The back to school period can be an intense and overwhelming time. No matter what stage you’re at in your academic journey, this year returning to classes is going to look a lot different from what we’re used to.
For many students, we’ll be going from a life of not very much, to an intense daily schedule of lectures, seminars, reading, and more. This drastic increase in productivity can take its toll on both the body and the mind.
If you have become accustomed to a slower style of living, there are things you can embed into your daily routine that can make even the busiest of schedules run at your own pace.
Making time for yourself and caring for your body is the single thing that’s going to help you live a healthier, and in turn, more productive lifestyle. Whether it’s taking time to cook and eat good food, doing daily yoga or meditation practises, or having a notebook to write down your thoughts, here are your everyday essentials to live a more mindful life.
Yoga Mat/ Mindfulness Activities/ Dark Chocolate/ Green Tea/ Journal/ Face Mask/ Grow Your Own Plant/ Mug/ Pyjamas/ Pillow Mist/ Hand Blender/ Blender/ Cowshed Bath Salts/ Casserole Dish/ AromaWorks Candle
Whether you’re a budding yogi or just someone who likes to dabble from time to time, a yoga mat is a great resource to have around. It can double up as an exercise mat if you prefer to diversify your exercise but don’t want to spend money on multiple pieces of equipment. Throwing this down first thing in the morning in my tiny student room left not much room for other activities, and so I was encouraged to step onto the mat and engage in my daily practice.
Tip: Yoga mats are thinner compared to other exercise mats, making them easy for storage and transportation. It’s essential that your yoga mat has a non-slip surface and won’t move around.
Daily Mindfulness Activities
If you’re someone that likes to make self-care and mindfulness part of a structured daily routine, I highly recommend investing in a set of mindfulness resources. These come in all different varieties, with various activities and resources, encouraging you to engage in mindful thinking every day. I use the embracing mindfulness gift hamper, which contains seven of the brands most popular products. I find this especially helpful as someone who gets bored easily as there are multiple different activities to choose from. Having the products on hand takes away the task of thinking up or researching journal prompts or mindful activities online. Instead, I can grab a set of cards or a writing prompt and get going, making it a completely stress-free experience. The kit contains different routine activities that can vary from one month to a whole year, helping you stay on track with your mindful practice.
I had to include a few treats! Self-care doesn’t always look like a rigorous exercise routine or a green smoothie every morning. Ultimately, self-care is about what makes you feel better and ensuring you make time for these things. If eating a bar of chocolate and watching a movie when you’re feeling low is what helps you acknowledge and work through your emotion, then that’s great. Don’t be put off by the idea of mindfulness being something big and scary that’s going to require a complete lifestyle change.
In a similar vein to dark chocolate, something as simple as taking the time to brew yourself a cup of tea and sit down peacefully to drink it can be what helps you to connect with yourself and enjoy the small things in life.
My experience: I drink different teas intermittently throughout the day because I’m obsessed! Aside from this, I ensure that I have a hot drink in the morning and a cup of tea at night when I’m not in a rush to head back to my laptop or finish work. I take this time to slow down and reflect on how I’m feeling. I’ll use this time to journal, read a book or listen to a podcast. This time is an essential part of my daily routine and helps me stay enchanted by small and simple things in life.
Health benefits: If you’re a lover of green tea then you’re nourishing the body as well as the mind! Green tea is full of antioxidants that encourage brain function and reduce the risk of numerous diseases. Read more about this here.
You need something to drink your tea in, right? As a creature of habit, I have one mug that I use for certain beverages at certain times of the day. I know many of you will be thinking that’s insanity, but I find it to be a real comfort and helps me align the separate pillars of my day. I’m also particular about the style of the mug I use; I like it to be sturdy and a good shape. I’d describe it as the perfect siting in front of the fire mug. If you’re the same as me, I adore this one from House of Fraser.
Journaling has become increasingly popular in recent years. The simple act of writing your thoughts down on paper can improve your mood and help you prioritise worries, fears, and anxieties. Once you begin journaling, you’ll find yourself drawn to pen and paper as a means of expressing your inner thoughts and feelings. Journaling isn’t just for when times are tough; journaling frequently is a great way to express how you’re feeling, understand these feelings and see how they relate to your physical life.
Tip: Make sure you’re not down on yourself for not journaling every day. Journaling shouldn’t be a chore. The aim of journaling is to help you deal with the actual chores in your life. I engage in intuitive journaling; writing when I feel the need to. By using this approach I’ve found myself reaching for pen and paper more frequently to help me work through a broad array of things happening in my life.
Many people associate self-care with beauty treatments and products, whilst this isn’t all that self-care is, these products can be a facilitator for rest and relaxation. Self-care is about caring for the body as well as the mind, and so a face mask is a great way to relax and nourish your physical body.
Tip: Use this time to care for the mind as well as the body, read a book or listen to a podcast whilst you’re wearing your face mask. Try to spend time away from social media and schoolwork, these things can wait.
Grow Your Own Plant
Caring for another living thing can help us gain a sense of purpose and is proven to boost mood and reduce stress. Pets are also great facilitators of these things, but unfortunately, as students, most of us aren’t in the position to adopt a furry friend. Having more plants around is also great for the physical body and the environment.
You can read more about the benefits of having plants in your life here
Sleep is vital for a happy, healthy, and mindful life. The benefits and necessities of sleep are innumerable. As students, we tend to let sleep fall to the bottom of our priorities list. Whether it’s in place of a night out, or a late-night study session, you need to ensure you’re catching up on the sleep that you’ve missed. If you’re not excited or attracted by the concept of sleep, try making sleep a more enjoyable part of your day; wear comfortable pyjamas, have a cup of your favourite tea, and wind down with a good book.
You can read more about the importance of sleep here
Sleep is vital for a happy, healthy, and mindful life
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, you can remedy this with a pillow mist. Filled with sleep-inducing ingredients like lavender and chamomile, sleep mists can help the body relax and fall more easily into slumber. I’m currently loving this one from Rituals Cosmetics made from Sacred Wood and Lavender.
Tip: If you’re having severe trouble or anxiety regarding sleep, visit your GP and discuss your problems and possible solutions with them.
A pretty niche essential, but one I would be lost without. A huge part of mindfulness for me comes with the time I spend in the kitchen, making food that nourishes my body. I love stepping away from technology and blocking out the outside world to spend time focusing on creating delicious food that’s going to make my body and mind feel good. I use a blender almost every day, whether it’s for an early morning smoothie or to make some fresh hummus. It’s part of my daily routine that I love and would feel lost without.
If you’ve hit the jackpot with student housing, meaning you have a bath, bath salts are a great way to relax the body and mind. The added product of bath salts can make your relaxing bath even more beneficial; helping decrease stress, soothe pain, and nourish the skin. Made from Melissa and Lemon Myrtle essential oils with Himalayan crystal salts, Sea Salts and Squalane; Cowshed’s sleepy bath salts mix of natural ingredients help care for your skin and encourage a natural and peaceful descent into sleep.
Crock Pot/Casserole Dish
Having one sturdy and reliable piece of cookware has helped me immensely when cooking my student meals. Instead of buying multiple bad-quality pots and pans, I’ve used one crockpot for the whole of my time at university. As a lover of cooking, I enjoy mixing my different ingredients into one pot and spending my time helping them come to life to create one amazing dish. Equally, if you’re not a big fan of cooking and find it to be a stress-inducing experience, having a casserole dish to bulk cook your meals can come in extremely handy in avoiding the stress that may come with daily cooking.
Tip: If cooking is something you don’t enjoy, meal prep your meals weekly and batch cook a few dishes you can freeze and defrost hassle-free. Student lives can be busy, and cooking can take up a lot of your time!
AromaWorks create the most beautifully fragrant soy candles. Their blend of essential oils will help soothe the mind and calm your nerves– perfect for any exam anxieties or pressing papers due.
Tip: Have a candle you only light when doing certain activities. This could be university work, blog writing, or relaxation. Your mind will begin to associate the scent with that particular activity and reduce distraction.
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