On Thursday 2 March, the Nexus area of Templeman Library on the Canterbury campus was buzzing with Kent staff and students, gathered to make the most of several opportunities to boost their wellbeing, and find out how to support their mental health.
Nurture a plant, nurture yourself
Over 200 students queued through the library for succulent plants with stickers directing them to Kent’s wellbeing page and 24/7 support from Spectrum Life – a reminder to seek beauty in nature, and take care of themselves as they would another living thing.
Wellbeing information, mindful colouring, books to support mental health and happiness
A wealth of wellbeing information was available as well as in the form of pencils, leaflets, postcards and chats with friendly staff and Residential Life Assistants from the College and Community Life team.
Many sat around a large table and did some mindful colouring on printed postcards with Student Support and Wellbeing information on the reverse, so they could take away a memory of the calming conversations had while colouring, as well as contact details for what to do when that calm became more elusive in future.
Journaling for wellbeing
Colleagues from the Positive Planner and Samaritans presented the Positive Student Planner, a student wellbeing focused journal created in collaboration with the Samaritans.
17 lucky students attended a free lunchtime journaling workshop to explore how writing with structured support on tracking mood, goals, finances, studying and socialising can be a really positive step to managing a chaotic modern student life.
Books from the self-help reading collection at the Templeman Library were on display for students and staff to browse and borrow.
Cute dogs for calming cuddles
The ever-popular Pets As Therapy dogs, Peggy and Coco, and their wonderfully kind and patient owners, were around for cuddles and treats for students and staff who wanted a lunchtime wellbeing boost in the form of canine affection.
Students spoke about the pets they missed at home, and how uplifting it was to spend time in the company of such friendly animals and share the experience with others.
We hope to have more regular Pets as Therapy sessions at Kent, so watch this space and follow @UniKentSSW on Instagram for updates!
Wellbeing at Waterstones
Over 70 students and people from the local community gathered in the evening at Waterstones in Canterbury city centre, to hear Kent’s Mindfulness expert, Lorraine Millard, presenting her new book ‘Mindfulness and Wellbeing for Student Learning’, together with current Kent Mindfulness Society President, Bella Sabin-Dawson, and Kent graduate Asia Charles, who was previously Mindfulness Society President and spoke about how much mindfulness transformed her student journey. The Positive Student Planner was introduced with a journaling exercise called the brain tangle for the audience to try, and Postgraduate student Jane Davidson showed her innovative tool, Cards Against Procrastination, designed to help nurture student wellbeing, re-focus, and turn procrastination into productivity.
Natalia Crisanti from the University of Kent organised the evening and curated and interviewed the speakers, eliciting practical tips for support that the audience could reflect on and use. We learned how mindfulness can be a force for change and a means to tackle difficult topics from hate incidents to climate crisis, and reminded local residents that they can participate in the Kent Community Oasis Garden and find their peace in nature and community, alongside Kent staff and students.
It was a pleasure to see so many in our Kent community learning together, taking active steps to enhance their wellbeing and enjoying some opportunities to remind ourselves of the many positive tools we have at our disposal to live well, and stay connected to ourselves and each other.
Written by Natalia Crisanti, 03.03.23
For more information and events on wellbeing at the University of Kent, check out our wellbeing page, and follow @UniKentSSW on Instagram for updates, or check out further articles on Support and Wellbeing.
Student Support and Wellbeing – professional support at university
Did you know that Kent has a professional support service of over 100 specialist staff? We’re here to support you with mental health, disabilities, and neurodiversity such as specific learning difficulties or autism, through 1:1 support as well as peer support groups and events. Here’s a video of top mental health tips from our mental health team.