If you’re studying hard and working hard, you might find it difficult to find time to unwind, but this is also an important part of your time at University. Follow these five tips to make the best of what time you have.

Explore New Ways to Relax

Relaxing doesn’t always have to be about down-time; after hours sat still reading at home or in the library, you may want to unwind by doing something physical. Stick to what you know you enjoy, but don’t limit yourself to just this: also try new things. Your NUS card opens up a world of discounts, check out their website for deals in your area at http://www.nus.org.uk/.

Factor in Time to Relax

Applications like Microsoft Outlook provide a great way to map out your time in a visually pleasing way, and can also be synced with most smart-phones. Assign colours for each area of your life, including lectures, independent study, part-time jobs and any other commitments you may have. Whatever time is left over, minus sleep, is how long you have to relax.

timetable11

In this example, 30 hours a week is devoted to study, with just eight hours in lectures and seminars, and the remainder taken up with independent study. There’s flexibility, so any work left over can be completed on Wednesday evening or Thursday, and realistically, Saturday is left free to recover from Friday night out, and Sunday is taken up working. Make your own schedule and ensure you have enough time to relax – working all the time will be detrimental, we all need time out.

Don’t Routinely Oversleep

Everyone’s sleeping needs are different – some can manage on five hours, others need around eight. If you’re sleeping upwards of eight hours routinely, however, you may be oversleeping, which in itself can give you a feeling of tiredness. Too much sleep can be a sign of escapism too, so consider if there’s anything in your life you’re unhappy with.

Relax Within Your Budget

You might relax by spending the day drag-racing, rock climbing or swimming; relaxing doesn’t have to be expensive – a long bath and a massage at the end of the day can as satisfying as a trip to the spar – well, not quite, but you’re a student, so imagine.

Don’t Rely on Alcohol or Drugs

A few drinks now and then won’t impact significantly on your health or your studies, and similarly, many students smoke the occasional (illegal) joint to help them relax. As with anything, the more you do it, the more it becomes habit forming, and the less fun it becomes. As soon as you feel as though you ‘need’ something to help you relax, you’ve taken a step down the road of addiction – the sooner you turn back, the easier it will be. Also keep an eye out for your mates.

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