Door 8: Self-care season

Simple ways to improve your day...

It’s chilly, it’s foggy, it’s all a bit ‘meh’. 2020 has been filled with more ups and downs than I can remember – you can actually see this rollercoaster of emotions in chart form on the hedonometer, a site that tracks the levels of happiness via Twitter. 

We all could do with a bit of self-care. Honestly, we’ve earned it! Here are some simple ways to improve your wellbeing, mood – or, at the very least, your day.


Limit screen time

Online content consumption has hugely increased in 2020 - and after the kind of year we've had, it's not surprising. A study found that the average user spent a quarter of their waking time on their phone this year... Does that sound like you?

We all know that there is such a thing as too much screen time... But how do we go about reducing our time glued to the screen? Surprisingly, the answer might be found on your phone! If you own a smartphone, the chances are that it already has the capability to help you limit the amount of time you spend scrolling... Check out the New York Times' article for step by step instructions on how to set yourself limits. 


Make a 'ta-da' list

Big on lists? Try writing a 'ta-da' list. Instead of listing what you need to do, write down everything you've accomplished in the day no matter how big or small (getting dressed for the day counts!). Your 'ta-da' list will make you more aware of just how much you've achieved, and help you to focus on those achievements rather than the things you didn't quite get around to doing.


Look at cute pet pics (seriously!)

Studies have shown that looking at photos of cute animals not only makes you happier, but it also decreases your stress levels! Here's a list of adorably festive pets for you that we put together last year.


Acts of kindness

Simply put, doing nice things for other people improves your wellbeing. Need some ideas? Check out our article on giving back at Christmas time.


Try meditation

OU Students Association

Meditation has been proven time and time again to provide a plethora of positive benefits. The Mayo Clinic says that meditation can help you:

  • Gain a new perspective on stressful situations.
  • Build skills to manage your stress.
  • Increase self-awareness.
  • Focus on the present.
  • Reduce negative emotions.
  • Increase imagination and creativity.
  • Increase patience and tolerance.

Give this free mediation session from the OU Students Association a try!


A Mindapple a day...

Last, but definitely not least... I asked my brilliant colleague, Nicky, about Mindapples. Here's what she had to say:

"We all know about the five-a-day foods for our bodies to keep them healthy, but what about our mental wellbeing? How can we apply that same principle to keep our minds healthy? Well, noting down five good things that happen to us during our day and all the things we feel grateful for helps pick us up when we're feeling down. It may be spending time with your dog, the pleasure felt when we look back at a holiday photo, baking bread, a walk at sunrise or a call from a friend. These are our 'Mindapples' and these positive actions, thoughts and images will help us take care of our minds, just as we do our bodies!

Find out more at and keep an eye out for the next time we have a Mindapples session with our Mindapples Champion!"


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Heather Bloomer
Heather is a member of the Students Association staff team and studied Creative Writing at the OU.


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