Wellbeing Dates for the Winter Break – Tis the Season to take care of YOU.

By Student Champion: Victoria Cornelio

The coming of the winter break is sadly not the end of term, and with assignments still left to do, it can be hard to forget to enjoy yourself during this time. However, Tis the Season to take your mind off university for a little bit, and I have the perfect “Wellbeing Dates for the Winter Break” to help you. All of these dates are great fun with friends, or for spending quality time with yourself!

Picnic in a Park  

Okay, I know it is freezing out there and the last thing you want is to leave your cozy blankets. However, a sunny day in wet-Bristol during the winter is such a beautiful thing, it would be great if you enjoyed it. This idea works both as a solo-date or with company. Just grab some snacks, drinks, a nice blanket to lie on the grass and a thick blanket to keep you warm and enjoy the sunset or stargazing. My personal favourite places are:

  • Brandon Hill: The slopes make it a perfect place to get a full view of the city below and a nice sunset at the horizon.
  • The Downs: although not great for sunsets always, benefit from the little light pollution in this side of town and enjoy a clear night sky and a vast space to set up a picnic and some nice music.
  • Clifton Suspension Bridge: My ultimate favorite because it has an amazing view of both the sunset and the night sky. The contrast of the stars with the bridge lit up is quite an experience!

Disclaimer: Make sure to dress accordingly to the cold and stay alert and safe as these places tend to be a bit more isolated.

Daytrip

Bristol’s transport links give you endless possibilities to spend a day away. Go to Bath and find some inspo of what to do here, from ice skating to going to various unique museums or catching a comedy or theatre show, there is sure to be something for you to enjoy. Another idea is taking a trip to Cardiff for the day, and exploring the many options the city holds. Look here to book some day trip options, or make your itinerary with activities of your choosing.

Fancy something else? Stay closer to the city and visit Thornbury instead. This little market town, better-known for its castle and parks, is a great getaway from the city and into a little magic town. You can also go to Weston SuperMare on a sunny day and enjoy a nice walk around the city and meal by the beach. Visit some of Weston’s unique museums and get in touch with the history of this coastal city.

Facemasks night (not those ones!)

As with all of these options, feel free to do them with friends or by yourself. I find there is a great feeling on doing your skincare routine with some wine, snacks and then cozy up to binge watch a show or movie. On the other hand, having a social night with friends, and doing your skincare together paired with some old school karaoke – that was my 20th birthday party in a nutshell actually – is also a very fun experience. So whichever idea you vibe most with, head over to Boots, Superdrug, the Body Shop, Lush or get your products online, get snacks and drinks and take the night for some selfcare.

*Disclaimer: make sure to drink responsibly, have a meal before, or switch out wine for your drink of preference (Facemasks and Tea also has a good ring to it) Also, beware that skin types vary and some procedures/products may be harmful to some. *

Personally, this is how my Facemask nights go if it’s of any help:

  1. Start with pouring something nice to drink and using a makeup remover / micellar water to prep your skin.
  2. Then, wash your face with a scrub soap to get all the dirt out of your pores, and rinse with warm water.
  3. Pat-dry your face and apply the first facemask – I like a cleansing mask at this point, to take advantage of your stimulated pores and get all remaining impurities out of the way.
  4. After the time of the mask has passed, most of the time 10 to 15 minutes, wash of the mask with warm water and move on to a nose strip.
  5. Make sure you’ve topped your glass off here and remove your nose strip carefully as to avoid any hurting yourself.
  6. Next, wash your face with soap (any is fine, but if you have one for your face specifically that’s great) or apply toner to liberate your skin from any residual products.
  7. Lastly, put on your night cream or moisturizer (pro-tip water based if you have oily skin), and put on some lip balm or lip moisturizer, and you’re all set to carry on with binge watching or karaoke.

Explore Bristol!

The most obvious in this little guide, but something I recommend strongly, get out of your comfort zone (literally), and explore Bristol. There are many things happening around the city that you might be unaware will be your new favourite pass time.

  1. Walk around Gloucester Road: We all know what it is, but how many of us have actually gone and explored the extents of this street. Best of Bristol have compiled a list of 129 things to do on Gloucester Road, so even if you have been already, you are sure to find something new to try in this compilation.
  2. Have you been to Bedminster? The BS3 postcode is better known for its busy North Street and Windmill Hill City Farm which has Free entrance for everyone. Find other things to do here.
  3. Take the walk to Ashton: Right Now, until the 24th, run over to Ashton Estate and enjoy the beautiful Light Up Bristol Make It a whole day thing, and go play Golf, FootGolf or DiscGolf at Ashton Court for a nice day out around Ashton. Also, make sure to check the activities calendar at Ashton Stadium and maybe catch a game or show.
  4. Enjoy by the Harbourside: Although a great place for drinks and parties, the harbour harbors (I had to make the pun, sorry), some of the best attractions in Bristol. Check out the We the Curious Museum, the M Shed, Bristol Aquarium, and of course, 2018 worst rated spoons in Bristol, the V-Shed.
  5. Step into the past at Avon Valley Railway: This little area feels like an original local country station, perfect for instagrammable pics and enjoying a day out in a restored Victorian old town.

And yeah, I hope you do take my word for it and enjoy some time out and about, making the most of your break. I know with assessments and assignments coming in January, it’s hard to fully let your guard down, but remember to take time off because Tis the Season to take care of you!

Enjoy your Winter Break with these Wellbeing Dates, or any way that helps you disconnect and relax. It is important to stay on top of your mental health and wellbeing first and foremost.

Wellbeing resources

There are lots of resources available to you if you need help over the holidays. Our Winter wellness page has lots of useful information or you can check out the support in the holidays page if you are looking for more advice and University opening times during the break.

Daylight saving time – competition one

What will you be doing with your extra hour?

For our first blog competition, we asked you what you will be doing with your extra time in the morning when the clocks go back. Many of you responded by saying that you will be using your extra hour to do an early morning workout and others said they will be catching up on reading… but by far the most popular answer was SLEEPING!

Pressing snooze on an alarm clock
Pressing snooze on an alarm clock

Good sleeping habits are essential for your physical health and mental wellbeing. If you’re experiencing difficulties with your sleep, why not try out the Insight Timer app, which can help you with your sleep, anxiety and stress.

This week’s winning answer

Our winning answer this week comes from one of our undergraduate students:

“The plan for day light saving time is to continue studying the unclear point ! I’ve been thinking that there is not enough time for me to get all the topics done. I sometimes think that if I was fluent in English then some topics could be easier to understand, at the same time I definitely need to put effort into studying in my major and English too ! Even though I am hectic with study, I sometimes need spare time to do my favorite thing which is to go for walk and gym! Therefore, I will end up obtaining good knowledge from University and healthy lifestyle.”

Their answer highlights some of the challenges that University life can bring. Establishing a balance between studying, socialising, exercising and relaxing can be tricky – particularly during the winter months when there are fewer daylight hours. If you’re struggling to find the right balance, we have pulled together a list of different events and resources to help you, including tips to manage homesickness and details of how to request wellbeing support.

If you’re looking to practice your language skills in a fun and friendly environment, make sure you check out our Global Lounge Language Café. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an advanced learner – everyone is welcome. Join in every Wednesday, either in person or virtually – see the event listings page for more information.

Skyline viewed from the top of Senate House in autumn: Wills Memorial Building.

Competition two – your pet stories

For our next competition, we are asking you for your pet stories! Celebrate your pet, or even just an animal you know that deserves to be recognised! Send us an image of your pet and 100 words about them – for your chance to win a £25 voucher.

Email us your answer by 11am on Friday 5 November, and we will post the top three stories on our blog later that day. The overall winner will receive a £25 voucher.

Send your answers to student-comms@bristol.ac.uk.

Transition to university competition

How are you finding Bristol so far?

Royal Fort House and Gardens in autumn.

We have seen a real mixture of sunshine and rain already this term, but the days are very soon going to get shorter, darker and colder, and for many people, it’s a time of year when we just feel like hibernating! But, before you hide away under the duvet, we want to talk about all the great things that happen in autumn.

For a start, it’s the season to indulge in comfort food – we’re thinking hearty soups, pies, curries and stews… There are also opportunities to get together and celebrate events such as Halloween and bonfire night. Plus, there is still plenty going on in both the university and in the city to help us stay active, keep motivated, meet new people and try out new activities. We’ve got a list of events and resources below to help you keep going, but we’d also love to hear from you about how you stay motivated with the change of season.

Read on to find out how you can share your ideas and be in with a chance of winning a prize.

Competition time!

Over the next four weeks, we will be running a weekly competition based on a seasonal theme. Each one is a chance to let us know how you’re settling into university so far and also to share tips and ideas with others who might still be adjusting to a new routine and way of life. You can email us your answers, or why not get creative with a vlog?

We will post the best responses on our student blog each Friday, and the overall winner for each topic will win a £25 voucher.

Send your answers to student-comms@bristol.ac.uk

  1. Competition one: Daylight saving time
    With the clocks going back this Sunday (31 October) we would love to know what you will do with your extra time. Will you be opting for the extra hour in bed or will you be hitting the gym before your first lecture?

    Competition one is now closed – read the winning entry on our blog.

  2. Competition two: Your pet stories
    Do you have an amazing pet at home? Celebrate your pet, or even just an animal you know that deserves to be recognised! Send us an image of your pet and 100 words about them.

    Competition two is now closed – read the winning entry on our blog.

  3. Competition three: Comfort food. Best recipe for winter days.
    Cooking your favourite foods or food from home can be a great source of comfort in the winter months. What is the recipe that always makes you feel good? Share with us including an image if you can!

    Competition three is now closed – read the winning entry on our blog.

  4. Competition four: Activity that’s kept you going
    What activities have kept you going during this autumn period? Did you join Be Active, start knitting, meditate, learn a new language, go dancing…? Share your stories of what’s helped you ​stay motivated and settle into Bristol life.

    Competition four is now closed – read the winning entry on our blog.

Read the terms and conditions for this competition.

Downs promenade (Clifton) in autumn

Events and resources

Remember, you don’t have to be suffering from the “winter blues” to be feeling a little low. If you need a pick me up then maybe some of the resources below will help:

  • What’s On – listings of events, activities, cultural celebrations and volunteering opportunities within the university
  • Manage homesickness – if you’re missing home then these top tips from Save the Student may help
  • Global Lounge – relax, meet others or attend one of the many events on offer
  • Eat your pumpkin! – seasonal recipes from BBC Good Food
  • Lunchtime Socials – connect, unwind and recharge at the Multifaith Chaplaincy
  • Stay active – see what’s on at the uni sports centre, and read tips from the BBC for keeping going even when it’s cold.
  • Student Wellbeing – self-help resources for managing your wellbeing, as well as details for how to request support
  • 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
  • YouTube – watch videos from University of Bristol students on how they managed their transition to university
  • Go for a walk – Bristol has some great green spaces so go explore and breathe in some fresh air

Tis the season to… try something new

Stuck for ideas about what to do this December? Well look no further! If you’re out and about in Bristol this month, there are loads of events that you can get involved in across the city and the University! Covering everything from stargazing to sustainability to carol services, spend the last month of 2019 trying things that you’ll love.

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1. Wintertime in Millennium Square

Date: until 6 Jan

https://visitbristol.co.uk/whats-on/wintertime-on-the-square-in-millennium-square-p2360303

‘Wintertime in Millennium Square’ is a celebration of winter with a fun variety of events, including a spectacular lightshow created by artists Squidsoup who also designed award-winning lightshows for Burning Man Festival in Nevada, US and Christmas at Kew Gardens, among many others. You can unleash your inner ABBA at Bump roller-disco before cosying up with a hot chocolate or mulled wine at Apres Lounge.

2. Festive events with ResiLife and the Global Lounge teams

https://www.facebook.com/groups/359002554848575/

https://www.bristol.ac.uk/students/international/

ResiLife and the Global Lounge are hosting a range of events for students staying in Bristol. Meet new people and celebrate the holidays with fun, food and fairy lights.

3. Seasonal stargazing at We the Curious

https://www.wethecurious.org/PN/WinterStargazing

Date: until 6 Feb 

The event, which is part of a series of seasonal shows entitled ‘Planetarium nights’, invites guests to submerge themselves in space and step out of Bristol and into the cosmos. You’ll spend your evening 3D stargazing and understanding the mystical nature of our universe and existence – all from the inside a giant disco ball!

4. The Future of Fashion: Going Sustainable in 2020 at Beyond Retro

Date: 11 Dec

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-future-of-fashion-going-sustainable-in-2020-tickets-82618759935

This year, vintage fashion favourite, Beyond Retro have teamed up with Bristol 24/7 to host ‘The Future of Fashion: Going Sustainable’ – learn how to shop in ways that are better for the environment and twice as much fun. Get expert advice from a panel of fashion and sustainability specialists so that you can start 2020 in (sustainable) style. The event is free and sponsoring local homeless charity, Caring in Bristol, with any donations going directly to the charity.

5. The Harbourside Christmas Market

Date: every weekend until 22 Dec 

https://visitbristol.co.uk/whats-on/the-harbourside-christmas-market-p2307343

Located in one of Bristol’s most beautiful scenic spots, the Harbourside Christmas Market is the perfect way to spend a Saturday this December. Home to a diverse range of stalls featuring vintage, one-of-a-kind items from many of Bristol’s small and independent businesses, as well as live music and entertainment. The perfect place to explore cuisine from around the globe. The Market’s food stalls are a nod to the diversity of Bristol itself, containing street food cuisine from Tibet to Mexico!

6. RAG Craftmas @ Balloon Bar

Date: 12 December 

https://www.bristolsu.org.uk/groups/bristol-rag-raising-and-giving/events/rag-craftmas

RAG (Bristol Raising and Giving society) are hosting Craftmas – a wholesome afternoon where you can de-stress with like-minded people and display your inner artist. For Craftmas this year, you’re invited to join in and claim your spot as Bristol’s very own Star Baker by decorating cookies, as well as writing cards for elderly care homes around Bristol.

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Calendar still looking a bit empty? Here are some more December events that you may be interested in:

· 12 December – ‘Peep Show and Inbetweeners quiz’ hosted at The White Rabbit

· 14 December – Harbour Lights Festival 

· 14 to 15 December – Stokes Croft Christmas Market

· 16 December – ‘The Humanitarian Fundraiser’ hosted by UOB societies including Amnesty International Society; Jazz Funk and Soul society; and the Oxfam society Christmas.