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Today is International Day of Happiness, and at this strange and difficult time with the ongoing uncertainty around the COVID-19 outbreak, it may feel different from previous years, so whether you are working or studying at home, we want to help keep you focused on things that will help to make you feel happy. So, with that in mind, here’s a few things you can try to do just that!

Stay Connected

University is a great way of making friends for life. Building stronger, wider, social connections helps us to feel happier and gives us a great sense of purpose, so don’t forget to stay connected with your friends and family during this period of social distancing. You’ve got plenty of options - Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, text, so there’s no excuse! Remember, they need you as much as you need them right now.

Keep Active

Being active is great for your physical health and fitness and there’s evidence to show that it can also improve your mental wellbeing (win win). Good news - being active doesn’t mean you need to spend hours in the gym, so if you want to keep up with your training whilst social distancing, or if going to the gym just doesn’t appeal to you, there’s lots of things you can do to stay active at home! Doing fitness videos (yoga, HIIT, the list goes on) or just going for a walk and getting some fresh air are great ways to improve your mood and help you stay active.

Be Mindful

Mindfulness is all about “openly experiencing what is there.” It is about developing more awareness of what is around us – what we can see, smell, hear, touch and taste, as well as paying attention to what is happening on the inside with our thoughts, feelings and emotions. Crucially, it is about observing all of this but not getting caught up worrying about what we are observing. With the global situation surrounding COVID-19, it is also important to recognise the positives and not just dwell upon the negatives. Be mindful that people are helping one another through the situation we are in and, although you can’t control what is going on in the world, you can control your own actions.

Keep Learning

University offers a unique opportunity for both academic and personal growth. Learning can improve and maintain our wellbeing by boosting our confidence and self-esteem and by helping us connect with others. Although face-to-face teaching has temporarily been suspended at the University, lecturers are working on building upon online resources to help you continue with your studies.

Be There for Others

Most people would agree that giving to others when you can makes us feel good. Whether it be small acts of kindness towards other people, or larger acts through volunteering, we can all gain a sense of purpose and feel happier as a result of a kind gesture. There are lots of vulnerable and elderly people in our communities at this time who need our help. By volunteering to help deliver shopping to these people, letting them know that you are there if they need anything, or even just by following the advice of the government and social distancing to protect them, your efforts will go a long way.

What’s more, today is the first day of Spring, and the finally the end of Winter – something else to feel happy about!

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