New Year, new cheer: tips for combating the January blues
As 2020 begins, it is usual to feel a mix of emotions. You might be looking forward to getting stuck into the university routine and seeing everyone again, but it is also natural that you might find it a bit of a shock to the system, particularly if you have been home for the holidays. Whether you are feeling excited for the year ahead, a little apprehensive, or finding it hard to settle again, here are a few tips and reminders of all the support available to you at the University.
How do you look after you?
The New Year brings lots of opportunities, but it also comes with cold weather, gloomy grey days and the pressure of new challenges. Now is a good time for a bit of reflection on how you might tackle more difficult days and which self-care strategies might benefit you.
- Basic but vital: If you haven’t yet, register with a GP locally. If you are not registered with a local doctor, you will have difficulty getting an appointment, and crucial time could be wasted in an emergency.
- Self Care Apps: For exercise, mental health or any other parts of wellbeing, downloading a useful app such as headspace or a social media timer might be useful. Here’s a list of apps from the NHS to get you started.
- Get the blood pumping and get some fresh air. With dark days and often a very long wait for the next pay day, it is tempting to stay indoors and wait it out. However, keeping indoors and potentially isolating yourself can be detrimental to your mental wellbeing. How about braving the British weather and catching a few of those short sunlight hours with a friend, or signing up to a class with Sport Brighton (currently discounted through January).
- The SSGTs also run “Walk My Dog” throughout the year, which is a chance to take part in a guided walk around campus into the countryside. You are more than welcome to bring a friendly, well-behaved dog along – but anyone who fancies a bit of fresh air is welcome to join! Just ask your SSGT about when the next one is. The National Trust and Brighton & Hove City Council also recommend local winter walks.
- Stay social: there are more than 100 societies at Brighton Students’ Union which are open to all students. Have you found a new society that you might join in the New Year?
Swap resolutions for SMART goals
Resolutions can be a fantastic prompt for some self-reflection and goal setting. However, it isn’t uncommon for them to fall away after a few weeks, leaving you feeling worse than before… Instead, how about setting some SMART goals? Something that is (S)pecific in (M)easuring smaller, (A)chievable goals you can (R)ealistically reach in a reasonable (T)ime frame.
It could be committing to decluttering your home for 10 mins every Sunday for 2 months to see if it makes your environment less hectic… or switching off the mobile wifi every night 30 minutes before bed to see if it improves your sleep.
Small changes are better for us at this time of the year and will be more likely to stick with you through the 2020.
Plan something positive ahead
The common problem with January blues is that it can feel like there is not much to look forward to and once the festive period is over we can be left feeling a bit deflated.
It is important to schedule some positive things to look toward. They don’t need to be costly, it could be a dinner night/movie night with friends, a holiday or weekend away, or a scheduled catch up with a loved one. Putting in regular things, just for you – not related to work or study is a good way to keep yourself motivated during these more gloomy days – and you deserve it!!
Don’t ignore financial worries – talk to us!
Surviving January financially can be very difficult, and very stressful. The Student Advice Service can talk to you, offer advice and help you see any financial worries with a bit more clarity. You can drop in to see them at the Student Centre and visit their Money Matters blog. Or get in touch with them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Talk to your SSGT
Every school has a Student Support and Guidance Tutor (SSGT) available for all students. You can talk to them about anything that impacts your university experience, about any worries or stresses you might have. Your SSGT can give you information and advice, and help you access more specialist support if needed. Your SSGT is impartial and confidential, they will often have drop-ins through the week either via appointment or email.
There’s a range of wellbeing resources available at www.brighton.ac.uk/wellbeing including links to Big White Wall (BWW), a safe, confidential and anonymous online space you can go to if you’re feeling down, struggling to cope or just want to talk to people who understand what you’re going through. Signing up is easy and then you pick an anonymous username which is how you’re known on BWW.
We hope these reminders and tips help. There is plenty of support at the university if you ever need to talk things through. And no question is a silly question! Just pop into your local Student Centre or contact your SSGT and we will be happy to help! Welcome back and have a very happy 2020!
By Katie Roberts, Student Support and Guidance Tutor (SSGT)