I wanna go home – how a homesick international student deals with loneliness Part 2 of 2

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Student Champion Victoria writes about how she deals with homesickness. This is part two.

Connect with Home

The most obvious advice I can give you is to connect with home through the means we’ve got. Facetime, Netflix party, Zoom calls, and overseas gifts can all be ways of feeling closer to home.

  1. Call your family. I’m serious, no one is going to think you are “lame” for calling up your family members. I literally talk to my mom every other day or ring her randomly to show her something I’m excited about. I’ll also call family when I’m cooking something from home to get their input and tips, but also catch up and feel closer to them.
  2. Reach out to friends from home. I for one get a lot of FOMOs (fear of missing out) when my friends are all hanging out in our home city but knowing I can always call and catch up makes me feel happy and less homesick.
  3. Try out a home dish with your Bristol friends. Whenever one of us in the friend group feels homesick, we will all meet to cook something from their culture. This is a simple and fun way of connecting with home while sharing it with your friends.
  4. Wash your clothes in similar scents. Using washing powder that smells of home or a certain scent that reminds you of home can be a small thing that can make you feel back in your childhood bedroom.
  5. Listen to the Top 50 songs in your home country. Whether you are a Spotify, Apple Music, or YouTube user (or anything else, again, no judging here), all these platforms have playlists with the trending songs back home. Listening to these makes me feel closer to home and keep in the loop of what songs are popular when I return.

Find “Me Time”:

As an introvert, all my blogs tend to include some Me Time tips; I love spending time with myself. I am a very busy person and tend to have a full schedule, so feelings of homesickness can sometimes strike me, and I will not deal with them because I won’t even have time to assimilate them. This is why “Me Time” is so important. This is the time I take to reconnect and reflect on how I’m feeling and take care of my mental health.

  1. Take a walk. I have a podcast from home I absolutely love, so getting out of the house and going for a walk to listen to the podcast is a great way for me to get myself active again and reconnect with my home country. The walking part is to get you out of the house and moving, whatever you decide to do in your walk, is up to you!
  2. Look at old pictures. Embracing feelings of loneliness and homesickness is necessary to be able to deal with them. Looking at old pictures can help you change your mindset from “I don’t want to be here anymore” to “I’m excited for what is waiting for me at home”. Knowing that there are people, food, and activities waiting for you at home can be comforting and help you deal with loneliness at university.
  3. Watch a movie from your country or set there. I find that every time a show or movie mentions “The Dominican Republic” I feel a sense of satisfaction. Watching something that is set in your country or deals with topics from your country can help you deal with your homesickness.
  4. Engage in activities you enjoy. Me time can also be going to a comedy show, trying a pottery class, or participating in sports. Doing something you enjoy can help you take your mind off the negative feelings and enjoy your time at university

 

 

I wanna go home – how a homesick international student deals with loneliness Part 1 of 2

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Student Champion Victoria writes about how she deals with homesickness.

As we get closer to summer the idea to go home and see loved ones becomes more tangible, but this isn’t the reality for all of us. The Student Housing Company reported that three-quarters of students at UK universities feel homesick. Although homesickness isn’t an isolated event that only happens to international students, as a Latina away from home, I know that it hits different when you feel homesick and don’t know when you can go home.

After three years at university, I have noticed that homesickness hits me at the weirdest and most unexpected times. It sometimes happens when I see family pictures and wish I were there, or I eat something and am reminded of how good it is at home, or smell a certain scent and I am taken back to a memory. Navigating these feelings can sometimes be overwhelming, but remember, you are not alone. I hope that by reading this you will better understand why we feel homesick and also find some suggestions of what to do next time you find yourself feeling this way.

What is Homesickness?

Symptoms of homesickness vary from person to person and are not always associated with “home”; it can be related to people, food, experiences, or a feeling of nostalgia for a time in your life. Many times, these symptoms include feeling tearful, sad, isolated and, at times, trapped.

At other times, many people may be feeling “emotionally wobbly” and not be able to identify why, and it can be a repressed feeling of homesickness. This can translate into anxiety or depression-like feelings as well, as thinking of home makes us scared of the unknown of our new environment.

Homesickness can be exacerbated at different stages of university life. Freshers’ week is a time when first years are adapting to student life and may wish for home often. Seeing everyone find a group and fit in easily may also affect us and make us feel even more homesick and wish we could run home. Over holidays like Christmas or Easter, when the city empties out of students going to see family, staying behind can be hard for many of us. I for one hosted my first Christmas, and although it was loads of fun, I would be lying if I didn’t confess seeing the Christmas pictures on the family group chat didn’t make me tear up. As international students, we also have different holidays and traditions that we may miss from home, and when those dates roll around, we might be hit with a feeling of homesickness and a yearning to participate in these important activities.

Connect with your culture in Bristol

Bristol is not just a very diverse city; it is a cultural hub with different options to engage with different cultures. There are over 180 nationalities in Bristol and at least 90 languages spoken throughout the city. There is bound to be something for everyone!

  1. The SU: The Student Union has so many societies as we all know, but these include cultural societies that might encompass your culture or interests. I am part of the Latino Society, and can confidently say, there is nothing like knowing I can just text “The Latinos” and I will have someone be there for me. They truly are a family away from home.
  2. Visit the Global Lounge: This fun cultural hub in the heart of campus (Senate house) has so many activities throughout the year, celebrating many cultures represented among the alumni of UoB.
  3. Bristol Meetups: Download the Meetup app and start finding mingles and activities around the city with people who share your interests and cultures.
  4. Go out to eat something from home: Bristol’s cuisine is so diverse and rich, thanks to its huge cultural diversity. Go to La Ruca for authentic South American cuisine, Caribbean Croft for amazing Caribbean dishes, Bristanbul for some Turkish delights, Mayflower for homecooked Chinese or read more options here for different nationalities.

Assessment Do’s and Don’ts!

Here are some top tips from students on preparing for assessments.  Let us know if you have more to add! Student-comms@bristol.ac.uk 

 

DO 

Get enough sleep.  Yes, we know you’ve heard this before, but we can’t say it enough.     
Sleep is your best friend when it comes to performing well. 
(Read the Sleep Foundation’s Guide to Getting Sleep During Exams.)

 

 

DON’T 

Forget to eat and drink.  You brain needs energy as much as your body does.   
See what the BBC recommends for breakfast on the day of your assessment.

 

DO 

Ask your friends and classmates what they are working on and how they are preparing.  
You will probably feel reassured – or realise anything you may have missed.
 

DON’T 

Try to pretend you’re feeling ok if you’re not.  Talk to someone.  
A friend, a mentor, or JustAsk.  You are not alone.
 

 

 

 

 

 

DO 

Give yourself breaks.  You are better off clearing your head and planning your revision in manageable chunks of time than trying to keep going for hours and hours and hours… 

DON’T 

Put off taking your assessment.  It may seem tempting to give yourself more time but in reality you are just prolonging a stressful situation.   The resit period in August is a safety net if things go wrong the first time round.  Don’t rely on that as your one chance to progress.  

DO 

Familiarise yourself with the format of your assessments.  For in person exams you can look at past papers, and for a lot of online assessments you will have a practice test in the Assessment, Submission and Feedback area of your unit on Blackboard

DON’T 

Forget that there is more to life than assessments!  Not everyone has the same idea about what “success” means and getting good grades is only a tiny part of that picture. 

 

Natural mental health boosters

As part of University Mental Health Day on the 3 March, we wanted to share some of our top tips for things you can do to help improve your mental health.

Get into nature

We’re really lucky that our city is full of wonderful green spaces. Sometimes being around nature can help settle a busy mind and Spring is just peeping around the corner so there will be a lot to see. Some favourite places include the Bristol Botanic Garden, the Downs and just over the bridge, you have Leigh Woods. If you want to go a little further afield then just up the M4 is Westonbirt Arboretum, containing some amazing species of plants and trees (they also offer a student discount!) If you want to see a little piece of California, head to the Redwood grove in Ashton Court, just down from the mansion house. Sitting amongst these giant trees is strangely calming.

Running

Getting outside for a run or jog can be a great way to relieve daily stress and boost your mental wellbeing. If you’re new to running, Couch to 5k is a great place to start. Alternatively, you could try out one of Bristol’s many Parkruns including Ashton Court and Eastville Park which start at 9 am every Saturday. If you’re struggling with motivation, try setting yourself a running goal, such as a 5k race and make sure you check out the Bristol Run Series.

Exercise your green fingers

Studies have shown that keeping indoor plants can boost feelings of wellbeing, with many plants having useful additional properties such as air purification, calming and improving cognitive function. Also looking after a plant is a good reminder to look after ourselves, to stay hydrated, get some fresh air and some sunlight. They also serve as a reminder that even after wilting they can spring back and continue to grow.

Low maintenance plants include: Spider plants, Aloe Vera, Snake plants and Pathos. Also, don’t forget about herbs, you can keep chives, basil, rosemary in a small window box.

Wildlife for wellbeing

As a city you may not think that Bristol would be the greatest place for wildlife spotting, outside of urban foxes, seagulls and pigeons, what else is there? Places like Arnos Vale, Conham River Park, Ashton Court Estate and the Avon Gorge are teeming with wildlife, from deer, voles, birds, and squirrels to perhaps the unexpected, goats, lizards, weasels and the odd seal. Bristol is also home to thousands of pet dogs so you will probably encounter some furry four-legged friends on any walks around the city.

PROJECT:TALK

We’re proud to work with and support a really useful student-run mental health organisation called PROJECT:TALK. We spoke with their co-president, Sophie to get some background on why it’s good to talk.

What is PROJECT:TALK?

PROJECT:TALK is a Mental Fitness society and CIC at the University of Bristol. We pioneer mental fitness initiatives including mental health training and community events. The funds raised are channelled back into the community by funding mental fitness provisions selected by those who need it most. 

Why did you join PROJECT:TALK?

We joined PROJECT:TALK as the idea of open conversations about mental health seemed like something that our society is lacking. We wanted to create a safe space for students to meet in a relaxed environment and to teach others how to approach mental health conversations.

Why is talking right now a good thing for mental health?

Talking with others is very important for your mental health. It allows you to share your feelings and understand that you are not alone in your situation.

What can people do to support you?

We organise a lot of wonderful events and training, so attending those is the biggest support. Additionally completing our mental fitness training is a big support for us, as it allows us to grow our community at the university.

Talking to one another and being honest about how we are feeling can help remove the stigma surrounding mental health. By speaking about issues we are facing we are then able to get help and support. PROJECT:TALK are involved in the University and Bristol SU’s joint Dare to Care campaign and are hosting a talk session in the SU Loft on Tuesday 1 March.

Remember when it comes to suicide, see the signs, say the words, signpost to support.


The University and Bristol SU have teamed up with the Zero Suicide Alliance to offer an online training module to help you when speaking to someone who’s struggling. It’s designed to take 20 minutes, but we recommend you allow longer to take breaks and reflect on what you’re learning. We’re encouraging all students and staff to take this training – an opportunity to book time in your diary, grab a cuppa and find out how this can help you and others.

LGBT History Month – A History of LGBT Representation in TV/Film

For many LGBTQ+ people, representation can help them to come to terms with their gender/sexuality and so it is important that positive representation exists in media. However historically, LGBTQ+ representation in film and TV has been lacking, with many characters conforming to stereotypes or enduring cruel fates.

With the introduction of the ‘Hays Code’ in the USA in 1934, LGBTQ+ characters were prohibited from appearing in film. Though homosexuality was never specifically mentioned, the law stated that movies must not “lower the moral standards of those who see [them]” – and at the time being LGBTQ+ was considered immoral. These were lifted in 1968, but this still left three decades with the only representation being queer-coded villains.

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Following the lifting of the ‘Hays Code’ and the Stonewall Riots of 1969, came the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1975. The musical featured an array of LGBTQ+ characters and introduced some much-needed positive representation. The 1980s unfortunately worsened the stigma around LGBTQ+ people due to the AIDs crisis. Nevertheless, in 1985 Desert Hearts was released, which is regarded as the first mainstream lesbian film with a happy ending.

In 1988, Margaret Thatcher introduced ‘Section 28’ in the UK – a law that prohibited “promoting the teaching of the acceptability of homosexuality” within schools – which wasn’t abolished until 2003. This meant for many people in the 90’s, TV was the only place they could go to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community. 1989 brought the first gay kiss on UK television in an episode of Eastenders, which was unfortunately followed by a slew of homophobic backlash. In 1997, Ellen became the first American show to feature a gay lead character, after star Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian. In the UK, Queer as Folk aired in 1999 on Channel 4, which followed a group of out gay men in Manchester – and depicted the LGBTQ+ community as vibrant and alive. Other shows such as Will & Grace and Buffy the Vampire Slayer began featuring recurring LGBTQ+ characters.

Sense8 – Nomi & Amanita

In recent years, there have been numerous great examples of representation within cinema. In 2017, Moonlight was the first LGBTQ+ movie (and first with an all-black cast) to win an Oscar for Best Picture. Love, Simon (2018) is regarded as the first movie by a major Hollywood studio to feature a gay lead character. In the world of Superheroes, Marvel introduced theirfirst gay superhero in 2021 in Eternals –  whom director Chloé Zhao refused to censor from the film for foreign markets.

When it comes to television, Netflix’s Sense8 (2015-2018) featured several healthy LGBTQ+ relationships. In 2017, Bojack Horseman character Todd Chavez came out as asexual – and was the only asexual character in streaming in 2018 [GLADD]. Supergirl on the CW introduced us to DC’s first trans superhero with Dreamer, who featured as a major character for the final 3 seasons. In 2020, It’s A Sin shone a light on what it was like to live through the AIDs crisis in the UK.

Owl HouseEven children’s television is starting to gain more representation. DreamWorks’ She-Ra and the Princesses of Power featured a lesbian romance between lead characters, as well as a parental gay couple. Disney’s The Owl House features lesbian, asexual, bisexual, and non-binary lead and recurring characters. On Cartoon Network, Steven Universe features various LGBTQ+ characters and often combats gender stereotypes. This kind of representation being shown to children is so important, both for young LGBTQ+ people to be able to see that being LGBTQ+ is okay, and for non-LGBTQ+ children, as it normalises it and makes it easier for them to become good allies.

Since 2005, GLAAD has published an annual report to show how representation is changing in TV. In the 2005-2006 season, 1.4% of regular characters on broadcast primetime shows were LGBTQ+, whilst in 2020-2021, the figure was up to 9.1% – and over half of these characters were people of colour. It is important to remember though that more can be done – the most recent study found that 20% of these LGBTQ+ characters appeared in a series created by just 1 of 4 TV producers.

All in all, it is amazing to see how far representation has improved – particularly over the past 20 years – and hopefully, this trend will continue until there is consistent representation of everyone throughout the film and TV industries.

To end, I thought I’d provide a list of some other shows with great LGBTQ+ relationships and/or characters:

  • Schitt’s Creek
  • The Haunting of Bly Manor
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Star Trek: Discovery
  • Love, Victor
  • Pose

Written by Joshua Littleford, Student Champion

Easy Meal Prepping Ideas

I wanted to give you a few ideas on how to keep up with eating healthy. Whether you’ve done a New Year’s resolution and have declared 2022 YOUR year, or just need motivation to actually eat substantial meals, I hope these recipes help you stay nutritious and full. In honour of Veganuary last month, there will also be options for making these meals vegan, since the vegan lifestyle doesn’t have to stay in January. Including some vegan meals in your everyday diet can have many benefits, like preventing diabetes, ingesting more nutrients, and reducing the risk of diseases. Below, I’ll link videos that take you to the preparation of these meals, and you can find the list of ingredients and description of these meals within this blog.

Breakfast ideas!

Overnight Oats (Click here to watch a preparation video).

You’ve probably heard about this a million times, but when I tell you I am addicted, I am not kidding. This meal is very handy for when you just have to run out of the house or want to get a head start to your day with breakfast already made. Overnight oats are also healthier than regular oats because nutrients and fibre are higher in rolled oats as compared to instant oats, which are the general go-to choice. Also, because the oats aren’t cooked, the nutrients remain and make the oat more filling.

So… what do you need? These are the must-use ingredients.

  1. Oats (I know, shocker). But choose rolled oats over quick oats for better consistency and more health values.
  2. Milk. Plant-based milk or dairy milk works fine, so make it vegan if you wish!
  3. Yoghurt. I like adding it for consistency, creaminess, and that extra boost of protein. Plant-based or Greek yoghurt are my personal favourites.

And then, you can get creative! This breakfast is so dynamic and easy to mix and match, which makes it hard to get bored of. My favourite add-ons are:

  1. Sweeteners: Honey or maple syrup if you want to make it vegan! Oats tend to have a bit of a bland taste, so this makes them pop a little. Cinnamon is also a good one!
  2. You can literally add any fruits you want, but I personally love strawberries and blueberries, and bananas. Or banana chips to give it a crunchy feel.
  3. Jams and spreads. I like adding these because they mix well within the oats and makes them very tasty.
  4. And I mean it, nuts, chia seeds, almonds, nutmeg, anything you want to throw in there.

Some of my favourite combinations are:

  • Nutella and Bananas with Almonds: Maybe not the most nutritious, healthy, option, but a great treat to sweeten up the start of your day.
  • Strawberry and Peanut Butter: I counter the peanut butter taste with some strawberry jam and also dice some strawberry bits in there.
  • Blueberries and cinnamon: The cinnamon taste is so different to the blueberry, that there is something interesting about having them clash together and it’s so good!

Breakfast burrito (Click here to watch the preparation video)

So, with this one, you can either make it ahead or make it on the spot, whichever works for you and your time management. These burritos have a good balance and are a savoury meal to start the day with all the necessary nutrients you’ll need to function at high capacity.

You will need:

  1. A tortilla or wrap. Very straightforward, you need something to wrap the ingredients in.
  2. Scrambled something. You can use eggs or tofu as a substitute, and season to your liking. I personally like pairing with veggies like tomatoes and mushrooms and some onions.
  3. Breakfast sausages. Meat or vegan sausages, cook these on their own and cut them into bits to add to your wrap.

You can also add cheese, any sauces you like, breakfast baked potatoes, anything you fancy.

Lunch and Dinner ideas!

This category I’m putting together because I realise that sometimes these meals can be interchangeable or be one in two, like an early dinner or late lunch so here go three options for you! I’ll refrain from the general spaghetti and rice meals that we all have as our go-to’s and share some other options.

Stir fry noodles (Click here to watch the preparation video).

How about, instead of getting takeout, you make your own? You can easily get ingredients, sometimes precooked, and whip out a meal quicker than it takes the delivery to reach your place.

There are a lot of optional ingredients here like sauces, spices, etc., but these are the non-negotiables.

  • Noodles. I personally love egg noodles, but substitute for rice noodles to make it vegan!
  • Keep it a balanced meal by adding veggies. You can get precooked once at most supermarkets or chop up any of your liking to throw in there. I personally like broccoli, carrots, and courgettes with my noodles.
  • The protein. You can add pork chop or chicken, make it veggie by scrambling an egg in there and make it vegan by going with tofu or plant-based chops or mince.

Making loads of this in one go can save you some meal prepping time, store in the fridge and eat sometime in the next 5 days.

Rice or salad bowls. (Click here to watch the preparation video).

This is another idea that has so many ways of being made and can be very filling and nutritious. Just know, there are no limits to this idea.

  1. Salmon or Chicken bowl. Protein is very important, so add one of these options or change for eggs if you want to make it veggie. The three options of protein already give you an option to have three different bowls, brilliant! And a fourth vegan option, tofu, or legumes such as lentils.
  2. The Carbs. The carbs will make you feel fuller. You can go with rice, which can be high in fibre like brown rice or in proteins like wild rice. You can also substitute for couscous or quinoa or keep it veggie and use lettuce and spinach to make it a salad bowl instead.
  3. Again, get creative! Anything goes in this bowl, as long as you think it tastes nice.

These are my two-favourite bowls:

  • Rice Bowl: Salmon with wild rice, with a hint of lime. Include avocado, black beans, chickpea, and corn.
  • Salad Bowl: Lettuce and spinach as the base, topped with plant-based mince marinated in Cajun sauce, tomatoes, mushrooms, and aubergine.

Quesadilla Pizza (Click here to watch the preparation video).

This one is super-duper easy, and fun to make as well. You can add as many things as you want, or as little as you want. This is the only non-negotiable.

  • You need at least two, because one will be the base, and then you’ll put another on top.

That’s it. Add tomato sauce, cheese, meat, plant-based chops, tofu, olives, tomatoes, corn, cream cheese, pesto, whatever you feel like. The concept here is like you’re making a loaded quesadilla with a pizza shape. I like adding cheese on the top layer and using the first tortilla for spreads, veggies, and whatever protein source. This means the ingredients are held together by the two tortillas and the cheese melts on top.

Simple snackies!

Lastly, here are a few snack ideas that need no hard preparation and can be a good idea to have in your bag in case your day runs over, or you get a craving.

Hummus and whatever.

Literally whatever, hummus is so good with baby carrots, breadsticks (a personal favourite) crackers, pita, celery, etc. I saw someone eat it with a pickle outside the ASS the other day, so maybe there’s something to try.

Cheese and crackers

Cut some cheese pieces and pair with crackers, salted, plain, black pepper, any type. For example, as I write this, I’m munching on some garlic crackers with mature cheese slices.

Fruit Bowl

As someone who goes to the gym before studying, I tend to crave something refreshing. And yes, I shower at the gym so I’m not smelly next to other students, don’t worry. Anyways, I like cutting up some apples, oranges, and grapes, and adding some vanilla yoghurt to eat as a snack before I get cracking with work.

And there you have it! Some ideas to stay healthy and kick start eating nutritiously. Many times, when uni gets overwhelming, we forget to take care of ourselves, so making sure you’re eating the nutrients and proteins you need is essential for keeping up your performance and maintaining your wellbeing. All these recipes have vegan alternatives, which makes every recipe at least two meals if you think about it! Switching up ingredients and alternating can make eating fun and something to look forward to and motivate you to cook which will ensure you eat healthier and save money. What’s not to love?

Written by Victoria Cornelio Diaz, Student Champion

Valentines Tips

As part of Valentine’s week, I would like to share some tips on spending this special day of the year.

Start your day with a special homemade breakfast.

Is there a better way to start a day than by having some delicious breakfast? And what about breakfast in bed? Of course, you could go for a lovely brunch at many of Bristol’s fantastic restaurants, but if you want to make this day special, surprise your other half with some homemade pancakes or French toast. You could try these simple recipes, top it with some cream and strawberries, and enjoy this wonderful breakfast from the comfort of your bed.

Go for a romantic stroll.

Bristol offers some fantastic places for walks. Some of the most popular include St George Park, Brandon Hill, and Leigh Woods. A walk is not only great for mental health, but it’s also an excellent way to catch up away from your phones laptops. It is also one of few free things that you can do in Bristol for Valentine’s day, so take your loved one and explore the beauty of Bristol’s nature together.

Recreate your favourite date

Why not revive the memories from your favourite date? Whether it was your first date or the one you just really enjoyed. That restaurant with dim lights and weird food that somehow became a favourite place in your mind. It can also be a nice way to reflect on your memories together.

Bristol Aquarium

If you fancy experiencing something less usual, the Bristol Aquarium has all the sea life lovers covered. You will have a chance to see a range of unique creatures that emerge only after the closing hour. If you want to surprise your loved one, there is an option to have a bottle with a secret message sank into the giant aquarium. This will be retrieved, and you can read the message to each other.

Cook a dinner together

While many of us find this activity more of a necessity, cooking together can be great fun. So why not put together your cooking skills and prepare something special for the night. Decorate the room with some candles, dress up and enjoy the meal you have cooked together.

Or enjoy dinner at many of the fantastic restaurants.

If you don’t feel like cooking, head to one of the many fantastic restaurants in the city. Fancy some Indian Kari? Italian Pasta? Japanese sushi or something Persian? Bristol has you covered. Check out the options online, and don’t forget to make a reservation.

Go to a theatre

If you are searching for some unique gift, look no further. Bristol Hippodrome is one of the largest stages in the UK, becoming known as Bristol’s West End Theatre. With relatively affordable tickets, you can see all kinds of different performances, including the Lion King, the musical by Queen and many others.

Hot chocolate

You can hardly go wrong with this one. A nice warm cup of hot chocolate makes happy most of us. Bristol has to offer a few places where you could get one.

Written by Adam Balazi, Student Champion

Time to Talk day

What is Time to Talk day?

Time to Talk day is on Thursday 3 February 2022 and is known as the UK’s biggest mental health conversation. The campaign is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and is an opportunity for us all to be more open about our mental health. A small conversation with your family and friends about mental health has the power to make a big difference.

Things to do to relax and unwind in stressful times

Our Student Champion, Josh (aka @thelegodude01), has created an amazing LEGO® photography series showing some of the ways you can relax and unwind during stressful times. Activities include: sport, spending time with friends, listening to music, and talking to someone if you need help.

Wellbeing workshops

As always, you can find a list of wellbeing workshops on the Self-help page of the website (full list under ‘Academic Worries’). See a list of February workshops below:

  • 9 FebruaryBuilding Resilience. Resilience is about our capacity to cope with the challenges that life brings whilst maintaining a stable mental wellbeing.
  • 15 & 24 FebruaryManaging Perfectionism. This online course is designed to support you with finding ways to improve your productivity, to motivate yourself, instil focus and get started in the steps towards achieving your goals.
  • 16 FebruaryBecoming Your Most Productive Self. This online course is designed to support you with finding ways to improve your productivity, to motivate yourself, instil focus and get started in the steps towards achieving your goals.
  • 21 FebruaryManaging and Maintaining Mental Health. This workshop is for students who have had a recent diagnosis of a mental health condition, or who experience symptoms of depression, anxiety or panic with some regularity.

Resources

  • Student Wellbeing – self-help resources for managing your wellbeing and details of how to request support
  • Talking tips – tips to help you have helpful conversations about mental health
  • What’s On – listings of events, activities, cultural celebrations and volunteering opportunities within the university
  • Global Lounge – relax, meet others or attend one of the many events on offer
  • Lunchtime Socials – connect, unwind and recharge at the Multifaith Chaplaincy
  • Stay active – see what’s on at the uni sports centre
  • The SU Wellbeing Network – find details of student groups and societies which are specifically focused on promoting wellbeing
  • Supporting your Wellbeing Sharepoint – wellbeing resources for PGR students
  • Student Minds – support and resources to manage your own or your friends’ mental health
  • Off The Record – drop-in sessions, projects and services for looking after mental health run by and for young people in Bristol
  • Headspace – free meditations for weathering the storm

Fast Fashion and how students can fight it

Following the holidays, students have loads of new clothes from shopping themselves or as gifts from loved ones. The growing trend of fast fashion sees an increase during the holiday season and is responsible for increased environmental damage due to its cheap and harmful form of manufacturing.

Fast fashion can be defined as cheap, trendy clothing that samples ideas from the catwalk or celebrity culture and turns them into garments in high street stores at breakneck speed to meet consumer demand.

According to Business Insider, fashion production comprises 10% of total global carbon emissions, as much as the European Union. In addition to this, it dries up water sources as it takes up to 20,00 litres of water to make one kilo of cotton. While washing the clothes releases 500,000 tons of microfibres into the ocean each year which is the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles.

As fast fashion is not designed to last, it results in textile waste as consumers throw out the last seasons clothes with the hope of buying what is trending at the moment. Enormous landfills of discarded clothes then become a reality as it is incredibly difficult for companies to effectively recycle their materials.

What can you do

Fast fashion is attractive to students due to its cheap prices and multiple deals but as global citizens, we have a duty to source sustainable and environmentally friendly options. This can be done by:

  • Recycling clothes that would usually be disposed after the holiday season. You can do this by taking the clothes to Bristol’s Reuse and Recycling Centres or alternatively by leaving it outside your homes or student accommodations in the black recycling box.
  • There is a huge market for reselling items online on websites like De-Pop that would allow students to sell their second-hand clothes.
  • Students can also donate the clothes to charities like OXFAM or clothing banks located in Bristol.
  • To purchase clothes, there are thrift shops found in Bristol that could appeal to students such as:
    • The Vintage Thrift Store (35-37 park street)
    • Sobeys
    • Uncle Sam’s
    • The Magpie

More information on what you can do as a student at the University of Bristol is located on this website:  https://bristolwastecompany.co.uk/clothing-waste/

Written by Student Champion, Marvin Karenzi