Seasonal self-care for students

Jack Kennedy gives tips on surviving the second half of Michaelmas term

I have been a student for an amount of time that’s on the verge of becoming embarrassing, and over the years I’ve garnered some experience in dealing with all of these things, which I’d like to share. 

The hangover

The hangover is the closest thing the average university student has to an archenemy. The best bits of advice on dealing with hangovers are the least useful. You already know that you should drink slower, and that you should drink water between alcoholic drinks and before you go to bed. You also know that dark spirits and red wine are bad news. But those things seemed less important last night, and now you find yourself lying in bed feeling like the Fellow’s Square grass cutting robot is inside your skull. So what do you do?

First off, atone for your previous mistakes. Drink lots of water. You’ll probably want to as soon as you wake up anyway, but keep it up throughout the day if you want to feel human by dinner time. Rehydration takes more than just water too, so get your hands on some dioralyte, a sports drink, or salted pretzels.

If you, like me, feel the urge to feed the gaping maw of your hangover with greasy food, stop by the Kilkenny Shop on Nassau Street. While best known for selling overpriced kitsch to tourists as they emerge bleary-eyed from the Old Library, it also has a restaurant on the first floor. Before 11.30am, it’ll serve you a passable full Irish breakfast and a hot drink for €8.95. There’s also always something to be said for the classic breakfast roll, but it just isn’t the same since we lost the Spar outside the Arts Block. For those who prefer something more wholesome, Chopped still exists and Sprout has returned.

“the GMB is the ideal place to nap after an unfortunate early morning class.”

For anyone with a Hist or Phil membership, the GMB is the ideal place to nap after an unfortunate early morning class. Find yourself a couch in one of the conversation rooms, which are usually empty before lunch, and curl up for an hour. With the building near-silent and the morning light streaming through the tall windows, it’s a comforting environment in which to rest and consider the decisions that led you to this point. Remember that feeling, and try to use it to guide your drinking habits in future. I’ve never managed, but it’s important to have dreams.

The sniffles

As before, the most important thing is prevention. Wash your hands regularly and shame those around you who don’t cover their mouths when sneezing. Drink lots of orange juice too; apart from just preventing you getting scurvy during your first years living alone, there’s also some evidence to suggest regular vitamin C intake can reduce the severity of the common cold for particular demographics.

If you are struck down by illness, take it easy. Again, napping and indulgent food are the order of the day. The Chaplaincy lunch on Tuesdays from 12.30pm usually features free soup, and they serve tea and coffee all day, every weekday. The Chaplains themselves are lovely and welcoming to all.

“Honey is a cheap, natural, and proven treatment for sore throats and coughs.”

Things like Lemsip, Sudafed and Strepsils cost money, and thus may not be an attractive option to the budget-conscious student, but there are other things you can do to make yourself feel better. Honey is a cheap, natural, and proven treatment for sore throats and coughs. You can take it by the spoonful, mixed with hot water, ginger and lemon, or just stirred into your regular cup of tea. Similarly, if your nose or throat are congested, spend half an hour with your face over a bowl of boiled water, inhaling the steam. It’ll clear your sinuses effectively, making you feel less miserable and preventing you driving your friends crazy with constant sniffing.

The cold

It’s everywhere. It seeps into your bones. It’s inescapable, at least until we get our first unseasonably warm day in mid-January. It makes getting out of bed for those early morning lectures even less attractive than it already was.

As always, it’s important to layer up, and invest in a couple of warm pairs of socks. Keep your KeepCup on hand for frequent hot drinks, and perhaps in the process accept that, on a cold enough day, instant coffee from the SU kitchen might be a level you can stoop to.

“You can bring a hot water bottle under your hoodie for your 9am. […] Live your best life.”

Indeed, when it gets cold enough, we often find many of our standards slipping. College isn’t like school; you can wear your pyjama bottoms under your jeans if you really want to. You can bring a hot water bottle under your hoodie for your 9am. No one is going to notice or care. Live your best life.

It is important to note though that actually going to class is usually a warmer option than skipping, tempting as that may be. Tutorial rooms and crowded theatres are usually toastier than the Arts Block foyer or, especially, the Hamilton. Still though, if you do have time to kill on campus, the GMB again has a lot to recommend it. The building’s upper floors, including the computer room, are almost uncomfortably well-heated in winter, and it’s a quiet and pleasant place to get work done on a November afternoon.

Fear not though. There are only a few weeks left in the semester, and before you know it, you’ll be finished exams and home for Christmas. Good luck with study!

Jack Kennedy

Jack Kennedy is the Editor-in-chief of the 68th edition of Trinity News. He is a Computer & Electronic Engineering graduate, and a former Assistant Editor, Online Editor, and Deputy Online Editor.