Committee Wellbeing Tips
10 Jan 2021 0 comments
Happy New Year!
We hope that you had a restful and well deserved break.
Even if you feel like you did nothing, that’s something to be celebrated – you did your part. If you don’t believe me, take it from the German government’s brilliant lockdown adverts - https://twitter.com/antoni_UK/status/1327701477008285696...(trust me, it’s well worth your two minutes).
After getting through four weeks of the second lockdown with the committee sharing personal wellbeing tips and general bits of advice (completely unscientific, just what works for us) for looking after yourself and your mental health– especially useful in times as weird as these., we wanted to collate the most important bits of advice and put them on our blog so you can refer back to them when needed- especially considering that we are now in Lockdown Number 3!
- Cook 😋 it is (sometimes) very relaxing, and even when it isn’t it’s a good way of taking your mind away from uni work! Cheaper and healthier than ordering a takeaway, and a great way to unwind. Eating well and healthily doesn’t have to be expensive!
- Trying out mindfulness/meditation. There are plenty of free apps out there to help with alleviating stress (https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/.../best-meditation-apps/) , and for anyone with spotify student you can get Headspace for free!
- When life gets a bit hectic, simple breathing exercises such as 4-7-8 breathing (https://www.healthline.com/health/4-7-8-breathing...) can prove helpful
- Exercise – Boosts your mood and can improve general mental health
- Sleep! So important this one, and something that I’m personally guilty of not getting enough!
- A routine can be useful for helping structure your time, and stopping every day from blurring into the next
- And most important of all (imo):
Be Kind To Yourself – university is stressful anyway, and with lockdown as well?! Don’t feel you have to be working flat out 24/7! If you need a break, have a break, and maybe some cake as well. You’ve earned it!
- Go on a virtual walk: I always find that going out on a walk, no matter the weather is incredibly calming. I try and pick green places if possible (i.e. local parks) but even just a quick 10 min walk down the street and back is a nice change of scene. I started going on ‘virtual’ walks with friends, where we would both be on the phone to each other at the same time and each go on a walk whilst we caught up.
- Be honest about how you’re feeling: Lockdown can be difficult, so being honest to friends and family and discussing why you might be feeling a certain way can be really useful. Even if it’s just them saying they can relate or know how to help, a problem shared is often a problem halved....
- Plan social things: Though face-to-face meet ups aren’t possible, being creative about meet ups can still result in quality time spent together. Using Netflix Party or just being on a zoom together whilst you watch a movie can go a long way. Setting a regular ‘movie night’ will also create a routine. Often, clubs and societies (i.e. UCL Film Soc) have regular movie screenings which is a good way to e-meet new people and watch new movies.
- Gratitude: Keeping a daily ‘gratitude’ journal and writing down 5 things I’m grateful for has really helped shift my perspective over the past few months. Instead of focusing on what can’t be done with the restrictions, focusing on what you’re grateful for and what you can do (i.e. have the technology to call/ video chat) will hopefully make it easier to cope...
- Let yourself off the hook - it’s LOCKDOWN, though lockdown glow-ups (both internal and external) may flood your social media, remember to be kind to yourself. Just getting through is enough :))
- Reach out to people you care about: even if this is an isolating time, we can get through it together. I often find that sending my friends memes or just checking in on them and having a chat can be a nice change of tone compared to living alone, and it feels like the worry is gone when you're with people who are supportive and care for you!
- Go for a walk: I always find that going out on a walk helps to clear my mind and to help me introspect about what's going on around me. I also like to spend this time listening to music or calling loved ones, so why not multitask for more serotonin
- Plan rewarding things: We all work so hard at university, and we need something fun to look forward to. That might be hanging out with a friend, or watching a movie. Whatever it is, make sure to treat yourself with the same kindness you would to others, and to enjoy yourself where you can!
- Diary: Maintaining a journal of how I've been feeling and what's been going on with me around university, which always helps me get to the heart of what I want to achieve and what are my priorities coming up. It declutters my mind, and makes me happier.
- Don't compare yourself to other people - I know everything seems to be "Pics or it didn't happen" this lockdown but everyone's on a different journey and regardless of where they lead, the pathway is always beautiful.
As ever, hope you have a fantastic week and please do get in touch if you have any suggestions or would like to have a chat
- We’ve all heard that sitting in front of the computer for hours on end is bad for us, but it’s hard to consciously stop that. To that end, I’ve been using this looping stopwatch that beeps every x minutes (you can set how long the timer is for). These beeps are a consistent reminder to get up, stretch and give myself a little break from the screen, because it’s not healthy to be glaring at the screen (and have it glaring back at you) for so long. Here’s the link to the timer: online-stopwatch.com(I use the countdown mode).
- Speaking of screens, I’d strongly recommend switching on the blue light filter on your laptop and phone. Most operating systems will have this option built into the settings (it’s sometimes called night light). I’d suggest allowing your phone to automatically switch on the blue light filter based on the sunset and sunlight timings. The filter reduces the glare, which is exhausting on the eyes and can bring upon headaches, and helps maintain your natural screen time.
- Don’t underestimate the value of ticking things off your to-do list! We’re all uni students, which means there probably is something waiting for you to do. It could be laundry, the dishes or that one email that you just really, really don’t want to write. As the work piles up, it can be easy to put off those tasks and justify that with your workload. However, knocking off these tasks rewards you two-fold – you get the gratification of being done with a nagging task, and it gives you a break from work whilst still allowing you to be productive (if you are feeling guilty about not being productive). Take it from me when I say that crossing things off your list is a wonderfully satisfying feeling.
- Beyond these, I’d like to echo something that has been touched on in all of the previous Wellbeing Wednesdays, and that is to go easy on yourself. This year has been the most bizarre time probably in all of our lives, and it’s natural to find it tough, or feel a little lost. A lot of us are. Know you’re not alone, and that there is support out there – friends, family, the university, or your newly-trained peer navigators.