I have been a student for almost 10 years now, I have little savings, no money for my pension and I am almost 30yo and currently live on a student salary. Like many of us, we decide to do a PhD for passion not definitely with the ambition of becoming rich folks. Many of us suffer from chronic anxiety, tend to burn out easily and have little time to rest and put their wellbeing as a priority. There is always this misconception that self-care is expensive because the idea media and social media portray about self-care is a weekend in fancy and expensive resorts, hotels and spas. In my opinion, self-care is more about the little things that you do every day to feel better about yourself and release all the stress after a long day of work. How did I do that?
After living in shared houses for so many years, I decided to step up with my status of student and decided to live in a nice house in a non-student location. Nottingham is a fairly affordable city and this helped a lot. Living with random people or even friends is a challenge. Everyone has their own routine and lifestyle. People aren’t necessarily good or bad, but they are okay if they suit our lifestyle or expectation of what a good housemate should be and aren’t okay if they don’t! Because you really don’t need any more headache arguing over cleanings, noise at night etc, my advice is to invest a little bit of money in having a nice house. If you have a partner, it’s a great advantage, but if you don’t consider renting an unfurnished house. You might have up to £200 a month on rent by making such a choice. Ikea, Argos have loads of great furniture at a very affordable price and you can always buy second hand. Since a PhD is a 4+ year commitment, you really make an investment and you can resell your stuff when you leave the property.
I love my current house, I bought everything that it’s here and I furnished it according to my own taste and preferences. It’s my sanctuary and I really look forward to coming back home every day. It’s so nice that I don’t even want to go out some days because I am too comfy at home.
You really don’t need any more headache arguing over cleanings, noise at night etc after a long day of science.
As much as I love cooking and preparing my own meals, I like to treat myself with some nice food. However, I rarely go to expensive restaurants. There are loads of places, mostly indipendent cafes that cook really nice food at a very cheap and affordable price. I am lucky enough to work close the best cafe in Nottingham run by my friend Jordana. She cooks delicious meals, balanced in proteins, carbs and fat at a very cheap price. When I have a bit of spare time or even if I don’t, I tend to pop in and get a coffee or something to eat. It really changes my mood and I always feel much better afterwards. You can tell that I went there straight from the lab because I always forget to put down my safety specs before going. Plus, you might be surprised to know that I paid only £7 for this awesome looking dish and a nice decaf cappuccino.
Treat yourself with a nice meal which doesn’t necessarly mean going to expensive restaurants.
As said in the introduction, you really don’t need to spend a crazy amount of money for a one-day treatment at a beauty centre. Many gyms have their own spa and you can buy a one-day pass to use their facilities. They have very basic stuff, such a swimming pool, jacuzzi, a steam room and sauna but it is better than nothing, isn’t it? They membership are quite expensive than normal gyms, but if you have the budget, I would definitely recommend going to one of these gyms. Usually Virgin gyms offer this full package and as far as I know, they are located pretty much in very city. I went yesterday and it was glorious. I needed it so much and I had the best night sleep in years afterwards.
Many gyms have their own spa and you can buy a one-day pass to use their facilities.
If you really can’t afford to pay £15 for a gateway, smart up and make your own one-day treatment at home. Buy scented candles, bath shower gel and make your own treatment. I gave an interview to Paige for her polished professional section talking about my self-care routine at home. One of the best things I have done is buying this book and learn how to make bath bombs at home. I made a big mess in the kitchen but I managed to make them. You only need citric acid, sodium bicarbonate and dry rose petals. You could use essential oils too but I do not recomend them if you have allergies or sensitive skin. You also need some moulds otherwise you end up making a mess in the kitchen as I did! Don’t forget to add a nice meal, which you can easily cook at home.
It might not sound fancy, but ultimately you can make your own treatments at home.
Finally, on a daily basis, I really stopped watching TV at night. I watch BBC News in the morning and this is enough. Every day after 8pm, I lie down on my sofa, put relaxing musing on YouTube, do meditation and read a nice book, for ideas which book start reading, I put together a nice list here. I already spend so much time in front of a screen than I don’t want to clog my brain with any more digital stuff at night.
Treat yourself like a queen/king every day the all day because you really deserve it!