My perfect day off: How I stay refreshed in January

02 Jan 2020
By Emma D, Writer at Aston University

With deadlines and exams scattered across the start of the year, it’s easy to feel a little bogged down by all the work. Because of this, it’s important to make time to take a break.

But how exactly do you make the most of the rare days off? Well here’s what I do...

Enjoy a lazy morning

When it comes to mornings, I like to take it slow. That’s not exactly unusual for me (I’m not a morning person and anyone who knows me personally will tell you this), but I make a specific point of taking it slow on a day off.

That means my alarm is turned off completely and I just wake up when I want to, rather than when I have to. Once I’m up, it’s time for coffee and a good breakfast. If I’m really treating myself, I’ll buy breakfast from one of my favourite spots, but more often than not it’ll just be a decent spread that I’ve made myself.

Over breakfast I like to spend time watching YouTube, whether that’s video interviews with my favourite musicians or catching up on content from my favourite Youtubers. Essentially, I just like anything that allows me to switch off and takes my mind off the things I have to do.

Get productive in the afternoon

I tend to spend my free afternoons doing something productive, but also something that I love. Around 90% of the time that involves writing, whether it’s planning and writing blog posts for my personal blog, InvincibleWomanOnWheels, or working on articles like this for Unite Students.

To be honest, I really struggle doing absolutely nothing, so my afternoons are spent doing something that’s unrelated to my degree. Something that I do purely for a love of writing and creating content. Something without too much deadline pressure, where I write purely as inspiration strikes.

For the rest of the afternoon I watch my favourite TV shows. Depending on how taxing recent weeks have been and how tired I am, it’s either a new favourite from my watchlist, like Dexter (yes, I know it’s old, but I’m still trying to finish the series), or an old favourite that I’ve seen a thousand times, like Sons of Anarchy.

Fill the evening with experiences

Evenings are made for live events, and I try to get to as many as I can as often as possible. Whether it’s a live concert or a mixed martial arts event, I can’t properly explain how much a live event eliminates stress for me.

A live show is special. It puts me in a room with people that I know love the artist or sport as much as I do and we’re all there for one purpose. It blocks out every other stress in the world, if only for a few hours, and in stressful periods like exam and deadline season, it’s a lifesaver.

If I can’t get to a live event I’ll settle for watching mixed martial arts on the TV. I normally watch it alone, purely because it requires my full concentration in order to relax and forget everything else and destress.

Plus, when you’re as avid a fan as I am, having to pause in order to explain moves to someone else can get a bit stressful, which is the exact opposite of the stress relief it’s supposed to be!

Now, I’m not saying you have to get into mixed martial arts to stay refreshed through January, but I would encourage you to find your ‘thing’. Whatever it ends up being, it’ll go a long way to keeping you sane over the next few weeks.

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Emma is a 23-year-old MSc Cognitive Neuroscience student at Aston University and who lives in Birmingham.