A blog about Loneliness

by Freya Selman, Senior Resident

Freya is studying Social Work MSc and is in her 4th year at UoB, and her first year being a Senior Resident. Coco is a 2 year old miniature poodle. Freya was not able to get Coco’s explicit informed consent too share these pictures, as she is still working out how to go about it!

Loneliness is a horrible feeling, and it is definitely not as simple as just ‘deciding’ to not be lonely. It’s also something that people don’t often talk about. When feeling lonely, it’s so easy to see other people with all their apparent friends and assume that we are the only ones. We aren’t though. In fact, the more I’ve spoken to people, and tried to be more open about feelings of loneliness, the more I realise that there are very few people (if anyone at all!) who doesn’t feel lonely. Ironically, you are never alone in feeling lonely, and there will always be someone out there who will help you to feel supported. With time, you can also become that person for yourself. (more…)

Loneliness

by Santiago Ayuso Arcas

“It’s ok not to be ok” or “it’s normal not to be normal” are two quite concurrent mottos we can all see or hear around us. I myself have seen several promo posters in both train stations, Temple Meads and Lime Street, in my last trip to Liverpool. Having said this, one may well wonder, is it normal to be a loner? Is it ok to seek loneliness from time to time? Or, if I’m a loner, must I always find refuge in loneliness? Well, here I will throw a couple of reflections based on my experience as a PhD student, which means a “part-time” mandatory loner. (more…)

The Power of Small Wins

by Alex Mcconville, Chief Resident

Sometimes I can’t be bothered to work. Even though I know I need to. However, once I get going I can really get into the flow of it, and always get that sense of achievement after I finished what I set out to do. But the problem is always starting.

Sometimes we set ourselves unrealistic goals about how much we can get done in a day, or get overwhelmed  by the sheer volume of work that needs to be done during our degrees, masters courses, or PhD’s. And that doesn’t even include tidying your house, washing your clothes, eating better, and doing more exercise. (more…)

Keep up your wellbeing during exam season

by Srood Salih, Chief Resident

Connect

With exams and coursework heavy in May, take care that you don’t drown in deadline season! It can be crucial for your own wellbeing to ensure that you fit in adequate breaks, and a really good way to do this is to connect with others.

If you are studying in a group or with a partner, fit in some time where you can take a walk or go and grab some coffee or a snack. Any down time where you can connect with other people and your friends, even if its just by having a chat can really help to take your mind off studying and keep your spirits up.

There are also plenty going on in societies, the SU and within ResiLife which you can see by visiting the What’s On webpage, reading the ResiLife weekly newsletter and following @UoBResiLife and @Bristol_SU on socials, if you are struggling for a way to connect with something.

Be Active

Covered walk on the Langford Campus

Physical exercise is a great way to destress and boost some much-needed serotonin. It can be intense at the gym or going off on a run around the downs but it doesn’t have to be so!

A simple walk in the park can be amazing, or instead of getting a snack out of a vending machine; walking to the nearest coffee shop is a great way to break the monotony of work and sneak in some physical activity.

Indeed, instead of taking a voi to and from the library, walking the route can offer some relaxation and benefits after a long studying session!

Take Notice

Take notice of what is around you and try your best to stay in ‘the moment’ as this can really help to strengthen and broaden your awareness.

Take notice of your workspace and try to keep it clutter free as a clear tabletop can really help you to focus in on the task at hand. Maybe spice up your desk by getting a new plant or several! You could also change your routines and maybe try something new at lunch or go somewhere else to eat.

Being aware of yourself and your goals can really help you stay motivated this exam season and these small changes to your day can really help it feel different and keep you in ‘the moment’, aware and motivated.

Exams and essays are difficult and stressful. However, it’s more important than ever to take some time for yourself and ensure that you stay recharged and on top of your work. Organise yourself and make sure you have plenty of time to avoid leaving things to the last minute and feeling overburdened. No matter how hard you feel things are right now, remember there is always a tomorrow. Good luck for your exams, do your best and everything will be alright.

My top three pancake spots in Bristol

by Tania Nzembela, Senior Resident in Riverside, East village

Illustration by Tania Nzembela, Senior resident in East village @TaniaBe1a

Shrove Tuesday is a Christian festival celebrated before the start of Lent, click here for a short video explaining the significance of these days to Christians across the world. This day is also known as “Pancake Day” or “Pancake Tuesday” and is widely acknowledged across the world. I will suggest some spots you can go to for delicious pancakes with friends on Pancake Day – or any other day. These are not listed in any particular order – they are all great places to go!

Quay Street Diner

Photo credit: @quaystreetbristol

This high-spirited diner can be found in the heart of Bristol and is encapsulated by vibrant street art. They serve traditional and authentic American and Mexican dishes e.g., burgers and tacos, throughout the day alongside a variety of desserts and drinks. Their vegetarian “Pancake Stack” can be served with bacon or blueberries and is topped with maple syrup. You can also customize your meal with other toppings. Pancakes can be ordered from the “Weekend breakfast and brunch” menu between: 9am-3pm on Saturday and 9am-5pm on Sunday. Click here for menu.

This diner is a ~6-minute walk from the Riverside accommodation! It is even more close to other East Village residences e.g., New Bridewell and The Courtrooms.

Chez Marcel

Photo credit: @chezmarcelcreperie

No need to take a trip to northern France for the finest crêpes, Chez Marcel offers an authentic crêperie experience right here in Bristol. Head over to Chez Marcel and try their great selection of crêpes or Breton galettes (square crêpes in Chez Marcel Instagram post). The main difference between galettes and crêpes is that they are savoury rather than sweet. Most galettes are made from buckwheat, which is suitable for vegan and gluten-free diets and you can switch the savoury toppings for sweet toppings. Click here for menu.

Boston Tea Party

Photo credit: @btpparkstreet

There are 5 BTP cafes in Bristol, but the Park Street café was the very first BTP to open in 1995. It has a secluded garden, which is open to customers, which is a great place to chill with friends during the summer. They serve pancakes with two different topping combinations. As seen in the BTP Instagram picture, the blueberry compote, vanilla Greek yoghurt & maple butter is suitable for vegetarians. The blueberry compote really takes these pancakes to another level – maybe that just because I find regular blueberries on pancakes a little basic. The other topping selection is maple syrup and maple butter with smoked bacon – typical pancake toppings that hits the spot every single time. BTP’s menu will satisfy your appetite with its healthy meal options and drinks. Click here for menu.

Thank you for reading this blog post, if you do check out any of these restaurants, I hope you also have a positive experience.

Random acts of kindness

by Gautam Jindal, Chief Resident, Nurselim Tekin, Senior Resident and Neha Bullywon, Senior Resident

Today, February 17th, is observed as Random Acts of Kindness Day to celebrate the generosity of strangers and loved ones alike. This initiative was started in 1995 by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, which believes: Even the smallest act of kindness can have a profound effect. It is scientifically proven that the act of doing good can be as powerful as receiving good.

On Random Acts of Kindness Day, please be kind and grateful – it costs nothing. Words of encouragement, a listening ear, a smile or even just a kind expression can make a huge difference to those who need it most.

You can perform these random acts of kindness on this Random Acts of Kindness Day:

  1. Say Hello to someone: Often we don’t or miss calling the people who are important to us or someone who is outside your work routine, would make someone’s day. 
  2. Compliment someone: Our jobs help us earn a living, they enable us to live better lives for ourselves and for our families. However, not everyone has the pleasure of experiencing the wonder that a genuine compliment can be. It can boost someone’s morale. It will start a kind of altruistic snowball effect!
  3. Donate books: A book is a window to the world. Instead of dumping old books in the trash, you could bind them and donate them to the nearest library, cafe or school, where the worn pages might open someone’s eyes to a new world.
  4. Buy an extra item from the supermarket and donate: You might want to buy staples in a little more quantity the next time you’re at the grocery store. It won’t cost you anything, and the poor will certainly benefit. If we have a little more than others, let’s contribute to spreading a cheer among the less fortunate.
  5. Ditch Plastic: Everyone in the world is affected by it!
  6. Spend time with the elders: Volunteer to work at a care home for a day or even just have a nice day with your grandparents. After these difficult times, they were impacted the most. A listening ear and a warm heart can do wonders for their mental and physical health.

And, lastly – Being kind to yourself is the best act of kindness you can perform without spending any money or exerting any effort. Don’t berate yourself for things you can’t change. When speaking to oneself, be polite to yourself and focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t. Kindness to oneself will automatically lead to kindness to others.

Again, participating in an act of kindness and witnessing how it makes someone feel can help us recognise how our actions affect those around us. It gives us a sense of belonging and value in the larger community by making us feel like we’re a part of something bigger than ourselves. Being nice is also a fantastic foundation for forging connections, forming relationships, and expanding one’s social network, all of which help to alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation. It also keeps things in perspective to allow you to understand and enjoy life when times are grim.

 

Stress Awareness Day: How to empty your stress container

by Sophie Saunder, Residential Experience Coordinator

I’ve just recently started my new role at the University of Bristol, working as a Residential Experience Coordinator in Residential Life. It’s mine and my colleagues’ job to make sure that you have a great time in halls and that your JCRs are working as well as they can be! November the 3rd is Stress Awareness Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of stress, and ways to combat it. In this blog, I’ll tell you a little bit about my background and ways you can manage stress and overwhelm. 

Before I came to UoB I worked at Bath Mind, a local mental health charity that works to support the mental health and wellbeing of people living in Bath and North East Somerset. Prior to that, I studied German, Spanish and European Studies at the University of Bath so I’ve been in the wonderful South West for a while now!  

At Bath Mind, I worked on a student mental health project called the Mentally Healthy Universities program, a project that provided preventative mental health training for students in the form of online workshops. Throughout this process, I learned a lot about various tools and techniques that can support your mental wellbeing on a daily basis.  

One important topic that came up often in the workshops was stress. One way that we would imagine stress in the workshops is to imagine that all of your stresses collect into a ‘stress container’. Student life can throw a wide range of stresses at you, filling up the stress container: potentially living away from home for the first time, making friends, starting a new course, exams, essays and socialising can all add to stress levels. Sometimes, the stress container can overflow which can lead to overwhelm, burnout and low mood.  

It’s useful to think about ways to empty or relieve your stress container. For Stress Awareness Day and beyond, the ResiLife team have put together a self-care package for you to use on the awareness day and beyond to empty your stress container.   (more…)

What to see in Bristol? Dive into Bristol’s deep history and see how you can get involved

by Alessio, Chief Resident

If you are coming from another city or another country, your years at the University of Bristol can become an opportunity to know the city, its traditions and its community: an experience which will remain in your heart and memory for the rest of your life. Let yourself be conquered by the vibrant atmosphere of this city! Bristol is an incredible blend of Georgian architecture, harbour traditions and street art. 

Read on for the six essential things to visit in order to live an authentic experience in Bristol.  (more…)

Taking care of your wellbeing

by Usman, Chief Resident

Mental and physical wellbeing is one of the key factors that enables us to overcome difficulties and challenges and to be successful, it is of vital importance that we take our wellbeing seriously. It enables us to grow and take charge of our routine, our mind and body, all at the same time. Wellbeing refers to being comfortable, health and happy. The fives ways of wellbeing include connect, keep learning, be active, give, take notice. It is now more than ever easy to practice these ways of wellbeing in daily life.   (more…)

My favourite places to see and activities I’d recommend in Bristol

by Kal, Senior Resident

Newfound freedom, new flatmates, and a new city. It may seem a bit overwhelming to figure out what to do first so here’s a quick guide on what there is to do in Bristol. 

Let’s start with some daytime activities 

First, for those who have never been to Bristol before some buildings are a must-see around the city from the Wills memorial building to the We Are Curious disco ball sculpture in millennium square. Download an architecture trail of all the buildings to visit. 

If architecture isn’t your cup of tea, then maybe you’ll prefer coffee with many independent cafés and bakeries in Bristol you are sure to find one you like. Some suggestions: Playground coffee house, Papadeli or Pinkmans.   (more…)