How to keep going when times are tough

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This blog post comes on a more serious note than usual, as many of us are going into that dreaded exam period. It can sometimes be hard to keep your thoughts positive in such a stressful and difficult time period, but we recognise that for some people, feeling depressed is a constant state of mind. We have written this blog post to discuss methods that we have tried, and friends of ours have recommended. As a disclaimer: we are not psychiatrists and this blog post should not replace a trip to the doctors. We encourage anyone who is experiencing dark thoughts to go to their GP, or call one of these free help hotlines.

Depression is more common than we think, with 1 in 4 people having the disease in their lifetimes. It’s more than just a mood, and can manifest itself in many different ways. Those with depression find day-to-day life increasingly difficult. Beyondblue offers a comprehensive list of signs and symptoms here: http://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/depression

Below are some of our own tips for short-term help.

  1. If a bad event happens in your life, carry on

This sounds bad. In no way shape or form are we suggesting that you completely forget what has happened, but more don’t let it bring your life to a standstill. My mum’s advice when my friend passed away was ‘don’t stop living, don’t stay at home in your room crying, make sure you keep going to work and seeing your friends.’ This piece of advice changed my life whenever anything bad happened – whether it be a breakup, a really bad mark on a test, or any event that had a negative impact on my mood.

Other wise words from the most inspirational woman in my life were ‘Nothing stays the same forever, even if things are going really badly and you are hating your life, everything is temporary’. This gave me insight that no matter how bad things are, things inevitably change and naturally you will find something that improves your quality of life eventually.

  1. If social media is making you anxious or depressed, get off it

There is quite honestly nothing worse than sitting on Facebook or Instagram and thinking that everyone is having a better time than you. A friend once said ‘Why are you comparing your everyday life to someone else’s highlight reel’. No one will ever show themselves looking bad having a boring day at home watching banal television. Even #nomakeupselfies have a filter on them. Something I personally found therapeutic was deleting the Facebook and Instagram apps (but keeping messenger) so that I was only accessing these programs on a computer. A social media detox is really good every now and again, and you will find that you stop relying on it for entertainment all the time.

  1. Exercise!

Even if it is only a walk around the block, the endorphins that your body releases when you exercise instantly make you feel better. Not only are you making your body feel good (because lets be honest, no one feels great after lying on the couch eating food all day!) but you’re also getting outside and breathing in the fresh air. Looking at the beauty that is around you is sometimes a really great way to take your mind off things.

  1. Call a friend

Sometimes feeling alone can be so overwhelming, and as humans our natural instinct when feeling depressed is to isolate ourselves even more. It’s a natural defence mechanism built into our brains, as we are feeling vulnerable and don’t want to get even more rejected. Call one of your closest friends to chat (you don’t even have to tell them you’re feeling down if you don’t want to), and instantly feel better as you two have a laugh together.

These tips are just a few that we personally believe work for us, however every person is different. If you feel as though nothing will ever get better and are having more dark days than good ones, these are warning signs that you need to get professional help. Never be afraid to reach out ❤

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Broke-Ass Student Essential: The Art of Budgeting

budgeting, money, savings, students

I can already see you yawning but believe me Broke-Ass Student life is SO much easier if you know how to budget what little money you have. You may even be able to SAVE (gasp, save money?!) yes save.  Budgeting sounds like a lot of work right? Wrong. Technology has made it easy for us, there are so many different websites that offer. Mint.com is a website that literally does the entire thing for you: it keeps track of all of your spending, categorizes it for you, analyzes it and alerts you if anything is amiss, like if you’re spending more than you’re earning (Guiltyyyyy). If you use the full functionality of the site, it can keep track of everything from where most of your money is going to on your credit card and rent. And it’s FREE.

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https://www.mint.com/ makes it so easy it so easy to keep of every dime and make money decisions you feel good about! You can set goals, whether it be a new car (you’re obviously not that broke) or get out of debt (that’s better) just enter how much money you need, set a date and link your goal to specific accounts so it’s easy to stick to your plan. It has visuals as well so you can keep up to date and track your progress.

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Goals give you something to look forward to, so you keep saving money, creating new goals and enjoying the rewards.

Mint.com provides you with so much detail!! It will automatically separate a $102 ATM withdrawal into $100 cash and $2 fee. And you can easily separate out purchases from one transaction into different categories, just in case you buy groceries, clothing and gifts all at one store.

And these are just SOME of the tools available, you can track your investments, set alerts for bills, you can also get the app which means you can see where you’re money is going while out and about.

Watch the tutorial video below to get a little more insight:

And remember it is FREE! Happy budgeting y’all.

-KL

How to deal with a break-up when you’re a Broke-Ass Student

break-ups, college, dating, happiness, romance, student life, uni

Break-ups are hard. It doesn’t matter how long you went out for, or who broke up with you, or even if you split up on good terms – it’s always difficult to lose that one person who used to be your best friend. It doesn’t help that people naturally expect you to be fine straight away – this just isn’t always the case!

When people tell you ‘just go out and meet new people’, if you’re strapped for cash this obviously is not going to work. People also don’t realise that it isn’t just that simple to go out straight away – you’re not ready yet! (Unless you are, in which case go for it!)

Here are some easy things to do that will help you get over your broken heart.

  1. Cry (if you need to)

Listen to all those break up songs, and cry your heart out. It’s a terrible situation, and you’ve been badly hurt. Sometimes crying can be really therapeutic. It’s also way better than keeping it all in inside. Do remember though – this can only be a temporary solution, keep it to one-two days MAXIMUM. If you let yourself be consumed by your situation you will find it incredibly hard to feel better.

  1. Exercise!

Not only will you instantly feel better (get an angry pump up playlist going), but you’re doing great things for your body. When you exercise, you release a chemical called ‘serotonin’, one that instantly improves your mood and wellbeing. You’re also sure to be feeling way better than you would if you were stuffing your face with chocolate and ice-cream (which ideally we would love to do, but in this situation you want to beat the cravings!)

  1. Hang out with friends (for free!)

Make sure that your time is spent hanging with friends (the ones that make you feel good). The less time you spend alone wallowing alone in your own sadness, the better you will feel. If you make sure that your time is well spent doing things that make you happy, you will resent this breakup less. Get your best friend on the phone and organise to do a (preferably free) activity ASAP.

  1. Delete (or hide) him/her from your newsfeed

You may not want to do this, but in order to get over this person, you’re going to need to make sure you can’t see when they’re going out or hooking up with someone new. If the break-up ends on a negative, it is okay for you to delete them off Facey, unfollow them on Instagram and to say sayonara to them on Snapchat. Out of sight, out of mind as the old saying goes.

  1. Think positively

As unhelpful as the saying ‘don’t be sad because it’s over, be happy because it happens’ is, it does have an element of truth to it. Think about the lessons you have learned, and the great things that have happened. Don’t let a breakup bring you down, or stop you from being the incredible, happy, amazing you! Everything does happen for a reason, and good things will come to you soon, we promise!

Why Poor Students Struggle – A reflection

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On a slightly more serious note: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/22/opinion/why-poor-students-struggle.html?smid=tw-nytimes&_r=0

All Broke-Ass Students should have a read of this Vicki Madden opinion piece in the New York Times. Although the piece references the American higher education system, many low-income Australian students also struggle to finish university, whether it be due to work commitments affecting their ability to study, academic reasons or feeling a sense of alienation or loneliness.

Madden mentions the inadequate student aid system where a slight increase in the parents income can lead to a reduction in the financial aid given to the students. While many might not think an extra $20 per week would make a substantial difference, when you are trying to buy groceries for $50 a week – it make the struggle much harder.

She speaks of the obstacles faced by students from low socio-ecomonic backgrounds to students feeling alienated from their hometowns when relocating and starting university.

If you feel alienated, depressed or just need someone to speak to, Headspace provides a range of counselling services for people between the ages of 12 – 25 at http://www.headspace.com OR we encourage you to call Youth Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 OR go to your university counselling service.

If you are struggling with academically with your studies speak to a tutor or lecturer as they can often help or point you in the right direction.

-KL