This week we have had some of the best weather in decades. Did we appreciate the sunshine? Probably. Did we appreciate the rain when it came back to give life to the growing plants? Definitely not.
England is notorious for its fluctuating weather patterns (a phenomenon exacerbated by current climate change) and this can have severe effects on our mood, especially for people with seasonal affective disorder. For people who do suffer from this condition, and for everyone, making the most of the natural light and getting out and exercising regularly can really help (even when that sunshine only comes as glimpses through the rain clouds). No day goes by without any light, we simply need to make sure we’re looking.
Very often, we will dash from lecture to lecture, from library to library, and finally back home, while all the time, never once looking up from our phone or from our feet and around us. When the sun shines, appreciate the blossom that it brings. When the rain comes, appreciate its living giving nature, and the cool freshness of the drops on your face.
Trust me, I know that this is not always easy to do, but by occasionally taking a step back from the busy lives that we lead as students, and trying to see the bigger picture of the world around us, all of the things that are making us feel stressed and anxious suddenly seem so much smaller. They will not magically disappear (unfortunately) but seeing the things you are struggling with from a different angle can help you see how you might tackle them.
You never have to tackle these problems alone, remember there’s a whole world out there to help you. Off the Record offer free services such as creative workshops and resilience labs which can be so helpful when something is too hard to face on your own. The trained peers that run these sessions are so friendly, always willing to listen, and have usually faced very similar problems themselves.
If you’re not ready to chat to anyone, or don’t feel you need to, getting outside (whatever the weather) and appreciating the small things in your surroundings can be such a big booster for your mood. Even when you’re not feeling particularly low, a ‘small things appreciation’ can make you even more happy and productive than you were already – and that can never be a bad thing!
On our first run of 27 Mind Miles, we only managed about 2 and a half miles, but that was enough to notice so many things that we never usually do. Have you ever noticed how you can glimpse the end of the suspension bridge when you run around the docks? Have you ever seen the shipwright stroll admiringly amongst his boats? Have you ever taken a moment to watch how the swans play and dance on the water? Have you seen the early blossom on the trees this year?
Neither had we, until we went outside, and took a while to appreciate the small things that make Bristol the city we love. Whether you walk, run or sit, being outside can reconnect you with the things that keep us alive. And after all, our wellbeing simply reflects the wellbeing of our environment, so take care and notice the beauty of yourself and the people and nature around you.
We were lucky enough to have the sun shining down on us this time, but trust us the rain won’t stop us and you can be sure to see soggy selfies very soon!