By Miranda Massie on January 8, 2019
Mark your calendars for an action-packed start to the new year! There are lots of opportunities and ways to move and be active, so ask a friend or gather your colleagues and take advantage of the diverse programming coming your way.
UBC Walkabout (January 21 to March 24, 2019)
Walkabout is an annual nine-week health and wellbeing challenge that promotes regular exercise in social settings. Everyone is welcome to participate, either individually or by creating teams of five and walking the distance of the virtual route.
Register your team before January 27, 2019 at http://walkabout.educ.ubc.ca/.
Walkabout was designed and launched in 2005 by Dr. Joy Butler and is a partnership initiative between the Faculty of Education, UBC Recreation and UBC Human Resources.
Move UBC Month (February 1 to 28, 2019)
UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan
Get ready to move more this February! Move UBC is an annual university-wide initiative to encourage physical activity and reduce the time students, staff, faculty and the UBC community spend being sedentary. By inspiring people to move more through inclusive and accessible events and activities, Move UBC aims to improve everyone’s overall wellbeing. Check out the following Move UBC events:
- February 1: Cha Cha Slide
- February 11: Wellbeing Challenge Kick-off
- February 28: Wear Your Active Wear Day
- Click here for full calendar listings
Photo credit: UBC Communications and Marketing
By Melissa Lafrance on September 11, 2018
Building and maintaining our mental health is a year-round pursuit, and Thrive is one of many mental health initiatives at UBC. Each year, when we work together as partners in promoting mental health literacy, everyone can thrive and enhance the capacity within each of us to feel motivated, enjoy life and be ready to take on life’s challenges.
This year, Thrive takes place from Oct. 29 – Nov. 2. We encourage all departments, units and faculties to consider becoming a Thrive partner. You can help expand positive mental health among UBC faculty, staff and students by planning an event, promoting Thrive Week, or getting people talking in support of mental health. Explore your path with the “Thrive 5” and find out the many more ways you can engage with Thrive.
As part of Thrive 2018, UBC departments, unit and faculties are also invited to participate in the Not Myself Today (NMT) initiative.
NMT is an evidence-informed workplace mental health initiative that helps to build greater awareness, reduce stigma and foster safe and supportive cultures.
This is UBC’s fourth consecutive year participating in NMT. Consider joining our community of Not Myself Today partners to champion this initiative within numerous UBC workplaces during Thrive Week. By registering as a partner, you will receive access to toolkits and resources that you can use to inspire positive mental health in your workplace and among your colleagues. Visit www.hr.ubc.ca/nmt to learn more about this year’s Not Myself Today initiative and to register your department, unit or faculty.
Photo Credit: UBC Thrive and UBC Student Communications
Posted in Healthy Path, Healthy UBC Initiatives, Mental Health | Tagged awareness, campaigns, mental health literacy, mental helath, Not Myself today, thrive, Thrive week, workplace health | Leave a response
By Miranda Massie on August 7, 2018
Guest contribution from Amelia Douglas
Summer is in full swing and based on current heat warnings from Environment Canada, it is unsurprising that Metro Vancouver workers and residents are feeling the heat.
Prolonged exposure to increased temperatures can result in health impacts that range from mild to severe, such as heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.1 While temperature affects all people, certain groups are at higher risk for heat related illness.2 Individuals who work outdoors, are over the age of 45, are pregnant, have poor general health, or are taking certain medications that interfere with thermoregulation (the body’s ability to maintain its internal temperature) can be at an elevated risk of experiencing adverse health effects in times of increased or prolonged heat events.1-3
The good news is that at UBC, there are a number of strategies and tools employees, supervisors and managers can use to prevent and reduce the risk of heat stress and illnesses.4
1. Drink plenty of water. For tips on how to hydrate, check out this Healthy UBC article, Top Tips for Staying Well This Summer.
2. Wear cool clothing (e.g. loose fitting, cotton, light coloured). If you are required to wear a hardhat, try attaching a light-coloured piece of fabric to the back to shade your neck.
3. Take breaks out of the heat. Opt for the shade or air-conditioned buildings.
4. Work in pairs or groups. Avoid working alone in conditions where heat stress is possible.
5. Schedule work to reduce heat exposure. Be aware of daily temperature changes, and schedule the hardest physical tasks for cooler parts of the day (e.g. in the morning).
Recognition & Action
Recognizing if a colleague is exhibiting any signs and symptoms of heat stress or heat-related illness is critical for intervening early and reducing the risk of serious health effects. To learn more about the physiological effects of heat and what you can do if you are a manager/supervisor/colleague, visit this WorkSafeBC page on heat stress. If you recognize signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses, follow these St. John Ambulance first aid guidelines.5
Amelia Douglas is the Program Coordinator for UBC’s Occupational & Preventive Health Unit. Originally from the ‘friendly town’ of Almonte, Ontario, she moved to Vancouver in 2015 to pursue her Masters of Public Health in Environmental & Occupational Health at Simon Fraser University. Amelia has a keen interest in risk assessment and disease prevention and brings a background in community engagement and outreach to her work at UBC.
By Melissa Lafrance on June 5, 2018
Summer is fast approaching! In fact, The Weather Network is forecasting a hot, dry summer for most of Western Canada. Take this time to learn about sun safety and hydration, so you can enjoy the beautiful summer days ahead.
Protect your skin and reduce your risk
Protecting yourself from the sun is a no-brainer: it reduces your risk of developing skin cancer, which is why it’s important to make sun protection a part of your everyday healthy lifestyle. Here are six tips to help you be sun-ready:
1. Avoid sun burning, intentional tanning or using tanning beds.
Did you know that a tan is a sign of skin damage and the body’s response to injury from UV rays? Read more about the risks of tanning, skin and eye damage, as well as skin cancer.
2. Use sunscreen.
Pay attention to the sun protection factor (SPF) and whether the sunscreen offers broad spectrum protection. Look for a product with a minimum SPF 30 to protect against the sun’s UVB, the rays that burn the outer skin layers. You also want a sunscreen that protects against UVA, the rays that go into the deeper dermis layers and are responsible for premature aging and skin cancer. A sunscreen labelled ‘broad spectrum’ will help protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Learn more about sunscreens.
3. Wear sun-protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
Clothing is a simple way of protecting yourself from the sun, but some types of fabrics are better than others. Learn about sun-safe clothing.
4. Seek shade.
If your shadow is shorter than you, it’s time to find some shade, especially between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. (see tip #6 for more info.)
5. Check your skin.
6. Check the UV index and plan accordingly.
On days when the UV reaches 3 (moderate) or higher, be diligent in protecting your skin, face and eyes. In Canada between April and September, the UV index can be 3 or more from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., even when it’s cloudy. Clouds only block 20% of the sun’s UV, so you still need to use sun protection on cloudy days. 
Staying hydrated: how much water should you be drinking?
Based on your body size and activity level, aim for a daily fluid intake of about two to three litres (nine to 12 cups).  When you’re more active and the weather is hotter, you’ll need to increase your intake. Learn about proper hydration during exercise.
Water is one of the best fluid choices, but you can also drink other beverages such as milk, juice, broth/soups, coffee and tea.
Photo Credit: UBC Communications and Marketing
By Melissa Lafrance on April 3, 2018
The April edition of Healthy UBC is all about financial wellbeing, and as UBC staff and faculty, there’s no better way to save money than by taking advantage of the free and discounted perks that make it a little less cost-prohibitive to develop our health, wellbeing and professional growth.
As a UBC staff and faculty member, you and your family are eligible for discounts at many local organizations both on and off campus, from fitness, yoga and recreation programs to community arts and culture offerings.
Programs and Professional Development
We have a wealth of workshops, trainings and programs to increase and promote your wellbeing and develop healthy work environments at UBC. Funding is also available to several employee groups and covers external learning activities such as professional membership fees, workshops, conferences and courses.
Here’s a selection of our upcoming health and wellbeing programs, including links to additional PD information:
- Register for an upcoming workshop, including Debt Freedom & Finances and The Psychology of Money
- Learn about the annual Healthy Workplace Initiatives Program available to UBC departments to support grassroots activities that promote wellbeing in the workplace
- Visit the PD Funding page to learn about eligibility criteria and how to apply
- Attend an upcoming course like Time Management and Thriving in Change
Through Healthy UBC, we offer free, ongoing, university-wide educational opportunities that focus on promoting positive mental health and physical wellbeing for staff, faculty and departments.
Here are some upcoming events you and your colleagues can take part in at UBC Vancouver:
Did you know that you and your dependent family members could be eligible to take UBC courses without paying the tuition fee? Learning and development opportunities range from in-person, multi-day programs to on-demand online courses. Click on the Tuition Waivers link to learn about eligibility and qualifying courses.
All UBC staff and faculty receive free, premium-level access to the lynda.com library of high-quality digital tutorials, courses and curated learning paths. Learn about in-demand tech and creative and workplace business skills taught by industry experts, including Arianna Huffington’s six-course series.
By Melissa Lafrance on March 7, 2018
In honour of National Nutrition Month, this third installment of our annual series takes a critical look at three popular myths. Read on for the real facts on fruits, veggies, and turmeric.
Disclaimer: The information in this feature is intended to encourage you to think critically about the information we are bombarded with. It is not meant to cause worry or make you revamp your diet completely. At the end of the day, we all need to make the food choices that make the most sense to us at the time.
Fruits and vegetables are healthy, so I can eat as much as I want, right?
It’s true that the majority of Canadians do not consume a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables; however, some people do and may even eat too much. There is no set maximum, but keep in mind that you can only eat so much in a day, and you need to leave room for other food groups. Eating only fruits and vegetables may result in you getting insufficient essential nutrients — not to mention the discomfort that can result from eating too much fiber-rich foods. Think moderation and variety. According to Canada’s Food Guide, adults between the ages of 19-50 should aim to consume:
- 7-8 servings of fruit and vegetables per day for females
- 8-10 servings of fruit and vegetables per day for males
- At least one dark green and one orange vegetable per day 
Cooking destroys all nutrients in vegetables.
This is not entirely accurate. It is true that exposing vegetables to high heat or boiling water for extended periods of time diminishes some nutrients, but some nutrients are actually enhanced. Take lycopene for example, the main carotenoid in tomatoes. Cooking tomatoes breaks down the cell matrix, thereby making the lycopene more available . Cooking vegetables breaks down the plants’ cell walls, making them easier to digest and absorb.
Water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C and B, are the most vulnerable because they leach out into the cooking water. For foods high in water-soluble nutrients, steaming (even using a microwave) and dry cooking like grilling, roasting and stir-frying retain a greater amount of nutrients than boiling . If you tend to boil your vegetables, don’t be alarmed: just eat a variety of cooked and raw veggies (even frozen) and you’ll be good.
Here are some additional resources:
- Tips to maximize nutrient retention by Thinking Nutrition
- Guide to avoid overcooking vegetables by the kitchn
Turmeric has superpower curing abilities.
First there was kale, then coconut oil, and now turmeric has made it into the mainstream superfood consciousness. Not only is it readily available as a common spice, but it now can also be found in concentrated supplement form. Curcumin, the principal compound in turmeric, has been studied for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, but there still lacks clear and significant results. Some preclinical studies suggest that curcumin may help prevent and treat certain types of cancers and type 2 diabetes, however larger randomized controlled trials are needed to determine its efficacy. Also, curcumin taken orally is poorly absorbed and rapidly metabolized and eliminated in humans.
Bottom line: there isn’t sufficient evidence to suggest that it can prevent disease or cure illnesses . Long before it found its way into your latte, fresh turmeric root or ground turmeric spice was known for being flavourful and commonly used in many dishes. It can continue to be safely enjoyed in that way in small doses. You can find out more about how curcumin is metabolized, its bioavailability, as well as adverse effects and drug interactions here.
Interested in learning more about nutrition, detoxes, superfoods and hormones? Check out our Debunking the Diet Workshop Series.
For other nutritional myths we’ve debunked, see the previous articles written by Melissa:
Photo credit: UBC Communications & Marketing
By Melissa Lafrance on February 5, 2018
Why is emotional intelligence important and why should you cultivate it in yourself?
Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is the “ability to perceive and express emotion, assimilate emotion in thought, understand and reason with emotion, and regulate emotion in the self and others.” 
Having a high level of emotional intelligence can help us in understanding and addressing emotional reactions to better guide our thinking and behaviour. EQ is one key to helping us achieve happiness and overall wellbeing, and for some, becoming effective leaders. In the context of the workplace, emotional intelligence can enable key skill sets, including good work performance, effective leadership, and the ability to create the conditions for sustainable happiness.
- Self-awareness: knowledge of our internal states, preferences, resources and intuitions
- Self-management: management of our internal states, impulses and resources
- Motivation: emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate us in reaching our goals
- Empathy: awareness of others’ feelings, needs and concerns
- Social skills: adeptness at inducing desirable responses in others
Emotional competencies are not innate talents, but rather learned abilities, and can be deliberately acquired with practice. One of the practices that have been proven to be helpful is mindfulness, as it teaches us how to train our attention. To be emotionally intelligent, we need to able to focus on the present moment and notice and process feelings, thought patterns and reactions.
Opportunities for Achieving Emotional Intelligence
There are a number of learning opportunities for UBC faculty and staff that can help you explore emotional intelligence as it relates to your career and leadership success.
- Discover how attention-training can help you at work and in your life with UBC’s free 30-Day Online Mindfulness Challenge.
- Learn mindfulness for the workplace and how to establish your own meditation practice with the Mindfulness@Work Program.
UBC Extended Learning:
UBC Extended Learning has courses and programs for UBC faculty and staff to explore their emotional intelligence, or EQ, as it influences career success. Check out the online EQ assessments and in-person EQ courses.
You may be able to use your tuition waivers (staff only) or PD funds to pay for UBC Extended Learning courses. Click here for more information.
Learn with Lynda.com:
Lynda.com has many online courses that focus on emotional intelligence and leadership, which UBC faculty and staff can view for free. Here is a selection of short videos that can help you explore the concept of emotional intelligence:
- What is emotional intelligence? Course preview (4:33 minutes)
- Appreciating emotional intelligence (4:28 minutes)
- Cultivating emotional intelligence (5:21 minutes)
Visit http://lynda.ubc.ca to learn more about UBC faculty and staff access to Lynda.com.
Benefits to Support your Emotional Wellbeing:
Read up on additional ways that your benefits can support emotional intelligence and emotional wellbeing.
 Salovey P, Brackett MA, Mayer, JDMayer (2004). Emotional Intelligence: Key Readings on the Mayer and Salovey Model. Port Chester, New York: Dude Publishing.
By Melissa Lafrance on January 11, 2018
This month’s newsletter is all about helping you forge your path towards improved physical health. UBC employees have access to a wide range of services, information and perks to support physical health.
Taking the time to improve our physical wellbeing is time well spent. Evidence shows that increasing physical activity by moving more and sitting less leads to many health benefits, including improved physical and mental health, a greater sense of social wellbeing, and reduced risk of many preventable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and mental illness.
Also, the importance of remaining physically active during stressful times was examined in a recent study done by Dr. Eli Puterman (et al), a professor in UBC’s School of Kinesiology. The findings demonstrate that negative affective reactivity, which is associated with long-term mental and physical health problems, is less pronounced if individuals are physically active, thereby resulting in them having a greater ability to manage daily stressors in a more effective way .
The best physical activity is actually doing physical activity. If you find yourself unmotivated, not sticking to your physical activities or maybe just plain dreading it, you likely haven’t found the right fit for you or perhaps you need to try it out a little longer. Don’t give up and keep trying new things. Find what you enjoy and what makes you feel good, both physically and mentally. You’ll also likely feel more energized by it!
Here are ways you can build up your physical wellbeing in 2018:
1. Book an appointment for our Travelling Health Fair
The much-anticipated Travelling Health Fair is coming up February 13-23. The fair is open to all UBC staff and faculty. This year, we are focusing on heart health, so sign up to get assessed and learn how to maintain heart health and prevent heart disease. Registration is now open. Visit the Travelling Health Fair page to learn more and reserve your appointment time now.
2. Stay active with Fitting in Fitness
Find all the inspiration you need to improve your overall health with our Fitting in Fitness articles. With tips, guides and videos, you’ll discover ways to fit fitness into your schedule.
3. Get inspired to cook with Healthy Recipes & Tips
Discover tasty recipes and helpful tips to improve your nutritional health with our Healthy Recipes & Tips articles.
4. Explore our Virtual Health Fair & Online Assessments
On the Virtual Health Fair webpage, you will find 20 different screenings, tools and resources to help you assess your current health status and make lifestyle improvements.
5. Optimize your working posture and practices with UBC Ergonomics
Proper ergonomic design and set-up of your workspace can minimize the risk of a wide range of injuries: from eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome to persistent neck or back pain. The UBC Ergonomics program offers a range of services to promote optimal working postures and practices to reduce workplace musculoskeletal injuries.
6. Join the 12th Annual UBC Walkabout from January 22 to March 25
Registration is now open for UBC’s 12th annual Walkabout!
Walkabout is a nine-week health and wellbeing challenge promoting regular exercise in social settings. Everyone at UBC is welcome to create teams of five or register as an individual. Cost is only $10 per person.
Here’s how the Walkabout works:
- Form a team of five members. Individuals can also register and will be teamed up.
- Set overall team and individual goals for the nine-week walkabout
- Register online at http://walkabout.educ.ubc.ca/
- Registration fee: $10 per person (optional pedometer: $15)
- Record daily steps (or exercise equivalent steps) on the Walkabout tracking spreadsheet using pedometers/apps/Fitbits etc.
- At the end of each week, the total number of steps walked by the team are submitted through the website and the distance walked is calculated (e.g. 1,300 steps = 1km)
7. Take advantage of Health, Fitness & Family Discounts
As a UBC employee, you and your family are eligible for many discounts at organizations on and off campus. Visit the Health, Fitness & Family Discounts page for a full list of offers or check out the ones highlighted below:
- UBC Recreation’s Free Week is January 8-14. Try out any instructor-led classes including yoga, Pilates, dances, boot camps and aquatics classes. View the schedule and plan your visit (first-come, first-served).
- Discounts at the Student Recreation Centre (including drop-in lunchtime volleyball and tennis clinics) and at the BirdCoop Fitness Centre
- UBC BodyWorks Fitness Centre offers personal training for as low as $37/session and memberships from as low as $35/month plus a 10% discount on annual basic memberships for UBC staff and faculty. Fitness Centre drop-ins are only $2/person from Mondays to Fridays between 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
- Free trial week pass and $17.99 bi-weekly for a 12-month membership at Gold’s Gym University Market Place
- 25% off adult Park Board Flexipasses at participating Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation facilities
- Take your first Hot Box Yoga class for free with your UBC employee ID card and get a monthly pass for $66/month
- 15% off YYoga 5 and 10-class passes, 1-month passes and annual passes
- 15 – 25% discount on monthly continuous memberships at the Richmond Olympic Oval
8. Participate in a Standing Desk Study through UBC’s Population Physical Activity Lab
Many office workers spend a high proportion of their work day sitting, often in prolonged unbroken bouts. The Population Physical Activity Lab in the School of Kinesiology at UBC is conducting a workplace intervention aimed at reducing employee sitting time through the provision of a low-cost standing desk.
If you are interested in trying out a standing desk, aged 18-65 years old, and sit at a desk at least three days a week, then you are invited to participate.
This study involves wearing an activity monitor and completing a few surveys – three times over a six-month period. You will receive $60 for your participation and be offered the standing desk to keep.
Click here for more information or if you’d like to sign up for this study, please email Dr. Guy Faulkner, CIHR-PHAC Chair in Applied Public Health, or Katie Weatherson, Research Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
9. Book the MoveU Crew for your next class or meeting and get a fun movement break!
The MoveU Crew is a group of students who offer interactive breaks such as stretching, dancing, cheering, or other fun ways to give your body a break after long bouts of sitting. Book them now for free!
Stay tuned for more information on #MoveUBC month happening in February. Become a partner with Move UBC 2018 and share a space, spread the word or plan an event. Please complete the online form by January 12.
10. Walk around and discover campus
We are very fortunate to have such a large campus with many walking routes and nature trails.
Learn more about trails on the Okanagan campus.
Photo credit: UBC Communications and Marketing via UBC Thrive
- Puterman, E., Weiss, J., Beauchamp, M. R., Mogle, J., & Almeida, D. M. (2017, October 9). Physical Activity and Negative Affective Reactivity in Daily Life. Health Psychology. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/hea0000532
Posted in Healthy Path | Tagged Ergonomics, Healthy Path, participate, physical activity at ubc, physical health, Research, Travelling Healthy Fair, UBC, UBC Recreation, virtual health fair | Leave a response
By Melissa Lafrance on December 7, 2017
This month’s Healthy Path is all about self-reflection and exploring our spiritual wellbeing, which is a fitting topic with the holiday season right around the corner.
Spiritual wellbeing is unique to each individual and involves values and beliefs that help provide a purpose in our lives. In general, spirituality is the search for meaning and purpose in human existence and can involve working to balance our inner needs with the rest of the outside world .
Spiritual wellbeing may not be something that you often think about, yet its impact and influence on your life is unavoidable. Spirituality also involves being tolerant of others’ beliefs and to live and act authentically in a way that is consistent with our values and beliefs. For some, spirituality may be equated with traditional religions such as Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism, while for others, it may mean growing personal relationships with others or through a connection with nature.
You can live your life with purpose if you are purposely self-aware. If purposeful self-awareness is an unfamiliar concept, there are activities you can practice that can eventually instill self-awareness.
Nurturing our personal needs and allowing ourselves to truly relax, regenerate and recharge in meaningful ways is important for our own self-care. Keep in mind the big picture, think about what is meaningful to you, and be mindful of your surroundings to truly savour the moments and experiences you encounter this holiday season – whether it’s with your family, friends, strangers, other beings or with yourself.
Here are some articles for you by Shepell, UBC’s EFAP provider that can help you prepare yourself emotionally for the holiday season get-togethers with a guide to holiday peacekeeping. Learn how you can improve your relationships with others and improve your relationship with yourself.
Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization to access Shepell articles.
Assess Your Spiritual Wellbeing
Take a moment to reflect and evaluate your own spiritual wellbeing with this brief quiz:
- Do I make time for relaxation in my day?
- Do I make time for meditation or prayer?
- Do my values guide my decisions and actions?
- Am I accepting and open to the views of others?
- Do I feel a sense of hope and have a positive outlook on life?
If you answered ‘no’ to any of the questions, that may be an area to work on exploring and improving. These feelings may also be related to other causes and there are some resources available to help you understand them.
Ways You Can Improve Spiritual Wellbeing
1. Be still, be quiet. Take time for yourself, even if it is for five minutes as you wait for the bus or when you go to bed. Try to disconnect from electronic devices and just be in the moment.
2. Practice being non-judgmental and having an open mind. Take five deep breaths to gather your thoughts before responding or reacting to a situation or person.
3. Be mindful and/or meditate and/or do yoga.
4. Be kind to others and yourself.
5. Be grateful. Discover ways you can practice gratitude. (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization to access this article.)
6. Forgive. If it does not serve a purpose in your life and only causes you anguish, forgive and let it go.
7. Give back to others.
8. Become part of a community and maintain enriching relationships. Learn five ways to detox your relationships.
9. Remain receptive to pain or sorrow. These feelings can help us discover how spirituality can help us cope.
10. Do something outside of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to be challenged or to be (or act) silly. After all, the best memories are created when we come across unexpected moments, people or situations. They are often the ones we learn lessons from the most. These lessons allow us to discover nuances within ourselves and build our knowledge and values, thereby creating stronger meanings in our lives.
Resources for Staff and Faculty
- UBC’s Employee and Family Assistance Program: Counselling services for you and your dependents. Call the Shepell Care Access Centre at 1-800-387-4765 for immediate support or visit Shepell’s website to view their available services.
- Meditation and Mindfulness Programs at UBC
- Benefits to support staff and faculty mental health
- Yoga at UBC Recreation or UBC Yoga Club
- Campus Chaplaincy
- Consider these volunteering opportunities
Photo credit: Melissa Lafrance
By Melissa Lafrance on October 25, 2017
Time to dig out your flannel jammies, rain boots, and scarves: winter is coming. Let’s look on the bright side: at least we don’t get wallops of snow like the east coast for four months of the year. On the west coast and Metro Vancouver, we get the rainy season, which can be pleasant if we make the most of it. Research has shown that gratitude increases overall wellbeing, so let’s look at a few things we can be grateful and cheerful for this November.
1. Benefit from the Mindfulness@Work Program (starts Nov. 7)
This six-week, in-person and highly beneficial program focuses on integrating mindfulness in the workplace to promote effectiveness, teamwork and communication, and has many more personal and professional benefits. The enrolment fee is $100, and UBC staff and faculty can access professional development funds to cover the cost.
The program begins November 7, with a second cohort starting in April 2018. Spaces are limited, so register now!
2. Aim to Thrive at UBC (Oct. 30 – Nov. 3)
Thrive is a mindset as well as a week-long series of events and year-long focus on building positive mental health and reducing stigma for everyone at UBC.
3. Rain graffiti is coming to UBC (starts Oct. 30)
Be sure to notice new things in your environment when you step out for a walk on campus. You might just find something whimsical, quirky and fun on the pavement. Rain grafitti uses water-repelling and eco-friendly paint that only appears when wet. If you spot it, take a photo and share it on social media with the hashtags #LetsThriveUBC and #UBCSEEDS for a chance to win tickets to an upcoming UBC School of Music concert.
4. Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 a.m. (Sunday, Nov. 5)
Mornings will be brighter and we gain an hour! Don’t forget to turn your clocks back one hour before you go to bed Saturday night on November 4. Learn more about Daylight Saving Time.
5. Grow your mo’ during Movember (Nov.)
Led by the Movember Foundation, Movember is an annual, global, moustache-growing charity event held during November to raise funds and awareness for men’s health. Each year, brave and selfless individuals from around the world come together in a commitment to moustachery. Join the movement to help men live happier, healthier, longer lives.
6. Enjoy fall colours by getting outside
The crisp weather won’t chill your bones because you’ll be warming up with exercise. Get outside and check out these thriving places and spaces at the Vancouver campus and 30-minute walking maps, walking events and groups.
Check out Tourism Vancouver’s list places to enjoy fall colours. If you like to hike, check out Vancouver Trail’s suggested hikes for November and December. Be sure to check trail conditions and prepare before you go out. For more hiking trails, check out Vancouver Trails and Outdoor Vancouver.
7. Cook comforting foods with fall produce
Savour fall flavours with BC Fresh’s featured fall recipes and use the fantastic array of in-season fall produce in BC.
8. Explore other offerings at UBC
- UBC Farm’s upcoming workshops
- UBC Recreation’s staff and faculty offerings
- UBC Bodyworks Fitness Centre
9. Take up ice skating
UBC Recreation’s ice-based programs include hockey and skating lessons for youth and adults. UBC Rec also offers drop-in sessions of public skating, figure skating, hockey, and stick and puck. Their dynamic range of hockey and skating programs can accommodate people of all ages and skill levels. Whether it’s your first time on the ice or you’re looking to refresh your hockey skills, they have a program for you.
10. Additional events and activities
Photo credit: UBC Communications and Marketing
By Melissa Lafrance on September 13, 2017
What Exactly is Resiliency?
How can some people bounce back from hardship or remain in challenging situations while others get disconcerted and remain affected for a longer period of time? Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy and other significant sources of stress. Research has shown that resilience is ordinary not extraordinary, and people regularly demonstrate resilience. Having strong resiliency skills doesn’t remove challenging or distressed feelings altogether, but rather can help reduce the time it takes to return to “normal” everyday functioning. Luckily, resilience involves behaviours, thoughts, actions and skills that can be learned and developed.
Several achievable factors are associated with resilience, including:
- Having caring and supportive relationships
- The capacity to make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out
- A positive view of yourself and confidence in your strengths and abilities
- Skills in communication and problem solving
- The ability to manage strong feelings and impulses
Developing or enhancing resilience is a completely personal journey. Here are a few general tips  to consider when developing your personal resiliency:
Make connections. Having a good support system involving positive relationships is crucial, as is accepting help from those who care about you and your wellbeing. Read more about improving the quality of your relationships.
Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. You may not be able to control or avoid stressful events from happening, but you can change your outlook and how you respond to these events. Find out how you can maintain your inner strength amidst life’s daily challenges.
Accept change. It is part of life. This may change your course of action or make certain goals no longer attainable. Learn how to deal with the stress resulting from change and how to adapt and respond effectively to changes.
Explore, determine and move towards your goals. Learn the SMART guide to goal setting.
Take decisive actions. Act on adverse situations as much as possible rather than passively ignoring problems and stresses. Check out some tips for great decision making.
Seize opportunities for self-discovery. Learn to meditate or try a new team sport or hobby.
Nurture a positive view of yourself. Read more on constructing confidence and building self-belief.
Maintain a perspective view on things. Avoid making difficult situations a bigger deal than they actually are. View stressful events in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective.
Maintain a hopeful outlook. Being optimistic about the future allows you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Instead of worrying and fearing for the worst, visualize a hopeful outcome. Nourish your inner optimist. Consider using a journal such as the Five Minute Journal  to help you focus on the good in your life.
Take care of yourself. Read more on how to improve your relationship with yourself.
Explore Mindfulness and Meditation at UBC. Consider enrolling in our upcoming programs:
30-Day Online Mindfulness Challenge – Free for UBC employees
Two Start Dates: October 16, 2017 and February 19, 2018
Learn the core skills of mindfulness through evidence-based online training. The 30-day challenge does not involve a formal meditation practice, but rather teaches mindfulness-in-action for everyday life.
How it works:
- 5-10 minutes per day
- Online, anytime, any device
- 30 consecutive days
- Invite a buddy or colleagues to join you
Key impact areas:
- Health and wellbeing
- Increased performance
- Teamwork and conflict resolution
Mindfulness@Work – $100 for UBC employees (eligible for PD funding)
Two Start Dates: November 7, 2017 and April 5, 2018
For a deeper understanding of mindfulness and/or to develop a meditation practice, Mindfulness@Work offers an in-person educational program experience that uses the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) model.
How it works
- Six-week, in-person training
- Meet for 1 hour and 15 minutes once a week in a small supportive group led by a mindfulness teacher
- Attend a half day weekend retreat
- Daily home assignments for 15-30 minutes a day
Key impact areas
- Stress reduction
- Physical and mental wellbeing
- Effectiveness, teamwork, communication skills
- Focuses on integrating mindfulness in the workplace
Additional resources on building resiliency:
- More steps to building resiliency in your life
- Tips for balance and talking about resiliency
- Workplace and career resiliency
Photo credit: Melissa Lafrance