By Melissa Lafrance on June 4, 2019
Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day to fit in fitness? You aren’t alone. Finding a workout that suits your busy schedule can be challenging, but it’s a crucial step toward achieving your fitness goals. Here’s how one UBC employee managed it.
Andrew’s Challenge: Finding Time and Motivation to be Active
Andrew is a busy working professional and a parent with a long commute. He plays on a community soccer team twice a month, but struggles to find motivation and time to fit more movement into his days. He would like some support in establishing a fitness routine, but can’t afford a personal trainer. He prefers working out in the comfort of his home without having to spend a lot of money on equipment.
How EFAP can help with Andrew’s fitness journey:
Morneau Shepell, UBC’s Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider offers LIFT virtual fitness sessions. These are available on on any mobile device, so Andrew can access support anytime, anywhere. After inputting basic information about his fitness levels and goals, Andrew will receive personalized workout routines for free. He can also chat online with fitness coaches who can answer his fitness, nutrition and recovery questions. For example, Andrew can ask for suggestions on how to be active with his family.
LIFT Sessions are equipment-free and last about 30 minutes. A typical program includes recommended workouts consisting of three sessions per week for six weeks, which can be done at Andrew’s leisure. Participants can work out on their own or under the supervision of an online coach in personal or group sessions. Through the support of live coaches and personalized fitness programs like LIFT Session, employees like Andrew can stay engaged, excited and on track to meet their health and wellbeing goals.
How to access LIFT virtual fitness sessions:
Getting started is easy:
- Visit workhealthlife.com and login using ‘UBC’ as your organization.
- Click on the My Services tab on the navigation bar at the top of the page.
- Scroll down to find the LIFT Session Virtual Fitness section.
- Using the LIFT Session Fitness link provided, sign up, download the app and complete an online fitness assessment to get started.
By Melissa Lafrance on April 2, 2019
Financial concerns can be overwhelming and can leave you feeling worried and powerless. That’s why taking control of your finances is crucial to enhancing and maintaining your financial and overall wellbeing. With the right advice and support, you can learn to be financially responsible, which will help you live well.
Monica’s Challenge: Understanding Finances and Paying Down Debt
Monica is fairly new to the workforce and, like many recent university and college graduates, she has accumulated some debt. She isn’t sure how to manage her income and expenses while paying down her debt, which worries and frustrates her. She wonders if living debt-free is even possible. Monica hopes to learn about finance and debt management so she can pay off her student loan and achieve financial security and wellbeing.
How EFAP can offer financial advice and education:
Morneau Shepell, UBC’s Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider, offers professional financial advice through free confidential consultations over the phone. EFAP financial advisors can answer Monica’s questions and recommend a course of action to help her meet her goals. If Monica needs more specific, personal and/or longer-term financial advice, they can refer her to a financial advisor outside of the EFAP.
Monica can also learn from EFAP’s Online Financial Planning Service, an interactive and personalized financial education and planning program. The three-month program includes an assessment of her current financial situation and a tailored action plan complete with worksheets, calculators and task lists.
When she calls the Care Access Centre at 1-800-387-4765, Monica can book the type of consultation she needs.
Morneau Shepell’s online resource hub offers articles on financial security; topics include debt management, budgeting, investing and retirement planning. (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization to access these articles.)
How to access health coverage through Extended Health benefits:
As a UBC employee, Monica can support her financial and overall health and wellbeing through the UBC Extended Health plan. She can be reimbursed for the cost of many healthcare services, including prescription drugs, paramedical practitioners’ services and vision care. Learn about the many benefits available to UBC’s faculty and staff.
By Melissa Lafrance on March 4, 2019
There’s no better time to think about food and nutrition: March is National Nutrition Month. At UBC, food and nutrition are important priorities of UBC Wellbeing, and your UBC benefits offer many services and programs that can support you (and your eligible dependents) in the shift to healthier eating and living. Read on to learn more about the services available to support a healthy lifestyle.
Whitney’s Challenge: Eating for life
Whitney was recently diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia and prescribed medication to manage her cholesterol levels. She’s hopeful that the medication will help, but wants to learn more about her condition and the proven diet and lifestyle changes that she can make to support her health.
How EFAP can be a health coach and a nutrition support service:
Through Morneau Shepell, UBC’s Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider, Whitney can obtain health advice from expert professionals who can recommend effective ways to manage cholesterol levels. Registered dietitians, naturopaths and health coaches are available to assess eating habits, identify dietary concerns and provide risk-reduction action plans. When she calls the Care Access Centre at 1-800-387-4765, Whitney can book the type of consultation she needs.
Morneau Shepell also offers an online hub of resources with articles to improve and maintain nutritional health, including Keeping your cholesterol in check and Heart Smarts: quick tips to stay heart healthy. (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization to access these articles.)
How to access paramedical coverage through Extended Health benefits:
The UBC Extended Health plan supports employees like Whitney in their continuing health and wellbeing with coverage for a wide range of services from paramedical practitioners (e.g. registered dietitians, naturopaths, etc.) Learn about your coverage for paramedical services.
For more information
Through our Workplace Wellbeing & Benefits website and nutritional health page, you’ll find a variety of health and wellbeing information, resources and healthy recipes to help motivate you to cook more.
You can also visit our online Virtual Health Fair, where you’ll find over 20 screenings, tools and resources to help assess your current wellbeing status and make improvements towards a healthier self.
By Melissa Lafrance on February 5, 2019
Has your physical wellbeing taken a back seat? Whether you have some personal fitness goals or an ailment you should pay attention to, remember that UBC has lots of resources to offer – from extended health benefits to ergonomics. Read on to learn more about the services available to support your physical wellbeing.
Jason’s Challenge: When the path to good physical health becomes a pain
Jason recently decided to start a new training regime to enhance his ability to run a marathon in four months. Since increasing his running schedule to three times a week, Jason has found that the pain in his right calf has returned (the injury was initially brought on by a fall.) The pain is causing him to adjust his daily physical activities. Jason realizes he needs expert advice and treatment to help reduce the pain and prevent further injury.
How to access paramedical coverage through Extended Health benefits:
The UBC Extended Health benefits plan supports employees like Jason in their continuing health and wellbeing. Jason’s benefits include coverage for a wide range of services from paramedical practitioners such as physiotherapists, registered massage therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, podiatrists and more. Learn about your coverage for paramedical services.
How EFAP can be a coach for improving physical health:
Morneau Shepell, UBC’s Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider, can also support Jason’s training. When he calls the Care Access Centre at 1-800-387-4765, Jason can book a health coaching consultation, which can motivate him to make changes to be well and stay well.
Morneau Shepell offers an online hub of resources with articles to improve and maintain physical health (e.g. putting the fun back into fitness, fitness at work, and climbing back on the fitness wagon.) (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization to access these articles.)
How mindfulness can provide focus:
Training the mind is also an important part of any fitness goal. If Jason is looking to strengthen his mental resolve, he can sign up for the 30-Day Online Mindfulness Challenge. Using evidence-based curricula, this mindfulness training, which begins every Monday, can be a simple yet powerful tool in honing mental wellbeing.
Jocelyn’s Dilemma: How to get back to active
Jocelyn has been experiencing increasing back tension and discomfort. It might be caused by a variety of factors, including feelings of anxiety which seems to add to her physical tension and using a new desk and chair in a new office environment. The discomfort has caused her to skip out on her favourite yoga classes, which she knows are beneficial for general physical health. Jocelyn wants to address this appropriately and return to her usual, active self.
How EFAP can help:
To address her feelings of anxiety (but to avoid aggravating her back), Jocelyn could use EFAP’s confidential video counselling service from the comfort of her own apartment. A professional counsellor can provide appropriate strategies and tools to help manage anxiety. If the situation requires specialized care or long-term counselling, Morneau Shepell will find resources that best meet individual needs and budget.
How to access paramedical coverage through Extended Health benefits:
Similar to Jason, Jocelyn can access UBC Extended Health benefits that cover paramedical services like physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture and more. Find out about your coverage for paramedical practitioners.
How ergonomics can help:
UBC Ergonomics can help ensure that the design and arrangement of Jocelyn’s workstation allows for optimal use and prevents the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. She can access an online Ergo Your Office Guide, a tool for setting up a workstation ergonomically, or sign up for an upcoming Ergo workshop or training.
By Melissa Lafrance on January 8, 2019
What does your emotional wellbeing look like in the new year? Whether or not you have some personal objectives in mind, remember that reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. If you need support for your emotional wellbeing this year, or if you’re concerned about a colleague, friend or family member, reach out as early as possible. Your campus community cares, and help is available for you and your dependents.
Melanie’s Dilemma: When family relationships are more rocky than smooth
Melanie just returned from visiting her family. Although she was happy to see her loved ones, she feels emotionally drained after spending time with her younger brother. Since their parents’ divorce, Melanie and her brother have had a sensitive relationship filled with disagreements and confrontations. When they are together, there are tense moments that increase Melanie’s feelings of anxiety and frustration. Melanie really wants to address her emotional wellbeing in the New Year by dealing with the persistent issues between her and her brother in the hopes of improving their relationship.
How EFAP can provide confidential relationship support:
Through the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provided by Morneau Shepell, Melanie can connect with a professional counsellor who specializes in relationship challenges and conflict resolution. She can receive confidential, short-term counselling for a range of relationship issues, including communication and mental health challenges. Because EFAP services are available in a variety of formats, including video counselling and First Chat, Melanie can choose the support service that’s most convenient for her.
To help her communicate better, resolve conflicts and approach the situation with her brother differently, Melanie can access Morneau Shepell’s www.workhealthlife.com online hub for articles on improving family communication and resolving family conflicts. (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization.)
If the situation requires specialized care or long-term counselling, Morneau Shepell will find resources to best meet individual needs and budget.
EFAP could also refer Melanie to a registered psychologist, social worker or clinical counsellor. Through UBC’s Extended Health Plan, Melanie may be reimbursed for 100% of reasonable and customary charges, up to a maximum of $2,500 per year. No doctor’s referral is required to access this service.
Katie’s Challenge: The emotional toll of caring for an ill family member
Katie’s father has been living with her for the past two years. He’s physically capable of caring for himself, but is financially dependent on Katie and her partner. Recently, he was diagnosed with gout and is having difficulty coming to terms with the diagnosis and the diet changes his doctor advised him to follow. Katie would like some advice for herself as a caregiver and also for her father to support him through this diagnosis.
How EFAP can help:
EFAP is available for eligible staff, faculty, retired employees, and their dependents. Dependents include spouses and children, as well as parents that are financially dependent on the employee. Because Katie already enrolled her father in EFAP, they can both access Morneau Shepell’s support services.
For Katie’s father, a counsellor can help him cope with health changes. He can also receive nutrition advice and health-related consultations from naturopathic doctors, registered dietitians and nurses over the phone. As a caregiver, Katie can support her own emotional wellbeing through counselling. Confidential email or e-counselling for psychological support is available, which Katie might find useful since she enjoys writing and journaling.
By Melissa Lafrance on October 23, 2018
Mental health is the capacity to feel, think and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face1. Our ability to live, learn, work and support ourselves and one another at UBC and beyond depends on our mental health and resilience.
Mental health literacy is a key component to enhancing the mental health and resilience of individuals, workplaces, and communities2. Mental health literacy involves understanding when you need assistance and where to go for help as well as knowing how to support yourself and others in challenging times and also proactively. Read further to learn about the resources available to support you.
Rico’s Challenge: When you need to support your mental wellbeing – at work and at home
Rico would like to learn more about work-life integration. He is feeling overwhelmed and often finds himself worrying about work, even when at home where he’s trying to focus on caring for his family and other life demands. He is feeling anxious and worries it’s putting a strain on his personal and professional relationships.
How EFAP and Extended Health Plan coverage can help:
UBC’s Employee & Family Assistance Program provider, Morneau Shepell, offers confidential counselling and consultative services to help you and your dependents find solutions to any challenges, including anxiety, work-life integration and relationships. Their experienced professionals are available 24/7: in-person at various locations across BC, over the phone in multiple languages, via video, or through First Chat.
To book services or to learn which service is right for you, call the Shepell Care Access Centre at 1-800-387-4765 or visit www.worklifehealth.com. (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization.)
Through UBC’s Extended Health Plan, you can access counselling services from a licensed psychologist, registered social worker or registered clinical counsellor and be 100% reimbursed up to a maximum of $2,500 for each person enrolled per benefit year. For more details, refer to your UBC Employee Group.
How HR resources can help:
There is a range of programs and resources available to help improve individual mental health and resiliency, and support UBC workplaces that want to enhance the mental health and wellbeing of its staff and faculty. Visit our Mental Health page for more information.
Lori’s Challenge: When supporting a thriving team and workplace begins with you
Lori supervises a team of employees at UBC and tries her best to set a supportive and respectful atmosphere. Recently, she noticed that Frank has been acting differently. Typically very social, he avoids team gatherings and eats lunch alone. He seems to have lost his sense of humour and appears more tired than usual. Lori has approached him a couple of times to ask how he is doing and he replies, “busy but good”. Lori is growing increasingly concerned for Frank, but doesn’t know how to approach the topic and does not want to offend or upset him.
How HR resources can help Lori respond to and support someone in need:
To help staff and faculty in distress, Lori can use the guidelines contained in the Orange Folder. She can also contact UBC’s Advisory Services for support and access online information specifically for managers. Because Lori likes to take a proactive approach to her manager role, she can consider professional development opportunities in this area, including health and wellbeing workshops and trainings, or free and individualized coaching support.
How can EFAP assist Lori:
UBC’s EFAP provider, Morneau Shepell, offers a range of supports and resources for managers, including manager consultations to help Lori recognize the signs of someone struggling or to refer staff to EFAP counselling support. Manager consultations are designed to offer advice and resources to promote and maintain a healthy working environment while supplementing the information and guidance provided by HR Advisors and/or Associates.
Morneau Shepell delivers support services in a number of ways, including in-person, over the phone and online. Choose the format that works best for you. To book services or to learn which service is right for you, call the Shepell Care Access Centre at 1-800-387-4765 or visit www.worklifehealth.com. (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization.)
- Public Health Agency of Canada, 2014
- Kutcher et al., 2016, p.155; Whitley, Smith, & Vaillancourt, 2012; Whitley & Gooderham, 2016
Photo credit: UBC Communications & Marketing
By Melissa Lafrance on September 11, 2018
A new school year is here and as staff and faculty, we may be experiencing a host of emotions. Some days, we might feel excited and joyful; other days we might be overwhelmed. As we bid farewell to another summer and move into the fall, check out the available resources you can access to better manage stress and build resilience. In this month’s Benefits Spotlight, let’s look at the services and resources available through Workplace Wellbeing & Benefits, UBC’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) and UBC’s Extended Health Benefits Plan that can help you manage stress and build resilience.
Mona’s Challenge: When it’s difficult to bounce forward
Mona is excited to welcome back the fall semester and the many eager students to campus, some of whom will be coming to her for support. Dedicated to her role and to enhancing the student experience, Mona knows that the coming months will be busy and sometimes stressful and overwhelming. This knowledge is causing Mona to feel anxious and wonder if she is prepared to manage her emotions and to handle students who may come to her in distress.
How HR resources can help:
There is a range of programs and resources available to help improve individual mental health and resiliency, and support UBC workplaces that want to enhance the mental health and wellbeing of its staff and faculty. Visit our Mental Health webpage for more information, including:
- Tools and resources for staff and faculty
- Upcoming workshops
- Training programs and on-demand workshops
- Mindfulness and meditation
If you are enrolled in UBC’s Extended Health Plan, you can access counselling services from a licensed psychologist, registered social worker or registered clinical counsellor and be 100% reimbursed up to a maximum of $2,500 for each person per benefit year. For more details, refer to the information applicable to your UBC Employee Group.
Marc’s Challenge: When you want to be a healthy role model for your team
Marc manages a team of employees at UBC. He understands that he plays an important role in creating a positive and healthy working environment. Marc wants to be equipped to respond and support someone in distress and also wants to lead by example by taking a proactive approach to manage his own stress levels.
How HR resources can help:
Marc might want to think about professional development opportunities in this area including Health & Wellbeing Workshops and training programs. Marc can also access free, individualized Coaching support through HR’s Coaching program and access the Orange Insert for ways to help staff and faculty in distress.
How EFAP can help Marc:
UBC’s EFAP provider, Morneau Shepell, offers a range of supports and resources for managers, including manager consultations to help equip Marc to notice when someone is struggling or to refer his staff to counselling through EFAP.
Stress Coach Connects is a free, self-directed, online program. In a quick call to EFAP, Marc could enrol to assess, understand and manage high stress through tracking tools, goal setting, resources, and support from a counsellor via online chat.
Morneau Shepell delivers support services in a number of ways, including in-person, over the phone and through the web. Choose the format that works best for you. To book services or to learn which service is right for you, call the Shepell Care Access Centre at 1-800-387-4765 or visit www.worklifehealth.com. (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization.)
Photo Credit: UBC Communications & Marketing
Posted in Benefits Spotlight, EFAP | Tagged assistance, Benefits, EFAP, faculty, help, manager consultation, managers, Morneau Shepell, staff, stress coach connects, stress management, Support, UBC | Leave a response
By Melissa Lafrance on July 4, 2018
Many of us connect with people on a daily basis – whether at work, school, home or the various points in-between. Some of these connections can develop into relationships, and it’s these important relationships that can both sustain and drain us. In this month’s Benefits Spotlight, let’s look at the wide range of support services available through UBC’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP).
Jordan’s Dilemma: When Opportunity Knocks Too Loudly
Jordan recently joined a new department at UBC and has moved from working in a closed office to a large, shared workspace. He works on very detailed projects that often requires concentration and quiet. Since moving to the new space, he has experienced some challenges in getting his work done on time. Jordan wants to take action, but isn’t sure how to approach his new colleagues or supervisor about this. Jordan doesn’t want to be seen as a problem employee or ungrateful for the new opportunity, but he’s becoming increasingly anxious about his workload.
How EFAP can help:
UBC’s EFAP provider, Morneau Shepell, offers support to resolve any work or life challenges. Their aim is to help employees like Jordan lead a healthy, happy and productive life. From learning how to resolve workplace conflicts to communicating more effectively with colleagues, EFAP is available 24/7 to provide immediate and confidential support. Morneau Shepell delivers support services in a number of ways, including in-person, over the phone and through the web. Choose the format that works best for you. To book services or to learn which service is right for you, call the Shepell Care Access Centre at 1-800-387-4765 or visit www.worklifehealth.com.
Ali’s Dilemma: When Leading a Healthier Lifestyle is Easier Said Than Done
Ali has been told by her family doctor that she has high blood pressure. In addition to medical treatment, she has been advised to live a more active lifestyle and make minor dietary changes in an effort to manage her weight. Ali is uncertain how to safely integrate the right level of fitness activity into her already busy schedule. As well, while Ali has been considering going vegetarian or at least adding some vegetarian meals to her diet, she feels overwhelmed and unsure of how and where to start.
How EFAP can help:
Did you know that you can access EFAP for physical health and wellbeing support? If your story is similar to Ali’s, contact Morneau Shepell for health coaching. You’ll receive support with physical health issues and risk reduction plans. Naturopathic services are also available to those looking for holistic care and advice. If you prefer to take your own initiative, visit the www.workhealthlife.com website to access a wide range of self-directed resources, including helpful articles on health and wellbeing, career and workplace, legalities and finances, life events and more. (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization)
Sidney’s Dilemma: When Self-care is as Important as Eldercare
Sidney is exhausted. Between caring for two young children, managing a service team of 12 at work, and looking after an ailing mother, Sidney has no time for themselves and feels stressed all the time. Eldercare duties are becoming increasingly difficult as their mother is showing early signs of dementia and has fallen twice this month. Sidney is beginning to wonder if it might be time to explore long-term care facilities, or at the very least, some additional support. Sidney struggles with feelings of guilt surrounding this decision and has no clue where to start or who to turn to for support.
How EFAP can help:
At the heart of Morneau Shepell is their professional, confidential counselling services. They recognize that with our aging population, more and more people like Sidney will require support for their eldercare relationships. For professional individual, family or couples counselling related to your particular relationships or dynamics, contact the Shepell Care Access Centre at 1-800-387-4765 or visit www.worklifehealth.com.