Welcome everyone to our first blog on staying positive and motivated during extraordinary times and to recognise Mental Health Awareness Week.

To  begin with there is a really helpful guide to staying healthy emotionally and physically on the University of Portsmouth’s Student Wellbeing Service webpage. We refer to these in this blog and have added in some thoughts, ideas and tips that work for us and for you to try. We also thought you might like to create your own music playlist to accompany this and we have made a few suggestions to get you started...

The 5 ways to well being are: Connect, Give, Be active, Take notice, Keep learning. 

1 Connect – building our human connections will support and enrich us every day.
Connect with the people around you if you can: your family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, and people you encounter day to day. Smile, say thank you, listen, reach out. Spend time developing these relationships.

Stay connected to us at CES (Careers and Employability Service).  We help our students and graduates with job search, career ideas, applications, mock interviews and most importantly we help build your confidence and empower you to be strategic, which in turn will help your motivation.

Connect with others - We will be bringing students and graduates together in different ways and you will be able to share  what you are doing and get lots of ideas and practical tip

We will be running regular employability related discussions in our ‘Lets Talk About’ series. These sessions provide opportunities to ask questions and find answers from our professional advisers and your peers. The first two will be running this week, so why not get involved!

"Why do you want to work here?"  - Be Job Ready Virtual 'Round The Table' Discussion 
"Virtual Recruitment"  - Be Job Ready Virtual 'Round The Table' Discussion
 We have other news to tell you -  we will be  hosting an Opportunities Week beginning Monday 22 June, with industry speakers and a range of useful and relevant sessions, so please have a look at the programme in due course.

Alumni - Do you know that using LinkedIn can link you to your peers and the graduates who have graduated from your course at Portsmouth ? If you ask us, we can show you how to do this. LinkedIn was set up to be a sharing and connecting platform and in our experience people are often very generous with their time and have goodwill to help others. After all they have been in your shoes and remember what that was like. 

‘Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity’ - Simone Well

So here come the first suggested song titles:
Jungle - Smile, Queen - Friends will be Friends, Four Tops - Reach Out I’ll Be There, Beatles - With a Little Help From My Friends

2  Give – recognising that our happiness is linked to the well being of the wider community can be rewarding and creates lasting connections with the people around us.
Even the smallest act can count, whether it’s a smile, a thank you or a kind word; or being there to listen when someone needs to talk. Larger acts, such as volunteering or playing a formal supportive role can also help you build new social networks

Being a better friend to yourself means taking care of your own well being and treating yourself with kindness and compassion instead of self-criticism. We want to share a few tried and tested tips you might like to try to help you be a better friend to yourself and others

Celebrate small successes
How often do you find yourself noticing what you cannot do or what you haven’t done and forget all those things you have achieved?. We are not talking about climbing mountains or sailing across the ocean in a small boat. We are talking about those apparently small things such as getting out your CV, giving us a call, connecting with someone on LinkedIn and asking for advice.This is a good time for those of you who have volunteered, making sure you have recorded it in your HEAR document. All those small things add up.

Appreciations envelope
Jot down the small things you do everyday and pop them into an envelope addressed to you, and add to that envelope any appreciations you get throughout the day. This might include a thank you from someone, a compliment, a bit of feedback. Turn this into a practice that you do every day and you will begin to get a sense of your true value. Celebrate small success - a soak in a bubble bath, a bar of chocolate, a thank you to yourself,. 

Suggested songs:
Pharrell Williams - Happy, Glen Campbell - Loving Kindness, Utah Saints - Believe in Me

3  Be active – engaging in regular purposeful activity, especially physical activity, will invigorate and energise us while keeping us in good health.
Find an activity you enjoy and make it a regular part of your life. Try to make sure this includes some physical activity – even if it’s just walking or cycling to classes rather than catching the bus. Find your joy.

Suggested songs: 
Chic - Everybody Dance, James Brown - Get on the Good Foot, Flashdance
4 Take notice – becoming more aware of the world around us helps to appreciate what really matters.
Be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts, feelings, body and the world around you. Be better placed to appreciate what matters and what you value
We are all starting to notice and be happy for the small things - a bird singing, a beautiful sky, a hot shower, a nice meal. Engaging all 5 senses is a good way to manage anxiety and stop overthinking..

If you sit quietly and close your eyes, spend a moment concentrating on your breathe as it enters and leaves your body, start to notice what you are touching, what you can smell,what sounds you can hear, what the taste is like in your mouth, what light, dark and shapes you can see behind your eyelids. Take as long as you want. 

Create a GLAD journal. Pop it by your bedside. At night before you go to bed write something for each.
G  something I am grateful for today
L something I learnt today
A  something I achieved today
D something I was delighted by today

Don't worry if you can’t think of something for each one or if you haven't popped any appreciations into your envelope. ‘Giving to yourself’ is a practice and like a muscle needs to be worked on.
Being a better friend to yourself means taking care of your own well being and treating yourself with kindness and compassion instead of self-criticism.

Suggested songs:
Elbow - One Day Like This, Louis Armstrong - What A Wonderful World 

5 Keep learning – setting ourselves challenges we may enjoy achieving can be fun and builds confidence and improves well being.
Stay in touch with the joy of learning both inside and outside your subject. Take pleasure in learning new skills and in the steps towards mastering your subject. Don’t get so focused on achievements and goals that you lose sight of what fascinates and intrigues you.  

In terms of employability you can revisit your LinkedIn profile or get one started, update your CV, practise our psychometric tests, try out our video interview resource. Go to our website for details.
Suggested songs:
Talking Heads - Once in a Lifetime, Womack and Womack - Celebrate The World
And finally what we hope are some really useful tips to finish!
Accept that some things are beyond your control.
Keep a sense of perspective - always remember that 'this too shall pass'.
Seek new challenges.
Be flexible and adaptable.
Set meaningful but achievable goals.
Be kind to yourself when things go wrong …. and right!.
Manage your physical and mental health.
Build a strong and supportive network.
If you think this has been a useful read, please let us know. There is more we can blog in the future!

Here’s the link to the Mental Health Awareness Week site https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

Wishing you all the best from the CES team.