New year, new me… no thanks!

So it’s officially 2021 and it’s not quite the New Year we expected it to be or hoped for.

I’m Zoe, one of the interns for the Sustainability Service. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to feel frustrated by the idea of another lockdown, especially if you are confused about making decisions for both your personal life and work or academic situation during such a challenging time.

Setting resolutions for the new year can feel overwhelming and puts way too much pressure on ourselves. So I’ve got five thoughts to support you through the start of the year because, now more than ever, it’s important to look after yourself!

You can also find some extra resources and options for getting further support at the bottom of this blog.

It’s okay to focus on you!

  • Looking after other people comes naturally to us, but sometimes you have to realise when prioritising yourself is necessary, so you have the energy to help those around you
  • It’s not selfish, it’s just learning not to please everyone and how to love yourself instead!

Figure out what makes you feel good

  • Finding the time to look after your mental and physical health can be the first step in understanding what makes you happy
  • I find that going for a run or walk really clears my head and re-energises me after a long day but it’s definitely not the answer for everyone. Try out a new hobby or find more outdoor options for winter such as climbing and cycling
  • Don’t forget, it’s okay to feel good one day and terrible the next. We all have bad days, mental health is different for everyone and isn’t just about being happy all the time.

Spend time working on what you want to achieve

  • New Year’s resolutions can be a daunting idea so forget about them like I am! Getting through each day is more than enough
  • Instead, think about setting yourself attainable targets on a daily or weekly basis and only change things you are comfortable with
  • One step at a time will get you where you want to be and, if you’re feeling confident, you can set yourself more long-term goals when it feels right
  • And try not to be a perfectionist! Give yourself credit when you reach your goals, no matter how small.

Figure out your way of working

  • Adapting to home working has been a real challenge for all of us especially when our home environment is sometimes out of our own control
  • Take the time to create a workspace and routine that work for you and the rest of your household
  • And take breaks! Even a cup of tea (or about 80 if you’re me) can be the much needed five minutes you need to get yourself back on track
  • Guidance on home studying and home working is honestly well worth the read and our team has put together their own top tips.

Remember what you’ve been through

  • The past year has been challenging for all of us so remember, although things might not seem to be improving, we have come so far together!
  • We have all grown, adapted and made big changes in the past year so be proud of your development and resilience
  • Let’s focus on supporting ourselves and each other as much as we can, and try to remember that restrictions will lift eventually
  • I know I’ve struggled with getting my hopes up only to be faced with another lockdown so please reach out and talk to people if you’re finding it hard.

I know it can be really daunting but, trust me, reaching out is the best thing you can do to help yourself. Whether it is mutual support through friends and family or seeking extra help from other services, remember that there is guidance out there for you when you need it.

Check out the resources below for more guidance on finding the best support for you.

Zoe 🙂


University support
The University offers a variety of services such as wellbeing advice, counselling and group workshops. Find help specific to the coronavirus pandemic and also the support you can get online on the university website. Alternatively, please don’t hesitate to contact your own school or tutor if you want extra academic support.

Leeds University Union support
Leeds University Union also offer health and wellbeing support alongside guidance and resources on issues such as housing, employability, welfare, crime and money. Check out their self-help pages or contact them directly on 0113 3801 400 or send them an email. You can also listen to their Health and Wellbeing podcast or check out the content on their medium site which has been created by their Health and Wellbeing Ambassadors.

Student Space
Led by the UK’s student mental health charity, Student Minds, Student Space offers help and guidance from a range of trusted services to support you through the challenges of student life, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. Student Space provides information about phone, text, email and webchat support services meaning you can get the help you need however you feel comfortable. Plus, there is lots of advice and resources on mental health and wellbeing, social life, studying and more.


University support
Head to the online support and wellbeing pages for guidance on how to look after yourself, particularly during the pandemic. You can find advice on self-isolating, working from home, mental and physical health support, domestic abuse information and lots of resources to help you find the help you need. You can also find contact information for various support services offered at the university.

Mind Charity
If you need extra support and would rather seek advice externally to the university, Mind charity provide advice and support for anyone experiencing mental health issues. Their online A-Z of mental health can help you understand what your experiencing or, alternatively, you can speak directly to a member of their team using their phone line service which is open 9am-6pm, Monday to Friday and find the right help for you.

NHS Every Mind Matters
Get your own mind plan with the NHS by taking their five question, interactive quiz for top tips and advice on dealing with a variety of mental health challenges. You can also find information on coping with the coronavirus pandemic and, for more tailored support, advice on accessing counselling and therapy services through self-referral or your GP.


Keep up to date on the latest news

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our work on supporting peoples health and wellbeing is linked to the following SDGs:

      • Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing
      • Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities
      • Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.