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Wellbeing calendar

What's happening? View the Campaign summary 2021 (PDF, 125 KB) for this year.

July | Healthy Sleep and Relaxation

For July, the focus is on healthy sleep and relaxation.

Ideally, your bedroom should be a sanctuary from the stresses and strains of the world, a place where you can feel safe and secure, a retreat from daytime life. If you can use your bedroom for sleep and intimacy only then that would be ideal.

We have pulled together some tips for helping you to optimise your bedroom for healthy sleeping.

Tips for making your bedroom a Sleep Sanctuary

Temperature

The temperature of your direct sleeping environment (i.e. under your duvet) should be as close to 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit). To make regulating this easier, consider getting seasonal duvets (e.g. thicker duvets for winter and thinner duvets for summer) that help dissipate body heat appropriately for the season.

Bedrooms are ideally between 16-18 degrees Celsius (60-65 degrees Fahrenheit). Combined with the appropriate duvet, this helps regulate your body temperature by dissipating your body heat. Having a thermostat in your bedroom can help regulate this in the Winter, and adequate ventilation can help prevent excessive heat in the Summer.

Light

Bedrooms should be as dark as possible. Humans have evolved to sense light, even when our eyes are closed, which helps signal to our bodies that it is daytime and thus should be awake.

Investing in blackout curtains and removing light-producing devices (e.g. mobile phones, alarm clocks) can help prevent excessive light from disturbing our sleep.

Sound

Bedrooms should be as quiet as possible. It is a simple fact that when we are asleep, we are vulnerable and seemingly unaware of our surroundings. We have evolved to therefore use sound as a warning system for danger while we are asleep. Therefore, unexpected sounds can be a literal alarm to danger, while some ambient noises can be a signal that the environment is as it should be.

Try to make your bedroom as quiet as possible. If this is not possible, using 'white noise' machines can help disguise irregular sounds which are more likely to disturb your sleep.

Bedtime Yoga with Adriene

No yoga mat or stretchy pad required for this 18 minute bedtime yoga with Adriene.

This gentle practice is a great remedy to anyone feeling stress, anxiety or tension in the mind or body. Use this relaxation practice to decompress, prepare for a good night's rest or simply use this yoga sequence any time of day to remedy imbalance. Put on something comfy.

The Science of Sleep

Professor Alice Gregory, author of 'Nodding Off: The Science of Sleep', joined Emma Robertson, CEO of ENGINE, to talk about what we know about sleep and its impact on our waking lives.

While for some people getting to sleep is as easy as shutting their eyes for others it may be a battle or come with its own terrors. Yet there’s a surprising amount we don’t know about this basic need that has a huge influence on our mental and physical wellbeing.

Alice Gregory, Professor in Psychology at Goldsmiths, has spent years studying sleep. In her book, Nodding Off, she explores the latest sleep science and uses real-life examples to highlight our experiences of sleep and the strange things that can happen when we develop sleep disorders.

Interview with Professor Alice Gregory

Related workshops during July

  • Relaxing Yoga - Designed to relax and soothe, this 30-minute yin yoga class which is a largely seated yoga practice and suitable for all abilities, shapes and ages. (13,20 July)

  • Successful Sleep and Relaxation - Join Julie Ramage, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and Kristyn Emmer, Health Coach who will explore the mechanics of sleep and thought management to improve your sleep experience. (28 July)

June| Community, Volunteering, Cultural

For June, the focus is on community, volunteering and cultural wellbeing.

We want to take the opporunity to highlight the cultural wellbeing opportunities available while we make a steady recovery from the Pandemic.

The University's Cultural Partners, who include the Wardlaw Museum, Laidlaw Music Centre and Byre Theatre, have a variety of activities that are available for employess, students and community members of the Summer.

2021 East Neuk Festival

The East Neuk Festival will return this July with an offering of both live, recorded, digital and in-person festival experiences.

The festival will also include outdoor pop-up performances, art installations on the ground in Fife and BBC Radio 3 broadcasts which promise to bring the beauty of the chamber music festival to audiences at home in Scotland and beyond.

The festival will take place from July 1 to 4. East Neuk Festival website

University Cultural Partners

The University Museums, Libraries, Laidlaw Music Centre and Byre Theatre have teamed up to bring you Take Notice, a resource to help support your wellbeing, which we hope you will use and love throughout the year. It is designed so that it can be used at home, out and about, or in our spaces when we’re ready to welcome you back.

These activities are designed to help you take some time to focus on yourself. Whether you want to spend ten minutes or an hour on each activity, they’re here to support your wellbeing.

Take Notice resources

Take Notice YouTube Playlist

St Andrews Voluntary Service

The St Andrews Voluntary Service (SVS) tasks itself with assigning volunteers, mainly from the student body of the University of St Andrews, to local projects in and around St Andrews.

Project areas available to support include:

  • Supporting adults and young people with additional needs
  • Animal Welfare
  • Befriending
  • Elderly and Community Engagement
  • Environmental Welfare

You can sign up to join the St Andrews Voluntary Service

May | Mental health

For May, the University Wellbeing & Engagement Group is focusing on the role of nature and  mental health.

For Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, 10-16 May, The Mental Health Foundation is drawing focus on the role of nature and the environment in our mental health.

During the long months of the pandemic, millions of us turned to nature for comfort. According to research conducted by the Mental Health Foundation about the mental health effects of the Pandemic, going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies cited by participants and 45% of of those surveyed reported that being in green spaces had been vital for improving and maintaining their mental health. Anecdotal evidence also suggested that people were not just spending more time in nature, but were paying more active attention to their surroundings as well.

We can use our access to nature to combat the languishing feeling many of us are experiencing or have experienced at some point during the Pandemic.

How nature and beauty can help you

Seeing and interacting with the natural environment can help you satisfy a need to feel safe and healthy. By taking scenic walks, finding local beauty spots to take in the view, or even just turning your garden into a refuge for birds and insects, you can delight in the living world that surrounds us.

Spending 30 minutes taking a gentle walk can improve both your physical and mental health, just don't forget to take a rain coat with you.

Below are some links to organisations that can help you access some of the best that Fife has to offer.

  • St Andrews Botanic Gardens - Covering 7.5ha (18.5 acres) of land, the Garden boasts approximately 8,000 species of plants representing biomes around the world. In particular, the Garden is known for its spectacular collections of alpine plants in the rock garden and alpine house.

    With free admission on the first Friday of each month, as well as free access for University students all year, the Gardens offer a tranquil oasis in the heart of town.

  • Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve - Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve is an internationally important coastal reserve on the east coast of Scotland. It’s part of one of the most dynamic coastlines in the UK and is home to birds and other wildlife of international significance. All this makes it one of the best wildlife tourism destinations in Scotland.

    Including coastal habitats, grasslands, woodlands, and wetlands, the Reserve boasts a bounty of wildlife and ever-evolving scenary.

    Entry to the Reserve is free and is accessible by car and foot, with local transport connections at Tayport.

  • Fife Coast and Countryside Trust - They manage many sites and paths throughout the Kingdom including the Fife Coastal Path and the Lomond Hills Regional Park. They also manage several Local Nature Reserves and many other sites used by local communities.

    The Trust offer a range of events Ranger-led activities conservation activities, guided walks and family-friendly events to encourage the younger generation to develop a love of the environment. The Trust website has an extensive range of downloadable resources, including themed walks and information leaflets, which are sure to enhance any visit to Fife.

 

May workshops

The following is a taster of the workshops on offer, please visit the online courses booking system (PDMS) for the full list of workshops and programmes available.

  • Eating Well: Menopause - The two-hour session provides information about how our diet and lifestyle can affect the menopausal experience and what foods can cause, exacerbate and relieve menopausal symptoms. (17th May)
  • Food and mood - This session explore the link between what we eat and how we feel. Using interactives exercises, this session will equip participants to apply this knowledge to their own food choices. (19th May)
  • Your University: Your Wellbeing - This session will explore what the University offers to staff to help with wellbeing, and why it is important by focusing on some of the research. (27th May)


Wellbeing with Waterstons

fforest by Sian Tucker

Calming to the soul and good for us all, spending time outdoors offers us precious breathing space away from the stresses and strains of modern life. This inspirational guide celebrates the life enhancing effect of nature and encourages you to try the pursuits that would have been second nature to previous generations - from walking in the dark with only the light of the moon and stars to guide you, to wild swimming, forest bathing and sleeping under canvas.

Grounded by Ruth Allen

How do we understand nature? Benevolent and supportive? Wild and threatening? Reassuring or unpredictable? We all have a different experience of, and relationship with, nature.

Reflecting on nature's unknowable and mysterious qualities, Grounded explores how we can therapeutically benefit from a deeper connection with nature, finding within it balance, stillness, solitude, resilience, contentment, activity, fearlessness, and our own wild voice.

Earthed by Rebecca Schiller

After moving to a countryside smallholding, Rebecca Schiller finds her family's new life is far from simple. Overwhelmed by what she has taken on and reeling from the turmoil in the wider world, her mind begins to unravel. And so she turns to her two acres, and to the women of this land's past, searching for answers and hope. Here, she stumbles on a wild space of imaginative leaps, where she begins to uncover the hidden layers of her plot's history and of herself. As the seasons shift, the ground under Rebecca's boots offers hard lessons and delivering unflinching glimpses of damage done to peoples and the planet.

April | Love Later Life

For April, we bring focus to later life experience and the wealth of opportunities it presents.

Reach Volunteering

Organisations like Reach Volunteering help connect charities and non-profit organisations with skilled volunteers. These volunteers share their skills as trustees, advisors or mentors, carrying out short term projects or ongoing operational roles.

Step Count Challenge 2021

On 3 May 2021, the immensely popular national 8-week challenge where teams across the UK, organised by Paths For All, will be launching once again. The challenge will run from Monday 3 May to Sunday 27 June.

The University Wellbeing & Engagement Group is, for the sixth year running, sponsoring staff teams so your registration fees will be paid for you.

The closing date for Step Count Challenge team sponsorship applications is 16 April 2021, 5:00PM.

For more information please visit the Step Count Challenge page.

April workshops

The following is a taster of the workshops on offer, please visit the online courses booking system (PDMS) for the full list of workshops and programmes available.

Loving Later Life: Flexible Yoga - Designed to develop and maintain flexibility, this 30-minute yoga class will involve yoga poses that are compatible with being seated for accessibilty. (7, 14, 21 & 28 April 2021)

Creative Writing for Wellbeing - Working with a published and experienced writer, you will participate in some activities and exercises that will help you develop and hone your writing skills. (19, 22, 26 & 29 April 2021)

Autumn Voices: Creativity and volunteering in later life - Robin Lloyd-Jones, esteemed Scottish author, biographer and social anthropologist, will be discussing his own experience of creativity and volunteering in later life, as well as some of the experiences of other Scottish authors he interviewed for his 2018 book, 'Autumn Voices: Scottish writers over 70 talk about their creativity in later life'. (19 April 2021)

Mindfulness - Mindfulness practice teaches us to stay in the present moment: paying attention, on purpose, to the present without stress provoking negative judgments. By becoming more mindful we can see more clearly the patterns of the mind and as a result find we have more choice and skill in how we respond to the challenges of our lives. (20 April 2021)

 

March | Heart and lungs

For the month of March, we take the opportunity to highlight and address heart and lung health. As part of our provision to help people improve their heart and lung health, we are highlighting exercise opportunities from the Saints Sports YouTube channel as well as announcing the return of Step Count Challenge for 2021.

No Smoking | 11th March 2021

Every year, three-quarters of a million people attempt to give up on No Smoking Day. Since the campaign’s launch in 1984, No Smoking Day has helped more than 1.5 million people stub their cigarettes out for good.

For more information and support on quiting smoking, go to the British Heart Foundation for smoking cessation.

FREE Personal Quit Plan

Step Count Challenge 2021

On 3 May 2021, the immensely popular national 8-week challenge where teams across the UK, organised by Paths For All, will be launching once again. The challenge will run from Monday 3 May to Sunday 27 June.

The University Wellbeing & Engagement Group is, for the sixth year running, sponsoring staff teams so your registration fees will be paid for you.

The closing date for Step Count Challenge team sponsorship applications is 16 April 2021, 5:00PM.

For more information please visit the Step Count Challenge page.

March workshops

The following is a taster of the workshops on offer, please visit the online courses booking system (PDMS) for the full list of workshops and programmes available.

Maximising Personal Effectiveness - is a fun course, useful for everyone including those taking on new roles & responsibilities or other changes. (11th March)

Creating Positive Outcomes - draws on practical concepts from the areas of conflict management, mediation and influencing. (18th March)

Ease the Load - This course has been developed to help effectively manage a hectic and complex workload and support us as we focus on the important, plan our work effectively and attack it with confidence. (23rd to 25th March)

 

February | Self-care

'Self-care' can be defined as a series of desired attitudes, behaviours and techniques meant to help maintain and improve, through their own autonomy, a person's overall wellbeing. This can be applied to the many different factors that make up a person's wellbeing too; physical, mental, social, financial, environmental, etc.

Understand what matters to you
For us to exercise self-care, you need to have the best understanding that you can get of what matters to you. You need to understand:

  • What is important to me? (career, family, home, fun, friends, physical health, experiences, etc.)
  • What do I have that fulfills what is important to me? (a job I enjoy, good relationships with my family, etc.)
  • What am I missing that would help what is important to me? (more time spent doing hobbies, more money to go travelling, etc.)

From there, it is easier for you to set SMART goals and behaviours that help you achieve better self-care.

If you would like to learn more about other ways you can practive self-care, please go to the Counselling Directory's Guide to "Self-Care at Work"

Breakthru App

Breakthru, a new wellbeing tool for in Microsoft Teams, is available for staff and students to use throughout the working day.

The aim of the tool is to combat sedentary behaviour and build new restorative habits as we work remotely. The Breakthru app guides you through a two-minute immersive microbreak as a lighthearted way to recharge between tasks.

Please see the IT Services Blog article for further information.

January | Be kind to yourself and others

Be kind to yourself and others

In the context of your work, here is some of the advice we are able to offer to help you exercise that:

  • If the 'big picture' is too much, focus on the individual tasks you can do
  • If you don't meet your set goals, don't punish yourself. Accept it and do what you can.
  • Don't forgive yourself, only to expect yourself to make up for it later
  • Only do the best you can with what you have, it's all anyone can ask of you

January workshops

Jump Out of January - The sessions are designed to help those who wish to commit to making a change in their nutrition, fitness and mindset for a happier healthier start to the new year. (8 x 45mins online sessions)

Can Do Reading Lunch - Join the Library & Museum Team for a 1-hour group reading lunch.  Research has shown that reading for pleasure has a direct impact on wellbeing, and sharing a love of books and reading with others can amplify the benefits.

Three tips to improve your digital wellbeing

Technology has played a vital role in our lives during this year. In the midst of virtual events and video calls, take the opportunity to pick out any bad habits we’ve developed along the way, take back control, and improve our digital wellbeing.

Please visit the IT Blog to read the full article.

Wellbeing & Engagement Group
E: wellbeingforstaff@st-andrews.ac.uk

Every month the group organises activities, events and promotions around different health and wellbeing themes.

Sign up to the Well Now! newsletter email: wellbeingforstaff@st-andrews.ac.uk

Related links

    Calendar archives

    To view events and activities from previous years, please click on the following links:

    2020 calendar

    2019 calendar

    2018 calendar