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Top tips for student wellbeing over the holiday period

Studies on keeping well have identified that wellbeing is more than experiencing “good feelings”, people need:

  • To engage and master meaningful activities that they find valuable.
  • To feel belonging.
  • To be resilient to change and cope with stress.
  • To be able to relate to people and feel belonging within a community.

Below are 5 tips for keeping well:

1) Connect:

For many Christmas can be a time of isolation or loneliness, be it because you are on a quiet campus, you live alone or because the holiday period is a time that reminds you of loved ones that you will not see.

It is important to take notice of these feelings and it can help to plan, get involved with people around you, if you are apart from friends or family there are local organisations that can provide face to face contact, such as the MIND Wellbeing Hub. Also have a look at all the activities taking place on campus during Christmas and New Year.

2) Be Active:

On these cold dark days it can be hard to leave the warm duvet, particularly if there are moments of overindulgence. Physical exercises not only make us physically fitter but it helps with mental wellbeing too. In addition, recent research has indicated that regular exercise can help to boost our immune systems, enabling us to better fight off colds and flu viruses that are prolific in winter months.

3) Keep Learning:

The last thing we want to do during holiday time is think of studying, but before you go off on your break, plan and see how much work you have and consider the best way to incorporate this into the break. The holiday can also be an opportunity to learn a new hobby or to learn about yourself.

4) Take notice:

With the change of routine and the million and one things to get done, this time of year can be particularly stressful, take a moment to pay attention to how you are feeling, make sure you allow yourself time to relax.

Also consider how you indulge. Drink sensibly, alcohol is a depressant and drinking excessive amounts can cause low mood, irritability or potentially aggressive behaviour. By not exceeding the recommended number of safe units, you will be better able to sustain good mental and physical wellbeing.

Eat well, Maintaining a healthy diet and weight can improve your mood and can work towards preventing symptoms of lethargy and irritability that many of us feel during the busy festive season and dark winter months.

Rest well, with late nights and busy days it can become easy to end up not getting enough sleep, also alcohol can impact on the quality of sleep, pay attention to what helps you get a good night’s sleep and put these things in place.

5) Give to others:

Take a moment to give. time or money to a charity or a compliment or a helping hand to a friend will not only mean something to the person but also helps with personal satisfaction.

What to do if you are finding the holiday difficult?

There are a range of support services within student support.

Drop-in Student Sessions

The Wellbeing Advisor is offering drop-in sessions for students.

These short sessions are open to all students who have queries about their wellbeing or who want to make changes to their lifestyles in order to improve their wellbeing.

The aim of the session is unique to each student but is for the following purposes:

  1. Calming things down
  2. Problem solving a specific wellbeing issue e.g. healthy lifestyle, work life balance, managing stress, relationships with others
  3. Gain information e.g. signposting to appropriate services
  4. Reviewing progress or a goal from a past session.

The drop-in is open between 2.00 and 4.30 on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The sessions are approximately 30 minutes long but again are tailored to individual need.

Location: Students attending sessions should report their arrival to the Student Support Reception, located on the ground floor of University House. You may bypass any queue for reception. Once we are aware of your arrival you will be collected from the waiting area when the wellbeing advisor is free.

The service closes on Tuesday 24 December and reopens for Thursday 2 January.