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  • AUP Students' Union

International Day of Happiness

Today is International Day of Happiness and whilst some people are feeling like there’s not all that much to be happy about at the moment, I wanted to share some simple (and free) things you can do to help keep you happy, even whilst social distancing or self-isolating.

Photograph by Harriet Moore

First off, there’s nothing better than a refreshing walk in a beautiful landscape and luckily, National Trust have just opened up all of their gardens and parklands for free so that people can have access to the spaces (whilst still sticking to social distancing guidelines).

Some people like to relax with friends watching a film. Even if you or your friends are self-isolating, you can still watch together with a Chrome extension called Netflix Party, which allows you to simultaneously watch a film or TV show, along with having a little chat whilst it’s streaming.

How about finally getting around to reading that book you always tell yourself you’d read, sorting out your wardrobe or anything else you’ve been putting off? If you’re stuck inside, it’s always good to be productive and though it may seem like a chore initially, you’ll feel the benefits after you’re finished.

Exploring somewhere new and discovering new artists or artworks is always inspiring in one way or another. Although we might not be able to go there in person currently, you can check out galleries and exhibitions through these virtual tours.

You could always try something new, like learning a new language, taking up a new hobby or even try making something you haven’t before. Why not start by following Digital Media Production lecturer Neal Kirk’s tutorial for homemade bread.

Have a coffee date (or virtual coffee date) with your friends. It’s important to check up on each other and it’s always good to have an excuse to catch up with everyone. I’m going to set aside some time each day to video call all of my friends to keep in touch during the break and try to be as sociable as possible despite being apart from everyone.

I stay happy by listening to music, bingeing my favourite Netflix shows, exploring new places, catching up with old friends and playing with my cats. Happiness is different for everyone, which is why I wanted to ask a few people what makes them happy and share their responses. Hopefully, it will give you even more ideas about what to get up to, even if you’re stuck inside.

Heidi, BA (Hons) Textile Practices:

Spending time with my friends and people who care about me makes me happy, and my friends happiness makes me happy too. Focussing on the little things such as trying a new recipe, cooking a good meal, or starting a book I have put off reading, helps me to feel like I have accomplished something and greatly improves my mood.

Nath, BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing and Printmaking: I’m at my happiest when I'm with friends who make me feel special or when I'm purposely taking time for my own well being, whenever I'm feeling productive and accomplished for that day.

Amelia, BA (Hons) Commercial Photography: Catching up with my friends and family makes me happy. Telling stories that make us laugh so hard it hurts my tummy. Happiness also comes from walking by the sea; the sound of the waves is so calming, and on a sunny day, seeing the dappled light always makes me smile.

Harry, BA (Hons) Photography: A lot makes me happy! I am always looking on the positive side of things, in all situations, which really helps. In terms of the things that make me happy, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, exercising, and having some me time!

Dannie, BA (Hons) Digital Media Production:

Keeping a structure to my day! I start by making time in the morning to relax and listen to my ‘discover weekly’ playlist, then throughout the day I make sure to take plenty of breaks between work and at the end, I wind down with board games and movie nights with friends.

Alex, BA (Hons) Fine Art:

My girlfriend makes me extremely happy, she is my best friend. I also would have to say micro pigs, for sure, they are just so adorable! It sounds cliche but walks in the woods are great, especially after it has just rained because you get that nice, earthy smell. Last but not least, listening to the ‘Life Is Strange’ game soundtrack never fails to brighten my day.

Photograph by Paige Nolan.

Lastly, it’s important to know that when we aren’t feeling so happy, there are lots of people and support networks dedicated to helping us when we need them.

Here at PCA, myself and other students and staff members are Mental Health First Aid trained and are always happy to talk, especially the Student Support staff, who are available to speak to through video chat whilst the college is closed.

Big White Wall is an online community where you can anonymously talk to other people as well as help to support people who need it. It’s free for students at university, simply register with your PCA email to gain access.

Anxiety UK have a helpline, live chat and email services, if you feel like you need support with heightened anxiety during the current pandemic.

Alternatively, you can call, email or even write a letter to the Samaritans, who have 24-hour support for anyone who needs it. Simply call 116 123.

There are many other places where you can access support, and you can find a comprehensive list of companies, apps, support groups and more on the Student Portal as well as find specific resources and support for your needs.

Stay safe and stay happy! Best, Harriet Moore Marketing and Enterprise Lead

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