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Five Wellness Tips for Winter!

Hi there, I’m Jessie, LAU’s Wellbeing Officer for 23/24! Wellbeing Week is upon us and I’ll be writing a few blog posts along the way, starting with this one.

While the festive season is really exciting, the cold weather can also put a dampener on things, so here are my five wellness tips for looking after yourself as winter approaches:

Take a morning walk. I know it seems obvious, but getting up and out first thing in the morning can work wonders for your mental health. Fresh air also has notable sleep benefits and can be super helpful for your creativity. Although Leeds is a pretty built-up city, there are lots of lovely spots to connect to nature - a few personal favourites are Meanwood Valley Urban Farm and Hollies Park. If you can’t find the time or the energy to take a walk, just sitting outside for 10 minutes or so can make a difference.

Start small. Winter can be a pretty difficult time for a lot of us living with mental health issues, neurodivergencies or chronic health issues. Just opening a window, taking a shower or even sitting up in bed and putting your two feet on the ground is a massive achievement on more difficult days! If you can, try lighting a candle, putting on music or making some tea, these little steps could really help to brighten your day. I’ve found the videos of TikToker: LifeasRaven really helpful in her advice on how not to “rot in bed”.

Try to tidy. Possibly the hardest thing about living alone for the first time was realising that my mother had, in fact, been right about the importance of keeping my room tidy. Seriously though, coming back to a clean space makes such a difference. If you’re working as well as studying, or commuting long distances, it can be really hard to keep your room tidy, but there are small things you can do to try and organise the chaos! If you can, try to keep a designated 'mess corner' - confining all the things you need to sort out to a small part of the room instead of all over, this can make it feel more manageable. Doing all your tidying in one go would be difficult for even the neatest of us, so try breaking it down into little steps. Maybe do only three tasks in one go, or set a tidying timer for 10 minutes before stopping to take a break. You could even have your favourite programme playing in the background while you do your washing.

Manage your screen time. Social media can be your best friend and your worst enemy, with lots of us admitting to 'doom-scrolling' every week. It's definitely important to be mindful of how long you spend online, and consider if what you’re consuming is helping or hurting your brain. I listened to the Is There Any Sane Way to use the Internet? Podcast the other day which really made me reflect on using social media thoughtfully. As for practical tips, I’ve found just turning my phone off one hour before bed or even leaving it in a different room pretty helpful for avoiding blue light before sleep. The Forest App is also super cute and not only motivates you to study but helps the environment too - a win-win!

Know what help is available. If you find yourself struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. The University’s Student Advice & Wellbeing department is here to support every student and offers a wide variety of services, from financial support to counselling. It’s also a good idea to reach out to your tutors if you feel your mental health is affecting your studies but if you'd rather not use the University's support services, you can always make an appointment with your GP. If you are a student living with a long-term physical, mental or neurological health condition, definitely look into the Disabled Students' Allowance. It’s a Government grant that helps disabled students with the anything they need to succeed in University.

I hope everyone has an amazing Wellbeing Week! Don’t forget to check the Union What's On Calendar to see all the events taking place - I cannot WAIT for the Guide Dogs. See you next time!


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