By Miranda Massie on October 5, 2016
How do you celebrate the fall? A walk through crunchy leaves or perhaps by curling up with a good book? Maybe hauling out your favourite fuzzy scarf, or by ordering as many pumpkin spice lattes as you can?
As social beings, we crave connections and interactions with others, but the change in weather around this time of year, coupled with shortening days, can sometimes lead us to recede into the warmth of our homes to hibernate.
Spending some quality time in solitude is a great way to recharge and relax, but too much can leave us feeling lonely, isolated and out of touch.
Here are our top six reasons to stay connected this fall:
- Improve your thinking: We are more likely to think in positive and empowering ways when we have meaningful connections with others.
- Be proactive: Social support, and associated boost in self-esteem are protective factors against life’s stresses.
- Live longer: Being emotionally supported by others leads to improvements in physical health and longevity.
- Boost self-esteem: Social support impacts self-esteem. Higher self-esteem is associated with lower levels of anxiety, depression and distress.
- Find satisfaction: Self-esteem is also associated with higher levels of overall life satisfaction and happiness.
- Get well: Allowing yourself to seek support and help during stressful times can improve a person’s health and wellbeing.
This month, as the days grow shorter and we start to bundle up against the cold and impending rain, I invite you to spend some time re-invigorating your connections with others.
Need a place to start? October is Healthy Workplace Month. Think about how you can create supportive environments by nurturing your relationships and connections across campus.
All my best,
By Melissa Lafrance on October 5, 2016
As the seasons change, our moods and behaviours can shift also. With the days getting shorter and temperatures colder, we may not be as motivated to be out and about or to maintain vibrant social circles. The following three articles by Shepell, UBC’s EFAP provider, can help support you with tools to improve and maintain your social wellbeing.
Most people know that proper nutrition, exercise, and relaxation techniques can reduce stress, but being social is just as important. Learn skills and strategies to improve the quality of your relationships with A friend, indeed: friendship as a source of solace and support.
Perhaps you are in a new work environment or in a new neighbourhood. Maybe you feel the need to build your social support network. If so, check out Building and maintaining a social support network.
Managing a social life with a busy schedule can prove to be demanding. For advice on fitting social time into your schedule, read: Maintaining friendships on a busy schedule.
UBC’s EFAP provider, Shepell, offers counselling services for support with the following:
- Relationship Challenges
- Stress & resiliency
- Family concerns (communication, parenting, dynamics, and more)
- Workplace communication
- Workplace conflicts
To get started with Shepell’s Relationship Support Services, call 1-800-387-4765 or browse through their available services online.
To learn more, see related Workhealthlife articles.
- Working together: strategies to improve your employee-supervisor relationship
- Fun and easy team building ideas
Family/couple relationships & communication:
- Building and maintaining healthy relationships
- Rekindling the couple relationship after having a baby
- Squeezing in your main squeeze: making time for your relationship
- Improving family communication
By Miranda Massie on October 5, 2016
Whether you’re trying to build your overall wellbeing, or looking to reduce stress, lose weight or make new friends, walking can help you on your way!
Take advantage of a variety of walking opportunities and tips to help you get started this fall:
Week 1: Try a Walking Meditation
Looking for a way to de-stress while being active? Try this simple walking meditation that will leave you more grounded and present with time in your day to spare.
Week 2: Book a Walking Meeting
Just because summer is over, doesn’t mean that we should stay inside. Invite your colleagues for a walking meeting and check two things off your to-do list at once.
Week 3: Explore Campus Walking Groups
Do you enjoy physical activity more within a group? Try joining one of the many walking groups on and around campus, or start your own.
Week 4: Grab a Four-Legged Friend
Dog walking is a great way to be active and reduce stress. Whether you have a pet or borrow one from a friend, the health benefits make this a must try.
Fitting in Fitness is a health series for staff and faculty that shares tips and suggestions on how to increase physical activity.
Posted in Fitting In Fitness, Physical Health | Tagged easy, Exercise, fitness, fitting in fitness, friends, physical health, sedentary behaviour, UBC, Walking, walking group, workout | Leave a response
By Miranda Massie on October 1, 2014
I am a person who likes options. I savour the enjoyment that comes from sampling a variety of dishes when eating out with friends. I have a cupboard at home filled with more variations of green tea than most people know exist. I keep more than three thousand songs on my phone at any given time, just in case I’m in the mood to listen to something specific.
Perhaps this comes from a childhood spent pouring over “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, or more likely it stems from a fear of missing out on something exciting. Regardless of the reason, I like to explore my options and ultimately select the meal, item, situation or path that is the best choice for me at the time.
The more work that I do at UBC around mental health and wellbeing, the more I think about the concept of community. What defines communities? Are they created with intention, or do they happen organically? What can we as individuals do to connect with the people around us and the environment in which we live and work?
5 ideas for building community at UBC
1) Schedule a social meeting. Far too often we meet with colleagues, discuss the issues at hand then hurriedly part ways without leaving ourselves time to connect on a social or personal level. Try adding 10 minutes to the end of your next meeting to chat with your colleagues about their most recent vacation, their family or their latest work project.
2) Join in. Join a class, leisure activity or committee that interests you. This will provide a new group of people with whom to interact and you are sure to already have interests in common.
3) Use children or pets as a way to connect. I know a number of new parents who have created wonderful and supportive communities as a result of chatting with other parents at the park, daycare or classes. You can try the same thing at the dog park or the beach with your pets.
4) Get friendly with your surroundings. Research shows that exposure and familiarity with our surroundings leads to increased feelings of safety and social connection. Knowing the ins and outs of the campus a bit more can help us feel connected to our physical space. (Zajonc, 2001)
5) Reach out when in need. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable or asking for assistance can be daunting, yet we all know how great it feels to help others. Next time you need support, express that to someone else and it might bring you closer to those around you.
Check out UBC’s Community Engagement Initiative for more ideas.
This month, I invite you to build your own community on campus and to choose the path that suits you the best; whether through involvement, learning, wellbeing, leisure, or a smorgasbord of other options.
We work together at UBC and some of us also live within these gates, and we will be better served and able to better serve others if we start to reimagine ourselves as being part of a supportive and caring set of communities.
Zajonc, R.B. (2001). Mere exposure: A gateway to the subliminal. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 224–228.