New Year, New You?
The New Year brings with it the perfect chance for a fresh start. It’s that time of the year when everyone starts making resolutions. It gives us the chance to reflect on the past year and set some new goals. Here are 5 ideas to get you started.
Seize the day! If 2020 has taught us anything it is to make the most of the opportunities that are available to us, even if this means we have to get a little creative, throwing zoom parties or undertaking remote work experience.
Speaking of opportunities… Societies are a great way to meet people and an excellent excuse to have a break from studying. The Refreshers’ fair at the start of term is the perfect occasion to join that club you have been thinking about, or even discover something new. I challenge you to join 3 clubs:
one that is good for the body (think about sport or a dance)
one for the mind (something to get you thinking… oh wait… WIB is perfect for that)
and the soul (something just for fun!)
During this time of chaos and uncertainty, looking after your mental health is particularly important. I have put together my top tips for staying one step ahead of the stress.
Tip 1: Keeping in touch with friends and family is vital. Talking about your feelings or having a good old-fashioned rant is a great way to deal with anxiety. While many of us have not been able to see our nearest and dearest for months there are other ways, we can at least feel close to one another. While texting is one way we can stay in touch, phone calls or Facetimes are far more personal. If you want to go that extra bit further, writing letters is another great way to stay in touch and it is certain to put a smile on someone’s face!
Tip 2: Looking after your body also plays a huge role in maintaining good mental health. Exercise, meditation or just a little pampering session are easy ways to alleviate stress, so make time for yourself even if it’s just a 10-minute face mask.
Tip 3: Write to your future self… ok so that does sound a little odd but bear with me. Self-reflective writing can offer a valuable reality check to both your present and future self. It gets you thinking about what is really important. What will the future you care about? What do you want to remind yourself about? This can be a really effective exercise for putting our daily worries and stresses into a new perspective helping you prioritise the more important things.
One of the best ways to help your mental health comes in being organised, helping you manage your time better and preventing unnecessary stress. While constantly changing covid rules have made this particularly difficult, here are a few tricks that I have used to help me along the way.
Tidy room, tidy mind. The saying is true, having a tidy room can get you in the zone faster. It is easy to procrastinate when you can see lots of small jobs that need to be done around you.
Get a diary! It’s the start of the new year so it’s perfect timing! Whether you use your phone or prefer a physical planner I recommend getting something that will let you see at a glance what you have to do for the next week or preferably the next month. This will help you keep track of you assignments and other tasks and help you manage your time more effectively. Plus it’s fun! Who doesn’t love an aesthetically pleasing calendar with matching stationary?
The New Year is also the perfect occasion to think about ways you can ensure a more positive impact on the planet. This can be something small like switching to biodegradable makeup wipes and a bamboo toothbrush, or something bigger like going meat-free.
I have to confess when it comes to bacon, I definitely have a weakness, but even reducing your meat consumption can make huge difference to the planet (not to mention the fact that it is healthier!). So why not give meat-free-Mondays or even Veganuary a try!
Another great way to reduce your impact on the planet is to move away from fast fashion. The industry has a surprisingly large impact on the earth and its resources. The good news is there are plenty of alternatives. Shopping second hand in thrift stores, vintage sales and sites like Depop can be great for finding unique pieces to add to your wardrobe that don’t cost the earth (literally!). But there are also lots of sustainable clothing brands where you can buy things that are brand new or upcycled from old clothes. If you are feeling super creative, why not even try making some of your own?
Asking for Help
No-one is superhuman, and we can all get overwhelmed at times. When everything seems too much, and you feel like you can’t cope, all you need to do is ask for help.
This might seem obvious, but for some reason there are those that just suffer in silence. I am guilty of this myself; I often take on too much at once and assume I can’t get any help when actually the opposite is true.
The university offers a huge range of support services. Sometimes it is difficult to know what you qualify for and what you don’t. The best thing to do if you aren’t sure is pop your tutor an email. They are there specifically to help you, so make use of them! Don’t suffer unnecessarily when life could be made a whole lot easier with a quick email!
So have fun, try something new and most of all be kind to yourself! All the best for 2021!
Editor: Rebecca Webster