This month features Sandra Girard, Manger of Board Relations & Executive Director in the AVP office at Alumni UBC.
Thriving Campus features, testimonials, contributions and personal experiences from UBC staff, faculty and students.
What strategies do you use in your work life to help you thrive?
First off – take a look around at our work environment here at UBC. How many people have the opportunity to take a walk down to the beach or run through the forest trail during their lunch hour? Whether it’s a short walk around campus or a hike down to the beach, I get outdoors several times a week to enjoy both the scenery and get a breath of fresh air. While there is always one more e-mail awaiting a response, I make a conscious effort to remove myself from my desk at lunch.
Having the support of other colleagues to motivate one another by saying “hey, get your runners, let’s go” makes it easy to step out of the office and take some time for yourself. I also NEVER eat my lunch at my desk. Even if I only have 10 minutes for lunch that day, I eat my lunch anywhere but at my desk. Setting up automated systems and routines are important. If I had to stop and think about drinking water, taking vitamins, going for a walk or having a healthy snack, I would be completely overwhelmed. I bought myself a nice water decanter, which I fill up every morning, and have a nice drinking glass – it’s all about the experience! I have a supplement drawer set up at my desk with all the vitamins I take daily. Automating my routines has made it easier to ensure I am getting the care my body needs. My colleagues around the office call me the vitamin lady, and I often find sticky notes in my drawer saying someone wasn’t feeling well and took an oregano oil or vitamin C.
I attend most of the lunch and learns offered on campus – there are so many great topics and I have learned a lot of health tips. Moreover, it gets me out of the office! I took part in the Mindfulness@Work program and have found ways to take as little as five minutes a day to meditate. Whether it is walking to the office in the morning or taking 15 minutes at lunch, meditation is a powerful practice that has the potential to enhance your life if you allow the time for it. I commute over an hour to work each way on the Westcoast Express, so I have consciously allocated that time as my quiet time. Whether it’s reading a book or meditation, it does NOT involve my cell phone or catching up on e-mails.
What strategies do you use in your personal life to help you thrive?
I start my day with a Green smoothie. This has so many health benefits and gives your body the nutrients it needs. I tried to find an activity that both my husband and I could do together, and we both enjoy Infrared yoga . The health benefits are endless and the stretching at the end of the day is a perfect way to unwind and rejuvenate. I recently starting Floating – it is an amazing experience with so many health benefits .I try and do a digital detox holiday every year – no TV, computer, phone– it’s something our family actually starts to crave. It begins with small moves for big changes. Start where you are. When you go to reach for a Coke, have a glass of water instead. Practice conscious, deep breathing. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Each and every change, big or small, is significant. ‘If you start now you’ll start seeing results one day earlier than if you wait until tomorrow, so START TODAY!’
Did you know…?
The Alumni UBC office is moving to the Robert H Lee Alumni Centre April 2015. Located smack dab in the middle of campus, the new 41,700 square foot Alumni Centre will be the first of its kind in Canada and a home for UBC alumni for life. Click here to check it out.