Wednesday 5 October
We are now a few days into October and, if you are a student like me, I hope that you have settled in at your school or university and ready for the new term.
New months for me mean a reset. September was full of end-of-summer parties and socials, saying goodbye to friends as we departed for the new year of university and departing from summer. Along with October and Autumn often comes days of overwhelm and anxiety, even sadness from the colder and darker days. Motivation is often something that we feel far from.
This is the very reason why I believe a change in mindset is needed for this new season, new month, new start.
A new mindset means setting some goals and boundaries for yourself. For me, these are quite different to my goals over summer. Over summer, I focused on enjoying the present moment (something which is important any day and month of the year, but particularly over summer) and visiting new places and spending time with friends and family. Summer also saw me constantly and passively working on my relationship with food and my process of recovery, two things which have improved beyond what I ever imagined they could over only a few months. This month, my goals are slightly different.
Goal one: I am choosing to focus on balance. Goal number two is creating this sustainable and stable routine which can be consistent, involving this balance between study and self-care.
Over the summer, as I have talked about a lot, I had little routine. Now I am getting back into routine and finding a balance between socialising, studying and time for myself. This is goal number one: balance.
This is crucial to get right during these times, especially as the new term has just started, we need to get off on the right foot.
Another important goal for me this month is to set limits and boundaries for myself.
I need to be careful not to be too hard on myself and give myself regular breaks and allow for days when the motivation just isn’t there. This involves having quiet days on my own in the flat, having reset days, and days away from studying or even off my phone. Along with boundaries, comes the idea of not forcing yourself to do something when you don’t want to. Just because I feel like I have to socialise doesn’t mean I actually do. I need to focus on myself and prioritise my mental health and protect my energy, otherwise this could all fall apart quite easily. These are goals number four and five.
Goal six is to treat myself little and often.
Take myself on coffee dates, buy lunch out every now and again. Don’t restrict myself to the bare necessities. Yes, student living isn’t necessarily a luxury, but if buying a coffee a couple times of the week makes me happy and is an act of self care, I will allow myself to do that.
The next goal is to make time for my friends and socialising.
Although I need to protect my own mental state (and yes this is a big priority of mine), along with balance comes seeing people. Spending time with friends is often an energy giver and can also make their day. We have to remember that although we are living our own lives, our friends could also do with a hug or chat every so often. It is important we are there for them like we are with ourselves when we get to this stage of self-improvement.
My final goal is to acknowledge all those little achievements (and big ones) I make on a daily basis.
Maybe one day all I do is get out of bed. That day, that is the biggest achievement and worth noting. Another day I might get accepted to my dream job. Another it might be completing that dreadful assignment. My point here is that every day is different and thus we need to be proud of the little things we do everyday and don’t be hard on ourselves on the days where we seem to not do much. For me this is vital in recovery, as I see progress every time I eat without thinking how I can make up for this later or without checking the calories first, or getting seconds or eating the required three snacks a day. For a lot of people, the fact that I get extremely overwhelmed with the feeling of success each time I eat, for example, pizza or drink beer, seems silly, but for me this is one of the biggest achievements I have ever done.
What are some of your goals/change of mindset for this month?