By Melissa Lafrance on July 6, 2016
We hear a lot about relationships. There are love/romantic relationships, partnerships, work/colleague relationships, friendships and even ships that have sailed. In service of all these outside relationships, we often overlook or even neglect our most important relationship: our relationship with our own selves, or our self-relationship.
When we think about relationships, we often think about the ways in which we are connected and linked with another person. Our minds don’t often go right to our self-relationship. Having a healthy self-relationship can have an immense impact on our frame of mind, which influences our interactions, emotions, experiences and outcomes, and challenges can arise as a result.
Here are just a few things to keep in mind to improve your self-relationship:
Care for your basic physical and mental needs
Start by getting enough good quality sleep, which is absolutely essential to good health, effective functioning, and safety. Eight hours of sleep a night is optimum for healthy adults. Read more about sleep.
We all have priorities in our lives, and it can sometimes seem that there is no time for taking care of ourselves beyond our basic needs. However, a balance is needed in all areas of our lives to build resilience. Caring for yourself involves intentional actions and effort to take care of our own physical, mental, and emotional health. What self-care looks like varies from person to person, but can be in the form of enjoying a bath, cooking, listening to music or podcasts, meditating, travel, exercising, or simply taking a five-minute breathing break in a quiet room to refocus. Check out more ideas for self-care.
Practice love and kindness towards yourself and others
This can take on many forms, and let’s face it, our world needs some love and kindness. Consider practicing loving-kindness meditation, which focuses on developing feelings of goodwill, kindness and warmth towards yourself as well as others. Download free audio recordings of guided meditations. Select the Loving Kindness Meditation link and go through the practice. You can choose yourself as the medication’s focus.
Reflect and be aware of your thoughts, feelings and emotions
On a regular basis, ask yourself “what am I feeling?” and “what am I thinking?” Be curious as to why you are reacting a certain way or why certain things mean so much to you. Keep a journal and write down your thoughts, feelings and emotions. This can help you become more self-aware.
Work towards positive mental health
Positive mental health is a state of being in which social, emotional, and spiritual factors intersect to create a high level of functioning. Positive mental health can coexist alongside mental illness. Find out more about positive mental health.
Thrive is a UBC-specific initiative focused on building positive mental health for students, staff, and faculty and reducing stigma. Thrive week occurs each year during the first week of November and involves a variety of awareness building and knowledge sharing events. Learn more about Thrive.
Take a moment to look in the mirror and speak positive and uplifting words to yourself. Continue speaking these affirmations to yourself every day, and you will bolster your self-confidence and self-acceptance. Check out these 35 affirmations you can say to yourself or write on post it notes.
Ask for help and seek out resources
Many supportive resources are available for UBC staff and faculty. Check out this month’s Benefit Spotlight on healthy relationships to learn about resources you can access through the UBC Employee and Family Assistance Program.
The following resources are available:
- Employee and Family Assistance Program
- Thrive at UBC
- Mental Health Resources at UBC (including available workshops/trainings)
- Learn to Meditate 3-part Series (July 11, 18, 25)
- Mindfulness and Meditation at UBC
- Making the connection: tactics for a healthy mind and body
- Getting involved in summer activities with colleagues
- 6 ways you can have a healthy relationship with yourself
By Colin Hearne on July 6, 2015
This month we are featuring UBC Philosophy Professor Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins. Carrie recently wrote a Globe and Mail article on ‘What’s love got to do with Sex-Ed? Maybe everything’– and is currently working on a book on the nature of romantic love. If that is not enough to grab your attention then maybe hearing about her philosophy rock band will! Interested? Read on.
Thriving Faculty exemplify the integration of health and wellbeing into classrooms, research, departments and communities.
What are the central challenges that you face in your role as Faculty?
Teaching is very challenging for me, because it comes with so much responsibility. I know that how good a job I do as teacher impacts other people, in potentially huge ways. Being aware of this often means I find it hard to set boundaries on my time when it comes to teaching: what if putting in more hours makes all the difference to one student? This problem hits even harder when I’m teaching large classes, and/or multiple classes at once. I’m also quite an introvert. Face-to-face interaction is generally exhausting for me. A three-hour class can leave me feeling like I’m about to melt into a puddle.
What strategies do you use in your own life that help you thrive as Faculty?
Evening yoga practice helps me calm down; it serves as a kind of physical and mental release valve. My dog takes me outside for daily walks, which are a good idea if you have to spend most of your working day at a computer or reading books. Talking with my husband (who is also a professor) helps me be more reflective about balancing my time and responsibilities. Agreeing to DO ALL THE THINGS can sometimes be the default setting for me, so I need reminders that I’m actually not doing anyone any favours when I agree to take on more tasks than I can complete to a good standard. (I’m working on internalizing this moral, but in the meantime it helps to have an external source of reminders.) My latest work hack is “prioritizing my priorities”. I know it sounds obvious, but until I started thinking about it in those terms I wasn’t doing it. For example, this summer my priority is to finish a draft of my new book about love. Every morning, I spend my first working hour on the book. It’s very rare that I have a day in which I can’t spare one hour for writing. But until I thought about it in these terms, I was just trying to “fit it in” when I could, which invariably meant that I’d try to get everything else out of the way first. But there’s a never-ending stream of everything else! That approach wasn’t working. As soon as I started putting my priority first in this very literal sense, I started making progress on it at a much faster rate. It’s also meant that I can spend the rest of the day on other things without feeling constantly frustrated about the progress I’m not making on the book.
In your role as faculty, please describe your experience balancing work-life commitments? Is there a metaphor that depicts this relationship?
I guess it’s a work in progress, although I’m not sure what would count as being finished. The UBC campus would be a good metaphor.
Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Philosophy at UBC. She is one of the three principal editors of Thought: A Journal Of Philosophy, winner of the 2015 PROSE award for Best New Social Sciences and Humanities Journal. Carrie did her BA, MPhil, and PhD at Trinity College, Cambridge, and since then has worked at Universities in the UK, the US, Australia, and Canada. Her latest research is on the nature of romantic love. Her book What Love Is And What It Could Be is scheduled to appear in 2016 with Basic Books. Carrie is a member of the Philosophy rock group The 21st Century Monads; you can listen to their music at: http://the21stcenturymonads.net. Find out more about Carrie’s work at http://www.carriejenkins.net or follow her on Twitter: @carriejenkins.
Posted in Colin Hearne, Mental Health, Physical Health, Thriving Faculty, Uncategorized | Tagged Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins, education, love, sexual health, Thriving faculty, UBC Philosophy | Leave a response
By Miranda Massie on February 4, 2014
If you have ever travelled on an airplane, you have heard the phrase, “Place the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others”. It is usually presented to half-interested airline passengers through muffled speakers, but the concept makes sense. We need to ensure that we can breathe, or else we will not be in a position to help to those in need around us. I feel that this idea translates well to love.
February is a month traditionally focused on love, hearts and romance. Rarely do we take the time to understand that in order to give and share these things with others, we must first experience them within ourselves. As a person who spends a lot of my time giving to others, this is an important reminder to look after myself if I am to be the partner, friend, colleague and family member that I want to be for others.
This month, I invite you to be your own valentine. Cherish yourself. Embrace your strengths and forgive your faults. Remind yourself of all of the great things you have to offer yourself and the world.
Putting ourselves first is not selfish but essential to our emotional survival.
10 ways to be your own valentine:
1. Treat yourself
Enjoy a personal indulgence such as a fancy coffee, your favourite TV show, a movie or a bouquet of flowers – GUILT FREE.
2. Write yourself a love letter
Research shows us that practicing personal gratitude can lead to increased levels of happiness – so write a gratitude letter about yourself, to yourself!
3. Have a personal Big Chill moment
Watch the video link to see what I mean. Blast your favourite song and dance around the kitchen.
4. Cuddle with a pet or loved one
Humans crave touch and actually need physical contact with others in order to survive. It has also been shown to reduce stress and negative emotions.
5 Cover your mirror with love
Cover your mirrors with post-its and write positive messages for yourself.
6. Listen to yourself
Trust your gut and trust your heart. Do not shy away from experiencing emotions and or feelings happening in inside your body. We can learn a great deal about ourselves this way.
7. Take a nap
Curl up with comfortable clothes, warm socks and a hot drink. Give yourself time to rest and refresh.
8. Let it go
Show yourself some compassion and release yourself from the shame or self-doubt associated with things that you cannot control. Read an article about self-compassion here.
9. Google pictures that make you smile
10. Channel your inner child
Remember what it was like to run through the park in bare feet until you thought your lungs would explode? Do something silly and fun.
Self-love is the instrument of our preservation. -Voltaire
Happy Valentine’s Day to each of you.
All my best,
Emmons, Robert A., and Michael E. McCullough. Counting Blessings versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-being in Daily Life. Journal of Personality and Psychology 2003, Vol. 84, No. 2, 377-389.
Hertenstein, Matthew J., Verkamp, Julie M., Kerestes, Alyssa M., Holmes, Rachel M. The Communicative Functions of Touch in Humans, Nonhuman Primates, and Rats: A Review and Synthesis of the Empirical Research. Genetic, Social & General Psychology Monographs Feb2006, Vol. 132 Issue 1, p5.
Montagu, A. (1986). Touching; The Human Significance of the Skin. 3rd Ed. New York: Harper & Row.