Feeling good and functioning well
Watch our masterclass
If after watching the masterclass video you feel that you would like some additional support, please visit the Wellbeing Portal.
Read through the slides below
If you cannot access PowerPoint right now, you can get a sense of our masterclass from the overview below. We have explained what's on each slide, and shared the tools which can help you right now.
Slide 1: Welcome to our masterclass
The aim of this masterclass is to provide a snapshot of what the strategies and tips you can use to improve wellbeing are.
Looking after yourself is a skill that needs practice, it can take time. It requires you to be proactive. It is your own personal responsibility, nobody else can do it for you.
We will give you tools and strategies that you can use to reflect on your own experiences during and after the session. If you do have any questions please feel free to approach us at the end.
Slide 2: Overview
We are looking at feeling good and functioning well holistically, and what we can do to improve and sustain these areas of our wellbeing within our current circumstances.
It is not possible to feel good and function well all of the time. Everybody experiences ups and downs in their day to day life, this is normal.
Feeling good is how we feel physically, mentally and emotionally. Everyone will have times where they do not feel good. You may feel physically poorly, or mentally and emotionally drained and struggling.
Functioning well does not just refer to academic success, it is much broader than this. It is about how we function socially, academically, and emotionally. It is about finding a balance for our own personal needs and being proactive about making the adjustments we need to make.
Feeling good and functioning well is not about being the best. It is not about other people – it is important to learn what feeling good and functioning well is for yourself – not comparing yourself to others.
It is important to start by looking at feeling good and functioning well within your current circumstances. Someone could have physical and/or mental health difficulties, but be managing them well through accessing the appropriate support, and doing things within their day to day life to help themselves and therefore be feeling good and functioning well.
There will be times when you may not feel good or function well and at these times, it is important to have a toolkit that you can use to help yourself and to make positive changes. The more you practice these skills, the more you will understand what works best for you.
Slide 3: Foundations of wellbeing
You are reliant on yourself, your brain, and your body to get through your degree. If you do not look after the basics, you are unlikely to achieve your potential.
Eating well, sleeping well, exercising regularly and taking some time out to relax on a regular basis are the foundations of good wellbeing. They are also , often , the first things to slip if things are not going so well. They are all linked and when there are changes in one area, it can impact the other areas – it’s hard to exercise regularly if you are tired and hungry for example.
Small changes in these areas can make a really big difference to your physical, mental and emotional health.
Slide 4: Five steps to wellbeing
Introducing the five steps to wellbeing: these are evidence-based ideas to improve your wellbeing:
- Stay active
- Keep learning
- Take notice
These steps are used by the NHS, mental health services and educational institutions.
Slide 5: Connect
Being connected with others is a fundamental human need. Feeling close to others and valued by them contributes to functioning well and is also important for your mental health.
Connecting with others gives you opportunities to make friends and feel good. In these uncertain times, it is difficult to practice social distancing but necessary. We have devised some methods to contact others that you can do safely.
If you are not sure what to talk about- you could arrange to watch a TV show/film together over video chat
Have a video chat coffee get together- plan a time and stick to it. Make a cuppa, sit somewhere comfy and treat it like a cafe catch up
- Ensure you have regular virtual contact with others.
- Try to mix up how you communicate with others from university and home.
- Call or video chat with friends and family as well as messaging.
- Spend time getting to know each other better. Here are some conversation starter ideas.
- Use the Big White Wall online community- this is 24/7 and is a useful tool to stay connected with people all across the world.
Keeping active not only helps our physical health it also helps with our mental wellbeing. Staying active is associated with lower rates of depression.
Evidence also shows it can also improve your mental wellbeing by raising your self esteem, helping you to set goals or challenges and achieve them, and releasing endorphins which boost your mood.
Whilst you are isolating you may not be able to stick to your usual exercise routine, but there are still things you can do to keep exercise in your day:
- There are lots of exercise classes you can access for free, so experiment and find ones that work for you in intensity level.
- Try a deskercise class online if you are finding you are sat down for long periods of the day
- If you have a garden try walking round the garden.
- If you have stairs do some walking up and down.
- Have a clean-up of the house
- Put some music on and have a dance
Slide 7: Keep learning
At university, learning is the reason you are here. Sometimes, the amount needing to be learnt on your course may feel a little overwhelming – get some support for your studies.
Learning new skills – outside of your studies – can help improve your mental wellbeing by boosting your self-confidence and raising self esteem, helping you to build a sense of purpose, and helping you to connect with others
- Take this opportunity to learn new skills or catch up on things you know you need to do.
- Try something creative. Do some drawing/crafts or try a new cooking/baking recipe.
- Do an online course there are loads of free courses available
- Learn a new language. You can download free apps where you can learn a range of different languages
- Take time to catch up on some of your studying- try and break this down into manageable chunks. If you are finding the workload overwhelming speak to your tutors in your department.
Slide 8: Take notice
Being aware of what is taking place around you and in the moment directly enhances your well-being.
Taking notice and being ‘in the moment’, is being mindful. Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better and allows you to make positive choices based on your own values and motivations.
Reminding yourself to ‘take notice’ can strengthen and broaden your awareness of yourself, others and the world around you.
It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.
Taking notice can allow us to become more aware of yourself, others and our surrounding. Engaging our senses can be a really helpful tool to bring awareness to the present moment rather than some of the anxieties you may be feeling. Here are some ideas in order to take better notice:
- Use your 5 senses. Think of 5 things you can see, four things you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste
- Do things to relax. Have a bath, try some breathing exercises or listen to some calming music
- Try using the Mindfulness resources from the library
- Get a plant for your room – look after it and watch it grow and change with the seasons
- Try a meditation app
Slide 9: Give
Giving something does not need to be expensive and you don’t necessarily need to have physical contact with someone to be able to give your time or words to others.
Giving can give you a purpose and build self-worth. Ideas for giving:
- Be there and reach out to others you might know who are also isolating
- Say something nice to someone or give them a call to check in they are OK.
- Send a thoughtful message, a card or phone someone to see how they are
Did you know?
Research shows that people with an interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy and that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.
Slide 10: Building your own toolkit
This is a title slide, explaining that the next section explores strategies, skills and techniques that make a difference.
Slide 11: Sleep well
Making changes to your sleep is a process. It takes time, and will be different for everyone.
Here are things you can do to improve your sleep:
- Have a regular sleep schedule – try and wake up at the same time every day
- Exercise every day
- Avoid caffeine and nicotine after 5pm
- Don’t eat too late – but don’t go to bed hungry
- Watch your alcohol intake
- Don’t take naps in the day
- Do something relaxing before bed
- Have a hot bath before you go to bed
- Make sure your bed is comfortable with a good mattress and pillows
- Get outside everyday and have some fresh air
- If don’t sleep in 20 mins, get up and do something boring for a while then try again
- No screens in bed – blue light disrupts your sleep
- Make sure your bedroom is a good temperature – not too hot or cold
- Go and see a doctor if you have persistent sleep problems
Remember, good sleep habits don’t just start at bedtime. Small steps can make big changes.
Slide 12: Breathing exercises
Breathing exercises can help manage anxiety or can bring a sense of calm when you are stressed
Slide 13: Schedule your time
Make a schedule and include everything you want to get done. Try to be realistic about your goals.
What would you put in your schedule?
- Study time
- Food prep and eating
- Wellbeing activities
What else is important to you?
Slide 14: Track your mood
Track your mood over a period of time – you can see patterns and identify the things that impact your mood – both positive and negative.
Keep a time log and rate your mood throughout the day: 10 is the best mood, 1 is the lowest mood. Add comments – what was going on? How much sleep did you get? Was there anything that changed your mood? Try to record three positives from the day
Reflect on these and make adjustments to your week wherever you can to help improve your wellbeing. Remember to track your mood when things are going well as well as when things are more challenging
Slide 15: Challenging unhelpful thoughts
Tip: again, if you can watch this video, please take some time to do so - we absorb information from videos differently than from reading. If you can't watch a video right now, we have included the transcript below:
Our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours continually affect each other, and it's easy to develop negative patterns where unhelpful thoughts lead to unhelpful feelings and actions. Sometimes this can become a vicious cycle. Many of us don't realise that we can influence this process and that this can improve our mental health.
The best way to deal with these unhelpful thoughts is to recognise them, challenge them, and see if you can replace them. Some people call this the catch it, check it, change it approach.
With practise, this can help us look at perceived problems from a different perspective. For example, you might be worried about an important task you have to do at work, convinced it will go wrong and everyone will think you're a failure. Rather than immediately accepting this thought, and feeling even worse, take a moment to catch it and check it.
Ask yourself whether there's good evidence for it, or if there are other explanations. Try thinking about what you would say to a friend who was thinking this way. Finally, see if you can change the thought for a more positive one. Maybe, "I'm prepared", "I've put a lot of work in and I'm gonna do my best." Sometimes you will be able to change the thought to a positive one.
But don't worry when at other times you can't. There are no right or wrong answers. It's about learning to think more flexibly and be more in control. By catching the thought, checking it, and seeing if you can change it, with practise you can help break the negative cycle.
Slide 16: A tool to calm yourself in a panic
This is a great tool you can use to help calm yourself when you feel stressed or anxious. You can use it to help if your need distracting from unhelpful thoughts or to help calm yourself when you are experiencing high emotion or feel very upset. You can use this tool wherever you are.
- What are 5 things you can see?
- What are 4 things you can feel?
- What are 3 things you can hear?
- What are 2 things you can smell?
- What is 1 thing you can taste?
Slide 17: Online support
Visit the NHS apps library to find apps which can support your wellbeing.
Slide 18: Big White Wall
Big White Wall is an online community for people who are stressed, anxious or feeling low. There is 24/7 support from trained professionals. You can talk anonymously to other members, do a short course online and take tests to identify how you are feeling and monitor how things change. There are self help resources on a wide range of issues related to mental health and wellbeing. You can log in with your uni ID for free.
Slide 19: Skills sessions
Skills sessions will for the foreseeable future be offered online, please look online for further details about how to access them.
- Take Things In Your Stride
- Boost Your Mood
- Getting Things Done
- Sleep Better
- Thrive During Challenging Times
- Work-Life Balance
Slide 20: Keep in touch
You can call us on 024 7657 5570 or email wellbeing dot warwick dot ac dot uk
There are three teams within WSS offering a range of services, accessed in different ways.
Please register for a brief consultation session to speak with a Wellbeing Advisor over the phone to enable you to be engaged with quickly and for us to identify the correct support for you. At this time, face to face appointments are not available.
You can access disability services directly if you have medical evidence directly from the Wellbeing portal.
You can access email counselling from the website. Read the service agreement, register with a few details and you will be sent the email address for the counselling. Replies are sent, anonymously, on Thursday afternoons for messages received by Thursday morning.