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On my blog, I have previously spoken about running and an injury I suffered in the past, which unfortunately flared up again when I tripped on a flat surface and caused the same soft tissue injury again. BUT I am better, and fitter than five/six weeks ago as I just ran 4.01 miles today in 50 minutes whilst, still having a few twinges in my ankle. It’s better than last weeks slow and steady-test the water two mile run so, that means I am getting there.
As someone who now loves to stay fit and healthy, with the busy schedule and injury I’ve had meant running really was not an option and so, I was stressed and tired and feeling a little trapped. Because that little run is what make me less stressed and allows my brain to re-focus. I cannot tell you how many times, I’ve been running and had an epiphany on how to complete some work. I do not know what magic this is, and I do not question it…I just utilise it.
Now, around this time last year if you told me I was going to get back into running, start losing weight and be fit enough to run over six miles when I am back on full form I would have told people they were joking…but, here I am running and happy about it. You see this showed me I could achieve little goals I set for myself, it served to re-motivate me after I had lost all motivation, and did not like where I was in terms of health and fitness. It further allowed me to continue the positive mindset I had chosen to adopt by then and it worked. There is nothing like a good run to get better, feel better and be better.
When I saw this daily prompt, I instantly knew I was going to write about running, and injuries and life. But, that is what made me feel better;
-about what I could achieve
And to further prove my point, my grades improved, I was smiling more because I had no negativity and I was running. I aim to continue that positive mindset, I aim to continue improving my health, I want to get better, and be better!
As my final university year comes to a close, with the triumphs and breakdowns. I think it would be useful to think about what I wish I had been told before I begun my final undergraduate year at university. From triumph to breakdown, I’ve been through it all. Therefore, I feel more than qualified to pass on my wisdom.
Here is a list of things I wish I’d have been told before third year, on how to deal with third year:
Breakdowns are unavoidable, and they happen. You just have to let the emotions out and you’ll feel better.
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I know if you are a second year you’ve probably heard the joke about the amount of breakdowns a third year student has, and I bet you think that it is a little extreme! Well, let me tell you I reached my limit, three-four times this year and I’ve heard about other students experiencing more. It happens, and when it does just accept it. You’ve bottled the stress up so much, you’ve built the pressure of the dissertation in your head and you’re attempting to have a life. You have to release it. It’s not conducive to a proper work environment. And I can personally tell you, the emotion may overcome you at a random time when work is not even in front of you. It could be the littlest thing to push you.
You cannot control everything, no matter how organised you are.
It’s true. You might be the most organised student in the world but, you cannot control third year. The first two years you’ve developed a system, you know when you work best and how you work. But, with all the running around you are bound to get ill. The dissertation is at the back of your mind and it is a constant stresser. And stress is not good for your health-mentally or physically. Which leads me to my next point…
Make time for yourself!
I run. That is my me-time. You have to find an activity in third year solely for you. Something you like to do, that helps you because whilst friends are great. You need to have time to yourself as we all work differently so someone elses early finish, is another persons late start. But don’t place pressure on yourself because of this! You work out whats best for you.
Don’t place all your energy into producing a dissertation. It is just one module!
The dissertation is one module, and it is worth twenty credits. And I KNOW it has a huge build up to it but, there are other assignments who deserve as much attention, as the dissertation does. And each assignment is just as important as the dissertation. I worked one assignment at a time, and I achieved firsts in every module in the beginning of third year.
But don’t forget the dissertation either…
While, you shouldn’t place all your energy into the dissertation, you shouldn’t forget about it either. It is a huge undertaking research and you need to work out what is best for you. Keep in contact with your tutors, they are there to help and guide you and the worst thing you could do is not utilise the resource that is available to you. The tutors want to see you succeed!
Make a schedule- and stick to it.
You don’t want to be someone who does all the work in their final weeks for the dissertation. It is a year around module, and so use the year constructively. Set yourself tasks and complete them on schedule. And again, if you work well with deadlines then inform your tutor. They can set you deadlines for completing work, which keeps you on target. So, I found all my books and resources, and episodes within first semester for my dissertation. I completed notes on it by the end of January, due to a few hiccups I encountered- getting the flu for the first time in my life. And then my tutor set me a deadline for a completed draft, which I had to push by a week due to illness and injury. But, I still had three weeks till the deadline to do any alterations.
You may find yourself struggling and that is okay. There are university services available to you, through student support or the library. So, if you are unsure about referencing then sign up to a library session and grab the help you need. If you see a support tutor every week due to a learning issue, then make sure to show them your work. Sometimes, you look at something so much, the words begin to jumble and it just takes another set of eyes to pick up on good points or issues with your work. But, it is not just the people employed by university. Did you know that aside from you, the harshest critic of your work will most likely be a student so, tell your friends you would like them to read work and use them. For the most part, it is likely they are in the same position. But, remember to tell them to give you a truthful opinion, if it needs changing it needs changing.
It’s time to start thinking about the future…scary!
It may be a scary thought but, third year is about looking to the future and beginning to make life choices. Now, not everyone knows what they want to do and you know what that is okay. However, you need to have some plan so, you can begin planning your year around the next move in your life. I have decided I would like to work for the next year, before returning to gain a Masters degree. So, I have a plan. But, that won’t stop me from applying for jobs. Set up as many paths as possible and then you can choose which one you will take a journey down, as in the future you can always decide to change direction and jump onto another path.
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University isn’t the only thing in your life, and whilst third year may be stressful and take over your life it shouldn’t. Go and have fun. You don’t have to work constantly to get good grades, so meet with friends, go out and have fun. Or use spare time to develop yourself, it is as simple as setting up a blog or learning a new language or planning to travel. There are a million options in life, and you can pick from them all. Just have fun. For most of you, it’ll be the last year and although university is where we make the friends we’ll probably keep for life, go and have fun.
If your active, an exerciser or just like to keep in shape sometimes around Christmas you let your workout routine slip. It can be for a variety of reasons- some beyond your control and others completely in your control! For example, I was hankered down by deadlines and suffering from a knee injury which turned out to be a ligament issue so, every time I walked, did stairs or stayed in a position where my knees were bent for a period of time- I was in agony. On top of that I had ASSIGNMENT deadlines to focus on, and that meant exercising slipped.
I managed to find some time, I slipped in a couple of days of yoga and did plenty of crunches, press-up, leg raises, squats among other exercises as well as maintaining a healthy diet I didn’t put weight on over the holidays-SCORE! But, once assignments were in, illness had been beaten and my knee finally healed I had no excuses and so, last weekend I completed my first run of the year-just under four miles and it was bliss which has led to the kick start in my exercise routine again. However, I will have to build some fitness back- four miles felt like what six miles felt like last year so, I have some work to do but, my trusty new running gear with some old favourites should have myself back in shape, in no time!
Now, I’m looking for more videos on YouTube to kick start the fitness, and fit it ALL around University, Dissertation work etc. Its back to normal life, I will say I need to get my food habits back in check- we all have cheeky cheat days over Christmas and I was one of those few. I will say being ill helped, I didn’t feel as hungry all the time and I’ve drunk so much green tea to get warm, I think I’ll being pee-ing tea soon enough! Anyway, there are a few ways to get out of that Christmas slump from my own experience and here they are:
Don’t Stop Exercising Over Christmas- If you stop exercising you are bound to get into a slump so, even if it’s walking your new dogs (remember dogs are for life, not just for CHRISTMAS) or going for a walk to get away from the stress of wrapping, decorating and speaking to the countless family members, do it! It’s exercise, and I can tell you that the stress will disappear and you’ll feel like you can conquer the world. And yes, I know it is cold but that should be no reason for you to stop- there are hats, gloves and scarves to help you equip this. And, if it really is to cold then, fire up that dusty exercise DVD you got a few Christmases ago and get started with that, or google exercises on the internet. There is no reason for you to stop.
Get the Family Involved- Your family may not exercise, they may tell you to give yourself a rest because you’ve exercised all year and when you see them gorging on chocolate and sweets, buns and mince pies it is hard to resist but, if you exercise you won’t have to. If your family try to get you to join the couch potato-way get them involved. If you have young kids go for a walk, its the holiday’s and even for the kids after the first week off we become bored and we’ve played with everything. If you have family members talking about wanting to lose weight, vowing to start after Christmas get them involved early, or start together in the January and be each others motivator.
Just Get that First Exercise Day Over With!- Yes, it is hard to get back into the exercise after a break so start small and do some crunches but, if you are a runner like me, it is all about getting that first run out of the way and then you’ll remember why you exercise in the first place. So, go the gym and get started and you’ll feel the burn but, that is how you know its working!
And I know, you may attend the gym year round, or go to the park for your run and there is more people out that normal and your running route is clogged but, that’s the way it works. It may be frustrating that you cannot get onto the treadmill but, soon the people who are purely there for a “new years resolution” will disappear because until they are exercising for themselves, NOT a resolution they’ll stop turning up to the gym and by February order will be restored. So, that is my few tips and I apologise for not posting in a while but, assignments and other tasks that needed completing got in the way and made me busy.