Following on from our last post welcoming you to Lancaster, we now want to give you a warm welcome to the Fusehill Street and Brampton Road campuses of the University and the city of Carlisle.
You may well have had opportunity to explore the ‘Great Border City’ and its surrounding areas already and are starting to settle in to your new home, but we wanted to share some insights into things to do and see that will also hopefully provide a boost to both your physical and mental wellbeing.
As we mentioned in our previous post, the 5 Ways to Wellbeing provide a simple but effective approach to stay healthy in body and mind: Connect, Keep Active, Learn, Give and Take Notice. Below, we use 5 Ways to Wellbeing to give you ideas to take care of yourself and to make the most of your time at the University of Cumbria in Carlisle.
One of the most enriching parts of university life is forging new relationships with friends and peers. These relationships can be a source of solace and support throughout your university career and often way beyond. There are plenty of opportunities to spend some time getting to know other people within the University and in the wider city:
- Cafes, bars and restaurants
Carlisle is full of cute cafes and places to eat, many of which are hidden down little side-streets and can be easily missed. Why not head into town with some of your flatmates or course-mates after lectures for a cuppa and a bit of cake (or maybe something stronger!). Our favourite places include; Cakes and Ale, Open Mind, Whytes and Foxes. For an evening out, Devonshire Street and Botchergate are lined with bars and restaurants.
- Join a Society
UCSU have groups and societies to suit any interest and make for a great way to make new friends who share the same passions as you, anything from sport to gaming to spirituality. Some are based in Carlisle whereas others are cross-campus or online. And if there isn’t a society for your interest? Then start one up! UCSU will provide help and support to anyone looking to set up a society and bring like-minded students together.
Physical activity has been proven to make a positive impact on your mental wellbeing, improve sleep and boost self esteem (Mental Health Foundation, 2022). With plenty of accessible park areas in Carlisle, you don’t even need to spend money to get a bit of exercise. And of course, the astounding natural beauty of the Lake District is just a bus ride away with its fells, lakes and forests. Back in the city, you might want to try the following:
- UoC Active –Join UoC Active for access to the gym, fitness classes and sports hall at Carlisle Sports Centre, Fusehill Street. If you don’t want to pay for membership, you can also Pay as You Go for £5 per session.
- Rebike – A Community Interest Group based in Denton Holme, Rebike sells second hand bikes to suit any budget and can service an old bike that’s maybe in need of some TLC for a donation.
- Border City Roller Derby – For some rough and tumble action, join Carlisle’s roller derby community! No experience needed, training and kit will be provided and everyone is welcome.
Of course, your degree programme will certainly be providing you with a regular mental workouts but there are other opportunities for learning in Carlisle, too.
- Learn about Carlisle’s 2000 year history with a wander around the imposing Carlisle Castle and the magnificent cathedral where our graduation ceremonies take place – imagine yourself in cap and gown walking down the nave!
- In addition, Tullie House Museum has a wealth of collections on history, nature and art as well as regular events ranging from craft workshops to natural history talks.
As well as providing much-needed support to charities and community organisations, volunteering can also boost your own wellbeing through making connections with others and knowing you’re making a valid contribution to a cause.
- UCSU provides students with ample volunteering opportunities as well as advice on becoming a volunteer
- Cumbria CVS (Cumbria Council Voluntary Service) have a long list of current volunteering vacancies in the local community in a range of settings and fields
- Watchtree Nature Reserve are also always on the lookout for volunteers to help with conservation projects, events and visitor support, even just for odd days. Perfect for those with a busy schedule.
With busy timetables, work and family commitments, it’s little wonder we rarely take time to slow down and absorb our surroundings. But according to Mind (2022), studies have demonstrated how mindfulness or even just awareness and being ‘present’ can have a positive impact on your wellbeing.
Combine taking notice with nature and take a restorative walk through the city’s Bitts or Rickerby parks. Particularly at this time of year, you can take in the Autumn leaves, the changeable River Eden and keep an eye out for wildlife.
You could also try taking a different route to campus or into town as a simple way to change your surroundings and encourage yourself to increase awareness of your surroundings.
Mental Health Foundation (2022) How to look after your mental health using exercise. Available at: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/publications/how-look-after-your-mental-health-using-exercise (Accessed: 14 October 2022).
Mind (2022) 5 Ways to Wellbeing. Available at: https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-yourself/five-ways-to-wellbeing/ (Accessed: 14 October 2022).