By Melissa Lafrance on February 5, 2019
This month, we feature Associate Professor Lesley Lutes, Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychology at UBC Okanagan. She recently spoke at the Mind of Mine Mental Health Forum hosted by UBCO for Bell Let’s Talk Day. Learn how she finds time to manage all the different hats she wears and still help change how people see healthcare, whether it is mental health or physical health.
What are the central challenges you face in your role as faculty?
One word: time. As a faculty member, our roles are to excel in teaching, research and service…I take all of my roles very seriously – from getting my doctoral program accredited, to running long-term randomized studies on weight loss, depression and diabetes here in Canada and the US, to mentoring and advocating for undergraduate and graduate students, to supporting my faculty members. I try to give it my all. That results in sometimes not really having enough time to do it all.
How do you manage these challenges to your time?
I try to give 100% of my attention to the task at hand, so that at least I give what I am doing my full focus.
In your role as faculty, can you describe your experience balancing work-life commitments?
I have come to realize, appreciate and embrace – even celebrate – the idea that I can’t do it all. As a faculty member, wife and mother of two young children, I have multiple things in my life that command time, attention and effort. Therefore, I do several things.
First, I enlist help – and lots of it! For example […] I hire a young woman three afternoons a week to help clean up, do dishes and prepare a meal so that when we get home, there is a clean house with dinner on the table and a wonderful person there to greet us! This way, I can focus more on being with my kids and husband when I am at home.
Second, I do self-care/down time – it is a must! I am less efficient, more stressed out and exhausted when I am not exercising, sleeping well or eating well. So, I make sure to attend a fitness class on the weekend, book a regular massage and watch at least one romantic comedy a week!
Third, I minimize distractions. I am not on any form of social media. I signed off about eight years ago and have not regretted it. Research has consistently shown that in addition to losing many hours of time, increased social media use is linked to higher rates of depression, anxiety and lower subjective wellbeing.
Also, I took email off my phone about six months ago and it has been wonderful! Don’t get me wrong, I am on email A LOT. However, I have to be intentional about it. […] If there are urgent issues/emergencies, my graduate students and faculty have my cell phone number. That is very different than always being connected. I think this has made me more efficient [and] not mentally cluttered with the constant onslaught of emails/requests/to-dos.
Are there any specific initiatives and/or research you are involved in that promote health, mental health and wellbeing?
As a clinical health psychologist, my research focuses on physical health, mental health and wellbeing – which I love! For example, we just finished a three-year clinical trial in North Carolina (where I worked for eight years before coming back to Canada in 2015). We looked at 140 patients in primary care that had both diabetes and clinical depression. Instead of treating the diabetes, we focused on treating their depression with a behavioural health consultant embedded in the primary care practice. […] After just 16 visits (across 12 months), they decreased their HbA1c (or ninety-day average blood sugar) by almost one point – a 20% reduction! We are currently working on a grant proposal to test a larger-scale dissemination of this integrated care approach.
Can you tell us about the new Walk-in Wellbeing Clinic that opened at UBC Okanagan last fall?
[It’s] like a walk-in medical clinic…a same day service, no appointment necessary, no referral needed, free clinic where you can get support. [It’s] open to UBC students, staff and faculty on campus, but also to the greater Okanagan community.
We initially did a five-week, unfunded pilot that coincided with Thrive Week. In five Thursdays, we saw 48 patients from UBC and the greater community. We addressed things like stress, anxiety, depression, work-life balance, conflict resolution, substance use, homelessness and grief. […] Each patient worked with a graduate student in clinical psychology and registered psychologist in a 30 to 45-minute appointment to discuss current symptoms and challenges, and to develop an active, evidence-based plan to improve their health and wellbeing.
What actions did you take after the pilot?
I worked with my department and dean to discuss the importance of keeping [the clinic] going for 2019. I also met with two private donors about funding our clinic and now have grant proposals under review.
Moreover, I have been incredibly appreciative of the support by UBC administration, particularly Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Principal Dr. Deborah Buszard, who immediately wanted to know more about the clinic, see a proposal, and had me meet with senior leadership regarding what we would need to make this clinic a permanent offering on campus.
We hear you are also working on trying to expand daycare spaces at UBCO?
We are currently working on a partnership grant between UBC and the not-for-profit daycare operating on the campus, encouraging the BC Government to expand the daycare. As a mother who had to delay starting my position here because of the lack of daycare available, and as the vice-president of the daycare board where we are seeing a three-year waitlist for spots, we needed to do something. […] This $1 million-dollar grant would increase the infant-toddler spaces – the most urgently needed and in-demand – by 60% percent.
We don’t know how you do it all!
People often say that to me! I say to them – I don’t! I have amazing administrative staff at the university, a supportive and patient husband at home, and the blessing of all of my family in the Okanagan.
People deserve to have barrier-free access to mental health services. People deserve to have excellent childcare. I almost never make cookies, and truthfully, my husband does most of the shopping. But I can support great students, faculty and important initiatives. That makes me thrive everyday: it propels me, inspires me and fulfills me.
I say find what inspires you and go do it – and take care of your healthcare!
The Thrive Walk-in Wellbeing Clinic at UBCO is open every Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in ASC 168. No appointment necessary. For more information, call the clinic at 1-250-807-8241.
Posted in Guest Contributor, Thriving Faculty | Tagged academia, higher education, innovation, Lesley Lutes, mental health, Research, self-care, thrive, Thriving faculty, time management, UBC, UBCO, wellbeing | 1 Response
By Miranda Massie on September 13, 2016
September is a hectic time of year, which can make it challenging to stay active. Competing demands on our time, financial obligations and fatigue are among some of the reasons that contribute to a decline in our fitness habits.
Here are some ideas for fitting a little fitness into your day, without breaking the bank, as you kick off the new school year:
Week 1: Take advantage of Free Week!
Try out as many classes as you want on campus from both UBC Recreation (Sept. 12-18) and Bodyworks Fitness centre (Sept. 6-17) totally free. Provides a great opportunity to try new classes while exploring different campus fitness locations.
Week 2: Try active commuting
People who commute to work and school by bus, bike, or foot tend to be more active in their day, and have more positive lifestyle attributes [Source]. Look for opportunities to build more walking into your day. Park on the top level of the parkade, get off the bus 1-2 stops early, or cycle to your meeting across campus. Or try taking the stairs to your classroom or office.
Week 3: Access corporate discounts
UBC has a wide variety of corporate health and fitness discount partners to help you fit in your fitness without taking too much out of your wallet. Be sure to check back as the list is updated and expanded regularly.
Week 4: Book time with a workout buddy
Scheduling your active time with a buddy is a great way to stay accountable to yourself and your health and fitness goals. Join a running group, sign up for a class with a friend, or share your goals with someone who will provide encouragement and support.
Check out these workouts for two:
By Melissa Lafrance on April 5, 2016
Thriving Faculty is a monthly column that highlights UBC faculty who exemplify the integration of health and wellbeing into their classrooms, research, departments and communities.
What are central challenges you face in your role as Faculty?
Oh my gosh, there are so many! Probably the main challenge involves time-management. There are always a million exciting projects to pursue, too many to do in one lifetime, and at any given time my students and I are pursuing dozens of these. Moreover, in addition to these research projects I have classes to teach, committee memberships, journal editorial responsibilities, grants to apply for, media interviews to give, and on and on. And of course there is also life outside of work, things like family, hobbies, sleep and eating! In short, the sheer quantity of activities and responsibilities can be overwhelming. This challenge requires some combination of a) time-management skills and b) acceptance that one will always be behind on multiple things. At the same time, the sheer quantity of projects and activities keeps work fresh and exciting.
Do you implement any strategies to support student mental health and wellbeing in the classroom/lab?
I think it is important that my students feel listened to, understood, and supported, and I try to convey that in my everyday interactions with students. I also try to create a lab characterized by enthusiasm, authenticity, and collaboration. The idea is to make day-to-day life in the lab fun and exciting more than stressful and pressured, and for students to learn that they can come to me for guidance or advice when they need it. Sure, stress and anxiety and even rejection are part of graduate school and part of the research enterprise. But we get into this field (psychological science) because it is exciting to produce new knowledge and exciting learn how to better understand and help people.
What strategies do you use in your own life, that help you thrive as Faculty?
My first rule, which I recently heard echoed by another researcher in the U.S., is to be nice. Being nice is one of the few things we can control. We all have weaknesses; for example, I am poorly organized and always fall behind on my email (as I type this I have 153 messages in my inbox requiring action or replies). Often, despite my best efforts, I fall behind on deadlines or do not give timely email replies to others. So the least I can do is be nice to others; that is something within my control and abilities. Life is more pleasant when we are all nice to each other. Another strategy I use is to make sure I have time for my hobbies, which includes my weekly doses of exercise. In my case I enjoy various martial arts, both as a student and as an expert in the role of psychology in martial arts competition. I try to train three or four times per week, and try to never allow myself to train less than two times in a given week, because after I train I feel happier and less stressed. Life can get very busy, and has gotten even busier since the birth of my first kid, but making time for hobbies and exercise seems to be a key for my own mental health.
Are there any specific initiatives and/or research you are involved in that promote health, mental health and wellbeing?
I study suicide, including why people feel suicidal and why some who feel suicidal go on to attempt suicide. More about my research can be found at my lab website: www.PEBL.org. I also am a member of the UBC suicide awareness committee, which helps to provide education and resources to the UBC community regarding suicide prevention (such as http://thrive.ubc.ca/prevent-suicide).
In your role as faculty, please describe your experience balancing work-life commitments? Is there a metaphor that depicts this relationship?
Hmm, a metaphor. Well, I think we often feel that we have to juggle everything, and that if we have 27 balls in the air it is absolutely essential to not drop any of them, or else! Instead, what I have learned is to have some acceptance that balls will get dropped, and that these can be picked back up again if important to me, and that this is the rule, not the exception. I will never successfully juggle everything. So I focus on the balls most important to me and frequently let other important ones drop, sometimes for good, or sometimes just temporarily until I pick them back up again. And I accept that if I am doing my best to not drop the most important balls, and doing my best to be nice to everyone along the way, things will work out.
E. David Klonsky, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at UBC. His research examines motivations for and causes of suicide and self-injury, and he recently developed the Three-Step Theory (3ST) of suicide. He is Associate Editor of Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, Past-President of the International Society for the Study of Self-injury, and he has advised numerous agencies regarding suicide/self-injury diagnosis and prevention, including the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-5) and both US and Canadian Government agencies. Dr. Klonsky has more than 70 publications on suicide, self-injury, and related topics, and has been recognized by awards from the American Association of Suicidology, Association for Psychological Science, and Society of Clinical Psychology (American Psychological Association).
By Colin Hearne on December 4, 2014
This month features Cheyenne Parizeau, Business Operations Coordinator at UBC‘s Robson Square location.
Welcome to Thriving Campus – a new addition to our Healthy UBC Newsletter featuring, testimonials, contributions and personal experiences from UBC staff, faculty and students.
What strategies do you use in your personal life to help you thrive?
There are some days when I look at the day’s schedule – kids, mine, work, hubby’s, volunteering – and wonder how it can all possibly get done. We have a great number of activities that take us all over the city, all in the name of health and happiness. It can be a balancing act, and important for me to recognize when it tips into “over-scheduling”. There is no way that I can do it all – I’ve tried. I have learned that it isn’t healthy to live under the stress of getting to soccer and Brownies at the same time, nor is it even necessary.
I am extremely fortunate to have a tremendous community of friends and family who I can call on for assistance. Organization and reciprocal pickups/playdates have become a cornerstone of my life. In addition to attending to the details of our daily lives, it is even more important to find the time to simply ‘be present’ with my two growing daughters. Already eight and eleven, my eldest reminded me yesterday that it will only be five years until she gets her driver’s license. That is less than half the time I’ve known her, and far too soon in my mind! A nightly check-in has been very valuable in our relationship, and something we have come to rely on. Without outside distractions – iPhones, TVs, siblings… – that relatively small amount of time spent is precious to me.
Finally, ‘me’ time – ironically last on the list. Whether spending time with my monthly moms’ group, who have been an invaluable source of support and inspiration, or a date night with my husband, it is a time to relax, laugh and revive. Exercise, probably the easiest thing to excuse away, is so important in maintaining my serenity and sanity. As I write this, it seems to me that I thrive by celebrating all I have to be grateful for, living with intention, and my network of generous family and friends.
What strategies do you use in your work life to help you thrive?
UBC Robson Square is an extremely dynamic and diverse department and campus. We balance any number of events and activities along with our partners’ classes and have fine-tuned it over the years to a well-run machine. Because each day can present new projects, it can be challenging to complete that (sometimes rather long) to-do list I’ve put together. In order to thrive at Robson, I have drawn upon flexibility and able to work effectively through constant change. A learned ability to get back on task, go with the flow, ask for assistance, and maybe have a laugh along the way has helped me considerably. I am extremely fortunate to work with my colleagues at Robson.
We have a talented and amazing group of people here who are supportive and encourage self-improvement, whether through professional development, sage advice, or going on much-needed caffeine runs. Understanding and embracing my purpose at Robson has also contributed to my confidence and efficiency. Humour, flexibility and an ever-changing project list have been key to my ability to thrive within the UBC Robson Square environment. Working with an incredible crew is icing on the cupcake!
As Business Operations Coordinator, Cheyenne Parizeau is responsible for facility management, human resources as well as health and wellness initiatives at UBC Robson Square. UBC Robson Square hosts over 40,000 participants annually who attend adult educational programs, meetings, conferences and public seminars.
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
By Colin Hearne on December 3, 2013
This month, UBC’s Health, Wellbeing and Benefits team has a great line up of sessions aimed at managing time and promoting stress reduction. Join us and take a few moments to build new skills, boost your health and to reflect on how you face the day.
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 business setting this can sometimes 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. Click here to register.
When stressors overwhelm us, we need effective stress management techniques to bring us back to equilibrium. This session explores all aspects of the stress response, focusing on practical tips and tools to bring us to optimal stress levels, helping us to maximize our energy and performance. Click here to register.
Today’s life is fast-paced, with less time just to de-stress. Greater pressure is being put on all of us to do more. The result is that many of us have lost the ability to sit still and simply be with ourselves. This session will help you explore your personal stress triggers and review some practical and easy techniques to make brief relaxation moments a part of your everyday life. Click here to register.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is an evidence-based educational program that reduces stress, cultivates physical and mental health and promotes balance and well-being. MBSR@Work specifically focuses on integrating the practice of mindfulness in the workplace to promote effectiveness, teamwork, and communication. Join Health and Wellness Specialist Geoffrey Soloway and explore how you can adopt mindfulness in the workplace. Click here 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, email email@example.com or click here.
The rest in meditation is deeper than the deepest sleep that you can ever have. When the mind becomes free from agitation, and is calm, serene and at peace, meditation happens. Join the UBC Meditation Community, which holds weekly sessions from September through May. Click here for more information.