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Wave goodbye to those January blues

By JForrester 07 Jan 2021

We know how those January blues can be hard to shake.

2020 was a difficult year, Christmas may seem like a distant memory and the exam period is hitting us hard, but that doesn't mean it's all bad, there are lots to look forward to in January.

If you've noticed your friend or flatmate seems distant and not themselves, then we've got some tips for you to try and cheer them up. Doing something simple and small can make a huge difference.

Talk to them: Talking can help a lot, talking about things is better than keeping it locked inside. It can be as simple as asking how their day has been or how uni is going. Put your phones down and have an actual conversation, you may learn things about each other that you didn't know.

Exercise together: Joining the gym, a university society, or even going for a walk can help if they are feeling down. Exercise has been proven to improve our mental health, so getting out and being active is a great way to try and make them feel better. Exercising is also a great way to meet new people and to keep busy. You have lots of options on campus, you could go for a jog around campus, work out at the campus gym or try some of Bristol Sports online classes. 

two friends at the gym

Cook together: Cook a meal together or make dinner at the same time, spending time together will take their mind off how they are feeling. Even taking them a cup of tea in the morning can make their start to the day a good one - you can't beat a friendly brew in the morning.

Days out: These don't have to cost a fortune, it may just be going into town, getting some food or going to the cinema. There are always discount options or free alternatives! Giving them something to look forward to and encouraging them to get up and go out will boost their mood.

two people walking down a street holding an umbrella

Keep in touch: If you've gone home for the weekend or vice versa, drop them a text or call to see how they are. It can be as simple are 'are you okay?' this will show them they have someone who cares about them and you're a pretty good friend!

Tag them: Whether it's a hilarious video on Facebook or a funny meme on Instagram, tag them, if you think it's something they would find funny, then you're probably right. If it puts a smile on their face or even makes them laugh, then it's totally worth it.

two people walking up stairs looking at a phone

Give them a hug: Never underestimate the power of a hug. Everyone needs a hug every once in a while, this effective gesture could be exactly what they need. Who else are they going to get a hug from if it isn't their best mate? 

Empower them: This could be paying them a compliment. If they've made dinner that looks or smells good, let them know. If they've made more of an effort to look nice, tell them! Making them feel good about themselves will help improve their mood, it's so easy to do.

a group of people sitting at a table

Mental health is a serious issue for students and interactions with fellow students can help more than you realise! Student Minds have a 'Look After Your Mate' campaign that could give you some ideas on how you can help. 

If you think it could be more serious, encourage them to seek further support: 

  • UWE Wellbeing is the universities dedicated service to support you with wellbeing and mental health needs.
  • Student Minds work with students, professionals, academics and service users to develop new and innovative ways to improve the mental health of students.
  • Students Against Depression is a website offering advice, information, guidance and resources to those affected by stress, low mood, depression and suicidal thinking.
  • Nightline is a confidential listening and non-advisory support service open at night and run by students for students.
  • Samaritans Helpline is for those who are experiencing high levels of distress. Contact this free 24-hour helpline on 116 123 or email

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