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Getting back into a routine after the holidays

January 8, 2024
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After some well-deserved time off, it’s time to return to College or University after the holidays. Getting back into a full-swing routine after the winter break can be a lot more of a struggle than after the other half terms. However, it’s so important to make some effort and take some time to mentally prepare and organise yourself so that as you go back to your studies, you can really get your head in the game. So, here are some tips to help you start the new year as you mean to go on!

Create a schedule

If you haven’t created one already, making a weekly or monthly schedule (whatever works best for you) can be a helpful way of organising what time you spend revising and completing assignments. Allocating time for the tasks you need to complete will stop you from being overwhelmed with last minute cramming. If you start off by creating a schedule for over the space of a week, as you start to go back to lessons or lectures, you’ll get more into the rhythm of having a routine. As you get back into the term, you’ll know more about upcoming exams or reviews you may have and can slowly start planning and marking your calendar further in advance with important dates.

When you are scheduling, also make sure you make time for yourself! Whether that’s through seeing friends and family or practising your favourite hobbies, having some time outside of your studies can be helpful for your mental health and can also make getting into a routine a bit easier. Enrichment sessions offered at Middlesbrough College are another great example of this, and they can even be  added to your schedule in free periods! Making time for the things you love can feel like a little reward or a motivator through the week to stick to your schedule and keep working hard. The most difficult part is the beginning, but once you get going, you’ll thank yourself later for it!

SLEEP!

Another habit that can be easy to fall out of during the holidays is maintaining your sleeping schedule. It’s understandable when your plans are usually a lot different than they were before you broke up, but getting back into a healthy sleeping routine is vital! Sleep is such an important factor of your physical and mental health, affecting your focus, memory functions, mood swings, your immune system and more. There are countless articles and blogs about the importance of sleep, and the main point for students is that a lack of sleep can negatively affect your performance in class. If you struggle with managing to get the right amount of rest, having a weekly schedule as mentioned can also help to make sure you’re getting the sleep you need. However, sometimes it’s not as easy as that, so if you struggle to fall asleep at first, try to do the following:

Reduce your caffeine intake: You should avoid caffeine for at least 6 hours before bed as it makes it much harder to fall asleep!

No electronic screens before bed: Studies have shown that the blue light produced from screens, such as your phone and laptop, stimulates the brain and stops you from producing the hormone that makes it easier to switch off and fall asleep, causing your sleep to be disrupted. So, give yourself an hour or two of time before bed where you aren’t sat scrolling through your phone or watching TV. It’ll be much easier for you to fall asleep and get a good night’s rest!

Wind down time before bed: Another way to have a better night’s sleep is to dedicate an hour or so to calming and winding down. In the time that you’re avoiding your screen, winding down can include guided meditations, reading, a relaxing bath and so on. Having some sort of routine like this before bed is a chance to let go of any stress or anxiety from the day and can be beneficial for your overall mental health.

Set some realistic goals

As cliché as it sounds, setting some resolutions in the new year can be a helpful motivator to get back on track. They don’t have to necessarily be goals for the end of the year but can be short-term. For example, moving up a grade in your next exam or try and learn a new skill. Even setting small goals throughout the year alongside your studies can be that extra boost of motivation to get yourself going again.

The College can give extra support if you need help getting back into a routine! We offer our students:

Student counselling: Trained professionals that are available to all students to help give support and guidance for whatever may be causing you to feel overwhelmed and stressed when coming back to your studies. This service is confidential and free!

Learning Resource Centre: Perfect study environment and library that is available to all students if you’re struggling to find the right environment to study.

We hope you all had some lovely and well-deserved time off and that this blog helps you start your year as you mean to go on!