We all have different ways of recovering from stress, something that is quite necessary during a postgraduate year at LSE. During exam-time in May there is even a dedicated ‘de-stress-week’ where you can do yoga, meditation or even meet up with a bunch of puppies for about half an hour to release some of those reactions going on in your body and mind.
To keep the rest of the stress at bay the rest of the year, I have a particular technique that I try to uphold every week. For about 90 minutes a week, academia, and everything connected to it, evaporates. This miracle cure is simply looking at 11 men running around at a green pitch trying to get the ball into some poles with a net (like my grandfather likes to describe it). I watch football.
Watching football is nothing like meditation. It leads to the feeling of excitement and nervousness of knowing that “your” team has so much at stake on this very special day. The pure joy of seeing good play, or the devastation of seeing the opposing team doing better (like yesterday). The worries of ‘real’ life is replaced by the ones on the pitch. If I have some built-up frustration from a hard week, I get to release it through yelling, swearing at the referee and being completely unreasonable for those 90+ minutes.
My team (Tottenham) have their home ground in London, which means that I actually get to see them play quite a few times over my year at LSE. If you are in England for a year, seeing a live game is something you should definitely put on your bucket list. The game itself is not always the most fascinating, but often the constellation of people surrounding you is. During a game this season, I was sitting in between a plumber, a business analyst at a consultant company and a bar-owner who had been sitting in the same seats for 20 odd years. This particular game, those particular 90 minutes, it felt like the plumber, the consultant, the bar-owner and the 28-year-old girl from Norway had known each other all our lives. I was lifted off the ground in a crushing hug when the dramatic game had finished – before we waved good-bye and walked off into our very different lives again.
No matter how old you are, what your profession or gender – watching football (or, any sport really) becomes a free space of emotions and togetherness. London, luckily, is also a capital of good sport. Give it a try, it will do wonders for your stress-levels!