Students painting mugs during workshop at the feel good festival

Wellbeing service events

Discover the workshops and events on offer to help with issues you might experience while at university

The Student Wellbeing Service provides a programme of events, workshops and courses expanding on our distinctive Learning Well approach. The focus is on learning and practising strategies to manage common issues and improve your wellbeing.

You can drop in to our weekly Wellbeing Cafe for friendly company and fun wellbeing activities, or attend the popular annual Feel Good Fest with hands-on activities and taster sessions for feeling good.

When you register with us we will work out a personalised support pathway that may include one or more of our workshops. Or you can just browse our full programme to book directly onto a course or workshop that suits you.

Taking time out for self-care and wellbeing is even more important during the pandemic, and our events programme is presented fully online to make it safer and more accessible for all.

Wellbeing Café

Wellbeing Café is a weekly opportunity to connect with others and take time out to focus on fun and relaxing wellbeing activities. Until further notice, the Virtual Wellbeing Cafe will run as a Zoom space open between 3 – 4.30pm every Wednesday. You can drop in just to listen to the weekly talks or watch the craft demos, and you can choose whether or not to join in with discussions, games or other activities.

The Café is run by staff from the Wellbeing Service, and they'd be happy to chat to you beforehand to offer a familiar face when you turn up. To find out more and sign up to receive the weekly invitation email wellbeingcafe@port.ac.uk.

No booking is required – just log on and pop in here between 3.00pm - 4.30pm to:

  • Find out more about how you can join the weekly virtual Café
  • Hear about all the exciting things we have planned for this year
  • Meet our lovely staff
  • Connect with other like-minded students

Follow us on Facebook for updates. We will be posting the open Zoom link on the morning of 7 October.

Also keep an eye on the events programme below for extra in-person Café activities which may be arranged where possible – such as wellbeing walks or other socially –distanced small group activities.

Feel Good Fest

Every year on the first Wednesday afternoon in February, 1.00 to 4.00pm join fellow students, staff, local artists and organisations at the Feel Good Fest – our free annual celebration of the things that help us feel good.

Just drop in, but leave yourself enough time to join in with all the fun and relaxing activities including a variety of crafts, performances and entertainment from student societies, free food tasting, hand or shoulder massages, activity taster sessions, giveaways and raffles.

Please note, this year the Fest is likely to run as a mainly virtual event.

Workshops and courses

Our workshops and courses expand on our distinctive Learning Well approach through our flagship Be Your Own Best Friend and Compassionate Mind Training programme. All workshops include positive wellbeing skills, such as mindfulness and self-compassion. Many workshops target common student issues like sleep difficulties, procrastination, perfectionism, low mood or anxiety.

Our courses and workshops are run in small online group sessions and offer a chance to share and learn from others in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. You will not be asked to share personal information but will have the opportunity to develop strategies and implement them in your life.

How to book

Places are limited, so it's essential to book these courses in advance. Scroll down to see the latest dates and times for our courses and workshops.

To book, contact:

Tel: +44 (0)23 9284 3466
Email: wellbeing-admin@port.ac.uk

Student Wellbeing Service
Floor 2, Nuffield Centre
St Michael's Road
Portsmouth PO1 2ED

Our wellbeing workshops and events

Explore our upcoming workshops and events.

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on all the courses, workshops and events dates and times.

Book now

Our CBT programme is delivered by practitioners from the local Talking Change talking therapy service.

CBT recognises that how we think (cognition), how we feel (emotion), and how we act (behaviour), interact together and impact on each other.

Identifying negative thinking patterns and learning constructive alternatives can enable us to change our behaviour and result in a positive shift in the way we feel.

In this workshop you will:

  • Learn how CBT can transform your mindset
  • Gain a better understanding of the things that influence your mood and wellbeing
  • Learn how to make positive changes in your life
  • Be prepared to go on to the From Stress to Success course

When

  • Tuesday 20 October 2020 from 1.00pm – 2.30pm
  • Tuesday 27 October 2020 from 1.00pm – 2.30pm
  • Tuesday 19 January 2021 from 3.00pm – 4.30pm
  • Tuesday 26 January 2021 from 3.00pm – 4.30pm

From Stress to Success

This is a skills-based course designed to help students understand and manage the impact of stress more effectively. The course runs for 4 weeks with a 90-minute session each week. In this course your will learn:

  • Week 1: What is stress, getting a balanced life and how to create SMART goals.
  • Week 2: Time management and prioritising. What is rumination and challenging negative automatic thoughts.
  • Week 3: Assertiveness and communication skills.
  • Week 4: How nutrition, sleep, and exercise impact on your mood and wellbeing, relaxation techniques and practical problem solving.

It is mandatory that you first attend the Introduction to CBT workshop before enrolling onto the From Stress to Success course. This is so that you can make an informed decision about making the commitment to attend the full course.

To enrol for this course, you need to be registered with a Portsmouth GP.

When

Dates for the 2020 course:

  • Week 1: Tuesday 3 November 2020 from 1.00pm – 2.30pm
  • Week 2: Tuesday 10 November 2020 from 1.00 – 2.30pm
  • Week 3: Tuesday 17 November 2020 from 1.00pm – 2.30pm
  • Week 4: Tuesday 24 November 2020 from 1.00pm – 2.30pm

Dates for the 2021 course:

  • Week 1: Tuesday 2 February 2021 from 3.00pm – 4.30pm
  • Week 2: Tuesday 9 February 2021 from 3.00pm – 4.30pm
  • Week 3: Tuesday 16 February 2021 from 3.00pm – 4.30pm
  • Week 4: Tuesday 23 February 2021 from 3.00pm – 4.30pm

Learn how to ride the highs and lows of life so you can keep on keeping on, no matter what.

This workshop will introduce you to techniques to help you identify and manage the triggers and symptoms of anxiety.

If you find that you’re worrying all the time, perhaps about things that are a part of everyday life, (for example, worrying about the past, the future, deadlines, work, relationships, etc.), or about things that aren’t even likely to happen, then this workshop is for you.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • What is anxiety and what keeps it going
  • Strategies to reduce and manage worries and anxiety
  • How to deal with overthinking and uncertainty
  • How to solve practical problems

When

  • Tuesday 27 October 2020 from 3.00pm – 4.30pm
  • Tuesday 1 December 2020 from 3.00pm – 4.30pm
  • Tuesday 26 January 2021 from 1.00pm – 2.30pm
  • Tuesday 23 February 2021 from 1.00pm – 2.30pm
  • Tuesday 23 March 2021 from 1.00pm – 2.30pm

Almost everything looks better after a good night’s sleep – are you getting yours?

Research shows that sleeplessness has detrimental long-term effects on our health, our bodies and our wellbeing.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • What is ‘normal’ sleep versus insomnia
  • The different stages of sleep
  • Factors that can influence sleep
  • Simple evidence-based strategies to improve sleep quality
  • Relaxation and breathing techniques

With lots of simple strategies to try, and an explanation as to how they can help, this workshop provides a good introduction to the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-i) programme that is delivered at Talking Change.

When

  • Tuesday 17 November 2020 from 3.00pm – 4.30pm
  • Tuesday 1 December 2020 from 1.00pm – 2.30pm
  • Tuesday 9 February 2021 from 1.00pm – 2.30pm
  • Tuesday 9 March 2021 from 1.00pm – 2.30pm

Learn how to manage the things you can change, so you can survive the things you can’t.

This workshop explores what causes us to feel stressed and will help you get a better understanding on how to tackle stress and manage the pressures of life at university.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • What stress is and how it may be caused
  • The effect and impact stress can have on day to day life
  • How to create a more balanced life whilst at university
  • Ways to improve exercise, nutrition and sleep quality
  • Skills to improve time management and prioritising tasks

When

  • Tuesday 20 October 2020 from 3.00pm – 4.30pm
  • Tuesday 24 November 2020 from 3.00pm – 4.30pm
  • Tuesday 19 January 2021 from 1.00pm – 2.30pm
  • Tuesday 16 February 2021 from 1.00pm – 2.30pm
  • Tuesday 16 March 2021 from 1.00pm – 2.30pm

Learn about panic and unpick its hold on you.

This workshop is designed to take some of the fear out of panic attacks. By understanding what panic attacks are and why we have them, we can take the power out of panic and feel more in control of our lives.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • What is a panic attack
  • Why do panic attacks happen
  • What happens to our bodies during a panic attack
  • Strategies for managing panic attacks

When

  • Tuesday 3 November 2020 from 3.00pm – 4.30pm
  • Tuesday 2 February 2021 from 1.00pm – 2.30pm
  • Tuesday 2 March 2021 from 1.00pm – 2.30pm

Coming soon

Mindfulness is an integrative, mind and body based approach that helps us change the way we think and feel about our experiences. During the 4-week course, you will learn to:

  • Stay in touch with the present moment and be less caught up in negative thoughts and overthinking
  • Deepen your awareness and respond more skilfully to events in your life
  • Reduce and manage low levels of anxiety, depression and stress

You will be invited to practise mindfulness on a regular basis and you will gain most if you can make a commitment for the full course.

The surprising way that our minds work and how we can work with them, not against.

This workshop offers an introduction to the concepts of the Compassionate Mind model. Armed with this understanding you will be able to benefit from its application in many areas of your life like building positive relationships (with others as well as yourself), increasing emotional resilience, and feeling more optimistic.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • The 3-Systems Compassionate Mind model and how it can help make sense of your inner life
  • How developing compassion for yourself and others will improve relationships
  • Breathing exercises and visualisation techniques to help you manage your mind and be your best you
  • To develop your own compassionate mind toolkit
  • The benefits of attending the full compassionate mind course

The aim of this course is to build on your understanding of the theory behind the Compassionate Mind model. This is a skills-based personal development course which will help you thrive personally and academically and help you build more positive relationships.

Understanding why it's good to replace counter-productive self-criticism with greater tolerance, kindness, and self-compassion will help you to realise what is really holding you back and support you in stepping out of the vicious cycle of self-judgement.

Week 1:

  • Improving relationships with others and learning how to be a better friend
  • Why we struggle with compassion

Week 2:

  • Using the concept of compassion to help deal with difficult and challenging situations in your life
  • Understanding the benefits of receiving help and compassion from others

Week 3:

  • Understanding the functions of self-criticism and self-judgement and how self-compassion can help you feel better about yourself
  • Creating and applying a personalised self-compassion toolkit to transform your relationship with yourself and others

It is essential to first attend the Be Your Own Best Friend workshop before enrolling on to the Compassionate Mind Training course.

Participants will need to commit to attending all three Compassionate Mind Training sessions to benefit most, as each builds on the previous one, so do check your availability before signing up.

Understanding your values and developing a sense of purpose can help drive you towards more meaningful living and learning.

This workshop offers an introduction to the concepts of meaningfulness, personal values and sources of meaning. Equipped with this understanding and personal awareness, you'll be able to develop your own plan to move towards the things that are important in your life.

In this workshop, you'll:

  • Review the basics of how our minds work (using the Compassionate Mind: 3 systems model) and how values are relevant to our wellbeing
  • Identify your own values
  • Identify barriers that may prevent you from moving towards the things that are important in your life, and learn ways that you can overcome these barriers
  • Learn about the ‘person who you want to be’
  • Develop a plan for meaningful living in relation to your student experience

This workshop is to support students to regain a balance in their lives and take better care of themselves. Offering tried and tested strategies, this workshop is a practical and realistic support for common wellbeing and lifestyle issues.

In this workshop you'll learn:

  • How to find a balance and maintain good wellbeing
  • How this can help manage stress, low mood, anxiety and depression
  • Positive ways of coping
  • How to map your resources and build your resilience and confidence
  • Specific and tangible strategies that work

You'll also be supported in creating a personalised wellbeing plan for yourself so you can take away actionable tools and strategies to get you back on track.

Learn how to reclaim and restore your positivity.

This is a motivating, practical session for students who regularly experience low mood. Using the Compassionate Mind model, it's based on tried and tested ways of expanding our influence over our moods and is designed to help identify personal and effective mood lifting strategies.

In this workshop you'll learn:

  • How to better manage the ups and downs of life
  • Tools for boosting your mood and building your resilience
  • Strategies and ideas for reassessing your current coping mechanisms
  • The value of taking better care of yourself

Something is stopping you – come and learn how to stop it instead.

Procrastination is the avoidance of a task that needs to be done – postponing it until tomorrow what can be done today. If every time you sit down to do some work you find yourself diverting to something less important and repeatedly putting things off to the last minute, then this workshop could help.

Using the Compassionate Mind model, you will be better able to understand why you procrastinate and how adopting a more self-compassionate approach will enable you to be more productive.

In this workshop you'll learn:

  • Why we procrastinate and how we can change our procrastinating habits
  • How to become more efficient and use time productively
  • Well-proven tips and strategies to help improve motivation, planning, and organisation

Learn why good enough is actually good enough.

This workshop explores the paradox that perfectionist aspirations and behaviours can often result in poorer performance, high levels of anxiety, and an unrewarding lifestyle. Using the Compassionate Mind approach to increase our understanding of what drives perfectionism, you will find ways to develop less self-punishing strategies for success.

In this workshop you'll learn:

  • What perfectionism is and why it’s unhelpful
  • How to use self-compassion to become more productive
  • Well-proven tips and strategies to help get a better balance in life

This workshop will introduce the idea that laughter can be used to help us cope with life’s challenges. Understanding your sense of humour and learning how to use it to your advantage will help you to soothe yourself when life serves you lemons.

In this workshop you'll:

  • Review the basics of how our minds work (using the Compassionate Mind: 3 systems model), and how being able to selfsoothe is relevant to our wellbeing
  • Learn the physical and psychological benefits of laughter
  • Learn about your own sense of humour, identify what makes you laugh, and how to use it to your advantage
  • Develop your own "laughter toolkit" to help you to enhance your student experience
  • LAUGH!

Special interest courses and groups – get in touch

How to get your emotions out of the driving seat when you have places you need to be.

This course will teach strategies to help manage difficult emotions and to improve your relationships. If you regularly find yourself feeling distressed and unable to understand why or to prevent yourself acting in ways you know to be unhelpful, this practical course could be for you.

In this course you'll learn:

  • How to develop skills to improve communication, problem solving, and decision making
  • What works best for you when managing difficult thoughts and feelings
  • To practise new skills in a fun and supportive environment

Access to this 3-week course is by invitation only, for students who have registered with the Student Wellbeing Service and have been seen by a practitioner. As a student, you can register and see a practitioner so do get in touch!

Participants will need to attend all 3 sessions to benefit most, as each builds on the previous one, so do check your availability before signing up.

This course is for students with a diagnosis of autism, or those awaiting a diagnostic assessment.

Access to this course is by invitation only, for students who have registered with the Student Wellbeing Service and have been seen by a practitioner. As a student, you can register and see a practitioner so do get in touch!

Why do we offer this course?

Students with autism have told us that they have found starting University both stressful and exciting.

Common challenges include getting organised and balancing time, making friends, coping with group work, and managing sensory overload, stress and anxiety.

Students have helped us design this course to help you improve your understanding of these difficulties and to develop skills and strategies to help you manage these challenges.

What is this course?

This is a skills-based course with weekly sessions. You won’t be expected to discuss your problems but often students feel increasingly able to share their thoughts and personal experiences about which strategies work well for them over the course of the group. However, you can just log on and listen, if you prefer.

Each session will cover a common challenge, including:

  • Learning to balance your sensory experiences
  • Improving emotional wellbeing
  • Building healthy relationships
  • Planning and organisation at university

What will happen in each session?

Each session is 90 minutes long and there will be a break in between.

The session content is adapted to respond to requests from within the group and the first session is used to explore what will help everyone to feel safe and comfortable within each session.

The sessions will focus on:

  • What autism is and how it can affect daily life
  • Feedback about trying out the skills learned in the previous session
  • A mindfulness exercise
  • A summary of the new skills to be practiced during the week, if you’re happy to try

What if I would like to attend the course but I find groups difficult?

Many students with autism find it challenging to work in groups. Students attending this course have told us that connecting with other students who understand their experiences has helped them to feel supported and has helped build their confidence.

This course is for students who want to learn more about themselves. Students have worked with us to design these sessions to help you better understand what is important to you, what you value in life, and to learn skills to help you relate to your thoughts and emotions differently.

Access to this course is by invitation only, for students who have registered with the Student Wellbeing Service and have been seen by a practitioner. As a student, you can register and see a practitioner so do get in touch!

This is a skills-based personal development course. You won’t be expected to discuss your problems but often students feel increasingly able to share their thoughts and personal experiences about what works well for them over the course of the group. However, you can just log on and listen, if you prefer.

Each session focuses on topics about Being You including:

  • What are values and how to identify your own values
  • Common blocks to living by our values
  • How to relate to those blocks differently, including mindfulness, learning to relate to your thoughts differently, self-compassion, acceptance, and being true to yourself and each other in relationships

What if I would like to attend the course but I find groups difficult?

Many students have spoken to us about their worries about being in a group. Before you start, you can meet one of the group facilitators to talk through your worries, and look at ways to manage these within the group setting.

Every other Wednesday during term-time we run a group for students who have experienced a bereavement, whether recently or at any time. If you feel you might benefit from meeting people who have been through something similar, we'd love for you to come.

Everyone has their own unique journey through grief. But we hope by facilitating this group, you can get together in a confidential and safe space to share stories, thoughts and feelings or just be with people who get it, and simply support each other.

When

  • Wednesday 28 October 2020 from 1.30pm – 3.00pm
  • Wednesday 11 November 2020 2020 from 1.30pm – 3.00pm
  • Wednesday 25 November 2020 2020 from 1.30pm – 3.00pm
  • Wednesday 9 December 2020 2020 from 1.30pm – 3.00pm

Access to this course is by invitation only, for students who have registered with the Student Wellbeing Service. As a student, you can register and see a practitioner so do get in touch!

Expanding your learning and support

A key part of our Learning Well approach is about expanding your support network. We work closely with other parts of the University and encourage you to make full use of all the other study support options available to you. As part of your personalised pathway we may also support you to engage with services and programmes offered by some of our other partners.

More support

Talking Change is the free NHS talking therapies service for Portsmouth, offering evidence-based treatment (mainly cognitive behaviour therapy – CBT) for anxiety, depression, the impact of trauma and other common mental health difficulties.

Talking Change works closely with the Student Wellbeing Service, delivering CBT-based courses and workshops for students and also offering initial assessment appointments arranged by the Service.

You can also self-refer online or you can ask your GP to refer you. You do need to be registered with a Portsmouth GP in order to access Talking Change services.

The University is collaborating with the Solent Recovery College to offer both staff and students the opportunity to learn about recovery from mental health difficulties through a range of free courses and short sessions.

Taught in a classroom setting, students can learn practical skills for living with ongoing symptoms and learn how to get the best from mental health services in a safe and confidential space.

All of the sessions are designed in partnership between Solent Mind's Peer Trainers and staff from Solent NHS Trust, allowing those who have lived with mental health issues to share their experiences and skills supported by mental health professionals.

Courses offered include:

  • Life after lockdown
  • Understanding and Living with Anxiety
  • Understanding and Living with Depression
  • Understanding and Living with a Personality Disorder
  • Living with Bipolar
  • Understanding and Developing Mindfulness
  • Coping in a Crisis
  • Substance misuse and mental health
  • Writing your Recovery Narrative

Browse the Solent Recovery Centre's current courses.

The Students' Union Advice Service offers support and advice to students with respect to university policies and procedures, such as extenuating circumstances applications or with disciplinary procedures.

The service is independent from the University and all enquiries are dealt with in confidence. The team works closely with the University to resolve issues and ensure students are treated fairly, and works collaboratively with the Student Wellbeing Service to provide support and advocacy where students have experienced bullying, harassment, discrimination or violence. For more information, see the Students' Union website.

The Sort It Out service uses restorative practices to help students address harm and repair relationships after conflict.

Conflict resolution allows you to have difficult conversations in a safe environment with a trained impartial mediator. They will facilitate the discussion to help everyone involved to listen to each other and support you as you identify areas of commonality and difference.

The mediator will not solve the problem for you, instead they will help you to analyse the problem, decide what you want to achieve and come to a mutually agreed solution.

We work in partnership with Portsmouth Mediation Service and have trained Student Mediators offering the service as Peer Support. We are independent from the University.

Visit the Sort It Out website to see a short introductory video, find out how the service works, see examples of issues they work with, download a housemate agreement and send a contact request.

It's not just you

Would you like to be put in touch with other students with similar circumstances to you?

Sometimes it can really help to know others are facing similar challenges and to share thoughts and coping strategies. But it might be difficult to find them – and that’s where we’d like to help.

Friendly support groups

We bring together small groups of people who would like the opportunity to meet, share and support each other around a particular challenge or concern that they have in common.

Are you:

  • a student who is being affected by bereavement, whether recent or in the past?
  • a student who is the main carer for a family member?
  • a student who commutes to university from a distance, rather than living in Portsmouth?
  • a student who is estranged from their family?

Challenges like these could leave you feeling isolated when others on your course or who you live with don’t understand.

The important thing to realise is that you’re not alone and that maybe you have something to offer others who feel the same as you. For example, the students who attended our bereavement group said that it was really valuable to meet people with similar experiences and have that group support.

If this is something you think you’d like us to develop and provide, why not get in touch and tell us and we’ll see what we can do to help find others who feel like you. Contact us at wellbeing@port.ac.uk and put ‘It’s not just me’ in the subject line.

Contact information
  • Student Wellbeing Service
  • Floor 2, Nuffield Centre, St Michael's Road, Portsmouth, PO1 2ED
  • wellbeing-admin@port.ac.uk
  • +44 (0)23 9284 3466

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