Like most international students, I hoped to make the most out of my time while studying the Management and Entrepreneurship MSc at Cranfield School of Management – attending in-classroom learning, networking and travelling across the UK and Europe.
When I started my master’s course in September I decided to study for the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Diploma in Professional Digital Marketing too. I felt this would further develop my marketing skills and would benefit me in the workplace. I also signed up for Toastmaster’s, Cranfield Speakers club, to improve my communication and leadership skills, and the Cranfield Consulting Club, because I would like to be a marketing consultant and am keen to continuously sharpen my analytical problem-solving skills. The extra-curricula course activities, such as fireside chats and the Entrepreneurship Speakers Series are equally important for me to attend as I didn’t want to miss out on any opportunities.
An intense first term made me feel I needed a break. During the first term break, I was hoping to travel to Switzerland to go skiing and to Iceland to see the Northern lights as a bit of a treat. However, things do not always go as planned and I couldn’t travel amid the pandemic just like everyone else. Unfortunately one of my housemates contracted Covid during the holiday so I had to stay at home. I was aware that my mental health and emotional wellbeing suffered during this period as things weren’t going to plan. I was aware that my productivity dropped during this time, but I was determined to face the challenges and to stay positive. I started researching ways to deal with the situation I was in, and be able to live in the present moment all of the time.
I recently discovered Boho Beautiful Yoga. This appealed to me because of the variety of programmes tailored for different peoples’ needs and experiences. In addition, most of the exercises done by Juliana Spicoluk, the yoga teacher, were in beautiful natural environment settings such as by the lake, in national forests and animal sanctuaries. Apart from the physical movement of yoga, I have also paid more attention to building awareness of mindfulness. Yoga allows me to find my presence, for my mind to settle down and enjoy a state of awareness. I feel my body and mind come together through breathing and body movements. As I have become more experienced I am able to use the techniques to release any tension, resistance and stress held in my body It enables me to relax and slow down my body and mind, which makes me feel calm and re-energised. I often end a session with Shavasana, part of a yoga exercise for relaxation. People like me, who live a busy life, tend to forget to listen to how their body is feeling, and we end up living in our “heads”.
Equally, I enjoy doing Drishti, a part of Yoga practice and an approach that develops concentrated intention. I tend to do a yoga workout in the morning to set me up for the day. Occasionally, I do night-time yoga as a way to relax my body and mind. In addition, practicing guided meditation when I’m alone allows me to watch my body and thoughts closely. I did this a couple of times with Juliana Spicoluk, I deeply felt the sensation of my body, the subtle movement of breathing and the world around me. I then noticed my emotion and smiled to myself in the mirror. To reflect, I have found my way to step out from the challenging times by practicing mindfulness with a focus on yoga and meditation. Practicing them makes me strong and aware every day, being mindful, and living each and every moment.
Jon Kabat- Zinn, a guru of mindfulness, explains that “Mindfulness is an awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally”. I have developed the mindset of being mindful, starting from observing my thoughts, breathing and body. I have developed the sense of making time for my wellbeing and have found that taking 10 minutes every day on meditation can make me more productive. Coincidentally, I have recently found the topic of mindfulness released by HBR IdeaCast that explains the positive outcomes produced by practicing meditation. In addition to mental wellbeing, mindfulness is considered a game-changer for our professional careers. Research shows that business leaders who practice mindful training engage actively with people and achieve better performance.
I have been amazed by the power of practicing mindfulness, reminding myself to notice my thoughts, mind and body. The experience and process of de-stressing myself during my time living in the UK and dealing with my studies has been fabulous.
You can find out more about Health and Wellbeing at Cranfield by visiting: Wellbeing and support (cranfield.ac.uk)