Categories
Mental Wellness

R U OK?

Mac Middleton & Emily Kliman
Student Wellbeing Committee Members

As human beings (and law students), we all experience moments of anxiety, stress, pressure and burnout. The competitive nature of the legal profession can make lawyers more prone to stress and depression, and thus it is really important on R U OK? Day that we reflect on the signs that may show that someone might not be ok. 

Remember that before you look out for others you need to look out for yourself. If you are not in the right headspace to ask R U OK? consider reaching out to someone in their network so they can check in with the person instead. If you yourself need checking in with, always remember that it’s ok to say you’re not ok. 

Have you got a feeling that someone you know or care about isn’t behaving as they normally would? Has it been a while since you have heard from a friend or family member? Have they been struggling with their degree? If you notice a change, no matter how small, make sure you ask R U OK?

  • It may be what they are saying: are they lonely or lacking self-esteem, are they struggling to find any time away from their university work?
  • It may be what they are doing: becoming withdrawn, experiencing mood swings, losing interest in what they love or the degree they are studying?
  • It may be what’s going on in their life: relationship breakups, high stress at work, health issues, financial difficulties during COVID-19, or even losing a loved one?

Trust your gut instinct and act on it. By starting a conversation and commenting on the changes you’ve noticed, you could help that family member, friend or workmate open up. If they say they are not ok, you can follow the conversation steps outlined below to show them they’re supported and help them find strategies to better manage the load.

Always remember that it’s OK to say that you’re NOT OK. 

CONTACTS
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Wellbeing Team. We are a group of students that are focused on making sure all members of the UTS Law community are ok: wellbeing@utslss.com 

UTS also offer Counselling services, which are confidential and very affordable!: https://www.uts.edu.au/current-students/support/health-and-wellbeing/counselling-service-and-self-help/contact-us 

Please call the Counselling Unit on 9514 1177 to ask to speak with a Counsellor or email at student.services@uts.edu.au. 

 If you are having any difficulties with your studies please reach out to your tutors, subject coordinators or the Student Services for Law: 

https://www.uts.edu.au/current-students/current-students-information-faculty-law/faculty-contacts

In addition, UTS’s Equity & Diversity Unit offer advice and support around your rights and responsibilities including discrimination and harassment, as well as UTS policy, legislation and procedural guidelines. They also provide links to mental health and wellbeing information and resources – https://www.uts.edu.au/partners-and-community/initiatives/social-justice-uts/equity-and-diversity

If you would like to learn more about mental health, join the conversation or even get involved in mental health awareness, join the UTS Batyr Team: https://www.batyr.com.au/what-is-batyr/

Reach Out: https://au.reachout.com/

The Black Dog Institute: https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/emergency-help/when-where-to-seek-help/

Beyond Blue: Call 1300 22 4636 for urgent help, or access their 24/7 emergency chat service, email them or join a community chat forum – https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/get-immediate-support

Headspace: National assistance service for youth and young people – https://headspace.org.au/

For urgent help, call Lifeline: 13 11 14 or 000

For information specific to men and difficulties with relationships, call MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78

Categories
Mental Wellness

Beginners Guide to MINDFULNESS

It’s getting to that time of the semester where assessments are starting to pile up. We don’t know about you, but the SWC are feeling the heat. It can be hard to not get overwhelmed; and from this, we tend to burn ourselves out and lose our motivation.

One way we can break this cycle is by practising mindfulness.

What is mindfulness? 

Mindfulness is the practice of being completely present and engaged with what you are doing, while not getting overwhelmed with your surroundings; whether it be uni work, watching a show or even just walking. It is not a transient state-of-mind, but rather a way  of living; you can integrate mindfulness into your everyday life. 

Why should I want to improve my mindfulness?

Building the skills of mindfulness essentially provide you with the ability to recognise situations and deal with them in a more mindful, productive and positive way. This skill allows us to be more flexible and adaptable to unexpected situations and practice self-control, while also making us less distracted as we focus solely on the task at hand.

E.g. you are faced with a new challenge arising from COVID-19 (maybe your hours have been cut at work or the borders to VIC closed before you could see your relative) and through harnessing your mindfulness skills, you are able to respond in a more thoughtful way.

By improving mindfulness, you will experience reduced stress-levels, a boost in motivation, increased compassion, and positive self-awareness.

Scroll down for our tips!

Kelly Ding & Cassy Reilly

Student Wellbeing Committee Member & Wellbeing Director

Mindfulness 2

Tips to achieve greater mindfulness

1. Meditation 🧘‍♂️

This is definitely the most common method to achieve better mindfulness. You can incorporate mindfulness practice into mediation through harnessing an active sense of engagement and awareness into what you are doing. Headspace provide 8 different unique techniques of how to incorporate mindfulness into meditation: https://www.headspace.com/mindfulness  

2. Focusing on one task at a time and be fully engaged (aka stop multitasking) 

Take your time and focus on one task at a time.

3. Go out for a walk and feel the sun ☀️ 

Step away from your devices and have a walk around your neighbourhood. During your walk, try to be fully present and notice things you normally wouldn’t. A change of scenery will help take your mind off continuous study and allow you to just enjoy the space around you.

4. Declutter your workspace 

At this point of the Spring Session there may be papers flying around your desk and it might be hard finding things you need. IT IS TIME TO CLEAN YOUR SPACE! Put your favourite music/podcast/TV show/movie on and declutter, while remaining mindful of your space and what you want to achieve.

Resources on mindfulness:

Categories
Mental Wellness

Back into Books

Now that we are well into Spring Session, many of us are starting to get busy with upcoming mid sem exams. During this time leisurely reading might not be at the top of our ‘To Do List’ but reading is a great way to take some time away from your busy schedule.

For those of us who are not avid readers or have not touched a book other than our law textbooks in a while, we have compiled a few helpful tips to get back into reading!

Scroll down for our tips & book recommendations!

Mehak Bokhari & Alexa Cruz

Student Wellbeing Committee Members

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BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

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4 Tips to Get Back Into Reading

  1. Set aside some time every day

A good habit starts with setting aside a specific time for it. For your first week, try reading 15-20 minutes per day, and in the following weeks, increase this time by increments of 5-10 minutes. Try to also fit this time frame into your usual routine! If you’re an early riser, start your day by reading while eating breakfast, or end your day by reading before you go to sleep. 

2. Find the perfect spot

The environment you read in is just as important as the book! For some of us, the perfect reading spot is somewhere quiet and peaceful with lots of natural sunlight. However, if you get bored easily, you may benefit from switching your routine. Try to find a variety of places to read, such as the outdoors, cafes, libraries or places in your house that are different from your usual reading spot.

3. Pick the right book

There are so many different genres of books, but don’t let this deter you from finding a good book! Take the time to research genres that you are interested in, and build up a list of books that peak your curiosity. Prioritise books you want to read and keep them on top of your list, and keep adding more books onto this list to further motivate you.

4. Bookmark how much you want to read

In similar fashion to setting aside dedicated time to reading, set up a goal of reading a certain amount during your reading time. Start small by setting up a goal of 2-4 paragraphs per session, and as you get used to reading this amount, increase this amount to a whole chapter. Take your time when doing this, reading is meant to be enjoyable and informative!

HAPPY READING!

Categories
Mental Wellness

Penultimate Year Wellbeing

Congratulations to our penultimate (or final!) year students for getting through all your clerkship applications! You’re almost there!! 

Maybe you got every single interview you wanted, or maybe you didn’t get any at all – and that’s okay! The UTS LSS Wellbeing team appreciate how mentally and emotionally challenging this whole clerkship season can be. To make things a little easier, we have put together some feel good thoughts to inspire you. 

Scroll down for more!

Zac Goldschmied & Brenda Li

Student Wellbeing Committee Members

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You’re not alone

We often lose sight of how many people apply for clerkships and the amount of people that actually get them. It’s important to realise that the system is incredibly competitive, and there are no doubt many many eligible and competent students that miss out. And let’s not forget, with Covid 19 around, this year has seen more applicants and less positions being offered, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get one, for many students are in the same boat as you. 

Its not the be all and end all

Not getting a clerkship often means very little in the grand scheme of things. It’s never the end of the road and you will always have other pathways to a successful career. Think of this as a chance to chase the many other opportunities that may be available to you! Who knows, maybe you’ll realise corporate commercial law wasn’t for you after all. 

When one door closes others open

Lastly, the upside of not getting that clerkship that you get to spend your summer break doing whatever you want! You can finally take that trip you’ve been meaning to for a while or take part in that volunteering opportunity that you never got around to! It’s your chance to spend some well deserved time with family or friends or just take some time to yourself.  

Rejection is not always a bad thing

Being rejected from one internship or twenty is not going to define your career. If you have the right mindset, you can use it as an opportunity to better yourself for next time, whether that be for another round of clerkships or for something else entirely. There is no success without some rejection!

Also remember – Final year students are welcome to apply for many of the firms and now that you’ve had an experience with the process, it will set you miles ahead of next year’s candidates because you know what to expect.

Whatever it is, remember that you’ve done your best. You are competent, you are accomplished and you are enough. 

 

 

 

Categories
Mental Wellness

Financial Wellbeing

Being a student, let alone in the middle of a pandemic, can be financially challenging. Being smart with your money can not only be empowering and motivating, but also kinda fun!

A survey by the Centre for Social Impact found that financial behaviour such as using budgeting apps and keeping track of spending had “no statistically significant influence on overall financial wellbeing”. The same survey found that “financial wellbeing increases as the number of long-term behaviours accumulate”.

Essentially, make some habits out of being more financially aware and you’ll see how far your dollar can really go. 

Scroll down for more!

Lucia Mai & Maria Strolla

Student Wellbeing Committee Members

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Long-term changes you can make:

  • Learn to cook, or cook more. This is pretty much the foundation of every “how to save money” list, but for good reason. Food is essential, and reducing the amount you spend on it will shave off a healthy amount of your weekly budget. Get started by trying a few copycat recipes for your favourite meals, or try a few recipes from r/EatCheapAndHealthy. Try just one recipe a week – ease yourself into it! Remember, it’s about developing a long-term habit.
  • Further to the above point, try growing your own herbs! There are plenty of beginner’s guides out there, it will make your cooking cheaper and more delicious.
  • Borrow ebooks/audiobooks from your local library via apps like BorrowBox. Don’t let the volume of law school readings brainwash you into thinking reading isn’t fun!!!
  • Review your regular payments – phone plan, wifi, bank account, etc. Are you getting the most bang for your buck, or are you just not bothered to go through the paperwork of switching? The SWC recommends Kogan Mobile (#notsponsored) for affordable mobile plans (although admittedly, the 4G gets a bit spotty on bits of the T3 Bankstown Line)

Quick easy things you can do to save some $$:

  • Buy second-hand textbooks from Gumtree or StudentVIP (but first, double-check that your textbook isn’t available online via UTS Library…I’m looking at you, 70211 Contracts 😑)
  • Market research: for a quick buck here and there – definitely not a regular source of income. Market research firms have thankfully switched to doing testing via zoom and other conferencing apps so you don’t even have to leave home. Just look up “market research sydney” and sign up to a couple of different mailing lists. They’ll send frequent emails with surveys you can fill out, and if you qualify, they’ll call and offer you a spot in a session. Last year, Lucia made $$ watching some ads while they measured her brain waves…freaky.

And here are some great services if you’re really struggling:

Finally, we ask that you support ongoing campaigns for better social security in Australia, such as #RaisetheRateforGood and #MOstrike. Everyone deserves to live meaningful lives without the stress and trauma of wondering whether they can put food on the table.

 

Categories
Mental Wellness

10 Ways to Stay Motivated in Sem 2

Semester 1 was a difficult start to 2020.

As students, it meant adjusting to an online study routine, coming to terms that we wouldn’t be seeing our uni friends regularly, and trying to stay motivated and productive in lockdown.

In semester 2, the Student Wellbeing Committee has strategised some of the ways you can stay motivated and driven this semester:

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  1. Develop a routine: developing a routine can help us create positive daily habits and prioritise self-care. Set yourself a schedule and try you best to stick to it. Waking up and doing some exercise is always a positive way to start the day, followed by setting yourself study goals each day. 

2. Organise your inbox: It’s week one and you already have 20 emails?? It’s overwhelming trying to sift through all those emails for the important information. Make it easier by creating a folder per subject and filing each email so you know exactly where they’re all located. 

3. Practice sleep hygiene: whilst there’s no consequences to falling asleep at 2am and waking up at 12pm during the holidays it’s not going to be great for your productivity to maintain that during semester. Make sure to switch back your body clock so you’re alert during the day not in the middle of the night! Having good sleep hygiene will also help improve your mood. 

4. Tidy workspace: whilst we all remain home to study, it’s important to have a clear workspace for a clear mind. Cleaning up your room or desk will boost your productivity through the day and allow you to focus on the task at hand. 

5. Dress the part: whilst we all know there’s nothing better than staying in your tracksuit pants all day, starting the day by dressing as you would on a normal uni day can help set the tone for study.

6. Separate sleep from study: science shows that screen time before bed greatly reduces the quality of your sleep and productivity the next day. Try to allow an hour before bed to relax. It’s important to try and separate your workspace from your sleeping space. The Wellbeing team have put together a chill playlist on the UTS LSS Wellbeing Spotify Page. 

7. Exercise: Exercise, exercise, exercise! Whether it’s a walk and chat with some friends, or playing a match with your local team, exercise is crucial for your mental wellbeing and productivity. Science shows that 30 minutes of exercise a day gives the body a boost of happy endorphins and increases your focus and performance on tasks throughout the day. The UTS LSS is also starting Social Sports this semester so make sure you sign up before teams are full!

8. Keep social: studying is important but it’s not everything. Make sure that whilst you’re staying on top of your uni work you’re also making time for friends and family. Spending quality time with people you love will help you stay happy and positive during those busy, stressful periods in the semester but also balance out the long stretches you spend on zoom and doing your readings.

9. Treat yo self: it’s been a tough year! Do something that you know puts you in a good mood at least once a week if not more. Take a break from the books and do something that is solely for yourself, whatever that may be. Remember to be kind to yourself this semester and don’t put too much pressure on yourself!

Mac Middleton & Emily Kliman

Student Wellbeing Committee Members

Categories
Mental Wellness

Semester Break Bucket List

We’re so close!!

With exams finishing this week, the SWC have complied a bucket list for some inspiration of things to do during the break.

Whether you want to stay local or venture outside of Sydney, try a new picnic spot or restaurant, there is sure to be something for everybody.

Stay safe and have a relaxing break!

Blog #11

Categories
Mental Wellness

Autumn Session Wrap-Up!

Hey everyone!

As we approach the end of the exam period, the SWC would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who either participated in our e-Smile Week and/or has been reading our weekly blog posts.

The 2020 Autumn Session has certainly had its challenges, however, the SWC hope that you have benefited from either of these initiatives and have continued to prioritise your personal health and wellbeing. Here are some highlights from the session!

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e-Smile Week

Although we couldn’t be together in person for our traditional Smile Project, we hope that the virtual activities we hosted have helped you de-stress and put a smile on your face 🙂 Here is a little re-cap of what we did over the week: 

Monday: Cook-A-Long

To kick off the week, we had a morning and an evening cook-a-long via Zoom! In the morning we made corn fritters with avocado salsa. It was super easy to make, and was the perfect midday study snack to keep our brains going. In the evening we made dim sim custard tarts! It was the perfect dessert to share with the family (or have all to yourself). 

Tuesday: Mat Pilates Class

Wednesday: Random Acts of Kindness – Online Compliment Board

Wednesday was our day-long online compliment board! Students and staff from the Law Faculty wrote and received compliments from each other via virtual post-it notes. The board was full to the brim by the end of the day, with very sweet, supportive and wholesome compliments. 

Thursday: Virtual Running Group

On Thursday, students downloaded the Strava app and put their running shoes on for a 3km run (or walk). It was fantastic to see the selfies everyone posted on the UTS LSS Wellbeing Strava group and ROJ points were awarded to participants!

Friday: Furry Friend Appreciation Video

On our final day of e-Smile Week we asked students to send in videos of their furry friends and collated them into an adorable video.

Again, we would like to thank everyone for their participation. Just because the week is over doesn’t mean you have to stop smiling; our UTS LSS Wellbeing Spotify playlists will also keep you smiling! Go check them out now for some study tunes 🙂 

Wellbeing Blog

The SWC have really enjoyed creating content for the LSS Wellbeing Blog this Session! It has been a rewarding experience to assist students through the challenges and obstacles of COVID-19 through our posts & hope that you have picked up some tips, tricks or even new movie ideas along the way.

Brenda Li & Alexa Cruz 

Student Wellbeing Committee Members

 

 

Categories
Mental Wellness

Black Lives Matter

The Student Wellbeing Committee (SWC) shares the sentiments of the UTS Law Students’ Society’s post and encourages all readers of the Wellbeing Blog to reflect on this time and our history.

Scroll down for a non-exhaustive list of resources and links related to #blacklivesmatter.

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LINKS

Education

 

 

Categories
Mental Wellness

ONLINE EXAM PREP (Covid-19 edition)

With less than 2 weeks before the commencement of the semester 1 exam period, the Student Wellbeing Committee has compiled a list of ways to improve your productivity and relieve stress over the coming weeks. 

Scroll down for more info!

& dont forget to check out our Spotify playlists for some study beats (:

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  • Make sure your notes are up to date and try not to cram

 

Before entering the exams, make sure that your notes cover all important content in the subject, including lectures, tutorials/seminars and other class content. Make sure that you allocate a sufficient amount of time to revising your notes and try not to ‘leave it all to the last minute’. 

 

  • Implement a study timetable and prioritise areas/subjects which you find most difficult

 

Using a study timetable can help you to avoid procrastination and make the most out of your allocated study time. A study timetable also allows you to balance other commitments such as work, social engagements and personal time, with your studies. When designing a study timetable, make sure that you allocate the most amount of time to areas or subjects that you are weakest in. Find templates online or create your own using pen and paper. 

 

  • Make sure you understand the time and structure of your exams

 

Due to social distancing guidelines, most final exams for this session will be delivered online. This may be a difficult adjustment for many students and it is important to thoroughly understand the way in which your exams will be delivered. In particular, make sure that you check;

  1. The time and date of your exams
  2. What type of exam you are sitting, e.g open book, closed book, take home assignment, invigilated exam
  3. How to access and sit your exams

 

  • Take breaks

 

Make sure to balance study time with recreational and social activities, such as going for a walk, visiting your local cafe, or going to see family and friends. Furthermore, when taking study breaks try to avoid screens so your eyes and brain can rest!

 

  • Reach out if you need help

 

If you are finding it difficult to understand a particular concept, there are many ways to reach out for help. For example, you could send an email to your tutor, or catch up with a friend (if not in person, then via Zoom). Through UTS HELPS, you can also access support services, such as workshops and even book a 1-on-1 consultation on Zoom. Many subjects also run U:PASS classes, allowing students to discuss concepts and get feedback before beginning exams. See the link below for more information on UTS HELPS and U:PASS: https://www.uts.edu.au/current-students/support/helps.

Best of luck with your exams!

Mehak and Zac

Student Wellbeing Committee Members