Looking after your mental health this winter

JodieAdvice, Final Year, First Year, Graduates, On Placement, Postgraduate, Second Year

Someone holding a hot chocolate with gingerbread cookies near the mug

The winter months can be difficult for all sorts of reasons – the days are short and the nights are long, we’re often having to bundle ourselves up in several layers of knitted garments just to stay warm and while the festive season may be a joyous occasion for some, it can also be one of the hardest times of the year. That’s not to mention all the additional challenges 2020 has thrown at us.

Your mental and physical health are so important, so no matter what your schedules look like, you need to make time just to switch off and have some you-time. This could be by doing a Zumba workout to your favourite tunes, baking some festive treats, having a video call with your besties, going on a wintery walk, wrapping yourself in a snuggly blanket and having a movie marathon, and so on – think about what you enjoy and what makes you feel good and do it!

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed though, remember you don’t have to struggle on your own. Here we’ve listed some resources and services you may find helpful.

Aston University’s self-help guides

Aston University has a variety of self-help guides which you may find useful. Produced by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust, they cover a range of topics including anxiety, controlling anger, sleeping problems and stress. Take a look at the full range of guides.

Student Support Services at The Hub

The Hub is based on the Ground Floor of the Main Building and is where you can find the central student support services. You can get a wide range of support and advice from the various teams here – if you need support with your mental health, the Counselling and Mental Wellbeing Service can help. They are experienced in supporting students with a wide range of issues including anxiety, academic stress, low mood and depression, relationship difficulties, and bereavement. 

You may also benefit from making use of Aston’s multi-faith chaplaincy team – they offer meditation sessions, as well as Listening Ear which is a pastoral drop-in service which offers confidential, non-judgmental listening to students regardless of religious affiliation.


Togetherall is an online support community for your mental health. You can talk anonymously about how you’re feeling, access the service 24/7, get support from trained practitioners, take advantage of a range of self-guided courses to do at your own pace, and more.

Student Space

Student Space aims to make it easier for you to find the support that you need during the Coronavirus pandemic. They offer access to dedicated support services by phone, email, text or webchat and information and tools to help you through a variety of challenges you may be facing. Plus they’ll help signpost you to the support available here at Aston.

Student Minds

Student Minds is the UK’s student mental health charity. They empower students and members of the university community to develop the knowledge, confidence and skills to look after their own mental health, support others, and create change. There are lots of useful resources on their website including information about their peer support programmes and where to find support.

Mental Health Foundation

On the Mental Health Foundation website, you’ll be able to find a range of content designed to give you more information about mental health and how to look after yours. If you’re struggling over the Christmas period, you may also like to take a look at their page about looking after your mental wellbeing over Christmas or this handy PDF of tips.

Birmingham Healthy Minds

Birmingham Healthy Minds is an NHS primary care psychological therapies service for people with depression and anxiety symptoms. To access their service you must be registered with a Birmingham GP.


Mind have lots of useful information on their website including tips for everyday living, guides to support and services, supporting someone else with a mental health problem and helplines you can call.

We hope you find those helpful. However, if you feel like you need extra support, make sure you speak to someone you trust and/or seek professional support. If you are in danger of seriously harming yourself or someone else, or need urgent medical attention, please go to your nearest Accident and Emergency Department or NHS Walk In-Centre. You can also dial 999 for the emergency services. If you are on a placement overseas, please go to the nearest Emergency Centre in the town or city you’re in. For more support if you need help right now, have a look this webpage.

Jodie, a member of Careers+Placements staff

Written by Jodie Carpenter, Careers+Placements