Small Things to Try for Mental Wellbeing

Astrid Godfrey 2 February 2020

Student Minds Cambridge is a mental health charity which aims to raise awareness of mental health issues at Cambridge University. I asked the committee to share some of the small things they do to try and improve their mental wellbeing. Here is what they said:

Astrid, Disabled Students’ Officer

I have recently started buying loads of pot plants. There’s something about working at a desk fringed with greenery that makes me happy. And there’s also the feeling of victory every day I manage to not kill one of them! I currently have twelve and am resisting the urge to go to the market and buy a few more. Cacti and succulents are really good plants to start with because they’re (allegedly) hard to kill, though I have killed a few in my time.

Georgia, Press & Blog Officer

My number one thing is to cook myself a really tasty, wholesome dinner! Starting from scratch, chopping all the vegetables (so therapeutic), and following it all the way through until you create a masterpiece that you get to tuck into. It’s so fun experimenting with new flavours and getting to eat your creation. If cooking isn’t for you, I’m also impartial to treating myself to a delicious takeaway. Whichever one you pick, food can be a great way to get creative, take your mind off things, and look after your physical and mental health!

Elly, Events Officer

This year I have found so much solace in reading for pleasure. I know this really doesn’t sound like a break from work, but reading novels that I have picked for myself can serve as a wonderful means of escape (Gilead is not the place to worry about an unwritten essay), while also making me feel as though I am achieving something, if not for my degree, then for myself! My favourite in-term read so far has been Sally Rooney’s Normal People, but you could even start with some short stories; Zadie Smith’s Grand Union: Stories was published in October 2019, and just a few pages will offer some respite from The Bubble (apart from the second story, ‘Sentimental Education’, which is set in Cambridge…).

Zarya, Year Abroad Officer

When work gets a little overwhelming I like to get out of my room or libraries. This year I’ve started working in nice, cosy cafes, where I can order a warm, comforting cup of coffee (Gingerbread latte mmmm!), plug in some music and settle in for the afternoon. It’s fun to change it up and explore new hideouts, and just being around other people and having a more relaxed setting to work in makes it a whole lot more bearable! Bonus points if I meet up with friends to work, it’s almost almost enough to make me excited to start writing that essay (key word: almost)!