This month features Debbie McPherson, Development Coordinator, Development and Alumni Engagement at the Faculty of Forestry.
Thriving Campus features, testimonials, contributions and personal experiences from UBC staff, faculty and students.
The importance of finding balance:
Many years ago, I found myself in a position where my professional life and personal demands collided and I soon realized that my life was incredibly out of balance. I struggled with depression, feeling like there was no end in sight to finding the balance we all need. I decided to make a significant change and knew I needed to identify and prioritize what was most important to me: family, friends, health, spirituality, career, personal development and fun. I look back on that time and believe it was a test to help me understand what I needed to maintain a healthy balance in my daily life.
How do you thrive at work?
Firstly, I feel very fortunate that I work in an environment surrounded by supportive, happy, well-adjusted people who have much of the same mind-set towards striving for work-life balance. And not unlike its spectacular location, UBC offers countless opportunities to help us thrive in the workplace.
Sports Day: For the past four years, our Faculty has participated in this great team-building event. It has been a great way to work in unison as a team and challenge our physical and mental abilities. And how fun it is to watch each other try and follow a Zumba class!
Running: One of my favorite outdoor activities to do on campus is running. Whether it’s around the Thunderbird track, through Pacific Spirit Park or down to the beach, it is always a huge stress relief and I find a great way to revive yourself to maintain your workload productively.
Yoga, Meditation, Bootcamp: I have participated in various classes offered around campus including the UBC Yoga Club, meditation teachings and indoor boot camp classes with UBC Recreation. I always enjoy shopping week!
Walking Program: For years I played an active role leading a weekly lunchtime walking program around campus. It was a great way of motivating people to leave their office and spend their lunch hour outdoors, engaging with colleagues and taking advance of campus surroundings.
Lunch-Hour Volleyball: A group of colleagues participated in weekly outdoor volleyball matches during the spring/summer months. It was a casual, fun group who loved the sport and getting outdoors. Regrettably, our workmate who owned the volleyball equipment left UBC and our games ceased. So if anyone out there has a net and is willing to get this going again, please contact me!
Thrive Week: I was a Thrive Ambassador for two of these annual events and felt privileged to be a part of UBC’s focus of building positive mental health for UBC students, faculty, and staff. I believe that good mental health strengthens and supports our ability to have healthy relationships, maintain physical health and well-being and handle the natural ups and downs of life.
What strategies do you use in your personal life to help you thrive?
Outside of work, I like to begin with the basics, including drinking plenty of water, eating healthy (but allowing myself to indulge on the weekends), being physically active and getting enough sleep. I love being outdoors, near the beach, in the forest and cherish the days filled with sunshine. I find that I thrive when I am cultivating gratitude and make a point of trying to be present in my daily life. Having a regular yoga practice really helps with this. I love spending time with my family and have the most supportive circle of friends you could ask for. I enjoy running at Jericho and Spanish Banks, practicing outdoor yoga at Kits Beach, hiking on the North Shore Mountains and cycling along the seawall. When I’m not enjoying the great outdoors, I love going to live music concerts, local festivals and sporting events.
Debbie McPherson is the Development Coordinator in the Faculty of Forestry. For several years Debbie was a leader for the Healthy UBC Walking Program, ran outdoor bootcamps for the Forestry staff and students and plays an active role in promoting UBC Healthy Workplace Initiative within her Faculty. Debbie joined UBC Forestry through Staff Finders in January, 2008, moving through numerous administrative positions before securing her current role as part of the Development and Alumni Engagement team.