Make sure you’re kind to yourself: Six tips for getting out of a rut at uni

Its okay to take some time for yourself

University can be quite daunting sometimes, in and among the dressing up for Crisis, the pub quizzes and the falling asleep in lecturers you can sometimes feel like it is all too much. Its important to remember that uni isn’t all just about grades, and you should be enjoying yourself and being kind to yourself too.

1. Take a break (shocking advice)

This one is severely underrated. And I don’t mean go clubbing the day before a 9am and call it a break. I mean truly unwinding and letting your body recharge. I find there is nothing better than a lazy day. Watch all the twilight movies in one sitting. Sleep for sixteen consecutive hours. Going for a coffee and catch up with someone who makes you happy, or you haven’t spoken to in a while. Do some arts and crafts not to be good, but for fun. Make some time to put your phone away and recharge so you can tackles your 50 unopened emails with a fresh mind.

Just don’t scroll through TikTok and stare at the work you should be doing- you need to step back, not stand still. This is still something I am learning but feeling physically rested when having a busy schedule is so important (so make sure you’re caught up on sleep).

If you’re not taking a break you can’t look at Notts’ pretty sunsets

2. Join a new society

One thing that helped me in first year when I felt stuck was to shake things up by trying something new! There are so many societies, it’s guaranteed you will find at least one that appeals to you! It is a great way to step away from your studies, try something new or pick up an old hobby, and make some new friends!

Joining Musicality was the highlight of my year

3. Explore somewhere new

Maybe the rut you’re in is caused by the fact the only places you see are the library and your bedroom. You lack variety. Try somewhere new. From new restaurants and coffee shops, to galleries and museums, Nottingham offers a whole host of places for you to explore (including free attractions, such as the contemporary gallery).

4. Leave the city

If Nottingham isn’t your vibe right now, don’t force yourself to stay. Why not pop home for the weekend to hug your dog and have your laundry done for you, or visit a friend or family member at a different university to experience life on the other side! If you can’t spare a full weekend, perhaps a day trip to other cities like Sheffield (around £10 return) or Leicester (around £17 return). If you’re feeling very fancy, you could always look further afield.

My personal fave staycation/ city breaks this year include Durham (pictured) and Cambridge.

5. Get outside

A personal favourite. Getting out, whether its to walk around or to just sit quietly on a bench, it is always a great way for me to clear my head. At Uni, it’s something easy to forget about priortising, but it is so much more helpful than you’d think! It can be as simple as taking a walk around the lake at highfields park between lectures (you don’t even have to leave campus!). Wollaton park is right on the university’s doorstep is another great option, and they have deer! If you want to travel further afield, Sherwood Forest is a famous place to visit, especially if you are interested in Robin Hood, or Edale in the Peak District is around £10 return on the train, and offers some stunning walks in a national park.

A walk around the lake on the Uni park campus is a simple yet great way to reset.

6. Exercise

Whether it is following tips 2 or 6, joining a sport society or walking in Wollaton, getting moving is so important. It can be as small as taking a stretch when you wake up, to joining the gym, to doing just dance in the living room with your housemates. It is a great way to release stress and stay healthy as a student. The release of endorphins you’ll get will boost your mood and aid in motivating you.

David Ross seemed intimidating when I was hunting for a gym, so I opted for my local Puregym!

If you are struggling with your mental health, help is available. To talk about anything, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Here are all the ways you can help the victims affected by the Turkey and Syria earthquakes

•  ‘No one was able to save them in time’: Notts students affected by the Turkey-Syria earthquake

Six top tips to secure your dream grad job as a student in Notts