By Melissa Lafrance on June 7, 2017
Thriving Campus features testimonials, contributions and personal experiences linked to health and wellbeing from UBC staff members. This month we feature Dionne Halyk, a human resources administrative assistant within Development & Alumni Engagement.
How do you thrive at work?
Taking classes: I love taking classes and there is so much opportunity for staff and faculty to learn at UBC. I’ve taken classes ranging from Adobe InDesign to Ethnographic Film Methods to Writing for Multimedia and the Web. I also love to attend the “lunch and learn” classes put on by UBC Health, Wellbeing and Benefits. It’s a wonderful opportunity to eat my lunch while learning things like mindful meditation techniques, debt and saving strategies, and nutrition tips.
Taking part in things around campus: We’re lucky to have so many things available to us right on our doorstep! I’ve joined yoga on Fridays in the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre, gotten vitamin advice at the UBC Pharmacists Clinic, visited the Museum of Anthropology (multiple times), watched in awe at UBC’s Baccalaureate Concert, ate delicious Hot Lunches, competed in the Staff & Faculty Sports Day (shout out to my HR team, Team Fabulous, who just won this year’s Team Spirit award!), and so on. The list of things to do here is unending!
Collaborating with colleagues: I’m genuinely lucky to work with such kind-hearted, hard-working and very fun colleagues. Everyone – from my cubicle partner Masa to our very own President Ono – embodies the true UBC spirit of positivity and collaboration, and every day at work I see this. Working in HR means I connect with multiple people across campus daily and I can honestly say they make my job a joy. Thank you to everyone at DAE, IT, Central HR, Payroll, Benefits, Building Ops, Admissions, etc. for your help! We have a saying in my office – one team, one dream – and I can tell you that truly exists here.
How do you thrive at home?
All things artistic: Painting, writing, photography, filmmaking, sewing – I even made a willow chair once! I love being able to express myself and create different things.
All things outdoors: Hiking on the North Shore, snowboarding at Mount Seymour, being a beach bum at Kits Beach – mountains, forests and the ocean are happiness therapy for me.
Travel, travel, travel: I’ve been to 29 countries so far with plans for number 30 this fall. New people, cultures, art, architecture, foods and languages…these are a few of my favourite things.
And finally, my family and friends: Movie nights, board games or just sitting around telling stories and laughing – nothing makes me thrive more than spending time with them!
Dionne Halyk is a human resources administrative assistant within Development & Alumni Engagement. She has a BA in Sociology and a BComm in Marketing, both from the University of Saskatchewan. Dionne is originally from Saskatoon and has travelled, worked and studied in locations that range from Banff and Quebec City to Chile and Ireland. She is currently working on a short poetic documentary, blending her love of travel with writing and filmmaking.
Posted in Guest Contributor, Thriving Campus, Uncategorized | Tagged artistic expression, collaboration, connection, creativity, Dionne Halyk, team work, thriving campus, travel, UBC, work, workplace health | 10 Responses
By Melissa Lafrance on September 13, 2016
This months’s Thriving Campus feature is Anna Busch, a UBC Staff Finders employee currently working in Human Resources. Thriving Campus features, testimonials, contributions and personal experiences linked to health and wellbeing from UBC staff.
How do you thrive at home?
I spent most of my early twenties studying theatre, learning how to play and create, collaborate, and perform. Theatre taught me how to think on my feet, quite literally, and follow my ideas and interests, no matter how trivial or silly they seemed. It also allowed me understand how creativity fuels so many different kinds of work.
While I chose not to continue to pursue a career in theatre, creativity is the backbone of my everyday happiness. My creative practice is sometimes as small as writing a little bit every day, and sometimes it’s as involved as spending most of my spare time helping out on a friend’s theatre show. I’ve taken clowning classes, sung in choirs, and taught myself how to knit.
Connected to creativity is my love of learning. I’m a very curious person, and I love knowing that there will always be something new for me to learn. One of the reasons that I initially pursued theatre was because I was interested in experiencing different ways of learning. I wanted to pursue a form of learning that was as embodied as it was cerebral. This interest in different forms of learning has led me to complete a 700-hour certificate in holistic bodywork and massage, and take academic courses in critical theory, anatomy and physiology, and psychology.
While most of what helps me to thrive involves socializing, I also need a good amount of reflective downtime. Whether I’m reading a novel, listening to music, or doing restorative yoga, taking the time to be quiet and slow down keeps me balanced and content.
How do you thrive at work?
Curiosity is what helps me to thrive at work.
I’m interested in considering things and processes, the small details and the larger threads. Similar to my love of learning that nourishes me outside of my work life, it is curiosity that keeps me engaged within my work life. Curiosity keeps me grounded and present. It keeps me asking questions of my work and myself. It leads me to connect to, and collaborate with, my colleagues.
I like curiosity because there is something whimsical about it. It leads me towards focus and seriousness in my work, but it’s a word that has a sense of movement and lightness to it.
Anna Busch has a BFA in Performance from Simon Fraser University and a 700-Hour Certificate in Holistic Bodywork and Massage from the Vancouver School of Bodywork and Massage. She is a temp with Staff Finders, and has worked in a variety of UBC places including Human Resources, the Centre for Student Involvement and Careers, and Development and Alumni Engagement.
By Miranda Massie on November 1, 2015
November is an exciting time for our office. It marks the culmination of an initiative for which we spend six months planning. This initiative is UBC Thrive.
A lot of the messages we hear during Thrive are about finding small, simple and effective changes to build resilience and balance in our lives. Instead of just talking about Thrive in my editorial this month, I decided that in true health promoter fashion I would instead practice what I preach.
I set out on a seven-day challenge to incorporate more ‘Thrive’ into my life. Next week, I invite you to try the same. You might surprise yourself and find something new that will help you Thrive 365!
Thrive: My seven-day challenge (October 21-27, 2015)
Day 1: Draw circles and turn them into recognizable objects
I did this in front of the TV one night while watching the news. I grabbed a scrap piece of paper and drew six circles in Sharpie and then then went to work. I ended up with a ladybug (a childhood favourite), a jack-o-lantern (inspired by the time of year), a baseball (my mind was on the BlueJays), a lollipop (who doesn’t love candy?), a flower, and a snowman. This challenge allowed be to be creative without any pressure. It also satisfied my inner doodler.
Day 2: Eat whole foods
I tried to go a whole day without eating any processed food. I did not make it. I think that we have become so used to incorporating certain pre-made or boxed food into our meals that we consume foods before realizing what we are eating. This challenge ended up being more of an exercise in mindfulness than nutrition. When I started paying attention to what I was grabbing from the fridge, it was much easier to focus in on whole foods and ingredients.
Day 3: Illustrate your perfect day
I did this challenge during the last 15 minutes of my lunch break one day. I found a few crayons in the office arts and crafts drawer and tried not to overthink it. My perfect day would take place near the water, with the sun shining and the people I love around me. Using bright colours and thinking about nature really lifted my mood.
Day 4: Hold a solo dance party
I tend to have these on a semi-regular basis anyways. Just me in my kitchen, cooking brunch on a Saturday morning dancing along to an oldies playlist (I highly recommend this as a stress reliever). This week, however, I opted for a group dance party instead. I attended a wedding on the weekend and danced the night away with friends and strangers.
Day 5: Create a new mood or inspiration board
I was inspired by the challenge from Day 1 and created a “Perfect Day” inspiration board. I am normally up for crafting but found myself low on glue and glossy magazines so I opted to create a virtual board on Pinterest instead. Check out the images that I found to depict my perfect day(s).
Day 6: Meditate for at least 15 minutes
I accomplished this one while riding the bus on my way into work. I was nervous since I do not have a regular meditation practice outside of yoga classes, so I decided it best to download an app (Stop, Breath & Think). I chose two 6-minute guided meditations, one titled ‘gratitude’ and the other ‘the commonality of suffering’. I have been struggling recently with the cancer diagnosis of a family member and thought these themes might help give me some perspective.
Who knew that 12 minutes on the 99 B-line could leave me feeling so light? I surprised myself with how restful and peaceful my mind felt after just a few minutes.
Day 7: Write down a list of five people that you are grateful for
This was my last challenge and I found it a really fun exercise. I am incredibly fortunate to have enough amazing people in my life with whom I could fill a whole notebook. I decided instead to think a bit outside of the box. I thought about my rights and responsibilities, the things that I hold dear, and stuff that helps me through tough times. My list went as follows:
- Edgar Degas (for inspiring me to become a dancer)
- Whitney Houston (for the Bodyguard soundtrack)
- Emmeline Pankhurst (for working to win women the right to vote)
- The inventor of the cheeseburger (because they are delicious)
- Mr. Henderson (for showing me how to put the perfect curve in my baseball hats)
The great thing about this one is that the list can change every day!
I am so excited to be a part of Thrive in its seventh year at UBC’s Vancouver campus, and you will find me out and about promoting ways to build positive mental health on campus November 2-6. This year, we are encouraging UBC staff, faculty and students to find ways to thrive 365 days throughout the year.
I hope that I have inspired you with some ideas for how you can incorporate ways to thrive into your life each day. Seven down, only 358 more to go!
Happy Thrive everyone!
All my best,
Challenge inspired by: Tap Into Your Creative Side With This 7-Day Challenge (http://greatist.com/)
By Guest Contributor on April 8, 2015
Guest contribution by Dr. Thara Vayali
A digital detox does not mean that we need to block out all media. Rather, it means to be mindful of how we use digital technology. There is a way to use media to nourish, rather than retreat from ourselves.
We live in a world of constant virtual contact. In Canada, screen time has rapidly increased over the decade. As adults, much of these hours are now in the working world. Screen light, combined with indoor lifestyles and sedentary behaviours, have their own impacts on health and wellbeing. These factors and their impacts can be difficult to modify – but there is one specific behaviour within our screen time that we can become more mindful of: Leisure Screen Time. When most of our leisure time is spent passively consuming media, we can block our creativity.
In terms of mindfulness, it’s not the leisure that’s the problem. It’s the fact that most of our leisure time is now spent scanning and consuming. This passive consumptive habit nudges the creative and mindful hours out of our lives. It is insidious, not intentional, and is true for all types of entertainment, not just those that are technology based. With access to technology literally at our fingertips, we have left no room for our brains to digest what we’ve consumed; we have no time be inspired to create something of our own. We are too busy watching each other.
Computers, the internet and digital technologies have become a wonderful educational resource, group support, creative muse, meta-database and tool for social and political change. We have symbiotically evolved be more technologically inclined, and our desire to connect and create has only been highlighted by these advances. Not many of us would willingly eschew our access to these grand collaborative products. But, how we use these tools influences our health and wellness.
Previous to the explosion of hand-held device technology, times of consumption were buffered by boredom during the in-between times. Boredom is the breeding ground for imagination, creativity, play and inspiration. It is an efficient muse. On the road to feeling creative, we do not need to DO anything, we in fact, need to do nothing. There is beauty in boredom.
Passive consumption is not an efficient muse. It is a filler.
It is possible for our passive consumption to be balanced with our creative capacity – we can scan media, and subsequently borrow, create or discuss ideas for ourselves. But be aware that the more you pin, follow, like, comment and share, the less you create.
We have inadvertently closed the creative window and instead dominated our time with continuous consumption. This bystander perspective (or “rubber-necking”) squashes our confidence and motivation to create, even when our intention of consuming was to be inspired.
Comparison is the thief of joy – Theodore Roosevelt.
Shall I suggest in the same light, that consumption is the thief of creativity?
The concept of a Digital Detox (turning off all devices for one day, or a few hours every day) has been growing in popular culture. It seems to be an effective way to manage the addiction to media and to interact with the neurotransmitter dopamine, wisely.
For bringing creativity back, I suggest a variation. It’s the Creation:Consumption ratio.
For one day a week, (perhaps on the weekend, or a day when you have time for yourself) decide that anything you consume for leisure must be matched with an equal time in creation. That could be online, on a computer, in the kitchen or home or outside – but the key is you are USING your consumption time to inspire you to create something new to you.
Aim for a 50/50 split in your leisure time.
This is a tool to use your time differently than your habitual go-to. Whether you have eight 8 hours or one hour, put a timer on yourself. Max out your media consumption to no more than half of that time. Keep the ratio even: 50% goes to watching, listening, scanning, tasting, and 50% goes to “being bored” and making. This means that some of your creative time may feel uncomfortable. It can take time and space before you feel creative. Stick with it!
Particularly as adults, we have lost the experience and benefits of doing nothing. We have come to think that the only way to do nothing, is to be exhausted. We can relearn how to bumble in boredom, to allow our self-directed motivation take over.
If your creativity time extends beyond 50%, I’d say keep going!
Before using the creation:consumption ratio, reflect on what creativity is NOT:
- not work
- not chores
- not for praise
- not for others
- not for exercise
It is specifically imagining, experimenting, building, making, creating. Simple as that.
If you notice that your creation:consumption ratio consistently weighs toward consumption, your passion, motivation and confidence likely have a harder time piping up to create. If you schedule time to be creative, the time you spend consuming becomes distinctly more engaging. You will begin to identify boredom as separate from exhaustion, and appreciate that doing nothing could be a route into a more passionate and creative life.
Dr. Thara Vayali is a Naturopathic Doctor & Yoga Teacher in Vancouver and is also a UBC alumnus. She is obsessed with intestinal and immune health, hormones, and pain-free bodies. She is the creator of Change Natural Medicine: Budget conscious, membership-based health consulting.
Posted in A Thoughtful Mind, Guest Contributor, Mental Health, Miranda Massie, Spot Light | Tagged boredom, creativity, digital detox, doing nothing, Dr. Thara Vayali, mental health, Mindfulness, screen time, technology | 2 Responses
By Guest Contributor on February 4, 2015
Guest Contribution by Dr. Joti Samra
5 steps to a financially-wise Valentine’s Day:
Identify your beliefs, assumptions and expectations around Valentine’s Day: then challenge them.
Start by articulating your beliefs and assumptions around Valentine’s Day. Be honest with yourself. Do you think you have to take your partner out for a fancy expensive dinner for them to know how much you love them? Do you worry your partner will be disappointed if he or she doesn’t “get” an expensive gift? Articulate the thoughts that compel you to overspend on Valentine’s, and then challenge those thoughts. Ask yourself, are those thoughts accurate? Are they valid? Check in with your partner and ask them if they feel or expect what you may be assuming they do.
Create a Valentine’s Day budget.
It is amazing how often people don’t do the obvious – speak openly about how much they are going to spend on Valentine’s Day. Often, we get caught up in assumptions or perceived expectations of what we think the other person wants or expects, and then end up overspending on unneeded and unnecessary items. So talk openly about this; speak to your partner about what you would each like to do, and set (and stick to) a Valentine’s Day budget. Be realistic in this and keep in mind, Valentine’s is ultimately just another day.
Be creative in planning Valentine’s Day activities.
Generate fun, low-cost activities you can do with your partner. The main overarching aim is to spend time together on this day. Make a special dinner at home; turn off all technology (cell phones, TVs, computers) and just focus on each other; go for a long walk; take a day off work and spend the day in bed cuddling and watching movies. Do something you might not do on another day. The day can be meaningful and highly memorable in the absence of fancy dinners or extravagant gifts.
Give low or no-cost gifts.
Make a pact to spend no or little money on gifts. If you have a talent, use it! Write a love letter (handwritten, not text or email). Write a poem or a song. Choreograph a sexy dance for your partner.
Remember: love is not defined or communicated by material goods.
In this day and age of consumerism, it is easy to get caught up and feel the pressure of having to “buy” something as a symbol of our love. Keep in mind that how much you love, care for and adore another is not related to what you buy them! Our love is communicated by making someone feel special and important to you: so do something this Valentine’s Day that communicates that to your partner.
Interested in learning more about how your extended health benefits can work to better your relationships? UBC Staff and Faculty have access to a number of health related prevention services through the Employee and Family Assistance Program. Staff and faculty who are enrolled in UBC’s extended benefits plan also have $1,200 coverage per year to see a Registered Psychologist.
Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych., is a clinical psychologist and organizational and media consultant. She is the host of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Million Dollar Neighbourhood” and was the psychological consultant to CITY-TV’s “The Bachelor Canada”. She has also served as a psychological consultant and expert to a number of other TV shows and news outlets. Dr. Samra maintains a clinical practice in Vancouver. Her website is www.drjotisamra.com and she can be followed @drjotisamra.