Your October Feel Good Focus

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by the Feel Good team

What a welcome! We hope that you’re settling into university life here at UWE Bristol.

This month’s Feel Good Focus includes different recipes for you to try at home, more ways to get active, ways to relax and new things to try!

Eat well

Now we are fully into autumn, it seems to be that time of year where we fancy ‘cosy’ kind of meals. Especially foods packed with vitamins to help us now we will have less sunlight and to help build are immune systems. Here are a few of our favourite winter recipes!

Meat: Spiced Chicken, Spinach and Sweet Potato Stew

Vegetarian: Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup

Vegan: Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Get active

Even though the weather and cold can be off putting, it is important to try and stay active. UWE MOVE are kindly offering free MOVE passes for all UWE students normally costing £40 – how great is that!

The MOVE pass allows you to have access to a variety of weekly sessions such as meditation, badminton, touch rugby and more. It’s a great way to get active, clear your mind, improve your health and to make friends along the way.

You can view the timetable online or you can book through the Bristol Sport App. The sessions are flexible and all about having fun.

Relax

Starting a new course or a new year of studies can feel intense at times. Just remember to put some time aside each week for yourself. Your mental and physical health is the most important thing. You can watch that Netflix episode or you could check out what events The Students’ Union at UWE are running.

Tackling loneliness

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Loneliness is something that everyone feels at some point in their lives and each of our experiences are individual to us. To find out more about loneliness and what can cause and contribute to it, take a look at Mind’s website.

We’ve pulled together some information on how to build connections and meet others. We hope you find this useful and remember, you can always reach out for support if you need help.

To find out how to access any wellbeing support you need, visit our wellbeing support information.

Tips to help with loneliness

Watch this short video from Mind for tips to help you with loneliness. 

Connect with others at UWE Bristol

University events

Take part in UWE Bristol events. The University hosts a wide range of activities throughout the year, from Feel Good to workshops and socials.

MOVE

This year MOVE membership, usually £40, is FREE! There are over 40 activities to get involved in – from football and hiking to Zumba and yoga – and it’s a great way to get active and meet new people!

The Centre for Music

The Centre for Music is open for members. Join them for music software tutorials, music lessons or music masterclass events. It’s free to become a member and it’s a great way to learn new skills and meet new people.

Volunteering

Volunteering is a great way to meet others, all whilst doing something great that makes you feel good. You can take part as little or as often as you like, and you’ll meet people whilst helping your community.

Connect with others through The Students’ Union

Events

The Students’ Union at UWE host a range of events to keep you connected to fellow students.

Societies

Get involved with The Students’ Union at UWE societies – it’s a great way to meet like-minded people who share your interests, learn new skills and most importantly, have fun!

The Discord networking platform

Join the Discord networking platform to meet and chat to other UWE Bristol Students online.

Hallslife

If you live on campus, HallsLife is here to help you feel at home at UWE Bristol. Throughout the year they organise events and competitions that you can get involved with. This is a great way to meet others living in halls accommodation.

Connect with others in the community

Meetup

Meetup is a great way to meet other people in your local area (events and group sessions are currently online). Browse groups by interest (like health and wellness, film, technology) or search for groups near you. Millions of people use Meetup and there should always be likeminded people nearby.

Time outdoors

Time outdoors provides a list of activity clubs in your local area, such as walking, running, climbing and cycling groups.

FriendMatch

FriendMatch works like a dating site, but matches people up with new friends rather than dates. Meet new friends near you, or connect with others around the world. There is a small fee of £4 per month to use the site.

Do It

Volunteering is another good way to meet other people. Search opportunities near you using Do It, the national database of volunteering.

Find support in the community

Befriending

Sign up for an informal weekly phone chat with Changes Bristol Befriending Service. Befrienders are trained volunteers who are happy to listen to you speak about how you’re feeling, what challenges you’re facing and how you’re coping.

Student Space

Student Space offer free, confidential, one-to-one support by text, webchat, phone and email. They’re there to help with whatever challenge your facing whether it’s loneliness, mental health, studies, money, relationships or isolation.

Mind’s online community

It’s a powerful thing to connect with someone else over shared experiences. Side by Side is an online community where you can listen, share and be heard.


#SpeakUp

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We want to create an inclusive campus where diversity is celebrated, antisocial attitudes and behaviours are challenged and any type of harassment, assault and discrimination are not acceptable.

And we want you to #SpeakUp if you see or hear something that’s not right.

We want you to be an active bystander.

What does it mean to be an active bystander?

This means being able to recognise when someone’s behaviour is inappropriate or threatening and choosing to challenge it and safely intervene. If you hear people make racist comments or see someone touch a part of yours or someone’s body without consent, call them out.

Be an individual who’s aware that someone’s behaviour is inappropriate or threatening, and then actively challenges it.

How can you challenge inappropriate behaviour?

You should only intervene when it is safe to do so and the golden rule is your safety comes first. Here’s how you can challenge behaviour:

Direct: Let people know that their actions or language are unacceptable, explaining why it is not OK.

Distract: Indirectly intervene. For example, interrupt, start a conversation with the person to allow their potential target to move away or have friends intervene.

Delegate: If you spot a situation that worries you, find someone to help. This could be a more senior member of staff or someone in authority.

Delay: Wait for the situation to pass and check in with the individual. Take action at a later stage when you have had time to consider. It is never too late to act. One way of intervening is to report it through Report and Support.

Raising awareness online

Students have created some very short video-animations to prevent sexual harassment and relationship abuse within the university community. The aim is to raise awareness of areas such as consent, unwanted touching and groping, social media use and misuse, intimate partner abuse and humiliation ceremonies. Feel free to share them with friends and on social media.

Report anything you experience or observe that’s not right

You can report online any incidents that you’ve experienced or observed around bullying, anti-social behaviour, discrimination and hate incident, physical violence, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence abuse or health and wellbeing concerns.

How I settled into University life

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by Salma, BSc(Hons) Architecture

I’ll never forget my first trip to get groceries. I had just arrived in Bristol and as I was heading to Lidl, I may or may not have walked into random strangers’ backyards trying to get there. It was also my first-time using Google Maps and my, what an invention!

People who don’t see the need to use maps and rely solely on signs scare me.

Luckily as I got to know my flatmates, we started going grocery shopping together. Soon, what seemed like an hour-long walk felt like nothing. It started out with a simple text in our group chat that went something like, “I’m going grocery shopping tomorrow, would any of you like to join me?” It’s very normal for the first few weeks, or sometimes even the first couple of months to be awkward, but these little walks to Asda or Lidl really helped me get to know my housemates better.

Cooking with flatmates

In my first year at UWE I lived in Wallscourt with fellow international students and one thing I learnt from living with people from different cultures is that offering to try your food is the best way to make a friend. You also get to try theirs the next time, so it is a win. Living in a multicultural house also gave me the opportunity to celebrate things like Eid, Diwali, and Chinese new year’s. These were also opportunities to cook together, share a meal and educate one another about our cultures. It is a gradual process.

During the lockdown last December, I decided to stay in university accommodation so I spent the Christmas holidays mostly in my room and with my flatmates. We would hold movie nights and bond over some popcorn and crisps. One of my favourite recipes to make for my flatmates was these quick and easy cinnamon rolls .

Eating well

Before coming to university, the closest I got to ‘cooking’ was ramen noodles. But now I’ve learned some recipes from my flatmates, I’ve come to really enjoy cooking!

There’s something about having your own stuff, which has it’s own place in the kitchen that also makes cooking much more appealing. And when you’re in charge of your own food, it’s much easier to make healthier changes to your diet that you’ve always dreamt of. I switched to brown bread, gradually reduced my sugar intake and switched to plant-based milk cutting down my dairy intake. This did wonders for my skin and if my skin is happy, I’m happy!

Joining a society

During my first year, I joined the BAME society and the Built Environment society. I wanted to join societies that catered to both my social identity and my academic side. Joining these societies helped me get used to university life, as I met students from other years who’d had more experience and could give me advice. Although covid restrictions limited my interaction with other people, joining a society and meeting my course mates during the campus workshops, allowed me to make those all important connections and build my own community.

Mindfulness and meditation

During the lockdown last December, I decided to stay in university accommodation so I spent the Christmas holidays mostly in my room and with my flatmates. We would hold movie nights and bond over some popcorn and crisps.

Day to day though, I like to keep a routine and it’s important for me that I start my day by dedicating an hour or two to myself. I normally start by having toast with coffee/tea and then read a portion of a book and then watch some vlogs and cooking videos on YouTube. I also try to reserve 20 minutes before going to bed to meditate and I’m an avid believer of spiritual healing through prayer.

It’s important to remember that there will always be days when everything gets overwhelming and it’s not easy to stay focused no matter what you do. On such days, I just let myself feel the feelings and remember that it’s ok to have a good cry if needed.

For more advice on how to settle in and start your year well visit the Feel Good webpage!

Your September Feel Good Focus

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by the Feel Good Team

Whether you’re just starting your journey at UWE or returning for another year, September is an exciting time for everyone!

But don’t worry if you’re also feeling a little bit daunted, we’ve been busy planning a variety of activities to help you eat well, get active, relax and try something new, to start the year in a healthy, fun way!

What is Feel Good and Feel Good Fortnight?

The Feel Good programme is based on healthy behaviours for your wellbeing. Feel Good Fortnight takes place in September and promotes a healthy way to kick off your time at university. We want to help you to plan your meals and learn to cook new things, meet new people, find a new sport or hobby and to learn how to relax yourself when you come under stressful times.

Eat well

Eating well helps you stay energised and helps your physical and mental health. Ways on doing this would be to try a veggie or vegan meal and to stay hydrated throughout the day. Vegan meals can seem a bit daunting to make if you have never done so before. Why not try one of these 15 easy vegan recipes once you’ve moved in? Trying new meals could be something to do as a flat or with a group of friends.

Get active

By getting active, it’ll not only keep us physically healthy, but it helps to manage stress and boost our mood. Getting active outdoors has been proven to boost your mental health. Ways to get active at UWE can range from our UWE Move programme to trying a variety of different activities, or by trying out a range of easy walking routes around our campuses.

Our favourite places to walk include Stoke Park which has lovely views and isn’t too far Frenchay Campus. You can also take a walk to Snuff Mills and Oldbury Court Estate if you’re based at Glenside. And for students studying at Bower Ashton, you’ve got the beautiful Ashton Court right on your doorstep. In this video Fashion Textiles student Imogen, takes us on a tour of Ashton Court, one of her favourite stress-relieving locations in Bristol!

Relax

Moving to university can be a stressful time and it’s vital to ensure you relax to focus on your wellbeing. Make sure that when studying you have small breaks to help re-energise and try some mindfulness or meditation. The Calm app is a great way to try some mindfulness or create a Spotify playlist full of relaxing calm music.

When studying, the Flipd app is great as it sets a certain amount of time for you to study so you can have short breaks. You can also work in groups on the app so you and friends can study together and motivating quotes come up before you start a new session, which is a lovely touch!

Try something new

Trying something new can be challenging and exciting! It can improve your sense of wellbeing and perhaps help you find a new hobby. At UWE, we have a range of activities you can try. At the welcome events, if you see a sport club or society you’ve considered doing in the past, sign up and give it a go! You will connect with new people and develop skills.

And don’t forget to check out our friends at Centre for Sport or Centre for Music.

Feel Good giveaway

We’re also doing a giveaway on our social media platforms, so make sure you are following us on Instagram and Twitter!

This giveaway will be spread across the Feel Good Fortnight events, with prizes related to the Feel Good themes, so keep your eyes peeled for some exciting goodies!

Managing your money

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by Student Money Service

70% of students say they want to be clued up on money before starting uni. So here we share some tips so you can manage your money instead of it managing you.

Create a budget

First of all, figure how much money you have coming in – from your student loan, part-time job etc. Then figure out how much is going out.

Once you’ve worked out the essentials like rent, bills, course materials, food and travel, you can turn your attention to non-essentials like eating out and entertainment. What’s important to you? Budget your non-essential spending around that. Create a budget around what really matters to you, being realistic with the money you have!

Check out Blackbullion and Money Saving Expert for budgeting templates and money advice. There are loads of template budgets out there, you don’t need to create one from scratch.

Consider opening a second bank account

This may be the first time you’ve been in control of your finances, and if you’re eligible for a student loan, then you’ll get a lump sum once a term – and the temptation is to blow it! To help make your money last the term it’s for, consider opening a second bank account to pay your student loan into (and salary too). From there you can set up a standing order to your current account to pay yourself what you need each month. This could help you manage the big chunk of cash from the Student Loan Company (SLC) coming in each term.

Get a part-time job

Lots of students get part-time jobs to help make ends meet. As well as boosting your income it’s a great way to get some work experience for your CV. But whilst it might be tempting to take on all the hours you can get for extra money, try to find something that’s less than 16 hours a week so that your academic work doesn’t suffer. The Students’ Union at UWE have their very own JobShop where they advertise part-time jobs on campus and around Bristol.

Don’t eat away your money

Eating out and takeouts are pricy! See them as a treat rather than the norm.

Write a shopping list before going out rather than just buying what catches your eye – and don’t shop when you’re hungry, otherwise everything will look good! Try to cook and eat with your housemates when you can to save money (and washing up). Consider bulk cooking – perhaps doing a big batch of pasta so you have something for the next day.

Review your budget

The amount you pay for things can go up and down over the year. Make a note to review and tweak your budget each term.

Capitalise on all the savings

Now you’re a student you get to take advantage of loads of discounts. Get into the habit of asking wherever you go – sometimes student discounts aren’t advertised so it’s good to ask or just pop your TOTUM card down on the counter and see what they say!

Ask for help

If you can’t figure out a budget that works for you, don’t worry – we’re here to help. Ask for help before you find yourself in a pickle.

Useful websites to take things further:

Blackbullion – money modules and detailed advice

Save the Student – good advice and weekly cheat sheets

Money Saving Expert – loads of tips for uni and everyday life

Student Beans – student discount codes

How Starting Block helped me prepare for the year ahead

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By Megan, BA(Hons) Media Culture and Communications

Going into a new year at university can be a nerve-wracking time for anyone and there are lots of ways you can prepare. As a student going into a year of online learning for the first time last year, I was very apprehensive about the new way of learning and all the new challenges I would face learning from home.

Fortunately, we had a Starting Block.

Starting Block is a great opportunity to set yourself up for the year ahead and make sure you’re prepared with the skills you will need for university life. Last year, because of Covid-19, all learning was done online. This took a bit of getting used to as it was a new concept for a lot of people, and while it sounded fun at first, it came with its own set of challenges.

Before starting block I felt nervous about the year ahead as well as new obstacles like wifi connections, audio issues and all the new aspects of learning we had never had to consider before. Thankfully starting block was a great opportunity to test all of this out, so when it came to the first week of term I felt fully prepared and comfortable. 

I learned a lot from Starting Block. As I mentioned, I had a lot to figure out with audio issues and connections at the start, starting block gave me the opportunity, time and support to make sure my wifi was strong enough or that I had a good desk to work from, small things that could have hindered me had I not had the opportunity to sort them out. It also helped me get used to seeing and interacting with lecturers and my peers online instead of in person.  

Another aspect that really helped me was a group talk our lecturer gave where she discussed mental health and working from home. We were given really good advice on how to separate university life and home life, for example having separate space to work, even if this is just a desk in your room instead of working on your laptop from bed (as appealing as that sounds), so we have spaces to switch off.

We were also told to take regular breaks outside, so we could rest our eyes from looking at screens all day. Having this advice not only helped feel more prepared for what the year would be like, but it also made me feel like everyone was in the same position and it made starting the academic year easier to cope with knowing everyone was doing something new for the first time.

The advice we were given from lectures during Starting Block not only helped me prepare my working set-up but also helped me prepare mentally for the new challenges learning from home comes with. It made me feel much more comfortable with how online learning was going to be and I gained incredible benefits from it like advice from lecturers, as well as talking to other students so it is a great way to feel prepared at the start of a new year.

And whilst this year will look different to last year, I have no doubt that the advice and skills learnt during Starting Block will help me prepare just as well for whatever the year ahead will bring.

Visit our Starting Block webpage for more information.

Welcome to Bristol!

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By Mercedes, BA (Hons) Drama and Creative Writing

To choose to live in Bristol as a student, is to choose to enter into a completely different way of exploring, moving, creating and living. There isn’t a corner of the City that isn’t signed with some form of creativity and individuality, and they’ve left no room to question the authenticity of the people and appreciation of the history.

Bristol has an amazing understanding of community and has mastered a way of being all-inclusive. From the party-goers to the theatre-goers, to those who prefer artisan coffee shops and a good page-turner, to those who are desperate to keep the kids entertained for half-term, to the history fanatics, to those who love a good shaded spot on the grass with good company, to those who love a bit of ‘me time’ — there is something here for everybody!

To all of the foodies out there, you won’t be left disappointed! I’m yet to find a cuisine that doesn’t have its own place. They’re dotted all over the City too: Harbourside, Stokes Croft, Gloucester Road, Clifton, Cabot Circus, Cribbs Causeway — thank me later, and “Bon appetit!”

Creatives, whether on your own or with a group, a whole weekend can be planned to get the creative juices flowing! You can go to places such as the Arnolfini or Spike Island, or get lost in the fresh air up at the Clifton Suspension Bridge, or even in the array of quirky cafes to plan your next project!

And no matter where you’re coming from, Bristol is definitely a home away from home — and the more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it!

To find out more about living in Bristol visit our Discover Bristol webpage.

Moving into the community

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Are you moving into the community soon? Well we want to make the transition as easy as possible! We’ve pulled together a list of helpful advice along with top-tips from BA Hons Marketing student Deppy and The Students’ Union.

Introduce yourself

Introduce yourself to your neighbours (in person or pop a note in their mailbox) – it’ll make all the difference if you know who’s living next door and it’s important to try and get on with those living around you. Plus, it’ll help when you have you go and collect a missed delivery!

Listen to Deppy’s top-tips for moving into the community.

Respect your neighbours

Try to keep the noise down. You might enjoy a late night, but those around you might not. If you’re walking home at night, remember that the local residents might have children or need to get up early for work – everyone’s entitled to a good night’s sleep!

If there is one, join the neighbourhood WhatsApp group and try to stay active on it. Let your neighbours know if you’re going to have a later night than usual.

Bins and recycling

Make sure you put your bins out at the right time and bring them in so they’re not blocking the pavement. You can check the bin collection dates for Bristol and South Gloucestershire online.

It can be tempting to just chuck what you don’t want in the bin rather than recycle, but every time you choose recycling over rubbish, the planet thanks you!

Keep safe

Make sure your doors and windows are closed and locked when no one is home, and register bikes and valuables so you can track them if stolen.

Get contents insurance – many providers offer student cover, so do your research!

And be aware of who you bring home and who your flatmates bring home – and look out for one and another.

Advice Centre

The Advice Centre offers friendly, non-judgemental and confidential advice – and it’s totally free too! Speak to them for advice on housing, rent, bills and financial queries.

And finally, enjoy being part of your new community and be proud of it! Even just picking up litter that you see on your walk home, saying hello to a neighbour or taking the bins out will go a long way to making your community a place where everyone loves to live.