Unwind, rewind and relax

As we make our journeys home, dawning on our fluffy socks and treating ourselves to mugs of hot chocolate, we can lavish at the fact that we have survived another academic semester and prepare to celebrate the festive season with our loved ones.


However, while this break does promise relaxation and serenity, many of you may be apprehensive about upcoming exams and assignments, and thus might be unable to fully enjoy the break.

A photograph of stripy socks and a snowflake mug in front of a lit fireplace.

University can be deeply stressful and time consuming. While the benefit of studying a subject you enjoy is a source of incredible joy and pride, the stress surrounding academic responsibility can be demanding and draining. As university students, it is important to ensure that academic pressure does not become all-consuming and that we make time to unwind and relax.

Therefore, I will be sharing my favourite ways to unwind and my recommendations for music, film, literature and videos.

Film recommendations

One of the biggest advantages of being born in our era is the accessibility to a wide range of entertainment platforms and services. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Viki and Apple TV have made it easier than ever to find avenues of entertainment and amuse ourselves.

However, with the myriad of streaming services it can be overwhelming to know what is worth watching through the multitude of options. This is why I am happy to provide a few recommendations of my favourite movies and TV shows.


  • Notting Hill
  • Little Women
  • The Good Place
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Bojack Horseman
  • Tuca and Bertie
  • The Half of It
  • The Handmaiden

Amazon Prime

  • The Marvellous Mrs Maisel


Streaming service for Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese movies and TV.

  • Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (also known as Goblin)
  • What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim
  • True Beauty
  • Weightlifting Fairy, Kim Bok-Joo
  • Strong Woman Do Bong Soon


Anime streaming service.

  • Jujutsu Kaisen
  • Food Wars
  • Haikyu!
  • Gintama
  • Kuroko’s Basketball
  • My Love Story
  • My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU
  • Yuri on Ice
  • Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches

Book recommendations

Another way I like to unwind is through recreational reading.

As a literature student it is important to keep the love of reading alive by continuing to read for pleasure. While I enjoy the classics, sometimes I rather put down Dickens and indulge in some shameless romantic comedy or crime thriller.

  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo - Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
  • My Sister, the Serial Killer - Oyinkan Braithwaite
  • The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller
  • My Dark Vanessa - Kate Elizabeth Russell
  • Daisy Jones and the Six - Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Spanish Love Deception - Elena Armas

YouTube recommendations

If subscription based services are not possible, then YouTube provides free quality entertainment of all forms and audiences.

My favourite types of videos to watch are crime documentaries, film analysis and commentary videos as well as story animation videos. So here are some of my favourite channels:

  • Coffee House Crime - Crime documentary
  • Eleanor Neale - Crime documentary
  • Amanda the Jedi - Film analysis
  • Biographics - Film analysis
  • Dylan is in Trouble - Film analysis and commentary
  • Grazy TV - Crime documentary
  • Trin Lovell - Film commentary
  • Let Me Explain Studios - Story animation
  • Illymation - Story animation
  • A Bit Late - Story animation

While it is important to remember that exam season is approaching, it is more important to recognise when you need to take a break and unwind. Stress and anxiety are one of the biggest issues facing students, it can be easy to succumb to the pressure of life and not find time for yourself. So, it is incredibly important to ensure that during this break you also focus on relaxing, unwinding and putting your mind to rest.

Written by Valentia Adarkwa-Afari, Postgraduate English Literature, on 21 December 2021.

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