Rachel, Wellbeing Practitioner from the Counselling, Health & Wellbeing Service, talks about support outside of University and how to look after your wellbeing when you have finished.
The dreaded dissertation is done, exams are but a distant memory and suddenly you’re thrown out into the ‘real world.’ Whether you’re remaining in Cardiff, moving back home or venturing to a new place entirely, it’s important to look after your health and wellbeing, wherever you are.
Leaving University can be bittersweet. It can be an exciting time to embark on new adventures, but equally a time when you might feel slightly lost. Having to leave all that you’ve come to know (and love) over the last few years can be daunting and scary – and it can impact your overall wellbeing.
Getting to know the area, making new friends, registering with a GP Surgery or accessing local support was all a part of when you first came to Cardiff. Now, as you prepare to start another transition, we want to ensure that you feel secure in the knowledge that there is support for you wherever the future takes you.
Before you leave:
If you are currently registered with a doctor in Cardiff but you’re moving somewhere else soon and are on medication, ensure that you have a prescription which will cover the transition period to a new surgery. Make an appointment as soon as you move into your new area to talk through your medical needs with a doctor.
Top tips for wellness beyond University:
Register with a local Doctors’ Surgery
Whether you are staying in Cardiff or going somewhere completely new, it’s important to ensure you are registered with a local doctors’ surgery as soon as possible. If you become unwell this will make it a lot easier to make an appointment at the very time you may need it.
Register with a Dentist
Let’s not forget looking after your teeth as well – register with a local dentist to keep those pearly whites photo-ready.
Look after your wellbeing
During any time of change we can be more susceptible to stress which can impact on our daily lives, so it is really important to look after yourself when you finish University.
Incorporate our Five Ways to Wellbeing, using the acronym CLEAN, to enhance your wellbeing all year around, but especially in your first weeks of leaving University.
CONNECT – Maintain contact and make time to be with family, friends, colleagues, and neighbours. Connect with others at home or work and in your local community. Make plans to see university friends, or keep in contact via facebook or skype.
LEARN – Try something new. Set yourself a challenge. Seek out an evening or daytime course. Take up a new (or old) hobby, learn to play an instrument, learn a new language or skill. Be creative!
EXERCISE – Be active. Get some physical exercise. Take a look at the gyms in your new area and ask if you can have a 1-day pass for a trial before signing up. If the gym isn’t your thing, get outside! Walk, run, cycle, swim, play, work out, garden or dance.
ACTS OF KINDNESS – Give. Do something nice for a friend or a stranger. Say thank you or just smile at others. Do some voluntary work or join a community group.
NOTICE – Be curious. Become aware and take notice of your environment. Catch sight of the beautiful, savour the moment.
How good are you at looking after yourself? Take our Self-Care Quiz!
Write down your score next to each statement and add them up to make a total.
Scoring: 3 = Very like me 2= Like me 1 = Unlike me 0 = Very unlike me
1 I occasionally give myself something nice like a present or treat
2 I make time to do relaxing activities
3 I believe it is necessary to be selfish at times
4 I like it when others look after me when I am ill
5 I plan events in my life that I can look forward to, such as holidays and outings
6 Every day I make sure I have some time to do something pleasurable for myself
7 I make a point of looking after my appearance and health
8 I like it when somebody gives me a present or compliments me on something I’ve done
9 I can praise myself if I think that I have done a good job
10 I feel in control of my life, I do not simply live my life according to what other people want
11 I make a point of eating a healthy diet and do not skip meals
12 I deliberately engage in exercise and keep myself physically fit
13 I deliberately make time to cultivate friendships with people I like
14 I make time to engage in absorbing, meaningful hobbies and activities
15 Sometimes I have to put my own needs first which means I may have to hurt others
16 I can say ‘no’ when other people make demands on me
Scoring: Score less than 25 = you certainly need to improve your self-care skills.
Task: Draw up a list of 10 treats, pleasant activities, or things that you like and gradually introduce them into your weekly timetable.
Who to ask for help?
Befrienders Worldwide provide contact details of helplines from all over the world so that you can search your country details and find someone to speak to if you are in distress.
Contact: 116 123 (The cost of calling the UK national number depends on your phone provider and your contract with them. To be sure how much it costs to call us, contact your provider. The local number will be charged at the local rate or in your inclusive minutes.)
C.A.L.L (Community Advice and Listening Line)
You can also use the CALL helpline – who also offer text support and information.
Contact: 0800 132737
Text: 81066 (Text ‘help’)
Contact Counselling Health & Wellbeing
If you are experiencing any kind of emotional distress, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us with any problem, no matter how big or small. We can offer you support up until you graduate and if you have already graduated we can signpost you to other services.
Please know that appointments can be provided face to face (in person or via webcam), by email, telephone and instant messaging.
We offer a daily Wellbeing Walk-In Service (3pm-3.45pm: Monday–Friday and Wednesday mornings: 9.30am-10.15am at the Student Support Centre at 50 Park Place; and Wednesday afternoons 3pm-3.45pm at Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus).
Rachel, Wellbeing Practitioner,
Counselling, Health & Wellbeing Team
Your Student Life, Supported.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.
The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus. For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet