Different ways to de-stress and unwind for the upcoming deadline weeks
By Kate Marshall
With the deadlines looming, we all need a bit of TLC. It’s easy to give in to all the pressure and procrastination (believe me, this piece is an example of exactly that). But I figured, I might as well share what I’ve been loving around Keele and what I personally find super helpful when I just need to take a breather. These are just some ideas and suggestions that I find relaxing, but if you already know what works for you and the best way to treat yourself – then make sure you remember to make time for it! We all get caught up with the hustle and bustle of uni life, but self-care is so important! It’ll only reflect in your work if you’re not taking care of yourself. So be kind to yourselves guys!
NUMBER ONE: Keele Hall
I think we all know I can’t write something like this and not include a good ol’ stroll round Keele Hall. It’s stunning though, has to be said. When you think about it, we’re so lucky to have free access to an estate like that at any time in the year. I can feel a walk round Keele Hall creep up on me sometimes, you often don’t realise it – but a good walk can help so much. Even to just clear your head, and be left alone with your thoughts. I love putting my Doc’s on and losing myself throughout the different routes for an hour or so with my headphones on. That being said, my last walk round Keele Hall was on a Sunday afternoon with my dad. You don’t have to make it a solitary experience; grab a coffee/tea/hot chocolate with a friend and have a catch up (or heavy political debate – whatever floats your boat) and wander around together. We all know how useful it is to have a friend with you to get those insta-worthy snaps that Keele blesses us with every winter. All the leaves have fallen and it’s just so pretty to get lost in! So, you can’t go wrong with a bit of love towards Keele Hall every now again. In the summer it gives us welcoming and gorgeous picnic opportunities and I don’t know about you – but I am SO excited for the snow to come again this year and shower Keele Hall in all it’s glory.
Also! If you’re feeling adventurous and you love listening to music, if you keep walking towards the clockhouse you can sometimes hear music students practising and tinkering away on the pianos as you walk past! I love it!
NUMBER TWO: The Markets
Quite a colourful one, fruit and veg. My mum would be so proud. But in all seriousness, the fresh fruit and vegetables sold at the market all day Tuesday & Thursday are such good value for money. I either go there or to the market stall in Newcastle-Under-Lyme and it’s so worth it- the fruit lasts so much longer! It’s also such a nice personal touch to be served by someone with a little conversation. The market, if you haven’t been already, takes place outside of the Keele Student Union. As well as the lovely hot chocolate man’s stall! Now, don’t think I’m encouraging an unhealthy lifestyle here – the fact that I’m a major sweet tooth is besides the point. But it’s the nicest thing to be warmed up by chocolately goodness on a chilly day. It could even be that hot drink you take on your walk round Keele Hall with a friend?! So, I’m mainly suggesting this as a practical warming device to hold in your hands on these icy cold days! We all need to keep warm!
NUMBER THREE: Exercise
I find that a great way to de-stress is to exercise. I’ve never really been an avid member at any gym, I go occasionally and mostly to feel better about myself rather than to improve physically. However, the girls I’m living with this year are all in great shape and live quite a nice healthy balance. Going to the gym with them has been a great way to stay fit and keep on top of the stress. I’ve always loved running and it’s been great just to escape from the piles of work and sweat it out. We go to Xercise4Less in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, (opposite Dominoes) and I really recommend it. It’s a reasonable price per month, with 20% off for students making it £12.79. It has a real range of facilities: over 160 classes each month, weight training, a huge variety of cardio machines, several soft mat sections for independent exercises and stretches, they offer personal training and it even has a boxing ring! They let you try out your first session/induction for free so that you can get a feel for the place and they are really friendly! My personal favourite part of the gym is the upstairs Ladies Only room. It just gives girls the privacy and quiet environment to relax while they exercise – it’s got a little sample of everything in there and it’s great for a day where you’re taking it slow and don’t feel like being on show as much. This list is mainly prioritising your mental health and encouraging you guys to distract yourself from work every once in a while. But with a healthy mind, comes a healthy body and I know it’s hard to afford stud like gym memberships on a student budget so I can only suggest and recommend you all take a walk to campus every now and then. I love the steep incline the whole way, you feel like you’ve accomplished something for the day even when you end up zoning out of your lecture/seminar!
NUMBER FOUR: Just keep swimming!
Just round the corner from Xercise4Less is Jubilee2! A different gym but this one has a swimming pool and, at times where everything’s piling up on top of the other, a swim is the perfect way to recharge. It’s a really large main pool with the option to swim lengths, or at your own pace in the central section. A smaller children’s pool to the side as well and I find that Tuesday afternoon’s are the best time to go – it’s super quiet and chilled. It’s a great, easy way to exercise that I really miss from my childhood (anyone else have regular swimming lessons with school?) and I always feel so refreshed afterwards! Again, go with a friend or take a group of you! It’s always good to get out of the toxic cycle that friends can enter into when work’s due: eating, reading, sleeping & repeating!
NUMBER FIVE: Night’s Out (and In)
Have a boogie on the dancefloor! One of the ways which I know we all like to de-stress is to have an arguably regrettable night out at the SU. So many of my friends go to uni that doesn’t have an SU (madness) and I pity them profusely. I love our SU, it may be grimey and squished at the best of times but it’s such a great social hub when you’ve been hiding away like a hedgehog bashing out essays for however long. C’mon, who doesn’t love a bit of cheesy noughties music to dance the night away to? Singing our hearts out is my house’s speciality and I am very much looking forward to making some more hilarious memories at this year’s Refresher’s bar clearance. So just keep in tune with your friends and you can all arrange an evening together – it doesn’t have to be a night out! A night in? Netflix & takeaway? But just remember to keep yourself motivated. Have something to look forward to at the end of the week. My friends and I LOVE the KRAP nights on Tuesdays & Thursdays in Barnes Bar and K2. They really throw me out of my comfort zone, but every now and then you really need to throw caution to the wind and just dance like a maniac. It’s a great night to get really dressed up for as well! Thinking of any outfits that are ‘too extra,’ girls? Wear them to KRAP. I have seen so many wacky fashion choices there that I’m sure you’ll fit right in.
NUMBER SIX: The New Vic Theatre
Saving the best till last. I love this place so much! I used to live close to it last year and hear the live music and applauses in the evenings. Whatever you’re into in the area that is a little bit indulgent, a dessert at Gosto’s, a trip to VUE cinema, a hella great burger at GBK Hanley or an evening with all your mates bowling at Lymelight Lanes. Sometimes it’s a little pricey – but you are worth it! Guys we start to value ourselves numerically in education, in primary school, secondary school and now university. Those grades are important, for our future choices. But you are also so much more than those grades. We’re defined by what makes us laugh, what makes us cry and what moves us. So, hey! Did you know all of those things are easily accessible in just one trip to the theatre? It’s a beautiful theatre that is right on our doorstep and are currently performing the amazing ‘Wind and the Willows’ up until Saturday the 26th of January 2019. Written by Kenneth Grahame, adapted by Theresa Heskins and directed by the fantastic Peter Leslie Wild. Students go for £22.50! But you all get £2 knocked off of that if you go in a group larger than ten! I can’t tell you worth it a night at the theatre is, it’s the best form of escapism for me. There’s great access to drinks and refreshments throughout and a lovely opportunity to have a tasty meal there. It’s a gorgeous theatre – and well worth the money. Honestly guys, go. Or if your ‘night at the theatre’ is an evening at VUE cinema then please do it. I know we all have busy schedules, places to be and people to impress. But we are all deserving of a little self-appreciation every once in a while. I hope you found at least one thing in here helpful! And good luck to all of you with the deadlines, the essays, the lab reports and the risk assessments!