By Melissa Lafrance on October 3, 2018
Food is one of the most basic needs for our survival and health, but it also involves sharing, celebrating and demonstrating our care for others, and supporting our social connections and traditions. Food and social interactions often go hand in hand and nourishing ourselves can also cultivate our social supports.
Week 1: Holiday meal ideas and making social connections
What better way to show gratitude towards your loved ones than preparing a delicious Thanksgiving meal? Here are some ideas to help you prepare a holiday feast:
- Build your menu with these Thanksgiving recipes (Greatist)
- If turkey’s not your thing, try these vegetarian recipes instead (Food Network)
The holidays can be a difficult time, especially for older citizens or those without family around. Consider volunteering on a farm: you’ll be supporting a good cause and meeting new people. Check out the upcoming volunteer opportunities at the UBC Farm, as well as other opportunities to socialize and give back on local farms.
Week 2: Comforting meals, fall produce and farmers markets
- Savour the fall flavours and make use of the bountiful array of in-season fall produce in BC
- Get to know your local farmers markets and buy farm-fresh ingredients in your community
- Use Eating Well’s healthy soup and stew recipes to stock your freezer for easy and quick dinners
Week 3: Rethink your drink
This fall, UBC launches a Healthy Beverage Initiative (HBI) to promote healthy beverage consumption. The focus is on educating the UBC community about the health impacts of beverage choices and promoting healthier drink options, particularly water.
Developed by the UBC Food and Nutrition Working Group and other key supporters, which includes faculty, staff and student stakeholders from both campuses, the HBI exemplifies UBC’s commitment to wellbeing through the Okanagan Charter. For more information about the UBC Healthy Beverage Initiative, visit UBC Wellbeing or check out this Ubyssey article.
To help you rethink your drink, here are some low-sugar beverage options and ideas:
- Find out why tap water is best to quench your thirst (UBC Food Services)
- Jazz up your water with fruits, vegetables and herbs thanks to these flavoured water recipes(Food Network)
- Try no-sugar-added iced tea(Eating Well)
- If you are hosting a meeting, consider getting a water jug dispenser and providing reusable cups
Week 4: Quality meal times
Eating behaviour is strongly influenced by the social contexts we find ourselves in1. We often model behaviours of the people we eat with and the social environment/context. Nourish your relationships through quality meal times.
- Check out how eating together is great for team building and improving productivity (Cornell University)
- Learn how meal times can enhance mental health (The Vanier Institute of the Family)
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 October 25, 2016
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 does for four months of the year. On the west coast and lower mainland, 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.
Benefit from the Mindfulness@Work Program starting November 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 2017. Limited spaces are available, so register now!
You’re Invited to Thrive at UBC, Oct 31 – Nov 4 (and onwards)
Thrive is a mindset and a week-long series of events focused on building positive mental health and reducing stigma.
Check out our New Website!
To reflect the new approach UBC is taking towards health and wellbeing, we have a new and improved site for faculty and staff to access details about their UBC benefits, and ways to be healthy at work and in your personal lives. Check it out at www.hr.ubc.ca/wellbeing-benefits. Learn more about the new features of the new website.
Daylight Saving Time Ends Nov 6, 2016
Mornings will be brighter and we gain an hour! Don’t forget to turn your clocks backward 1 hour before you go to bed Saturday night. Learn more.
Grow Your Mo during Movember!
Movember, the month formerly known as November, is a moustache-growing charity event held during November each year to raise funds and awareness for men’s health. Each year, brave and selfless individuals from around the world come together as one and stand side by side, united in a commitment to fine moustachery and to help men live happier, healthier, longer lives. Join the movement for men’s health.
Get Your Blood Flowing and Enjoy Nature by Walking
The crisp weather won’t chill your bones, because you’ll be warming up with exercise! Get outside and love this beautiful month! Click here for a list of active walking groups and walking related activities at UBC. All groups and activities welcome newcomers and participants of all abilities.
Cook Comforting Foods with Fall Produce
Savour fall flavours with cozy recipes (link to recipes article) using the fantastic array of fall produce!
Explore Other Offerings at UBC
November means the start of ice skating season! UBC Recreation’s ice-based programs include hockey and skating lessons for youth and adults. Rec also offers drop-in sessions of public skating, figure skating, hockey, and stick & puck. Their dynamic range of hockey and skating programming 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!
If you need more ideas to stay busy this November, check out Tourism Vancouver’s top ten fall activities.
By Colin Hearne on November 1, 2015
July and August were awesome, September was vibrant, October was autumnal and now we’re onto November. With its drizzly rain, cold weather, and short, darker days, sometimes it seems like November is the cruelest month, or at least the most disliked. But although summer days are now long past, there are plenty of reasons to love November! Here are eight of them:
Daylight Saving Time Ends – Nov 1 2015
November brings an end to Day Light Saving, which means that we all get an extra hour of sleep! Can anyone argue with that?
That’s not a moustache, that’s a mous-take!
Movember, the month formerly known as November, is a moustache growing charity event held during November each year that raises funds and awareness for men’s health. Each year, brave and selfless individuals from around the world come together as one and stand side by side, united in a commitment to fine moustachery and to changing the face of men’s health. Click here to get involved!
Fuzzy Socks and Warm sweaters
November is cold enough to wear all your favorite warm clothing. Bury yourself in knit sweaters and stock up on fuzzy socks and scarves – or knit them yourself! Did you know that UBC has a knitting and sewing club?
Thrive is here!
Thrive is a week-long series of events focused on building positive mental health for UBC students, faculty, and staff. Thrive is also a mindset. We all have mental health, and we can each strengthen our mental health by learning about it, thinking about it, talking about it, and discovering new skills and resources to help us Thrive all year long. For more information, visit thrive.ubc.ca
Cold Crisp Mornings
Stanley Park glazed with frost, hedgerows draped in rose hips hanging motionless in the breathless early morning light; and glistening spiders webs woven throughout the Pacific Spirit Park. Get outside and love this beautiful month! Click here for a list of active walking groups and walking related activities at UBC’s Point Grey Campus. All groups and activities welcome newcomers and participants of all abilities.
November means the start of ice skating season! Did you know UBC Recreation’s ice based programs include hockey and skating lessons for youth and adults? They also offer drop-in sessions of public skating, figure skating, hockey, and stick & puck. Their dynamic range of hockey and skating programming 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! Click here for more information.
October means pumpkin-flavored everything, but November means the “winter flavors” come out! It seems like everywhere you go is tempting your taste buds with peppermint, cinnamon, or gingerbread-flavored coffee, tea, cookies, cereal, and, well, everything! Click here for a list of winter hot drinks to make at home!
New Professional D Offerings
The Winter 2015/2016 catalogue of Professional Development workshops is available and registration is now open. Offerings include: Practical Project Management, Customer Service Excellence, Moving from Peer to Leader, and much more. To view the catalogue of offerings, or for information on funding opportunities, click here
Need more reasons to love November?
Join us for Thriving in the Workplace – The Importance of Mental Health to Overall Wellbeing and Academic and Professional Success: Nov. 18, 2015, 12-1pm
Join Emily Rugel, a PhD candidate and research fellow in the School of Population and Public Health, as she highlights some of the most interesting findings from her field of study (the association between health and place); discuss the importance of mental health to overall well-being and academic and professional success; and describe ways busy people can integrate nature into their day, both at work and at home. For more information or to register for this free session, click here.
By Miranda Massie on October 6, 2015
As the days grow shorter and we start to bundle up against the cold, I have noticed that we also have a tendency to hibernate. Although this is a necessary annual practice for some of our relatives in the animal kingdom, it has the potential to be detrimental to us humans.
We are social beings, and as such, crave connection and support, both of which can wane as we recede into the warmth of our homes and huddle inside awaiting winter. I am the first to admit that I am guilty of this practice. There is something about coming home when it’s already dark outside that makes me yearn for my couch and reach for my sweatpants. I find myself less motivated to call up a friend or invite people over and after a few weeks, I end up feeling quite lonely and out of touch.
There is some great research out there to keep in mind this fall. I am hoping that it will serve as a reminder to reach out and that it will motivate me to stay more connected with others.
Five Fun Facts about Social Support
De-stress: Connecting with others and allowing for support during stressful situations can improve a person’s health and wellbeing.
Boost longevity: Emotional support from others positively influences physical health and longevity.
Be empowered: Individuals with meaningful connections to others are more likely to think in positive and empowering ways.
Protect yourself: Self-esteem and social support serve as protective factors against perceived life stressors.
Up your satisfaction: Self-esteem is associated with lower anxiety, depression and distress and higher levels of life satisfaction and happiness.
This month, I invite you to be more aware of your emotions and behavior as the seasons change. Are you spending more time inside? Are you feeling disconnected? Are you craving a boost in your social network? Or perhaps you have not heard from a friend in a while.
There is nothing wrong with spending time alone but when this solo time begins to shift to loneliness, it may be time to re-connect and reach out.
All my best,
Chao, Ruth Chu-Lien. (2012) Managing Perceived Stress Among College Students: The Roles of Social Support and Dysfunctional Coping. Journal of College Counseling, 15:5-21.
Kawachi, Ichiro and Lisa Berkman. (2001) Social Ties and Mental Health. Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 78:458-467.
Steinhardt, Mary and Christyn Dolbier. (2008) Evaluation of a Resilience Intervention to Enhance Coping Strategies and Protective Factors and Decrease Symptomatology. Journal of American College Health, 56: 445-453.
Thoits, Peggy. (2011). Mechanisms Linking Social tied and Support to Physical and Mental Health. Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, 52:145-161.