Friday, April 19Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Stress Busting: A Winters Walk Around Virginia Waters Lake

As 2015 hits and the number of deadlines and workload increases, it’s vital to get away from it all. Leaving yourself stranded on a seemingly lonesome, and stressful, island is the last thing you want to be doing at this time of year. It is scientifically proven that fresh air helps to revitalise your mind, helping it to achieve maximum efficiency for working and studying. So I decided to try this out with a little walk around Virginia Waters Lake, which is just one stop away from Egham strain station.

The occasional patter from a jogger or a dog walker is all that can be heard at first; the silence of the place somewhat deafening. The sun sets over a horizon of trees, and the odd photography enthusiast or regular Instagram addict can be seen trying to get artsy reflections in the lake. If the presence of joggers begins to takes it’s toll of your patience, then you can head off the beaten path into the forests, eventually emerging at a waterfall where quiet giggles from lovers and selfie-crazed individuals can be heard. A silver-tongued swish of the ice-cold water flowing down from the waterfall is the sound that prevails though, almost washing away all the stress about university life. Even though people are still present, they come in a much lower quantity than you’ll find at uni, and they almost add to the experience. To some extent they remind you that you are not totally alone in the stress you feel.

On cold winter days when you’re all wrapped up in hats, scarves and gloves is one of the best, yet most forgotten about, times of the year to visit this beautiful place. The presence of few people, as opposed to many in the summer, aids in the escape from the stress of exams and deadlines and general university life. The absence of people can do wonders for you, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed by the intensity of having people around constantly. If you’re in need of a little stress busting alternative to the ‘Puppy Therapy’ sessions and general Netflix binges, then I couldn’t recommend wrapping up and heading down to Virginia Waters Lake highly enough.