Following last year’s success, Wellbeing Week is back. Planned, organized and delivered by the Student Association Wellbeing Committee – which focuses on all aspects of wellbeing including mental health, sexual health, personal safety and alcohol consumption, and includes representatives from Nightline, Sexpression and StAnd Together – Wellbeing Week is appropriately placed in the post-Spring Break, mid-semester misery of Week Eight. The theme of this year is reconnection and, whether you attend every event or just drop into one or two, this is a great time to make your wellbeing a priority. One of the easiest ways, recommended by Director of Wellbeing Nick Farrer and Mental Health Representative Emma Walsh, is through catharsis.
“We focused on reconnection because university is a place where stress can take over,” explained Ms Walsh. “Reconnection is needed in all aspects of life.”
The word catharsis originates from Greek, meaning purification or cleansing. Developed as a form of hypnotic therapy for those experiencing hysteria, or the cathartic method, by Josef Breuer, it has been adopted by modern psychoanalysts, particularly by the Freudian school, and now by the 2019 Wellbeing Committee.
Catharsis is an ideal and cost-effective form of everyday therapy for a university student. All it requires is a friend who is equally emotional and will reciprocate (or a really good friend who will just listen to all of your problems) and can be a helpful destress method that can be done from the comfort of your own home.Optional, but recommended for those looking for a more authentic DIY approach, are the couch to lie down on and a warm beverage to either cry or yell into. Catharsis also fits the theme of reconnection by facilitating interpersonal emotional regulation. You need not be going through a quarter life crisis to reap the benefits of catharsis. Sharing positive emotions can be just as therapeutic and facilitates the same interpersonal connections.
Wellbeing week is the perfect opportunity to try out catharsis. There will be events every day of the week to help attendees talk it out and reconnect. But if you’re looking for more physical ways to relieve stress or even just reconnect with the community by making some new friends, there will be events featuring light exercise and an added social aspect.
Ms Walsh spoke passionately about the planning process behind this second annual Wellbeing Week when she said: “[The Wellbeing Committee] have put a lot of work into the week and our hope is that it can give enjoyment. Whether that be through an event, or if it inspires someone to reconnect with a friend or themselves.” As deadlines and exams approach, Ms Walsh hopes that engagement with the themes of the week will fulfill the committee’s goal of “promoting positivity”.
Monday will focus on reconnecting with the body. Events include Bubble Wrap with Nightline, which will feature bubble wrap crafting, and a BEAT talk at Sandy’s Bar on eating disorders. Tuesday will focus on the mind. There will be a Mood Tracker Workshop on bullet journaling and a an evening of story sharing in Sandy’s bar which will see catharsis meet comedy. On Wednesday, there will be a Wellbeing Fayre which will feature a series of speakers and booths, while Thursday will focus on reconnecting with others. There will be a Decompression Session in the Small Rehearsal Room, a Beginner’s Yoga Class, and an event called Let’s Talk which will feature a panel of speakers that will share their stories on mental health. On Friday, there is a focus on reconnecting with the community. There will be a beach cleaning and sandcastle competition event as well as a badminton give-it-a-go. Also be sure to check the Wellbeing St Andrews page for further details and a chance to win tickets to Saturday’s Glitterball.
Taking some time for yourself and caring for your mental wellbeing need not be limited to this week alone. The Wellbeing Committee run events throughout the year, reminding us to reconnect with our emotional selves and step away from everyday chaos: “We run events all the time that are always free and open to anyone” said Ms Walsh. “Some are crafty and fun, and others are informative, but there is always something that can give people a break”. To saty up to date, visit the Wellbeing St Andrews page on Facebook.
“The committee is also a wealth of information about wellbeing in St Andrews, so if someone is struggling and doesn’t know where to go, they can contact Wellbeing and we can help”, added Ms Walsh.
This may be the point in the year where you are living deadline-to-deadline after a short-lived Spring Break, just trying to power through the remaining few weeks until the end of the semester and long-awaited summer. But it is the times like these in which wellbeing is most important so, instead of digging yourself into an insular hole of perpetual misery, there is no time like the fleeting Week Eight to attend events on reconnecting with the community, your friends and, most importantly, yourself.