2019 has been bursting with surprises and realisations. It’s the year that the Notre Dame was engulfed in roaring flames. The year that destruction would be unleashed on King’s Landing in a slow-paced, anticlimactic showdown in the long-awaited Game of Thrones finale. And the year that I would have to adjust to life during my placement year, after having spent two whirlwind years of student life in Bath.
I could no longer saunter into my housemate’s room with an enormous cup of tea and cosy dressing gown. Instead, with my friends now scattered across the globe, I had to embrace this new chapter of my life.
When it comes to adopting a healthy lifestyle and new environments, your health and well-being can sometimes take a back burner. You end up having so much fun that your well-being sometimes comes second. With tempting new experiences surrounding you every single day, it can be hard to take a step back from the excitement to focus on you. Here are some tips to keep an eye on your well-being on placement.
Find a work-life balance that’s perfect for you
“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
It’s an age-old saying but it can be surprisingly easy to overlook. As a student, you always subconsciously keep an eye on expenses. With the looming debt from tuition fees, pricey bus passes and the high cost of living in Bath, it can be easy to live from payslip to payslip on placement. Your finances can become even more stretched as a student or intern abroad. For example, I currently earn three times less in Bordeaux than my summer job back home, but with a few money-saving hacks, it’s essential to make the most of what your new home has to offer.
While you don’t have a mortgage looming over you, take advantage of the student discounts and do the things you want to do. Book that weekend getaway with your friends… go to that concert you’re longing to see… whatever it is, create memories and make the most out of your current freedom!
Also keep in mind that your new employer could decide to offer you a job post-graduation, so it’s worth making a lasting impression from the get-go. If you look to maintain a work-life balance, it may be one of the most rewarding, eye-opening experiences during your university years.
Food, glorious food!
Healthy eating habits and well-being go hand-in-hand. On placement, the new lifestyle can make it easy to lose track of what you’re eating. Equally, it can be tempting to try out as many of the local delicacies as possible. When settling into my placement year in Bordeaux, I was instantly drawn to the abundance of crepes and pastries… not to mention my new home was the wine capital of the world!
However, I soon discovered plenty of healthy alternatives. Local markets lined the streets every Saturday morning with fresh fruit, veg and seafood, taking advantage of Bordeaux’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Unexpectedly, the town hall even offered free recipe books filled with nutritious, mouth-watering dishes. Nine times out of ten, the local cuisine is much more budget-friendly, healthier and tastes better!
“Relax… Take it Easy”
In the words of the famous French singer, Mika, one of the best (yet often overlooked) ways of enhancing your well-being on placement is to simply relax and take it easy. Chances are you’ll have had a whirlwind summer, frantically scouring the Internet for a room to rent and battling the never-ending administration that placement preparation entails.
In other words, you deserve to unwind and temporarily escape from everyday life. Set aside even half an hour each day to do whatever you want to do. Whether it’s hitting the gym, Skyping friends from home or checking out the latest film at the cinema, this “me time” will do wonders for your head space and well-being!
In a nutshell
Achieving that ‘feel-good’ sensation can make or break your placement year. Focus on finding the work-life balance that best suits you, pay attention to your eating habits, carve out time for YOU… and just like Michael Bublé, before long you’ll be “feelin’ good.”