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Reviving optimism: positive approaches to 2017

With 2016 being heralded as one of the worst years of all time, and 2017 on the cards to be even worse, it has perhaps never been more important to enter the new year with a positive, pragmatic mindset. The inauguration of Donald Trump in early January has already resulted in his attempt to police the mobility of human bodies with the introduction of a travel ban, and Britain’s own prime minister Theresa May seems increasingly dedicated to pushing for a hard Brexit. Therefore, ignore your resolutions this year and instead consider the small things that you can do to try and keep you and the others around you optimistic, whether that be fighting against the atrocities that those in charge seem intent on introducing, or simply attempting to balance work and pleasure as a busy student. To help you do just that, we have Lifestyle Editor Rosie Dodds’ top tips.

Positive News:

The news is currently saturated with an increasing amount of day-to-day atrocities made against the planet and humanity. Studies have shown that constant bombardment from this negativity can have a serious effect on our mental health. While it is important not to ignore what is going on in the world, there’s no harm in seeking out the good. Follow @PositiveNewsUK on twitter to keep up with more uplifting updates.

Be More Aware

The University of Sussex is one of most politically aware campuses in the UK. However, as workloads mount in what will be the final term of study for many, it can often be hard to find a balance.

Stay mindful by taking two minutes to sign an urgent petition on change.org, or by keeping up to date with important protests and campaigns.

Sussex and Brighton Students Against Trump is an organisation that has recently launched, and there is currently a boycott on the National Student Survey that plans to allow universities to increase tuition fees from September 2017. Don’t just sympathise with current issues; act on the anger that you feel.

Joining a new society can also be a great way to be productive with any spare time you may have, and an even better way of making new friends. If you missed refreshers fair last week, the Students’ Union website has a complete list of societies that Sussex has to offer from BSMS HIV Education to Friends of Free Syria.

Managing Workloads:

My final year reading list currently requires me to read around four novels every week. One way of handling this (which sounds obvious but hear me out) is to divide the number of pages that you need to read that week by seven, and stick to that number every day. Cognitive neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis says that reading can reduce stress by 68 per cent, which sounds like a win-win situation to me.

Also, if you’re bored of the library and are looking for a more relaxing environment to work in, check out Made, a gallery and coffee shop that hosts regular public and private events.

House Meals:

With everyone concentrating on different degrees and activities, it can often be difficult to catch up with your wider circle of friends. Organise a bi-weekly meal with flatmates or friends that everyone can contribute to, or even alternate cooking with someone that you live with to reduce food wastage and give yourself a break every other day.

Go to an Exhibition in London: 

If you’re lucky enough to be travelling on a day that Southern Rail decides to behave, the journey from Brighton to London Victoria should only take you around 50 minutes. Go on a weekend and make up for Brighton’s somewhat lacking art scene by visiting a gallery. The Paul Rauschenberg exhibition is on at the Tate Modern until April, or try The History of Photography: The Body display at the V&A that starts in March.

Happy Hours

Brighton is pretty small and it’s easy to repeatedly end up at the same places once you’ve found somewhere that you like and offers student pints of Kronenbourg under £3.50. Try something new and look into the city’s plethora of different happy hours that you may have initially written off as being too expensive for a student budget. My favourites are Twisted Lemon, The Bee’s Mouth and The Black Lion.

Dine in or Dine out

Love eating out? Obviously. Can’t really afford it? Probably. Keep an eye out for Marks and Spencer’s “Dine in for Two” offer. You can get a bottle of wine and a meal for you and a friend all for £10. If that doesn’t tempt you then look out for any deals and new restaurants in Brighton that are showcased on restaurantsbrighton.co.uk. Coggings & Co in Seven Dials have 20% off food until early March, and Meat Liquor has a £10 lunch deal.

Odeon Offer

In honour of Awards Season Odeon has picked 17 favourites from all of the the nominations. If you see three of them you’ll be given a free ticket to see a fourth film. There is of course an Odeon in Brighton on West Street; you can see where I’m going with this.

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