At the beginning of the year, we often hope to make a total 180 — exercise every day, read one book a week, stop eating sugar… We’ve all been there, and we’ve all realised that these resolutions rarely work. So, why not change your approach to New Year’s resolutions at implement some simple habits that will help you make the most of your year. Final year French and Spanish student Phoebe lists 10 small things that help her stay organised and healthy.
1. Buy a planner/organiser
If your New Years’ resolution is to be organised then buying a planner is a very good way to achieve this. Most of them feature a week-by-week basis which will help with balancing academic and social commitments, whilst giving you a space to write down all your deadlines. A vast majority of planners feature a section for budgeting which is particularly useful for students as it helps to manage outgoings (read more about budgeting) Planners can be super cheap but if you are willing to treat yourself you can buy really pretty, personalised planners from Papier!
2. Buy some Tupperware!
This is really useful for meal prepping, which is important when during the exam season when many students are more pushed for time, meaning that you can just heat up your dinner in the microwave. It is good to get into the habit of bringing your meals onto campus which will save lots of money, you can also find microwaves on campus in the Student Union by common ground meaning that you can enjoy a hot meal. You can buy Tupperware in most supermarkets or department stores.
3. Buy a meal planner
A meal planner will help with organisation but will make your supermarket shops easier, as you will have a clear vision of what you are going to cook for the upcoming week and your shops will become cheaper as you are less likely to buy unnecessary things, a win-win for students. If you don’t want to buy a paper version of a meal planner, you can also use an online template, for example this Notion one.
4. Make time to exercise
Exercise is so important and has a plethora of benefits, not only staying in physical shape but it is important for our mental health too as well as improving our concentration and productivity. In busy periods such as exam time, it might be harder to plan exercise into your busy schedule however, even just going out for a 15-minute walk is better than nothing. Try starting your day with a 30-minute yoga session, and if you don’t know where to start, then YouTuber, Yoga with Adriene, has lots of great videos. The university also has over 300 societies, including a wide range of different sports so you are sure to find one that you enjoy, you can browse them on the University Union website. Joining a society is also a great way to make friends too!
5. Improve general organisation
Creating a routine will really help you to keep on top of all work and other commitments that you have outside of university. Having a routine will help you to complete tasks and deadlines on time and it is important to reward yourself upon completion of a big deadline or important exam too, as it will give you a sense of achievement.
6. Prioritise your mental health
This is often easier said than done but it is extremely important, especially in the winter months when it is dark and gloomy! A great app that helps to improve mental health is called Headspace, as it includes many relaxation exercises and helps to manage stress and implement meditation into your daily routine. As mentioned earlier, exercise can really help with your mental health, even just going out for a short walk and listening to a podcast can be extremely beneficial.
Remember that if you struggle with your mental health the University Wellbeing Team is here for you!
7. Put your phone down
This goes hand-in-hand with mental health, as mindlessly scrolling through TikTok or Instagram can be really bad for your mental health. Instead, substitute your phone for more healthy alternatives such as a good book (this is particularly important before bed as spending time on your phone before bed can really affect your sleep quality). It is also a good idea to set restrictions on your phone usage (you can often control this via your phone’s settings) or even use an app such as Hold which rewards you for not using your phone!
8. Buy a calendar
Whilst this might seem like a very ‘old school’ idea, seeing all of my important, upcoming dates written down in front of me really helps with my organisation and time management.
9. Plan something fun for each week
This is particularly important during exam periods, as you do not need to revise 24/7 and it is important to take breaks. Plan at least one thing per week that you enjoy doing (this could be alone, or with friends) as it will give you something to look forward to. It does not have to be expensive either, it could be inviting a friend over to watch a film or having a ‘catch up’ over a glass of wine.
10. Stay on top of your studies
Use the quiet days of January and February to your advantage, catch up on work or go over topics you didn’t understand from the first semester, but most importantly give yourself well-deserved time to rest and recuperate!