For some of us, Christmas might seem like years ago and it doesn't help that exam season is upon us too...
BUT that doesn't mean it's all bad! At the start of the year, there are lots of things to look forward to, but some people feel the January blues more than others.
Have you noticed that your friends or flatmates don't seem like themselves or are acting a bit distant after Christmas?
Follow our tips and you could help by doing some very small and simple things:
- Exercise together: Offer to join your nearest gym together or one of the uni sports teams. Exercise is proven to improve our mental health and wellbeing so it'll help them if they're a bit down recently.
- Cook: You could make a meal together to get them out their room and take their mind off how they're feeling, or if you've made way too much pasta, offer them some instead of throwing it away.
- Tag them in memes: This can take their mind off how they're feeling and make them smile and laugh even if it's for a minute. Plus, it gives you a chance to hunt down hilarious pictures and videos on social media!
- Go into town together: You could go shopping, get some food, go bowling or to the cinema. Even if you haven't got a lot of money, there is always a cheaper alternative or discount option. They might not want to come but including them in your plan will make them feel better.
- Stay in touch: If you don't see them for a while (uni holidays, weekends at home etc.) drop them a text or call them to check in and see how they are. That way they'll realise you do care and you're a pretty good friend!
- Compliment them: Have they made a meal that smells incredible? Tell them. Can you tell they've made an effort for uni? Let them know. Have they just uploaded a selfie on Insta? Comment on it! If you put a smile on their face for just a split second you've done something right.
- Give them a hug: The power of a good hug is underestimated! It's so simple, yet so effective and could be exactly what they need to make them feel better. If they're away from home, who else is going to hug them if it isn't their closest mate?
- Talk to them: This doesn't have to be about what's up but just making time for them and asking how their day is, how uni is going or even what their favourite Netflix show is. As long as you're putting your phones/iPads/laptops down and actually chatting.
Mental health is a serious issue for students and interactions with fellow students can help more than you realise! Student Minds have a 'Look After Your Mate' campaign that could give you some ideas on how you can help.
If you think it could be more serious, encourage them to seek further support:
- Students Against Depression is a website offering advice, information, guidance and resources to those affected by stress, low mood, depression and suicidal thinking.
- Nightline is a confidential listening and non-advisory support service open at night and run by students for students.
- Samaritans Helpline is for those who are experiencing high levels of distress. Contact this 24-hour helpline on 08457 909090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.