St Antony's supporting your wellbeing

St Antony's supporting your wellbeing

A series of short emails for St Antony's students with facts and practical advice that may help you during your time here at St Antony’s. Wellbeing is all about how to maximise your potential by looking after yourself.

Trinity Term Week 7: Accept who you are

Accepting who you are
You need to know, understand and respect yourself in order to achieve your potential.

Not judging your inside by other people’s outside
Oxford is a performance-oriented environment, and it may seem at times as if others are far more talented or accomplished than you. Be aware of ‘imposter syndrome’ – this is a normal part of the ‘Oxford’ experience for all students! Watch a video on this subject by other Oxford students.

Do not panic about what you will do after Oxford
For many people, the post-study period can be a time to reflect, test out and consider different options.

Wellbeing: consider your own path
St Antony’s, and Oxford as a whole are defined by diversity, so it is only natural that perspectives on wellbeing and happiness are equally diverse. Read more about Oxford research in this field.

Research fact of the week
Self-acceptance is closely related to life satisfaction, yet many people find it difficult to put this into practice.
A recent survey of 5,000 people asked the question, ‘How often are you kind to yourself and think you're fine as you are?’ The average rating given by respondents was just 5.56 out of 10. Read more.

St Antony’s Peer Supporters of the Week 
We have a team of ten trained Peer Supporters at St. Antony's available to help with anything you may need, any problem - big or small. Each week, some of us assume the role of the weekly Peer Supporter who will be available for any students who feel they may need a welcoming space to talk. This week, our Peer Supporter is: 

  • Phyllis Kyei Mensah: Phyllis is doing MSc in African Studies  and lives in 64 Woodstock. I am always around college and my regular hangout is either the printing room or the reading room in the basement of the St. Antony's library. I would, however, love to chat with you outside college as well.  Come let's have a getaway from the revision week fever!

All of our college Peer Supporters are of course available for contact at any point - you can find their contact emails on posters around college.

Quote of the week
"Remember that your unique talents, interests and viewpoints add to richness of the entire Oxford experience, and is in part why you have been chosen to be a part of this community. While it is easy to be intimidated by the incredibly talented and diverse group of students you will encounter, do not be afraid to make the distinctive impact on this vibrant cultural tapestry that comes from simply ‘being you’." –Davis Tarwater, Antonian and Olympic Gold Medallist


Trinity Term Week 6: The importance of sleep

The importance of sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is the best preparation for a full day of academic work, and for maintaining your physical and mental health in the long term. It’s an absolute priority!

Resources
If you suffer from insomnia (lack of sleep), there are many things you can do to improve your sleep, ranging from focusing on your physical health, making small changes to the environment where you sleep, and rethinking what (and when) you eat.

Research fact of the week
Sleep has memory-forming qualities, which can improve your academic performance. Read more.

St Antony’s Peer Supporters of the Week 
We have a team of ten trained Peer Supporters at St. Antony's available to help with anything you may need, any problem - big or small. Each week, some of us assume the role of the weekly Peer Supporter who will be available for any students who feel they may need a welcoming space to talk. This week, our Peer Supporter is: 

  • Alexis Couvreur
    Alexis is from Belgium and is about to finish his MPhil in Development Studies in coming July. He lives in college, and you can often find him in the Gulbenkian room or in the Late Bar. Feel free to come talk to him! 

All of our college Peer Supporters are of course available for contact at any point - you can find their contact emails on posters around college.

Quote of the week
"Sleep is a vital process for so many aspects of student living, including learning and memory, mood, physical health and of course how we get on with other people!  And there is increasing evidence that better sleep can improve each of these areas.  The challenge is to prioritise sleep among academic and social demands and know that help is available if sleep becomes problematic." - Dr Bryony Sheaves, Oxford Cognitive Approaches to Psychosis (O-CAP) & Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute (SCNi), Department of Psychiatry


Trinity Term Week 5: Take time out

Take time out
Beautiful and inspiring places can be found all around us. Scheduling some time out in your week gives you chance to refresh your thoughts and improve your focus for academic work.

St Antony’s Peer Supporters of the Week 
We have a team of ten trained Peer Supporters at St. Antony's available to help with anything you may need, any problem - big or small. Each week, some of us assume the role of the weekly Peer Supporter who will be available for any students who feel they may need a welcoming space to talk. This week, our Peer Supporter is: 

  • Devony Schmidt is a 2nd year MPhil student in European Politics & Society. She lives in the Gateway Building on campus, and is regularly seen running around in rowing kit! If you can't find her in college, she's probably in the DPIR on Manor Road or Society Cafe in town. If you see her in her natural habitat (a coffee shop), she'd love for you to say hi, and feel free to take a seat and have a chat! She has been a peer supporter now for two years, and has loved hosting the cookie fairy and talking to fellow Antonians!

All of our college Peer Supporters are of course available for contact at any point - you can find their contact emails on posters around college.

Research fact of the week
‘Mental concentration is similar to a muscle… which becomes fatigued after sustained use and needs a rest period before it can recover’ Read more.

Quote of the week
“I am on fieldwork in Israel this academic year. After working in the archives for a straight 3 month, I have taken a little trip to explore the country. Not only did it contribute to my overall wellbeing but also my productivity after coming back. The attached photo, which I took one evening by the Dead Sea, may serve as a reminder that while we work hard on our theses, we also need to refuel once in a while!” - Zaha Kheir, DPhil Politics


Trinity Term Week 4: Everyday conversations matter

The relationships we build with friends, families, loved ones and all the people around us can help to give us a sense of belonging, identity and self-worth. They also allow us to express ourselves, share experiences and receive advice and support. Read more:

Resources

Summer Eights: 20th & 25-28 May

  • Support the College rowing teams, and relax by the river in good company!

St Antony’s Peer Supporters of the Week 
We have a team of ten trained Peer Supporters at St. Antony's available to help with anything you may need, any problem - big or small. Each week, some of us assume the role of the weekly Peer Supporter who will be available for any students who feel they may need a welcoming space to talk. This week, our Peer Supporter is: 

Emily is pursuing the one-year MSc programme in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies. She has been a trained University Peer Supporter since early 2012. Emily lives off campus but spends time in College most days. She will be around Oxford throughout this term and during the Summer.

All of our college Peer Supporters are of course available for contact at any point - you can find their contact emails on posters around college.

Research fact of the week
Our daily interactions with other people contributes to our wellbeing, including all the conversations we have with people that we know less well. Read more.

Quote of the week
Never be too proud to ask for help. We’ve all done so in our lives and you will be amazed how many people are there to give you support and advice” – Professor Margaret MacMillan, Warden


Trinity Term Week 3: The College as a supportive community

The College as a supportive community
Many of you are preparing for key submission deadlines and exams this term. You can help to keep the College community a supportive, welcoming place by being there to listen and help your friends and fellow students. Not only is this good for your fellow students, but it is good for you too.  

Student-led support initiatives
Many Antonians are already helping others through one of the student-led support initiatives listed below. Remember that you and your peers can call upon these contacts whenever you need, and all services are confidential and free of charge.

  • St Antony’s Peer Supporters of the Week: We have a team of 10 trained Peer Supporters at St. Antony's available to help with anything you may need, any problem - big or small. Each week, some of us assume the role of the weekly Peer Supporter who will be available for any students who feel they may need a welcoming space to talk. This week, our Peer Supporter is:
    Friederike Haberstroh: Friederike is in the first year of her MPhil in Comparative Government. She is living in college this year but will be moving to Cowley over the summer. One of the most valuable things she learned during her peer support training in Michaelmas is how to recognise, label and be more open with her own feelings. All of our college Peer Supporters are of course available for contact at any point - you can find their contact emails on posters around college
  • Nightline: independent listening, support and information service. (20.00 - 8.00; Week 0 – Week 9)
  • OUSU Student Advice Service: advice, information and advocacy service for Oxford students.
  • Student Minds ‘Look after your mate’ – how to support your friends and peers

Research fact of the week
Helping others is good for us. Research shows that pro-social (altruistic) behaviour may give us a euphoric physical sensation, or ‘helper’s high’. Read more.

Quote of the week
"If you find yourself stressed or overwhelmed, remember two things: Firstly that no degree, job, or obligation is worth your health. Keep it in perspective and give yourself a break. Secondly that the St. Antony's community is your greatest asset - don't withdraw from it! Come to a social event or two and you will find people who can relate to and support you."  – Barnaby Willis, GCR President


Trinity Term Week 2: Networks and connecting with people

Networks and connecting with people
A lot of people find the concept of ‘networks’ or ‘networking’ off-putting or even scary. But there’s nothing difficult about networking: it is simply about good interpersonal skills, being able to listen to someone else and being able to follow up on conversations you have. We network to develop and maintain good and positive relationships with other people, which is vital for your self-confidence and for keeping your current experiences within perspective.

Search for a mentor
Alumni mentors are able to provide you with constructive, frank and informal guidance about careers. Once you graduate, you can search for alumni mentors via the Oxford Alumni Community online platform. More than 4,000 Oxford alumni have indicated they are willing to be mentors, so they are expecting to be contacted. When you finish your studies, create an account and search for a mentor. (Guy Collender, Head of Alumni Communications and Marketing , University Alumni Office)

Additional resources available to you

Oxfordshire Artweeks 7 – 30 May 2016.

  • A fun way to get to know the wider Oxford community, and meet new people! Read more

St Antony’s Peer Supporters of the Week 
We have a team of 10 trained Peer Supporters at St. Antony's available to help with anything you may need. Each week, 2 of us assume the role of the weekly Peer Supporter who will be available for any students who feel they may need a welcoming space to talk. This week, our Peer Supporters are: 

  • Will Allen: Will is undertaking a DPhil in the Department of Politics and International Relations, he was a former student at Wolfson, and now as a member of St. Antony's lives off college. Will acts as our main point of contact with GTC, where we are collaborating in the development of a cross college Peer Support network.
  • Jenny Hall: Jenny is in the first year of her MPhil in Comparative Government, she lives in college and works in the dining hall daily. Jenny acts as the Peer Support coordinator with the University Counselling Service.  

All of our college Peer Supporters are of course available for contact at any point - you can find their contact emails on posters around college.

Research facts of the week

  • Relationships matter: ‘People with strong and broad social relationships are happier, healthier and live longer… So taking action to strengthen our relationships and build connections is essential for happiness’. Read more.
  • Networks and networking can also help you develop your post-study career. Read more from the Careers Service.

Quote of the week
Want a short cut to changing your life style? Try Park Run, the fastest growing participation sport that the world has ever seen. At exactly 9am on Saturday mornings, in public parks across the whole world, runners of all abilities set off together on a 5km. The fastest take 15 minutes, the slowest an hour; but everyone feels the same level of satisfaction and most come back week after week. In Oxford there are already two Park Runs with over 300 people a week. There is no better way to start the weekend! - Professor Roger Goodman - Head, Social Sciences Division


Trinity Term Week 1: Learning from others

Learning from others
Study in Oxford gives you opportunities to meet people from different backgrounds, and to learn from their experiences. Not just academic learning, but useful advice, tips or skills on all sorts of life issues. Keep an open mind, listen, and ask questions -you may learn more than you think! 

Do your research about careers before joining the workforce
Find out about successful alumni in your chosen career. How did they make their break, how have they progressed, and what challenges do they face? Listen to a range of Oxford alumni talk about working in a variety of sectors, including the arts, politics, medicine and international development. Interviewees in the Alumni Voices podcast series include the best-selling author and champion of evidence-based medicine Dr Ben Goldacre, Mark Goldring CBE, Chief Executive of Oxfam, and neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield CBE.. (Guy Collender, Head of Alumni Communications and Marketing, University Alumni Office)

Preparation for exams and submitting work for assessment

St Antony’s Gardening Society
Learn from your fellow students and take a welcome break from study outside! The College Gardening Society looks after a large garden at 21 Winchester Road with vegetables (kale, garlic, chicory), herbs (rosemary, sage, bay) and flowering plants such as tulips. Join the group at 12.00 noon outside the Lodge on Monday 2 May and Friday 6 May (Week 2). For further details email Porey Lin

Research fact of the week
Many doctoral students struggle to manage a healthy work-life balance… developing strategies to create balance (e.g. exercise, social activities) can be helpful in maintaining motivation and a sense of progress. Read more.

Quote of the week
Every statement should be questioned, every conclusion checked, even your own. To study is to marry critical thinking and intellectual humility. - Tariq Ramadan, Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies, St Antony’s College


Week beginning 18 April: Work smarter, not harder

Manage your time well
Wall charts, University diaries, email calendars… however you do it, make sure you have your deadlines and fixed commitments written down, and plan your time around them. Review your plan regularly, and be flexible if you need to.

Remember that no Oxford student performs well for 24 hours a day – you need to factor in sufficient time to eat, sleep and relax to keep in top condition.

There are good working spaces both around College and the wider University where you can focus on work in a distraction-free environment. Consider carefully how much time you need to spend on the internet, or how much preparation is needed before you commit to writing.

Resources available to assist you

Research fact of the week
Over 70% of students procrastinate. Read more

Quote of the week
Realistic timetabling for academic projects is vital, as is building in some short time away at the theatre, taking physical exercise or spending time with friends – Rosemary Foot, Emeritus Fellow


Week beginning 11 April: Taking a positive approach

Trinity Term holds both challenges and rewards. As the exam season approaches, the weather in Oxford improves, and the city opens up to summer activities such as punting and picnicking around the many green open spaces.

According to the ‘broaden-and-build’ theory, positive emotions fuel your capacity for problem solving, creative thinking and long-term social, emotional and physical resources.

Being a realistic optimist
Look forward to the next term with confidence, and be realistic about how much you can achieve in the time available.

Student Minds Oxford run support sessions and ‘Positive Minds’ courses during term.

Research fact of the week
Experiencing positive emotions in a 3-to-1 ratio with negative ones leads to a tipping point beyond which we naturally become more resilient to adversity and better able to achieve things. Read more.

Quote of the week
In the middle of everything that needs to be done, pause and look at the sky (or the grass, the chimneys, the swallows, the trees), and take yourself out of yourself.  You might feel restored when you go back in. - Helen Etty, College Registrar


Week beginning 4 April: Wellbeing is a continuum

Your ability to write well, give presentations and complete tasks will vary from day to day. Everyone experiences changes in their wellbeing, not just those with a formally diagnosed mental health problem.

Throughout life we encounter different situations and experiences which place us in various parts of the wellbeing continuum – illustrated on the WellScotland webpage by a diagram with four quadrants. Something as simple as a poor night’s sleep can have an impact on our mental wellbeing.

The important thing is to learn how best to manage yourself – to get through the tough periods, and to celebrate your achievements as and when they occur.

Keep your daily experiences in perspective

  • Listen to other students’ experiences via the ‘It gets brighter’ campaign website    
  • Check out the resources on the ‘Students against depression’ website
  • Check out the study guide resources in the College Library (located opposite the main desk)
  • Be Mindful short guide

Research fact of the week
One in four will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, with mixed anxiety and depression the most common disorder in Britain. Read more.

Quote of the week
It’s important to keep one’s problems in perspective. Whenever I’m having a tough day, I try to stop and think about how much tougher somebody else’s day must be, somebody with feelings and emotions just like mine, who is sitting in a leaky boat hoping they and their child will make it to safety, or someone in prison not knowing what is going to happen next, or someone hiding from bombs or bullets. Suddenly, my day doesn’t seem so tough anymore and instead, I think of how lucky I am to be alive and safe.” - Professor Louise Richardson, Vice Chancellor of Oxford University


Week beginning 28 March: Be mindful

Pause and breathe
One of the most helpful ways in which we can reduce our vulnerability to stress during a busy day is to pause regularly for a few moments to take a Breathing Space.

Simply to stop and sense one’s feet in contact with the ground, one’s body in contact with the chair and to give an open, receptive attention to the sensations of 3-4 breaths can be a very effective way of resourcing oneself in the midst of whatever one is doing.
(Chris Cullen, Senior Teacher/Trainer, Oxford Mindfulness Centre)

Mindfulness resources

  • Book: ‘Mindfulness: a Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World’ by Oxford professor Mark Williams and Dan Penman. Available to borrow from the Bodleian
  • The Headspace app
  • Courses
  • Podcasts

Research fact of the week
A recent Oxford study has shown that an online mindfulness course reduces anxiety by 58%, depression by 57% and stress by 40%. Read more here

Quote of the week
Recognising that one will think more clearly and thus work more effectively by taking a few moments out to pause and breathe is a discovery that many Oxford students and staff members are making through taking courses in Mindfulness.” Chris Cullen, Senior Teacher/Trainer, Oxford Mindfulness Centre


Week beginning 21 March: Eat well

What’s your ‘brain food’?
You need good fuel to perform well. The College Dining Hall offers lots of healthy options each day, including the range of hot meals and salad bar.

More food options across Oxford

Think carefully about how much caffeine, sugar and alcohol you consume – everyone has different needs, limits and preferences! Consider also how much you eat at different points in the day, and avoid eating too much just before bedtime.

Health eating and cooking resources

Research fact of the week
“Just like the heart, stomach and liver, the brain is an organ that is acutely sensitive to what we eat and drink. To remain healthy, it needs different amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and water.”
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publication-download/feeding-minds

Quote of the week
Eating well is one of the best investments you can make in your long term health. If you are on a tight budget think carefully about how much meat you buy and experiment with more vegetarian options - a few meat free days each week will be good for your wallet, your health and the environment.” - Susan Jebb, Professor of Diet and Population Health, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, Oxford


Hilary Term Week 9: Healthy body, healthy mind

Dear students,

Regular, moderate exercise, however you do it, makes you feel good, gives you energy and helps maximise your academic performance. There are lots of opportunities to maintain and improve your physical health here in College and across Oxford. Here are just a few suggestions:

Activities in College

  • Yoga Soc: meets Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, as well as in the morning on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. See the Facebook page for further details.   
  • Rowing: Outings throughout the week in term. Contact the Men’s Captain Kevin Pinkoski or the Women’s Captain Ola McLees for further details. New members always welcome.
  • Football: Occasional sessions during the break, Trinity Term and long vacation. New members very welcome. Contact Alexandra Zeitz (Women’s Team) and Robin Madden (Men’s Team) for further details.
  • Gym: contact the GCR Sports Officer, Thai Dang, for further information about how to join.

Activities across Oxford

‘This girl can’ campaign
Sport England are currently running a campaign to encourage more women to take part in sport.

Oxford research on ‘healthy body, healthy mind’

Advice and support for your physical health
The College Doctor and Nurse: advice and assessment of illnesses and injuries which are not life-threatening, travel advice and contraception:

  • The GCR Women’s officers can also offer contraceptives.

Research: exercise has mood benefits
In a study of 55,000 adults in the United States and Canada, lower anxiety and depression levels were evident in individuals completing more physical activity (Stephens, 1988). Population-based studies in other countries replicate these findings and suggest that more physical activity is linked to less anger, less distrust, and an increased sense of social integration (Hassmen, Koivula, & Uutela, 2000).

Quotes of the week
For stress busting pegging it around Port Meadow is hard to beat!” – Professor David Pratten, Senior Tutor

"I found that focusing on training - in a rather loose sense - in preparation for doing triathlons gave me something else to think about apart from the academic and administrative work, especially over the spring and summer months from March until September" – Professor Ian Neary, Professor of the Politics of Japan

If it’s a morning run along the river or the excitement of college rowing, mornings like this one [see image attached] can be part of your day.” - Robert Haufe, MSc Contemporary Chinese Studies


Hilary Term Week 8: Work towards your long-term goals / make the most of Oxford

Dear students,
Through all the pressure of academic work, do not lose sight of your longer-term ambitions. Oxford offers opportunities to refine career goals and develop new interests.  Check out the events and activities organised by the Careers Service, including sector-specific advice, contacts and internship opportunities. 

Test out the world of work by applying for an internship
An internship gives you the opportunity to see if you like working in a particular sector, it will look good on your CV and it could even lead to a job. The Careers Service facilitates a wide variety of internships, including summer internships in the UK and around the world, and micro-internships lasting from two to five days in Oxfordshire and Greater London.
(Guy Collender, Head of Alumni Communications and Marketing, University Alumni Office)

Working towards longer-term goals makes us feel better
Plan how to prove – or improve – your skills with the assistance of the Careers Service.
Read more about the importance of setting and working towards goals.

Recent research: careers today are more self-directed, and individuals must set their own goals:
‘Increasing numbers follow a boundaryless career that sees them regularly change jobs and organizations over their life course, experience career “breaks” (voluntary and not) to retool themselves, and along the way, engage in self-study or go back to school, attend to childcare or elder-care responsibilities, transition from old to new friendships and support systems, and rethink and change their career directions.’
(Hall & Mirvis, 2013)

Quote of the week
Goals can be big or small, but unless we tie them down and hold them to account, they are unlikely to get done. In the spirit of ‘Springboard’, look at the goals you have, break them down into a series of action points, and make sure that each of these points is small, practical, realistic, and dated. And then enjoy ticking them off your list!” -Dr Jane Chaana, Careers Team Leader, Careers Service & Internship Office


Hilary Term Week 7: It's good to talk

Dear students,
Today is ‘University Mental Health and Wellbeing Day’. ‘Wellbeing’ means maximising your potential by looking after yourself well. The Registry Team, together with the GCR, have put together a fresh series of email bulletins about ‘wellbeing’, which we hope you will find interesting.

Talk about things, and always ask for advice
Academic, personal and financial concerns are all part of student life. There are many contacts and services in Oxford who are there to assist you – just ask.

  • University Counselling Service: individual and group sessions, workshops, plus supportive podcast resources online
  • College Registry Team: academic admin forms and questions, advice and support on any issue.  
  • College Senior Tutor: Advice on academic matters, weekly office hours.
  • College Advisers: pastoral support, impartial academic advice.
  • College Peer Supporters: fellow students available to speak about anything that is concerning you. They also run the Cookie Fairy scheme for you to give a boost to your friends.
  • College Doctor and Nurse: medical consultations in College each week in term.

Real-time advice from the Student Advice Service
New online service available on Tuesdays 15.00-17.00 and Thursdays 11.00-13.00.

Look after your mental health
Student Minds, the UK’s Student Mental Health Charity, are currently running a campaign – ‘Ripple’, to increase awareness and understanding of depression.

PositiviTEA
Join fellow Antonians this Sunday afternoon (6 March) in the Buttery for a warm drink, biscuit and a chance to relax and unwind in good company.

Recent research: the value of University Counselling Services
‘Even where academic reasons are not the primary cause of referral to student counselling services, a significant number of students will also experience difficulties in these areas. Counselling was, however, shown to result in reliable and clinically significant change in a high percentage of those experiencing these additional difficulties.’ (McKenzie, Murray, Murray & Richelieu, 2015)

Quote of the week
Do not suffer alone or in silence if you are stressed; talk to others, if only for reassurance that stress is not one’s own unique predicament but a 'normal' aspect of life as a graduate student that can be managed.”    – Professor Nandini Gooptu, Governing Body Fellow and Sub-Warden, St Antony's College