What if it isn’t the most wonderful time of the year?

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Despite the endless images of everyone enjoying the festive period in their matching pyjamas on social media, that isn’t the case for everyone and it’s ok if you aren’t feeling it.

Whilst it can be a great occasion for joy and spending time with loved ones, it can also be stressful, emotional and lonely. The key is to be honest about your feelings and focus on things which help. Here are some of our top tips on how to look after your wellbeing during the festive period.

Talk about your feelings

It can seem difficult to admit that you’re not feeling great, when you feel like everybody else is enjoying themselves, but talking about your feelings can be really therapeutic and help you to manage them.

And chances are, you’re not the only one – by talking to others you might find out that friends and family members are experiencing similar feelings, so try and make some time to speak to someone you trust.

If you can’t talk to those around you, or your usual support isn’t available, remember you can talk to Samaritans 24/7, 365 days a year and there’s a number of wellbeing support options available to you through the University.

Take time out for you

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, put yourself first and take some time out to look after yourself. It can be hard to say no, but as the saying goes, it’s hard to pour from an empty cup, so do something you enjoy and fill it back up!

Whatever your chosen act of self-care might be, whether it’s having a bath, doing some crafts or watching your favourite film, make time to do it, especially if you’re feeling stressed by all the festivities. And if you really need some time to breathe and unwind check out Bemindful, the Headspace app, or the Calm app for tips on mindfulness.

Find your festive routine

Having a break from uni often throws normal routines out the window, which can make you feel stressed and out of control. An easy fix is to try and maintain some consistency during the break. For example, if you normally go on a walk at lunch or head to the gym in the morning, keep doing it. It might be worth making a plan for each day or week of your break so you can schedule some time for yourself as well as seeing people.

Another thing which can suffer without the structure of normal life, is sleep! Especially with this being a busy time of year for social gatherings which often go on late into the evening. But sleep hygiene is so important to our wellbeing, so make sure you allow yourself to lie in and get the occasional early night.

Stay off social media

Endlessly scrolling through other people’s “perfect Christmas” can be detrimental to our mental health. It’s important to remember that what you’re seeing is just a snap shot of what’s going on, not the whole story. As we all know, our social media accounts are often carefully curated to show the very best version of ourselves so try not to compare yourself to others and take a break if you need it.

Remember there are always people there to help you

If you are struggling and you feel like you can’t cope, then it is important to speak to somebody. Visit our wellbeing support options for more information on the support available to you through the University.

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 to reach out to our Wellbeing Service if you’re finding things overwhelming.

You can also find a range of self-help resources online.

Tips to help with loneliness

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

Mind – connecting with others

Connect with others at the 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

MOVE offers a wide range of exercise activities and classes to help you meet new people, feel good and be active. Activities are designed for all levels of ability and experience.

The Centre for Music

Join the Centre for Music 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 host a range of events throughout the year and try to cater to all tastes. Many students go along to events to meet new friends, so why not give it a try?

Societies

Get involved in a society! It’s a great way to meet like-minded people who share your interests, learn new skills and most importantly, have fun!

Connect with others in the community

Meetup

Meetup is a great way to meet other people in your local area. 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.

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.

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