[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ow cool and ethereal do these photos look? I’m not sure why. Something to do with the ISO and rubbish lighting outside probably. They’re all floaty! Anyway, today I’m going to be talking about looking after yourself at university. This one might be a bit of an obvious blog post, and you may be thinking ‘ugh Imii I know how to boil an egg what even is your point?’ but these things don’t come naturally to a lot of people, including myself, so I’m gonna educate y’all. Sit down and grab a brew. (Grabbing a brew counts as lesson 0.5 – always grab a brew when doing anything that involves sitting).
1. EAT PROPER MEALS WHENEVER YOU CAN
Okay so I’m going to start with the obvious one, because it’s an important one. I’m sorry guys and gals, but if you spend your three/four/whatever years at uni living of nuggets, you’re going to end up feeling like a nugget. Chewed up and reformed and then forced into a hot oven to go crispy. You’ll feel rubbish. By all means, nom those nuggets, but try to fit in a few vegetables here and there. Stirfies are my uni food hero. Quick, easy, and filling. They’re also a lot cheaper. I don’t mean to sound like your mum on this one but I beg you, stop eating yellow crap for every meal. Life’s too short to feel bloaty and meh all day, every day. I’m also going to add exercise to this section. Do some exercise – even if it’s walking to lectures instead of getting the bus. Even if it’s just once a week. Do something other than sit.
2. FRESH FLOWERS
Bit of a weird one but hear me out. Picture the scene, you’re alone in your uni room, as you have been for the last six hours. Your essay sits before you, looking pretty blank and meh. You’ve drunk all the tea you can manage and the room is starting to smell like hot milk. You look around you, and there by the window is a pretty bunch of flowers. Another living thing. Keeping you company through the small hours and smelling fresh as, well, daisies. I relied on flowers so much in Paris. Living alone in my flat, it was nice to have something else alive in there, something else breathing (or, like, what flowers do). Cheaper than a night out, flowers really are miracle workers.
3. TAKE SOME ‘YOU TIME’ TO DO SOMETHING THAT WILL MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD
I always make a conscious effort to have nice nails while at uni. Whether they’re painted or just clean and bare, I like them to look good. When they look good, I feel good. The same applies to things like having clean hair, putting on a BB cream, or just putting on underwear… If there’s something tiny that makes you feel better, do it. I’m not counting sport in this one because uni sport can be quite stressful or whatever, so this section is literally only for the tiny tiny things. Read a book. Go to the beauty salon for a gel manicure. Get your boo to give you a foot massage (something I’ve only just discovered and it’s amaaazing). Bake a godamn cake. Keep a diary. Just do something that isn’t writing essays or reading for seminars or working or having to proper socialise. Do something for yourself, for ten minutes.
4. MAKE YOUR UNI ROOM YOURS
Can I just be a really bitter person right now and say that I got into the whole Hygge thing back in May and never thought to mention it at all and now it’s a big deal and I’m like oh hi okay? Yeah.
Anyway, hipster bitterness aside, Hygge is a really cool, handy concept when it comes to university. Chances are, where you live at uni won’t be the Ritz. Small rooms, mismatched furniture, weird noises and smells, general brokenness, and everything else that comes with a university residence. Fixing it is, thankfully, quite easy. Make your room just a little bit homely. I recommend big blankets, a few treasures from home (like photos, your fave teddy, etc.) and candles. Just pad out your room a little bit so that it’s something other than a bed, a desk, your clothes and some books. You have to live there, remember, and a year can pass slowly or quickly and you never know which it’ll be. Make your room somewhere you’re happy to go back to after a long day in the library.
5. CUT OUT THE NEGATIVE NELLIES
At uni, you don’t have to be friends with everyone. You’d be exhausted and sad and angry all the time if you were. There’s no point. You’re not there long enough to need to be in everyone’s good books. Make firm friends and pick them properly. You’ll find your squad and you’ll find your anti-squad. People are different. It doesn’t make them bad people, necessarily, and it doesn’t make you better or worse than them either. Uni offers you the luxury of being able to pick your friends based around your interests and if you have nothing in common, nothing forces you to hang around together. You’re worth so much more than to hang around with people you just don’t click with when there are like minded people out there. Join societies and make friends that will look after you no matter what, if you need them.
6. LOOK AFTER YOUR INTIMATE HEALTH
By intimate health I mean everything. I mean STIs and birth control and UTIs and wearing decent fabrics and period positivity and literally everything. Use a contraception that really works for you and suits you (do as much research as you can), get yourself screened regularly for STIs and such like, even if you use condoms or have a stable partner, get yourself to the doctor if you have any concerns at all.
Why is there such a stigma around the idea of looking after yourself, when it comes to your sexual and intimate health? Why are STI tests and infections like cystitis and thrush so hush hush? (Cough. Patriarchy. Cough.)
So, as it says down there at the bottom, I’ve teamed up with Canesten and their ‘Stay Fresh, Freshers!’ campaign to share some knowledge about cystitis. Cystitis affects around 40% of women and is normally caused by an easily treated bacterial infection. If it’s your first time with the infection then obviously head to your doctor and they can advise you further, but if not and you’re all chill, then Canesten offer the perfect products to keep you happy and well, as well as some great advice for avoiding and preventing any unpleasantries.
Long story short, just look after yourself, okay? Keep yourself fresh and happy and loving life, and don’t let the haters get you down.
This post was written in collaboration with Canesten, but all thoughts are my own.1