How to smash the week five blues

Show sadness who’s boss

Cindies eating essays exercise food fruit Lectures planet earth Sleep terry's chocolate orange veg vegetables week 5 welfare

It’s that time of term, the dreaded week five.

You’ll all have been warned by now about the horrors of week five. You’ve been here ages, but it’s still so long until the end of term. Your essays are starting to pile up. You’re feeling a bit homesick and sad.

At the very least you’ve seen college welfare officers frantically posting all over college facebook pages offering cookies, massages and puppy playtime in a desperate bid to keep your spirits up.

This is Merlin. Merlin comes to Homerton to make us happy.

So, without further ado, I will put all the welfare officers out of a job and give you my certified, bona fide, guaranteed ways to keep yourself in a good mood the whole way through week 5.

Eat right

To be absolutely clear I do not mean subsist solely on salad and sadness. That would make me a massive hypocrite because as I write this column I am inhaling a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. What I mean is try to find a balance. Eating fruit and veg that you enjoy will make you feel better, healthier and more prepared to face the world every day.

Plus there’s a nice feeling of happiness that you actually managed to eat all five of your five-a-day. But you know what also makes you happy? Chocolate. Don’t deny yourself nice things, just try to keep it all in proportion.

Look how happy this cookie is making me.

Spend time with friends

A great way of distracting yourself from the dark thoughts inside your head is drowning them out with lovely people from outside your head. I don’t give a shit about your essay deadline or whatever else is making you busy this week. You are not too busy to set aside some time to do something fun with your friends.

Have a movie night, go out clubbing, throw a study party or go rollerblading. Anything that gets you interacting with other human beings that are nice to you. I guarantee after a nice night with the squad, everything seems one hundred times better.

My friends and I like to pretend that we’re the Spice Girls


Yes, I’m pulling a Cambridge lecturer and referencing my own article. Deal with it.

Do some exercise

I hear many of you groaning and I understand. I am not an athletic person by any stretch of the imagination. I really and truly love sitting. But in terms of giving you a happiness boost, few things are better than a bit of good old-fashioned physical exertion and some fresh air.

So be it a particularly brisk walk to lectures, energetic grooving in Cindies or getting yourself out of breath as you tell me all about how much you love rowing, get yourself outside and get yourself moving. You’ll feel better for it.

Although I was too tired to fully raise my arm like everyone else, I assure you this hike made me feel happy.

Designate some me-time 

It is always important to set aside some time for yourself to recharge your batteries and do something relaxing. Take a bubble bath, watch Planet Earth 2, do a crossword puzzle, whatever floats your boat, just make sure that you unapologetically set aside some time for yourself. Ignore anyone who tries to tell you that you should feel guilty about this.

They are idiots and probably just cranky because they are jealous of how nice you smell after your bubble bath and of how much you now know about snow leopards.

Thank you, David Attenborough, thank you

Do all of these things every week and not just in week five you numpty

In case you hadn’t noticed, all of the stuff I mentioned is fairly basic stuff you do for someone that you like. If you had a dog, you would feed them proper food, take them on walks, give them baths and pet them and rub their tummy. And you would do all these things regularly and consistently.

You wouldn’t just neglect them for a month, then throw fifty treats at them, run a half-marathon together and never stop hugging them for a week and then go back to ignoring them for another three weeks. If you did I would be calling the RSPCA on you.

This is my dog, Wilma. She demands love and affection constantly. Treat yourself as Wilma demands to be treated.

Therefore, students of Cambridge, I beseech you, treat yourself like you would treat a particularly cute puppy, kitten, hamster or whatever kind of weird reptile you’re into. Shower yourself with love and affection.

Most importantly, do it consistently, not just for week five.