By Miranda Massie on July 16, 2019
Over the past few weeks, a number of friends and colleagues have shared news articles, stories and recommendations with me, all related to time and technology. Perhaps there are new research results circulating, or maybe summer activities are inspiring folks to think more about how they spend their time. No matter the reason, these topics have been floating around in my head.
A fine line exists between supportive technology and digital overload. Programs and apps are constantly emerging, most designed to theoretically make our lives easier and enable us to do more with the time we have. And yet, we know our devices can leave us feeling lonely, overwhelmed and disconnected. So is technology making us more efficient or creating further distance between us and those around us — and potentially even distancing us from our true selves?
This month, I’m sharing suggestions — both digital and human-centred — for bringing more awareness to our use of technology.
The above actions will help you:
- Relax your eyes, neck and wrists
- Increase feelings of closeness and connection through social time with others
- Create space for increased mindfulness, less multi-tasking, and a greater attention span
This summer, I encourage you to try using “smart technology” more intelligently. Focus on connecting with yourself and your communities in ways that will support and rejuvenate you for the busy fall months ahead.
Signing off until September!
All my best,
By Miranda Massie on June 4, 2019
Baby schema is a scientific theory presented by ethologist Konrad Lorenz that describes the human instinct to perceive small or miniature things as cute. We are not only attracted to the playfulness and craftiness of other mammals (babies and animals), but also to that of inanimate objects (think toy cars, dollhouse furniture and ‘mini’ food). Could the same be true for meditation?
In addition to being small and bite-sized, mini meditations don’t require huge amounts of our time. They are approachable, easily digestible, and perhaps even more likely to make it into our daily routine than other practices.
There are a wealth of mini meditations available online for free, including:
- 30-Second Meditations (Psychology Today)
- 50 mini meditations (Wanderlust)
- STOP acronym meditation (mrsmindfulness.com)
Or, try this mini meditation now:
- Inhale deeply through your nose, as though you are smelling flowers.
- Exhale deeply out through your mouth, as though you are blowing bubbles.
Easy, right? If you’re looking for more mini meditation inspiration, select one of the Headspace options from the list below. They serve as a perfect, mindful snack that can be sampled on a coffee break, after lunch or before bed.
- Let go of stress (1:07)
- Unwind (1:11)
- Finding balance in the mind (1:06)
- Find your focus (1:11)
- Understanding dark thoughts (1:33)
Photo Credit: Melissa Lafrance
By Miranda Massie on April 2, 2019
Travelling is top of mind for me right now. On spring break, I spent two weeks chaperoning teenagers across Italy and Greece. And though the dust hasn’t even had time to settle on my suitcase, I’m already dreaming of my next adventure and my next destination. Unfortunately, a major barrier to my wanderlust is always the associated costs. Travelling is expensive and requires discipline both prior to and during a trip.
This month, I’m sharing some money-savvy hacks to support your frugal and fruitful travel.
Keep your eye on the deals
Take breakfast to go
Book hotel stays that include breakfast. Start your day with a big meal and pack extra snacks so you can save money on food throughout the day.
Avoid on-the-road prices
Pack your own food on travel days so you can avoid paying for pricey food on flights and trains or in airports. With healthy options on hand, you’ll be able to avoid the drive-through.
Find the free days
Many museums and galleries have free days or visiting times throughout the week. Some also offer discounts for students, children and families. Check their websites in advance.
Double check your coverage
Be sure to check your travel insurance coverage, or the coverage of a spouse or dependent. If you’re already covered through work or a credit card, you can avoid paying additional insurance costs. If you are enrolled in UBC’s extended health befits, be familiar with your coverage while travelling outside BC or Canada. Visit the UBC travel benefits site.
Take a staycation!
A vacation does not always need to involve travel. Take advantage of the amazing sights, eats and activities available locally. This will also allow you to save your dollars for a future trip. Read more about staycation ideas for Metro Vancouver on Daily Hive and Miss604.
Wherever your travels take you, I encourage you to prioritize taking time off. Breaks are important for building resilience and promoting mental and physical health. Allow yourself time to breathe, relax and be present without the threat of an incoming credit card bill looming in your head. Have any savvy travel hacks of your own? Share in the comments below!
All my best,
Photo credit: Miranda Massie
By Miranda Massie on April 2, 2019
The nature of working and learning on university campuses often promotes sedentary behaviour, from sitting in classes, meetings and offices to working on computers with few breaks for physical activity. In addition to the effect on physical wellbeing, high levels of sedentary behaviour and low levels of movement also impact mental wellbeing and academic and professional success.
Emerging research suggests that prolonged sitting can lead to physical states of “exercise resistance” where the body stops producing the typical metabolic benefits that accompany physical activity.
This month, we’re sharing ways to fit more movement and activity into sedentary periods of your day.
Week 1: Register for Staff & Faculty Sports Day
Infuse some movement and fun into your work day by participating in this university-wide event. There are numerous activities to enhance your mental and physical wellbeing and to suit any ability. Gather your colleagues and make it an exciting, active, team-building afternoon. Register now.
Week 2: Fun and funky office exercises
To break up long periods of sitting, try doing one or more of these suggested exercises (Washington Post).
Week 3: Walk it out
Week 4: Perfect your Posture
Learn how to move and protect your body by incorporating posture exercises and stretching into your daily routine.
For more ideas and inspiration, check out Move UBC’s Make Your Move page.
Let us know your favourite tricks for breaking up sitting time throughout the day!
Photo credit: UBC Recreation
By Miranda Massie on March 7, 2018
Posture is an important part of our overall fitness and comfort. Learn how to protect your body by incorporating posture exercises and stretching into your daily routine.
Week 1: Try a Midday Desk Workout
Check out the 10 Easy Stretches You Can Do at Your Desk in this Chatelaine.com video.
Week 2: Stretch It Out!
Print these handy ready-to-use stretch guides and post near your work station or around the office.
Week 3: Ergo your Lab or Office
Proper ergonomic design can minimize the risk of a wide range of injuries – from eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome to persistent neck or back pain. Follow these easy step-by-step guides (office or lab) to set yourself up for comfort and success.
Week 4: Cultivate Your Core
Don’t forget your core. This six-minute workout from Fitnessblender.com requires no equipment and will help you build strength and achieve perfect posture.
Photo credit: UBC Communications & Marketing