1. Firstly, and perhaps most obviously, one must never forget the various welfare-related events that take place throughout the university. Law Society’s greatly anticipated puppy party is a sure-fire way of soothing term-time neurosis, and numerous yoga, mindfulness and welfare sessions will be taking place within colleges. Attend your college’s welfare tea, talk to a Peer Supporter if needed, and put your mental health first and foremost.
2. Classical music is highly regarded as a relaxation tool. For years, academics have cited the usefulness of Mozart during work. This principle holds true for beating the 5th week blues, as nothing can be more relaxing than switching off for an hour or so, and simply letting the music wash over you. Classical musical opportunities aren’t rare in Oxford—this Saturday, one can enjoy Mozart’s Requiem in D minor at Exeter College. Oxford is always alive with classical music and this performance will be any Mozart fan’s dream.
3. In a similar line to this, it is important to remember that Oxford is full of ‘miscellaneous’ cultural activities to get involved in or attend. Oxford Whiskey Society is offering a slightly unusual variation on this theme on Thursday—a scotch tasting. A fun exercise and a slightly more sophisticated way of getting lightly tipsy in a warm, relaxing environment.
4. Touring the colleges can also be a fun way of exploring hitherto unseen parts of the city. Be it through formal-swapping, or merely just exploring the gardens. Oxford colleges are without doubt some of the most beautiful places on Earth. Places to start might include Worcester’s gardens, Keble’s chapel, or Christ Church’s picture gallery.
5. As another cultural event, what better way to spend an evening than attending a poetry reading by some of our peers? This Wednesday we saw some of Oxford’s very own poets-in-residence perform, with others, readings of their works published by Indigo Dreams Inc. Keep your eyes peeled for future such events! Blackwell’s and Waterstones frequently host these kind of poetry events.
6. Sometimes, you’ve just got to ignore the growing hole in your wallet and bite the bullet—treat yourself to that fancy meal you’ve always wanted. Oxford is a fantastic place to explore for any foodie (the Randolph excluded, apparently). Our recommendations include Zheng (located in Jericho), which is “possibly the best authentic Chinese-Malaysian in the country” as Giles Coren wrote, Pierre Vittoire (a very enjoyable French restaurant, also in Jericho) or Kazbar (a hip tapas establishment in Cowley).
7. Touring colleges is one thing, but touring Oxford’s pubs is another thing entirely. Similarly enjoyable (but for slightly different reasons) doing an Oxford pub tour is a must. Featuring some of the best drinking houses of the country, some highlights include The Turf Tavern (where Bill Clinton famously ‘did not inhale’), The Half Moon (with the added benefit of staying open until 2am) and The Rose and Crown (located towards Lady Margaret Hall). Though perhaps not best viewed as a regular way to relax, as a one-off event, pub crawls are great fun.
8. Another option is the wonderfully familiar coffeehouse—a suitable place for a first relaxed date, an essay crisis, or just a place to take an hour or so out of the day to relax in the warmth and the hubbub of the cafe. For those not already familiar with the best coffee that Oxford has to offer, try The Natural Bread Company (which does a fantastic manual brew), Rick’s (a popular favourite in Cowley) and The Vaults (conveniently located next to the Rad Cam-a perfect work rest break).
9. If the Oxford bubble becomes too all-encompassing, dropping everything for an afternoon, catching a train to Didcot, or even just walking through South Park can create a physical distance from the stresses of the town. Adjacent to the south entrance to University Parks is a footpath into Marsden, taking you past streams, fields, and the occasional horse. At the other end of town, Port Meadow can take you away from the hustle and bustle of city life, while still being in walking distance from college.
Ultimately, the key point is to balance one’s life in a manner unique to each person—everyone may respond differently to each option laid out here. But hopefully, however, everyone will garner some benefit from at least one of these possibilities.