobbies or things that would normally interest you. You may feel dissatisfied with your job and may notice you begin to lack motivation to complete tasks as you would do normally. Losing interest in things may cause forgetfulness which can then impact both your personal and work life. 

Negative emotions-

Feeling anger, becoming more irritable/frustrated and even more chronic behavioural changes. Feeling more cynical and sad will creep up on you and make sure you have no motivation or energy to comprehend feeling a positive emotion. These negative emotions can affect you in both personal and work relationships. 

Cognitive problems- 

Problems with attention, executive functions and memory will become apparent.

Decreased satisfaction- 

You don’t feel satisfied and may feel as though you are getting nowhere. You feel less happy about your career or with home life. 

Other problems- 

Other problems may occur that I may have not mentioned such as stomach problems, migraines/headaches, sleeping problems, change of appetite, lack of social life and many more. 

Burnout itself- 

https://www.thisiscalmer.com/blog/5-stages-of-burnout

A perfect summary for burn out to me is ‘Burnout is the loss of meaning in one’s work, coupled with mental, emotional, or physical exhaustion as the result of long-term, unresolved stress.’ which I found on a website called ‘Calmer’ – https://www.thisiscalmer.com/blog/5-stages-of-burnout

I really enjoyed this blog as I really felt it captured what its like to reach burnout and what the process feels like in 5 easy to understand stages. 

What can you do when suffering burnout? 

Try to learn or take up different relaxation methods and create a self-care routine, this is help you find ways to create a less stressful environment and know when enough is enough. I chose things like yoga and mediation and even reading or listening to music to help me relax. 

Try to escape work once the working day is over, overthinking and working on work related areas while you’re meant to be at home or relaxing is not healthy. Your work will begin to bleed into your personal life and you may struggle to decipher between hobbies, personal life and work. I personally took up writing as a ‘outside of work’ hobby, I enjoy waffling on about subjects of interest and then sharing them with others…I also find it relaxing and freeing as I feel I am being honest with both myself and others around me. But you don’t have to choose writing, other good ‘outside of work’ hobbies that you could take up can range from sports and exercise to arts and crafts, whatever relaxes you and makes you feel happy. 

Reducing social media and electronics, now I am aware some people find scrolling through social media and gaming, relaxing but you have to remember this can effect your mental health and you may not even be aware of this. Use it wisely and remember what you see on social media may not be real and to try not to get too caught up in it all. I personally don’t enjoy many platforms of social media as I find I feel more negatively about myself and the world after spending too much time scrolling through other peoples lives. Gaming can be relaxing however, again I feel very tense and over stimulated after a hour or so, playing with electronics can also affect your sleep, so try to do everything in moderation. 

Getting a good sleep cycle and becoming more organised can really help anyone feel better, sleeping more ensures your body has the time it needs to reset for the next day. Not getting enough sleep can effect someone both physically and mentally. Being more organised can help reduce the last minute ‘oh NO’s’ and forgetful moments of ‘Oh dear is that today?’. The more organised you are the more relaxed your mind can be, do you sometimes find yourself laying awake late at night or remembering that you needed to do something the next day but forgot and now its too late? Well becoming more organised can help to reduce this. If you’re ready for the tasks then you’re less likely to get things wrong and when you get things wrong this can impact your thoughts and you can begin to doubt your worth which can really lead to some negative thoughts. 

Lastly, talk, find someone you trust and just be honest. Its hard, really hard but it will get easier. If you are struggling to find someone to trust then seek out a professional and you may even find that they can help with other problems you may be experiencing. A simple conversation can do wonders for the mind. 

Do not judge people who get burnt out, this is a process and each of us should be able to gain the support and care from those around us or from a professional if needed. Don’t suffer alone, pick up the phone and speak to someone, its so very hard to do this, I know, but you can help reduce the risk of burnout by just being aware.

What was your experience with burnout? How do you cope living in a fast pace world?

Link for feature image-

https://www.dub.uu.nl/en/depth/more-signs-point-higher-risk-burn-out-among-phd-candidates