By Miranda Massie on June 8, 2016
Thriving Campus features, testimonials, contributions and personal experiences linked to health and wellbeing from UBC staff.
First time UBC dads on how they Thrive
This month we are celebrating first time dads at UBC in a special Father’s Day feature. We asked new dads from across campus to share some tips on how they thrive while being parents to some pretty adorable kids!
Ali Mojdehi, Operations Manager in Campus Security
“When you become a parent, you become aware of feelings that you always knew you had but never fully felt them until that moment. Those feelings help me to thrive and develop as a father.”
Eli Puterman, Assistant Professor, School of Kinesiology
“Daily, my husband and I take a long walk with Zev in his stroller along the seawall. Not only are we taking care of our health (I am a health psychologist!), but we get the chance to be together, talk about our dreams, and show Zev every puppy, bird, and tree along the way.”
Jarrad Wiens, Admin and HR Manager, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology
“Try out a few different baby carriers and find one that’s comfortable. Going out with your baby and having your hands free is very liberating. Our friends were shocked to see us out for a drink just a few days after coming home from the hospital, thanks to our trusty carrier.”
Matt Dolf, Director, Strategic Support, Wellbeing at UBC
“I remind myself to be completely present with our daughter when I spend time with her. No phones, no tv, no distracted thoughts… just really focus on her expressions and engage fully in whatever we are doing together.”
On June 19, be sure to say a big thank you in recognition of all of the dads, parents and father figures out there!
By Miranda Massie on May 3, 2016
That being said, I always think it’s a great time to talk about sex, but perhaps that has a lot to do with my background as a community sexual health educator. The reality is that talking openly and honestly about sex and sexuality is hard to do and it can make us uncomfortable. This discomfort has historically led to generations of misinformation, shame and silence.
Everyone, of any age, deserves the right to access accurate and unbiased sexual health information in order to make informed decision about their health. The challenge is often knowing where to find it.
Our newsletter theme this month is health literacy and if there is one area that I think we could all benefit from more well-sourced information, it is sexual health.
A crash course in sexual health information:
Beware of search engines
My advice when it comes to sexual health and Google: just don’t. There is a lot of bad information on the internet, and pulling up a google search makes it difficult to decipher where the information is coming from and what potential biases or ulterior motives might be at play. Learn more about The Dangers of Dr. Google here.
My top 5
A list of the best sites for unbiased and non-judgmental sexual health information are as follow:
- Sexuality and U: Rated one of the top 10 health websites in Canada.
- Options for Sexual Health: Similar to Planned Parenthood, with services available for free to all residents of BC
- Scarleteen: Don’t be fooled by the teen/20’s label: This site has accessible information and advice for all ages.
- Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights: Like the World Health Organization, but for sexual health in Canada. Policy, research, advocacy and information.
- Sex is good for your health: Last year in my S is for SEX article, I outlined the physical, psychological and emotional benefits of being sexually active.
Brush up on the research
UBC has some amazing folks doing some interesting research on sexual health and sexuality:
- Dr. Lori Brotto and the UBC Sexual Health Laboratory
- The UBC Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
- UBC Faculty of Medicine Youth Sexual Health Team
Increasing your sexual health literacy is a learning process, one that includes being both critical and curious. Even as an adult, it is okay to not have all the answers – as long as you keep looking.
Talking about sexual health as a parent can add another layer to a tricky topic, one that can provoke both anxiety and stress. For any parents or guardians out there looking for tips on how to talk about this topic with your kids, consider registering for our upcoming workshop:
All my best,
By Melissa Lafrance on May 3, 2016
UBC’s Health, Wellbeing and Benefits team has a great line up of free activities and events coming your way this spring. Sign up today for programs including Stress Relaxation Techniques, Parenting Tips, Movement, Dr. Thara Vayali’s Three-Week Balanced & Bright Cleanse Series, Ergonomics, CAMMPUS, and plenty more!
Stress Relaxation Techniques – May 5, 2016 @ 12-1pm (Location: Point Grey)
Make time to calm down and reduce stress, using both proactive and reactive relaxation techniques. You will leave this workshop with an understanding of the stress response, discuss the importance of managing stress, and practice stress reducing exercises. For more information and to register, click here.
Move by Design – an Interactive Movement Workshop – May 12, 2016 @ 12-1pm (Location: Point Grey)
With the support and guidance from two chiropractors, you will learn the best ways to move and mobilize your body to maximize results while minimizing risk. For more information and to register, click here.
30 Day Online Mindfulness Challenge Wrap-up Celebration – May 16, 2016 @ 1:30-2pm (Location: Point Grey)
This session is an opportunity to celebrate all the people at UBC who participated in the 30 Day Online Mindfulness Challenge in February and March. Please join us in celebrating your success! For more information and to register, click here.
Parenting Tips: How to talk to your kids about sexual health – May 18, 2016 @ 12-1pm (Location: Point Grey)
Parents of children pre-school age and up will learn how to speak with your children about body science and sexual health, and get answers to many of the questions that children can ask about this sometimes awkward subject.
Join UBC HR’s very own Health Promotion Coordinator Miranda Massie, a Certified Sexual Health Educator, and arm yourself with knowledge, age-appropriate information and fantastic resources! For more information and to register, click here.
Ergo Your Office – May 25, 2016 @ 12-1pm (Location: Point Grey)
Optimize your computer work environment to improve comfort and reduce the risk of injury. This one-hour tutorial combines a presentation and a practical session, giving you hands-on experience adjusting typical office equipment. By the end of the tutorial you will know how to set up your chair, keyboard/mouse and monitor to promote neutral working postures. For more information and to register, click here.
Balanced & Bright Cleanse: A 3-Week Naturopathic Life & Diet Plan – June 2, 9, & 16, 2016 @ 12-1pm (Location: Point Grey)
Join Naturopathic Doctor, Yoga Teacher, UBC alumna, and Healthy UBC Newsletter contributor Dr. Thara Vayali to kick-start your cleanse in a three-part Cleanse Series this June.
Small changes over time make a big difference. Mindfulness, eating, and movement goals, supported with health education, discussion, and community. The cost is $10 to attend all three Thursday classes. For more information and to register, click here.
Are You Heart Healthy? Say Yes with CAMMPUS, and Attend an Info Session to Learn More! Available until September 30, 2016
Info Sessions: May 31 & June 22, 2016 @ 12-1pm (Location: Point Grey)
Join us to learn about participating in a unique project called CAMMPUS (Cardiovascular Assessment and Medication Management by Pharmacists at the UBC Site).
CAMMPUS offers UBC faculty and staff a free 30-minute assessment with a registered pharmacist (or student under pharmacist supervision) from the UBC Pharmacists Clinic. During the assessment, you will find out your current level of heart health and what steps you can take to keep your cardiovascular system healthy.
Want to learn more about CAMMPUS? Attend an information session! For more information and to register, click here.
Coming up later in June…
QPR Suicide Prevention Training – June 28, 2016 (Point Grey)
Posted in Events, Healthy UBC Initiatives | Tagged activities, CAMMPUS, courses, Ergonomics, events, free, healthy UBC Initiatives, Heart health, Mindfulness, movement, Parenting, sex ed., sexual health, Stress | 2 Responses
By Melissa Lafrance on May 3, 2016
This month’s special Mother’s Day Thriving Campus feature is Kelly Eaton, Program Lead for Occupational and Preventive Health in Human Resources.
Thriving Campus features, testimonials, contributions and personal experiences linked to health and wellbeing from UBC staff.
When I was 25, a psychic told me I would have twins – a boy and a girl – which caused me to question her authenticity since I had never planned on having children. So on a recent trip to visit my sister in New York, when a shifty palm-reader told me the exact same thing, I chuckled and explained to her that I didn’t plan on having any more children. My husband and I are guardians to two children, a boy and a girl, who came to live with us five years ago when their mother was struggling to care for them on her own. The palm-reader looked at me with certainty and explained in her (fake?) accent, “Exactly, you got two at once, just like twins. It is fate.”
Our family is unconventional. The kids call me Auntie, not Mom. We share custody with their biological mother. We skipped the baby and toddler stages of parenthood and became insta-parents overnight of a four-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy. Five years later, I can say with confidence that moms – in all forms – have no idea what the heck we are doing most of the time.
Parenting Lessons Learned:
- Do not nap unless children are supervised. Waking up to black permanent sharpie all over white kitchen cabinets and upholstered furniture because your four-year-old wanted to “make art” is avoidable. Use rigorous A Clockwork Orange-style eyelid propping.
- When children are supervised, nap. Sometimes sleep is the most exciting part of my day.
- Kids like to say “I know” a lot. Do not be fooled by this – they don’t know. When Elijah was seven, he told me he already knew where babies came from. Luckily I asked him to confirm his knowledge and was able to correct him when he whispered with quiet confidence, “from the bum”.
- Just when you think you have this parenting thing figured out, they will change their ways and pretend they’ve always liked broccoli or they never liked the colour pink, or that you never told them that shampoo was for hair washing and shaving cream was for adults (not for hair washing).
- Refer to #2.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a mother Auntie?
- When they make me laugh.
- When I witness them experiencing new things for the first time, like exploring a new city during our travels or eating a spoonful of wasabi on a dare.
- When I get letters like this for Mother’s Day:
By Colin Hearne on May 5, 2015
Stress is healthy, to a point. When faced with a perceived threat, the brain (specifically, the amygdala) alerts our bodies, causing hearts to pound, hands to sweat, and adrenal hormones to spike, prompting us to react. The operative word here is perceived. These days, the odds of being mauled by a sabre-tooth tiger may be nonexistent, yet the body doesn’t know that. It responds exactly the same way every time it gets the message, regardless of the trigger. This is when stress can become problematic.
Children and the Stress of Parenting
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), being a parent can be “one of life’s most joyful and rewarding experiences” but they also admit that it can be one of the most stressful things you ever do too – leading that little-almond shaped amygdala into thinking that sabre-tooth tigers are everywhere, all the time! But fear not, help is always available – the key is awareness and adopting stress –reduced parenting mechanisms.
Steps To Stress-Free Parenting
Recognize the Symptoms of Stress: Stress becomes a problem when you feel overwhelmed by the things that happen to you. You may feel “stressed out” when it seems there is too much to deal with all at once, and you are not sure how to handle it all. When you feel stressed, you usually have some physical symptoms. You can feel tired, get headaches, stomach upset or backache, clench your jaw or grind your teeth, develop skin rashes, have recurring colds or flu, have muscle spasms or nervous twitches, or have problems sleeping. Mental signs of stress include feeling pressured, having difficulty concentrating, being forgetful and having trouble making decisions. Emotional signs include feeling angry, frustrated, tense, anxious, or more aggressive than usual.
Cope: Coping with the stress of parenting starts with understanding what makes you feel stressed, learning to recognize the symptoms of too much stress, and learning some new ways of handling life’s problems. You may not always be able to tell exactly what is causing your emotional tension, but it is important to remind yourself that it is not your children’s fault. We all have reactions to life’s events which are based on our own personal histories. For the most part, we never completely understand the deep-down causes of all our feelings. What we must realize is that our feelings of stress come from inside ourselves and that we can learn to keep our stress reactions under control.
10 Tips to Help
- Make time for yourself and (your partner)– Reserve time each week for your own activities.
- Take care of your health with a good diet and regular exercise – Parents need a lot of energy to look after children of any age.
- Avoid fatigue- Go to bed earlier and take short naps when you can.
- Take a break from looking after the children – Help keep stress from building up. Ask for help from friends or relatives to take care of the children for a while. Exchange babysitting services with a neighbour, or hire a teenager, even for a short time once a week to get some time for yourself.
- Look for community programs for parents and children –They offer activities that are fun, other parents to talk with, and some even have babysitting.
- Talk to someone – Sharing your worries is a great stress reducer!
- Take a course – Look for parenting courses and groups in your community.
- Learn some ways of unwinding to manage the tension – Simple daily stretching exercises help relieve muscle tension. Vigorous walking, aerobics or sports are excellent ways for some people to unwind and work off tension; others find deep-breathing exercises are a fast, easy and effective way to control physical and mental tension.
- If you’re feeling pressured, tense or drawn out at the end of a busy day, say so – Tell your children calmly that you will be happy to give them some attention soon but first you need a short “quiet time” so that you can relax.
- Practice time management – Set aside time to spend with the children, time for yourself, and time for your spouse and/or friends. Learn to say “no” to requests that interfere with these important times. Cut down on outside activities that cause the family to feel rushed.
How UBC can help:
Through UBC’s Employee and Family Assistance Program provider, Shepell, you and your enrolled dependents have access to many services to assist you in your journey as a parent. Such services are:
1. Parenting Articles
With topics such as:
- Positively a parent: embracing the ups and downs of parenthood
- Parenting: What Does the Job Take?
- Your relationship with your children: friendship or friendly?
2. Family Support and Parental Advisory Service
Family Support consultants can provide information on topics such as:
- Parenting classes
- Schools, educational services and special needs programs
- Expectant and new parenting
3. Professional Counselling
At the heart of your EFAP is the professional counselling service. Caring professionals are dedicated to supporting you through the issues that may be impacting your life, including the stress of being a parent.
Accessing your EFAP
Get on the path to better health, and keep all sabre-tooth tiger thoughts at bay, by calling your Employee and Family Assistance Program provider, Shepell, at1-800-387-4765 or, for online information and resources, log on to www.workhealthlife.com
Confidential EFAP Services are available to you and your family members as part of your EFAP. There is no cost to use the service.
If you have any questions about EFAP, contact Colin Hearne, Health & Wellbeing Associate, at 604-827-3047 or email@example.com.
By Colin Hearne on February 4, 2014
This month, UBC’s Health, Wellbeing and Benefits team has a great line up of sessions focused on a wide variety of topics from suicide prevention training to parenting skills and time management. Join us and take a few moments to build new skills, boost your health and to reflect on how you face the day. (Courses are at the Point Grey campus unless otherwise indicated)
QPR Gatekeeper Training: February 11th@ 9am-11am
QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer – Three simple steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as people are trained in CPR and the Heimlich Manoeuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide, and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. At this seminar you will learn how to get help for yourself or learn more about preventing suicide, the common causes of suicidal behavior, the warning signs of suicide, how to Question, Persuade and Refer someone who may be suicidal, how to get help for someone in crisis, and gain familiarity with referral resources both on and off campus. For more information or to register, click here.
Time is a precious resource. Once it is used up, we can never get it back. We’ve all heard the phrase “time equals money”; in a work setting this can sometimes literally be the case. We require balance in our lives so that we meet both our job requirements and our personal needs. How can we manage our time at work so that we are satisfied and successful? This session will explore some answers to these questions. For more information or to register, click here.
The prospect of talking to your children about sex and sexual health can be a difficult one, often made more challenging by personal discomfort, lack of education or shame. This conversation does not have to be feared or avoided. Why not arm yourself with knowledge, age-appropriate information and fantastic resources? At this session, you will learn how to speak to your children about comprehensive body science and sexual health information and how to start and continue this lifelong discussion. You will also take away a helpful formula for answering questions and learn about some fantastic resources for both parents and for children of any age. Help provide your children with the tools to keep themselves safe and to make healthy and informed decisions. For more information or to register, click here.
This year, UBC’s Travelling Health Fair will focus on cardiovascular risk and heart. As part of the fair, participants will receive the following services: Blood pressure measurement; Body Mass Index (BMI – height & weight) and waist measurement; Cholesterol measurement (a small finger prick); Calculation of heart disease risk (Framingham score); Counselling and interpretation of results; and Recommendations to optimize your heart health. Services will be provided by licensed pharmacists and pharmacy students from the Pharmacists Clinic at the UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Please note the specific locations and dates as the Fair takes place at both the Point Grey and Hospital locations. For more information or to register, click here.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an evidence-based educational program that reduces stress, cultivates physical and mental health, and promotes balance and well-being. Mindfulness is a basic human quality, a way of learning how to pay wise attention to what is happening in your life. The practice of mindfulness reduces reactivity and promotes greater connection inwardly and outwardly. MBSR@Work specifically focuses on integrating the practice of mindfulness in the workplace to promote effectiveness, teamwork, and communication. The Mindfulness@Work Six-Week Program begins May, 2014, at UBC. Attendance at this orientation is mandatory to register for the Six-week program. Click here for more information and to register.
Take a time-out from work for your mental and physical health! Join your campus colleagues for a lunch -hour walk on Mondays and Fridays. Monday’s group leaves at 12:30 p.m., while Friday’s leaves at 12:10 p.m. outside the General Services Administration Building (GSAB). All abilities welcome. For more information, call 604-827-3047, email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here.
Join the UBC Meditation Community, which holds weekly sessions from September through May. Click here for more information.
Posted in Colin Hearne, EFAP, Events, Mental Health, Physical Health | Tagged Mindfulness, Parenting, parenting tips, QPR, sexual health, Suicide prevention, time management, Travelling Health Fair | Leave a response