How do you unwind?

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In support of Mental Health Awareness Week, we asked our wonderful staff here at the Union of Students what they do to unwind and look after their mental wellbeing. Here are some responses which may be useful and help you feel good all year round, not just on Mental Health Awareness Week.

“Get some greenery! Green spaces and well known to reduce stress and be good for mental health. I try and go for a 30-minute walk in a park if I am lacking energy or feeling a bit low. It may seem hard to get yourself out, but once I have done it, I feel so refreshed and energised!”
“Buy some house plants. Everyone loves cacti and succulents, put them around your house and your working space for a healthy environment.”
“Make some time to spend with animals. They are naturally calming to be around and extremely cute.”
“It is always OK to take a bit of time out for yourself. You may feel like everything will fall apart if you take a pause, but I promise you that it won’t, and you will feel so much better for it.”
“If something is really bothering you or upsetting you, do the ‘Time Test’ – Will this still bother me in a day? A week? A month? If it won’t bother you in a day, or a week – try to let it go. If you’ll still be bothered in a month – address it!”
“Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep – everything looks better after a good rest so when in doubt, sleep it out!”
“If you’re feeling really overwhelmed or anxious – try the ‘5-4-3-2-1’ coping method. Name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch (and touch them), 3 things you can hear, two things you can smell, 1 thing you can taste – this is a great way to ground and distract yourself and can help to disarm anxiety and panic.”
“TREAT YOSELF! Sometimes just treating yourself to something you really want to eat/wear/use can really lift your mood. Give yourself permission to indulge every now and then, particularly when you’re not feeling your best.”
“A good movie/TV Show/book can take you out of reality during difficult times and plonk you down somewhere else! This kind of mental escapism is a great way to give your mind a rest and allow you to have break whilst enjoying something you like.”
“Get sporty! Whatever is your thing may that be a team sport or going to the gym, get active. When I am feeling a bit low playing a team sport with my friends really boost my mood, energy and it’s a massive stress reliever.”
“Spend time with pets (my cat is the love of my life).”
“Go for a run or a walk!”
“Don’t leave things unresolved. Be courageous.”
“Express yourself – keep a journal or create something.”
“Try mindfulness – I find apps such as Buddhify or Headspace helpful for this!”
“Have a relaxing evening with friends, get some food in, talk and watch some films or Netflix.”
“Make time for team sport every week – It means I get my social kick, exercise and fun wrapped up into one session. When you lead a busy lifestyle, it’s important to be time efficient.”
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

During your time at University, you may experience emotional difficulties or face mental health illness. If you have an existing mental health illness which is impacting your experience or studies, or if you’re struggling with a circumstance which affects your emotional wellbeing, get in touch with us; your Union advice team. Whilst we’re not counsellors, we’re experts at offering practical advice and signposting to external services for emotional support.

Student Wellbeing

The Student Wellbeing Team provides specialist information and guidance to help you look after your wellbeing. They also offer a free counselling service and workshops. They are based at the Student Wellbeing Centre, Ground Floor, T-Block at Kedleston Road.

  • 01332 593000
  • Term Time Helpline: 01332 592000 (Mon-Fri)
    • Finance: 10.00am–11.00am and 1.00pm–2.00pm
    • Disability: 3.00pm–4.00pm
  • Non-Term Time Helpline: 01332 592000
    • Finance: 1.00pm–2.00pm
    • Disability: 3.00pm–4.00pm
  • Buxton and Chesterfield Students: 01298 330414

Derby Chaplaincy

There’s a Multi-Faith Centre on campus with a team of chaplains and faith consultants to support you. The chaplaincy offers one to one support and events to students of all faiths, or no faiths, and is open 9.30am-4.00pm at Kedleston Road.

  • 01332 591878

Buxton Chaplaincy

You’ll find the Chaplaincy office at the top of Clarendon House, room CL301. If you’d prefer to make an appointment, please contact us on:

  • 01298 330376


Offering emotional support 24 hours a day.

  • 116 123

Derbyshire Mind

Derbyshire Mind offers mental health advocacy and other support services.

  • 01332 345966

First Steps

First steps is a charity that exists to raise awareness and give support to anyone affected by eating difficulties and disorders. This support also includes parents, partners and families and is provided via support groups, telephone, 1-to-1, dramatherapy and complementary therapies.

First Steps also raise awareness in schools and in the community. They’re based at Ingham House 16 Agard Street, Derby, DE1 1DZ.

  • 01332 367571

Trent PTS

Trent PTS offers psychological therapies across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Derbyshire Head Office is based at Woodlands Lodge, 111 Uttoxeter New Road, Derby, DE22 3NL. You can make a self-referral on their website or call: 01332 265659


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