Update 23/10/18 – Challenges 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 are now all live. You can also get print versions from Health, Counselling and Disability Services at the Student Centre, Level 3
Ok, so the Mad Tea Co in conjunction with OASIS and myself, have cooked up a bit of challenge for Flinders Students to consider during Mental Health Week (which we are celebrating a little later than usual – the 15th Oct to the 21st Oct).
It is called Keep Your Cup Full.
If you haven’t heard of The Mad Tea Co, you need to get them on your radar, even if it is just to satisfy your tea cravings.
“The Mad Tea Collective (affectionately known as The Mad Tea Co.) is a not-for-profit movement to acknowledge, understand and combat the mental health crisis we currently have in our society. Nowhere is this more prevalent than at our universities. With stats as high as one in three suffering from mental health issues, it’s clearly time to start looking upstream. To help do it, we want to sell premium herbal teas we grow and process ourselves on campus, in gardens intended to be therapeutic green spaces. As a not-for-profit, we have a vision that any proceeds made will go back into funding projects focused on improving mental health in our communities.”
[Note: The Mad Tea Co will officially launch on October 17th at Jive in the city with live music and spoken word poetry. Event information on the socials here; https://www.facebook.com/events/463164214205048/]
The Mad Tea Co do great work promoting mental health on campus. They are energetic, optimistic and genuinely interested in improving the welfare of their fellow students. Even if you reject the challenges below, make sure you follow their Facebook page to be notified of other stuff they do around campus.
So what is this challenge you speak of?
Ok, so the Mad Tea Co, OASIS and I would like to challenge you, dear reader, to adopt at least one new mentally healthy lifestyle habit during Mental Health Week.
During Mental Health Week you will find printouts like the one below floating around campus (e.g. coffee outlets). I’ll be distributing some here at Health, Counselling and Disability Services and blogging a new one each day.
There are 7 in total, reflecting one challenge per day over the course of the week. See if you can collect them all!
Here is a sneak peak of one of them:
Each printout includes a challenge to you to adopt a new habit in the service of improving your mental health.
The Collective and I did a bit of brainstorming via email to come up with the challenges. We picked ones that were simple, that even the busiest student could fit in.
There are 7 challenges in total (1 per day for mental health week). We think there is a habit here to appeal to just about everyone. They aren’t complex or massively time consuming. Just sensible starting points for giving your brain a wellbeing boost.
The challenges are as follows:
Start a regular mindfulness meditation practice – simply download the app from https://www.smilingmind.com.au/ and set aside 20 minutes each day to work through some of the guided meditations. Do it for 2 weeks to see if it is something you would like to keep as a regular habit.
Spend more time outside in nature – take 20 minutes each day to spend some time around plants and greenery. If you are on campus, this is easy, cause there are some lovely natural and planted areas. If you are home with limited access to green space, get yourself a pot plant, and stare lovingly at it for 20 minutes. Do this for 2 weeks and see if regular ‘green time’ is something you’d like to add to your life.
Add some exercise to your commuting time – Commuting can be boring. But it is an opportunity to add a bit of physical activity to your day. If you drive your car, consider parking on the opposite site of the university to where you study. If you catch the bus, consider getting off a stop early and walking the remainder. If you live close enough to the university, consider walking or riding a bike. Do this for 2 weeks, and see if the extra physical activity gives you a boost.
Start a ‘what did I learn today?” journal – I kept a journal when I was younger. Reading it many years later, it really sucked and whoever wrote it was a complete idiot. That aside, with a little bit of tweaking, the simple journal can become a powerful learning device. For 2 weeks, in the half hour before you go to sleep, write down:
What you learned today about your study
What you learned about yourself today
What you learned about another person today
Subscribe to the Student Health and Wellbeing Blog – My job is to write about productivity and wellbeing as well as promote all the excellent programs that are run out of Health, Counselling and Disability Services (HCDS). If you do nothing else during Mental Health Week, sign up to the blog – https://blogs.flinders.edu.au/student-health-and-well-being/2018/05/14/welcome-student-health-wellbeing-blog/ – I’m confident you’ll find something in the blog or the programs we run to be useful.
Join a club – A simple way to make friends is to
pay for them join a club with people with similar interests. FUSA is the home of clubs and the range of clubs is pretty amazing. If you can’t find the one you like, start one. I’m absolutely positive that there is someone else on campus who also loves making origami Game of Thrones characters – https://fusa.edu.au/clubs/
Improve your sleep – One of the simplest ways to get an energy and cognitive boost is to improve your sleep habits. Aim for 7-9 hours a night, with the same bedtime and wake time each day (where possible). Upon waking, try to get some sunshine or natural light (e.g. coffee in the backyard). Try this for 2 weeks, and then ask yourself whether it has made an improvement to your day.
And just in case you think I am wimping out and not doing these things myself, I have actually started meditating regularly, and recently got back on my bike in order to ride to work a few days each week.
Report back and tell us how you went
In addition to having a go at one of the challenges, we’d really like you to report back on how you went.
Did you try one of the challenges? How did it go? Perhaps you thought our challenges were lame and came up with a better one yourself.
We’d really like to hear how you went.
You can do this a number of ways:
- by returning to this post and reporting in the comment section how it went (you’ll have to sign in with your FAN to leave a comment);
- By visiting the Mad Tea Co Facebook page and leaving a comment there;
- By visiting the Keep Your Cup Full event page on Facebook, and leaving a comment there;
- By signing up to the Wellbeing for Academic Success FLO topic and leaving a comment in the Keep Your Cup Full
So when is this all happening again?
Look out for the challenges floating around campus from the 7th October. I’ll have some printed out here at HCDS (Student Centre, Level 3).
I’ll also create a new blog post for each challenge over the 7 days (from the 15th to the 21st).
Of course, if you don’t want to wait till next week to start one of the challenges, feel free to start straight away. You’ll get muchos respect from me and the Mad Tea Co.