Welcome to the University of Cumbria, Lancaster Campus! We hope you had a fun-filled Fresher’s Week and have begun to settle into your new University and city.
Moving to a new place and starting a new degree can be daunting, so we wanted to put a guide together which, not only highlighted some great things to do and see in the Lancaster area, but also helps you to look after your wellbeing while you navigate the transition into university life.
The 5 Ways to Wellbeing
Evidence suggests there are 5 steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life at university and beyond (NHS, 2022). The 5 steps are: Connect, Keep Active, Learn, Give and Take Notice. While at university, it can be difficult to prioritise your wellbeing amongst the many deadlines, competing prioritise and, at times, lack of daily routine and structure. Taking a proactive approach to your mental and physical health by using the 5 Ways to Wellbeing as a framework can ensure you remain well and prosperous throughout your university journey.
Building positive and healthy relationships is important to your wellbeing. In Lancaster, there are plenty of things that you can do to facilitate relationship building and opportunities for socialising:
- Join a club or group at the University of Cumbria. From Badminton to football, to the Christian Union and Education Society, there’s something for everyone to get involved in, offering you the chance to meet new people who share similar hobbies and interests. Visit the Student’s Union page for more info about what is available at the Lancaster Campus.
- Pay a visit to Market Street and Church Street where you’ll find a variety of places to eat and drink. Whether you fancy a cheeky Nandos or a cocktail in Capavinno, there’s a great selection of bars and restaurants where you can socialise with new course mates or flatmates. These areas are only a 15 minute walk from campus too!
Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups (Mind, 2022). Luckily, here in Lancaster, we have ample places of natural beauty to encourage you to get outdoors and get active:
- Williamson Park is situated just 5 minutes away from campus and is a great place to go for a walk or run. Whether you want to explore the woodland trails, run up the steps to the spectacular Ashton Memorial or take a stroll in Fenham Carr nature reserve, there’s lots of reasons for you to get active in the park. There’s also a Park Run that takes place every Saturday at 9am which is a great way to keep fit and meet new people. Not sure where to start? Visit our Greenspaces blog which details a simple walk around the park to help you get your bearings.
- Fancy a trip to the Lake District National Park or Morecombe Bay? Why not get your walking boots on and catch the train! If you’re catching the train to Morecambe, you’ll be at the beach front in around 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, if mountains and lakes are more your thing, you can get the train to Windermere, which will take around 30-40 minutes.
- If you’re more of a gym bunny, then Lancaster campus has an excellent sports complex with a range of facilities that you can use. For more information visit their webpage.
Continued learning throughout life, enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction (Mind, 2022). Whether you want to learn more about the history of the local area or immerse yourself in theatre and art, there’s plenty you can do in Lancaster to spark your curiosity:
- There are a range of museums and places of history that you can visit during your time at Lancaster, such as the City Museum and Gallery, Maritime Museum or Lancaster Castle. For more information click here.
- History not your thing? There are some great independent cinemas and theatres near to campus. Visit the Dukes, the only producing theatre in the Lancashire area and the oldest cinema in Lancaster, operating since 1971. There’s also Lancaster Grande Theatre which showcases everything from comedy to musicals and dance to drama.
Research shows that performing acts of kindness can increase wellbeing and those who are interested in helping others often report higher levels of happiness (Mind, 2022). Voluntary opportunities across Lancaster can therefore help to improve your own wellbeing:
- Scotch Quarry Community Garden is right on the doorstep of Lancaster campus. It is a community project set up to create a beautiful and productive green space for the locals to enjoy. The project is run by volunteers who meet on the first Sunday of every month. If you’re interested, visit their website.
- If you’re an animal lover, you can also volunteer your time at Animal Care Lancaster where there are a range of voluntary roles available, from dog walking and cat cuddling to fundraising and tearoom helpers.
- There are also a range of voluntary opportunities through the Student’s Union. Check out what is available here.
Reminding yourself to take notice can strengthen and broaden your awareness (Mind, 2022). Through this process, you can ground yourself into the present moment, which can help to create a sense of calm and connectedness. You can take notice wherever you are, however, Lancaster has some great beauty spots which may help you with this process:
- There are some pretty walks along the river Lune which are suitable for all fitness levels. The old railway line that runs from Glasson Dock to Lancaster is beautiful and a great, traffic-free cycle, walk or run that you can do.
- Heysham Barrows is also a lovely place to walk, and you can catch a direct bus there from Lancaster campus. This spot is known for its spectacular sunsets, an idyllic place to absorb and appreciate your surroundings.
‘5 ways to wellbeing’, Mind (2022), https://live-well-learn-well.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=727&action=edit
‘5 steps to mental wellbeing’, NHS (2022), https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/guides-tools-and-activities/five-steps-to-mental-wellbeing/