Sunset over the sea

The holidays may be over – but our student blogger, Sam Watkins, shares how you can still celebrate and continue the festivities to avoid those January blues!

  • 06 January 2021
  • 5 min read

After what’s been a rather challenging year for everyone, I think most people were excited for the festive time to relax and indulge a little. Now the festive period is over, I have some suggestions to avoid those January blues and stay uplifted.

Firstly, a few points to help with your safe return to university.

Returning to uni safely

  • Teaching is online-only for the remainder of term 1, unless you study education or health and social care courses – there will be more information regarding teaching in the week leading up to term 2 in response to the most recent government guidelines. See the government guidelines for information about how the national lockdown implicates university students. 
  • Make use of student support services – all student support services, such as health and wellbeing and careers support, are open and ready to help you. 
  • Covid test on your return – the government guidelines state if returning to uni- if studying one of the courses that remain face-to-face- to have two tests on arrival, or to isolate for ten days. The covid test centre (at the Spinnaker Sports Hall) is open for booking a test if you are asymptomatic. If you have symptoms book your test through the NHS portal. Make sure to have a covid test before using any of the campus facilities, to keep our uni as safe as we can. 

5 tips to stay uplifted

1. Get Organised

When I returned to uni this September, I wanted to get organised and spend my time wisely. I bought a diary where I wrote down small tasks for each day, as well as making sure I set time to relax! With term 1 ending soon, stay focused on those upcoming deadlines and prepare for the work you need to complete.

It can be difficult to adjust back into a routine of suddenly being back at university and needing to crack on with work after being at home and having a break! A diary has really helped me and it’s satisfying to tick off all the things you get done.

Setting New Year's resolutions can be a little cliche, but I find it so rewarding to set a few small achievable goals that I want to complete. They can help you focus and because they can be tiny goals they are easy to manage and achieve. Perhaps you can set goals about your own growth, happiness, career, friendships or health?

Hand holding 2021 diary

2. Decorate on a budget

My flatmates and I visited Wilko and B&M during Halloween and Christmas to get some decorations to decorate our flat. We bought decorations for a small cost, and split it between us. Although the Christmas decorations are now taken down, we’ve replaced them with bunting and a few plants in our kitchen. Something as small as this can have surprising benefits to make where you live feel a little more homely.

3. Organise a Flat Meal

My flatmates and I organised a fake Christmas Day where we gave each other our Secret Santa presents, watched Christmas movies, had a Christmas dinner and indulged on too many chocolates. If you didn’t get the chance to do this it’s never too late to celebrate with your housemates – it can be a lovely gesture to welcome you all back to uni and living together if you didn’t spend Christmas together. 

We went to Asda to buy all the food we needed, and it didn’t cost more than around £6 per person! My flatmate and I oversaw cooking the dinner, and all I can recommend is to make sure you get your timings correct! We’re hoping to make it a tradition to have a Sunday roast together, or even just to eat together more often. It’s something I would recommend and is a great pick me up for during the week.

Christmas dinner table
2 female students stood on the seafront

4. Get out and about

I find going for walks with my friends really helpful to switch off for a bit. My favourite spots to visit are Southsea, Canoe Lake, Old Portsmouth and also walking further along to Eastney beach. There are lots of beautiful places to explore in Portsmouth so I’m trying to make the most of living by the beach!

I love going to the gym but as it’s closed I’ve been doing workouts with my housemates found through Instagram and on Youtube (this is a great account on Youtube with funny dance workouts).

When covid restrictions allowed us to, I got the train with my housemates to Southampton (which takes around 40 minutes to an hour) and had a great day so would recommend it! This year I set this as a little goal as I wanted to explore more of what was in and around Portsmouth, and have so far been to Southampton and Winchester. It’s easy to forget all the places around you when you go to uni, so try to make the most of it.

I find going for walks with my friends really helpful to switch off for a bit. My favourite spots to visit are Southsea, Canoe Lake, Old Portsmouth and also walking further along to Eastney beach.

Sam Watkins, Student blogger

5. Support local businesses! 

I was excited to suggest that local theatres need support more than ever after facing huge difficulties from the current climate. Sadly due to lockdown they are closed, but you can look into booking for shows in future months.

We can still support other local businesses during lockdown, such as shopping online, ordering from local small businesses (I love the shops on Marmion Road and Elm Grove, especially Rose Clover the flower shop!), using takeaway services and leaving reviews when you visit these local shops. Any small contribution we can make can help massively!

Finally, stay in touch with those at home and your friends and family. It’s so important to keep in contact with one another especially at times like these.

Thank you for reading! Speak soon, Sam.

If you have any questions about my experience or there’s a topic you want me to write about in my next blog, please email me at samantha.watkins@port.ac.uk.

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