Mental Health Awareness Week

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme for this year was 'Kindness'. During the week people were asked to practice acts of kindness to themselves and others around them. We decided to focus on how to be kind to ourselves by following the 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing outlined by the NHS. Each day looked at one of the steps in more detail and offered some suggestions of what could be done that day.

Monday - What is Mental Health?

Monday was all about providing more information about what mental health refers to. There are many misconceptions and misunderstandings about mental health problems, and the only way to overcome public stigma is through education. We gave a brief outline of what mental health may include and also offered some contact details to where students may go if they ever need someone to talk to. 

Tuesday - Connect with Other People

Having meaningful relationships with people is extremely beneficial to one's mental wellbeing. This is especially important at this moment in time, as we are all in lockdown and many of us are alone or away from our loved ones. We held a Tea and Chat event over Zoom where we had the chance to catch up with a few of our students and talk about our lives in lockdown.

Wednesday - Be Physically Active

On Wednesday we stressed the importance of being active and encouraged students to take their daily exercise outings and get moving! The BSU and SU are currently running a challenge on Strava, whereby staff and students work together to complete the distance of the length of the UK by either swimming, running, walking or cycling. Alongside the challenge, a fundraiser has been set up to raise money for NHS charities, so students are encouraged to get involved and donate as well!

Thursday - Learn a New Skill

We are all in lockdown and have much more free time than usual, so the best way to spend that time is by expanding our knowledge and learning new skills! Research has indicated that learning new skills can boost your confidence and help you build a sense of purpose! Some of our societies have been teaching new skills on their Instagram accounts. The Arabic Society does weekly Arabic classes via Zoom, the Art Society has posted some painting tutorials and our Language and Culture Society has been teaching everyone more about different countries and cultures.

Friday - Give to Others

Acts of giving and kindness is not only positive for those on the receiving end, but helps us connect with others and creates a sense of belonging. We gave students some ideas of random acts of kindness that they could be doing during lockdown, such as sending friends messages to express their appreciation or offering to send a friend a meal delivery!

Saturday - Being Mindful

It is easy for us to worry about the future or dwell on the past right now, as we are stuck at home with not much to do. However, learning to pay attention to the present moment can lead to a significant improvement to your mental wellbeing. We gave some suggestions for guided meditations that one may follow to practice mindfulness and learn to focus one's attention on being present.

Sunday - Self Care

On Sunday the focus was all about being kind to yourself. We gave some self-care recommendations, including going for a walk or doing a DIY face mask! Our SU President and Champion of Happiness, Daria, also recommended students to watch the YouTube video The Art of Rest with Claufia Hammond.


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