Words by Gemma Hirani.

More often than not, you find yourself having five mental breakdowns a week when you’ve got a dissertation to write. The pressure of having to write around 10,000 words – coherent words – is absolutely daunting. However there are little things you can be doing (and using) to help yourself feel just that little better. If you’re in the right state of mind, you’ll also produce great stuff! It’s simple but effective.

There are a lot of soothing things that I find you can build into your daily routine to kick that dissertation stress right up the… the… *bottom*. So I’ve whittled those things down to a handy 5 that can help you through the toughest of times:


I found that sipping on some kind of herbal tea boosts productivity. Maybe it’s because I’m British and like vampires thrive off sucking blood, Britons thrive off drinking tea 24/7. Or maybe its because taking occasional sips of tea while writing gives you very short breaks. These two or three good seconds of sipping tea makes the process of writing feel a little less intensive than if you were to just sit down and write for hours on end. It also replaces one type of procrastination – picking up your phone or switching to another tab on your laptop and taking quizzes to find out what type of bread you are – with a healthier and motivational kind.

The kind of tea you drink, of course, is up to you. However I find that herbal tea is much better. It’s a lot healthier, has a variety of different flavours (including special blends for stress, sleep, detoxing, etc.), and can boost your metabolism without the caffeine withdrawals you’d get with coffee. But also, who doesn’t like a big warm hug? If you’re a loner like me tea is the closest you’ll probably ever get to one.

A few teas I would recommend are Pukka’s ‘Night Time’ tea, Sencha Green Tea (any brand will do), Teapig’s ‘Super Berry’ tea, and T2’s ‘New York Breakfast’ tea (for those who hate herbal teas and breathe in milk on a daily basis).


We often associate showers and baths with the feeling of freshness. It’s like an instant rebirth. No need to sin, die, and be reborn as a cockroach to achieve that kind of liberation. Long baths and showers will do the trick. When you feel fresh, you also feel more awake and ready to go. Even if you’re taking a break and its the middle of the day, take a shower or a bath. Not only does the prospect of having one or the other motivate you, it also gives you a kind of spiritual energy that no drink or food really can. Its probably one of the best things you can do to keep yourself motivated, happy, and productive.

If you have access to a bath, try using products that will relax and freshen you up even more such as soaks, scrubs, bubbles, bath bombs, bath melts, essential oils, and bath salts. You can get these at most drug stores and UNIdays even offers a Superdrug discount (for free, just download the app). SCORE: 1 for cheap and stressed students, 0 for the middle man. If you don’t have access to a bath, try a swimming pool. I’m sure they’ll let you toss a Lush bath bomb in for the lols.


While we do have the whole morning to get writing, a lot of us decide it would be better to procrastinate the whole day away and instead do this at night and end up looking half dead the next day. Zero sleep and two designer bags under your eyes as a result isn’t the most ideal thing. It can stress you out even more!

What would be great is if you could at least keep one of those nasty buggers away. Reducing those dark circles can make you look more awake and although it may be hard to believe, also feel awake. If those pesky things aren’t there to remind you that you only had three hours of sleep, you’ll believe you’re actually awake and feel a lot better about yourself in general.

You can easily look less like you’re dying on the inside by using the right kind of eye creams. The best one I’ve ever used is ‘Eysilix’ by Indeed Labs. I have the worst dark circles known to man and even this accessible drugstore eye cream fixed those right up. Not to mention their stuff is always half price (even more) at Boots.


Music works wonders. Putting together the perfect playlist can take you from 0 productivity to Shakespeare level writing.

Popping on a pair of headphones out and blocking out everything around you stops you from procrastinating through other means (kinda). Listening to music that you love also puts you in a better mood. The happier you are, the more you write and the better you can write. If you find music too distracting, why not try listening to music in other languages? At least then you won’t be able to understand what is being said and remove the level of distraction you would get if you listened to something in a language that you do understand. #stanbts


Nothing can make you feel relaxed more than a pampering face mask. Those things make you feel as if you’re in a spa, away from all the troubles of the world. Like tea and hot baths, they also have a certain way of changing our mentality by making us feel more fresh. There really is no downside to using these babies. They make your skin look a lot more bright, feel incredibly soft, and when you have them on they make you look like a right idiot.

Like what you read? Check out Gemma’s amazing blog:  Electra Heart



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