Health and Wellbeing
Happy New Year! Now let’s review that new year pressure…
This post was written by Frankie Edwards who is an Integrative Counsellor working in the Advice and Counselling Service at Queen Mary.
Hello 2021! I don’t think I’ve ever felt more excited by the passing of a calendar year. But this passing of time can be misleading – what does it really mean for us? It can indeed be a time for reflection on our year and lives more generally. But it can also be a time for putting pressure on ourselves to be new and improved versions of ourselves in a way that doesn’t do our emotional and mental wellbeing any favours.
Just because it’s a new year, it doesn’t mean you need a new you, or that you should be doing lots to work on yourself. In this post, I want to think about some of things that may be part of the start of 2021 and how we might support ourselves with them while resisting the pressure of creating resolutions.
The pressure of the resolution
That trusty website Wikipedia describes a New Year’s Resolution as: a tradition in which a person resolves to continue good practices, change an undesired trait or behaviour, to accomplish a personal goal, or otherwise improve their life.
While all potentially admirable goals, these can be taken on at any time. While the tradition gives lots of people the opportunity to come up with things they want to change – it can also feel like a lot of pressure. And if we don’t manage to achieve them, we can feel additionally rubbish about ourselves, and guilty for not managing to change.
I would offer another option – which is to continue to reflect on these things without putting a time pressure on yourself. Also, maybe you’re okay just as you are. Change can be a positive thing, but we’re not always in a place to engage with it. If you need to, think about filtering the messages that may be flooding in via email/ social media/ media more generally about making changes. Remind yourself that many of the people targeting you are doing so for financial gain, not with your wellbeing in mind.
Of course, if you find fulfilment from setting resolutions, that’s great, but sometimes it’s worth thinking about whether these practices are always helpful.
The exam period
Do read our other blog posts on Managing exam stress and Taking care of your emotional and mental wellbeing during the exam period which we are re-publishing in time for this exam period. This, of course, is a stressful period, and may feel like it’s coming too soon after you’ve just been trying to recover from the first semester! So pace yourselves, and remember to take time out for regular breaks – and for rest and fun where possible.
The impact of COVID
There are some things to be really hopeful about after a difficult year that in many ways has been taken over by the pandemic. The vaccine is here and it has started to be distributed to at-risk groups. But the severity of rising cases increased further over Christmas, and there is concern from scientists about the impact of people meeting others over the holiday period. As we await more news on our recovery from COVID, it’s worth noting its impact is still very much around and it may be for some time still.
Take care of yourselves. Given the anxiety you may be experiencing related to the pandemic, you may need extra comfort and rest than previously, and that’s completely understandable. Also, classes continue to be largely online this semester and we realise for many of you this has been challenging. Do use the learning resources provided by the university to support you if you’re struggling with this type of learning.
The pressure to be happy
January can be a particularly difficult time for many people. It’s not totally clear why but it probably includes dealing with the shorter, darker days along with the financial, mental and physical recovery from a big holiday period. It will be even more important than usual to check in with how you are emotionally – and, if you’re struggling, to think about ways you may be able to support yourself during a challenging time. We have put together some resources below to help with this so do take a look through them.
- Contact us if you feel it would be helpful to talk to a counsellor.
- Visit our website to take a look at the self-help resources available to you.
- Visit the Students Against Depression website which has information and guidance on mental health for students, by students.
- Have a look at the wellbeing webinars offered by Tower Hamlets Talking Therapies.
- If you have financial worries, visit the Advice and Counselling Service’s money pages, or get in contact to arrange a confidential appointment with an adviser.
- Read Next
- Esther's Blog: Studying when I have ZERO motivation When should I come to the UK? What happens to my Student visa if I come later? FREE meal voucher for residents £1 @ Home Pizza Kits! £1 @ Home Vegan Stew Kits! Bloggers & Vloggers Wanted! Speed-Friending Speed Friending Unable to leave the UK before visa expiry due to Covid-19 10 easy tips for improving your finances in 2021
- Contacting Security Your guide to Floyer House Bloggers & Vloggers Wanted! Collect your Residents' Rewards Card Our halls guest policy Keeping your bathroom and kitchen clean Esther's Blog: Studying when I have ZERO motivation When should I come to the UK? What happens to my Student visa if I come later? FREE meal voucher for residents £1 @ Home Pizza Kits!