Health and Wellbeing

5 Hops on the Wellbeing Hunt

Our student intern Victoria, shares 5 hops on the Wellbeing hunt for you to follow this Easter.

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Though Easter egg hunts may (unfortunately) be a thing of the past, you’re never too young or too old to start caring about your wellbeing.

So this Easter break, join us on a Wellbeing Hunt! Easter is the perfect time to wind down after a stressful term and prepare for another. Though ‘Wellbeing’ may not have the same allure as the mouth-watering chocolate egg, improving your Wellbeing can have a real impact on your day-to-day happiness and productivity, both of which are important in the run-up to essay deadlines and exams.

 

What is Wellbeing?

The Oxford Dictionary defines wellbeing as ‘the state of being comfortable, happy or healthy.’ Anyone can benefit from looking after their wellbeing. Even someone who feels they have a good sense of wellbeing can keep topping it up!

Mental wellbeing is more than just ‘feeling happy’ – it involves both the mind and the body. Happiness is a part of this, but in a wider sense it means that ‘deeper’ kind of wellbeing you feel when you’re living in a way that’s good for you and for those around you.

Sound good? Here are some top tips on improving your Wellbeing this Easter from the Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Team!

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5 Basic Hops on the Wellbeing Hunt

1. Sleep

If term-time usually comprises of late nights and early mornings, use Easter to get your sleeping pattern back in check.

According to the bedtime tab on the clock app of my iPhone, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day is also important for a healthy sleep. You can use this part of the clock app to set alarms and reminders on your phone.

Try to avoid napping during the day and reduce your caffeine intake, particularly up to 4 hours before bedtime, so that you can get a good night’s sleep. I find not watching TV or going on my phone just before bed and putting some ‘sleep music’ on YouTube helps me drift off when I’m worried about upcoming essays. You may also find the Headspace or Calm phone apps useful to help you sleep.

 

2. Eat well

End the reign of hastily-bought Tesco meal deals and takeaway treats for three balanced meals a day. Regular snacking helps to keep your blood sugar stable and manage your food, but the healthier the better! Carrots, cucumber and hummus is the go-to revision snack. Treats are fine, but try to moderate them.

 

3. Exercise

Thirty minutes, 3-5 times a week is the guideline. However, exercise doesn’t have to mean sweating it out at the gym! As one of our previous interns discovered and shared in her blog, sometimes what helps your wellbeing isn’t quite what you expect!

Yoga isn’t always the zen-inspiring activity people imagine and actually just going for a walk in the sunshine or swapping the lift for the stairs can make a difference to your day-to-day wellbeing.

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4. Moderate your Alcohol/Drug intake

This does not apply to everyone but, for some, going out and enjoying a few drinks is something they do regularly. In terms of keeping a good routine, late nights and excessive drinking is not always the most helpful thing.

Though it might be tempting to go all out over Easter, be sensible and remember you still have exams/essays to prepare for! If you would like some specific guidance on this, you can read our blogs on drink awareness or drug awareness.

If you think that your alcohol/drug use is becoming problematic, the Drug & Alcohol Advice and Support Organisation, Taith, run a confidential student service once a month at 50 Park Place, on Tuesday evenings from 5-7pm. They will next be there on Tuesday 2nd May. Please click here to book an appointment and scroll down to ‘Appointments with Taith’.

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5. Be active

How you fill your week can have a huge influence on your mood! Doing too much Uni work can drag you down, whilst doing too little can increase your stress levels!

Plan your time and aim for balance – maybe a few hours of Uni work followed by an activity or reward. Having that balance, or something you’re looking forward to as a reward to motivate you, can help you get a sense of achievement to keep you powering on through.

 

 10 Bigger Hops for a Healthier You 

  1. Take responsibility. You are responsible for your own life and everything in it, and that includes your own happiness. Focus on what you can control in the now and look after your Wellbeing.
  2. Be flexible in your thinking. Beware of ‘all or nothing’, ‘black and white’, rigid thinking, with an overabundance of words like ‘should’, ‘must’, ‘ought’ and ‘can’t’. Try instead to say ‘I could’, ‘I will or ‘I can’. Loosen up your thinking, look at alternative views and try to avoid perfectionist standards. Be confident in who you are rather than striving too hard to be the person you ‘ought to be’.
  3. Confront difficulties rather than avoiding them. Treat problems as challenges to overcome. This is useful in helping you build up tolerance and experience. Expect change and challenges, and realise that life will be unfair at times.
  4. Give to others. This doesn’t have to be a big thing – even the smallest acts count, so smile at a stranger, pay a friend a compliment or cook your housemate a meal. If you want to try a larger act consider volunteering, which improves your wellbeing and helps you build new social networks too.
  5. Look after your own needs. Be assertive in identifying and meeting your own needs, whether it be for food, exercise, relaxation, pleasure, laughter, work or love. Everyone needs good self-care skills.
  6. Keep learning. Gaining new skills or knowledge can give you a sense of achievement and make you feel more confident. Take a course, pick up an instrument, learn a language… the possibilities are limitless.
  7. Express yourself. Express both positive feelings (like happiness, love, joy and excitement) and negative ones (like anger, sadness and disappointment). Always be willing to talk and try not to ‘bottle things up’ or avoid issues.
  8. Strive for balance. Take control of your life by making active choices and decisions about how to spend your time. Fill your life with both work and play, spend time both alone and with others, and keep both mentally and physically active.
  9. Develop and maintain relationships. Value and nurture your friendships. Develop a network of supportive individuals to act as an insulator against stress. Accept others for how they are and don’t try to change them.
  10. Be mindful. Be more aware of the present moment and pay attention to your feelings, thoughts, body, and the world around you. This awareness is known as mindfulness, and while it can be difficult to pick up in the beginning it’s worth persevering as it can totally change the way you approach life. The Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service are running two Mindfulness drop-in sessions in May over the exam period. Please use our contact links below for more information.

You can also check out the National Health Services’ 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing.

 

Check out our other Easter Blogs

Whether you’re at home or especially if you’re staying in Cardiff this Easter, keep up to date with Student Support.

Protect your eggs this Easter: Keeping your student digs secure

9 Things to do this Easter

7 Tips to hop over homesickness

 

Contacting Counselling Health and Wellbeing

 If you are struggling to improve your wellbeing, please know Cardiff University Support Services are here for you – there is no problem too big or too small and we would be happy to provide you with some support. We offer a range of flexible support options including:

Bookable appointments are available via our online referral questionnaire. We also offer a Wellbeing Walk-In Service, Monday to Friday, 3pm to 3.45pm and Wednesday mornings, 9.30am to 10.15am, at the Student Support Centre at 50 Park Place.  We also hold a walk-in service at our Student Support Centre in Cardigan House at the Heath, on Wednesday afternoons 3pm to 3.45pm.

Watch our video and see for yourself that we have friendly and approachable staff. Staff who are able to listen to you non-judgmentally, in a safe and confidential space.

If talking to a member of staff is something you are not sure about, why not chat to one of our Student Wellbeing Champions. They are trained student volunteers who can signpost you to support, offer you a peer ear and give you basic health and wellbeing advice. If you would like to see our Champions in action, check out their video.

If you are worried that you are experiencing physical symptoms that may be affecting your health, we strongly advise you to make a GP appointment to discuss this. If you do not already have a GP, please contact NHS Wales on 0845 46 47 or check out their website to view all of your GP options. The University also has its own GP Practice – Park Place Surgery for those in their catchment area.

 

Your feedback and help please

Have you found this blog post useful?  Please help us by commenting in the bar below, and note any questions there too.

To help us aid more of your fellow students please re-tweet or share this post by using the share buttons or via twitter and Facebook.

 

Best Wishes,

Victoria, Student Intern.

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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 & MoneyCareers & EmployabilityCounselling, Health & WellbeingDisability & 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.

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