Emotional wellness and mindfulness sessions close out Summer Wellness Series | News
Building Resilience and Compassion are key components of the Summer Wellness Series presented by the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning and Campus Mental Health Strategy. Whether members of our campus community are aiming for a return to campus planning, the fall semester, or keeping working from home, coping strategies and tools for our mental health are still essential to cultivating and practicing.
The series continues this month with Emotional Wellbeing and August with Mindfulness. Learn more below and register here.
Emotional Wellbeing: Learning to pay attention to positive and negative feelings
Dr. Jacqueline Smith, PhD (Assistant Professor, School of Nursing and Director of Mental Health and Wellbeing) is officially an empty nest – her youngest has just left college. Instead of going back to work, she decided to take a break and take care of her own emotional wellbeing.
“I admit that in the past I would run away from sad feelings. Now, on a day like today, I allow myself a day off and time to think: What do I need to take care of myself? “
Smith’s upcoming webinar will focus on this very issue and explore principles of emotional wellbeing.
Emotional wellbeing is about realizing the emotional ups and downs of life with an understanding that it is normal that we are not always happy and full of energy. It is important to consider the number of days lost. Take time to think: “I’m a little sad today and that’s fine.”
“With COVID-19, most of our emotional struggles were directly related to stress (fear of the unknown, separation from family, sudden changes in activities, lack of human contact, lack of choice, or worrying about other people). Emotional wellbeing is about paying attention and recognizing these feelings. I like the acronym HALT – often my feelings are related to feeling hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. “
Smith advocates “using targeted self-care practices to cope with the emotional waves of everyday life.
“It is important for me to stick to what I am familiar with. Puppy games, stretching, sports, gardening, wellness check-ins with my family and my CALM app are what I already know as work for my stress management. “
In her webinar on July 21, you will hear how Smith identifies principles related to emotional wellbeing, shares four practices to aid emotional regulation, and explains how neuroplasticity helps build emotional wellbeing at any age.
Join Jacqueline Smith’s webinar on July 21st at 10:30 am. Register here.
Mindfulness as a coping strategy in times of crisis
Mindfulness plays an important role in the life of Dr. Linda Carlson, PhD. Carlson, professor at the Cumming School of Medicine and co-author of The Art and Science of Mindfulness, discovered the practice in graduate school and continues to use it today – from 22 years of adapting mindfulness-based interventions in cancer patients to applying the practice to solving questions dealing with your children about freedom and control.
“Mindfulness is about presently focused awareness with an attitude that is kind, accepting, and non-judgmental,” explains Carlson. “Mindfulness practice is a planned period of time in which we occupy ourselves with the thoughts and try to understand our relationship, how these thoughts can feed or intensify various fears or worries. Over time, we can develop skills to deal with these thoughts differently. “
Carlson explains how mindfulness can be used as a coping strategy in times of crisis. “There is so much going on in the outside world which is worrying and we really have very little control over it. Our minds often worry about the future (or think about the past) – things that we, for the most part, cannot control. By focusing on the present moment in the here and now, we can focus on what we can control. ”
In their August 11 webinar, Carlson will provide attendees with an introductory understanding of mindfulness – its roots, definitions, and benefits. She will also talk about practical skills, as well as online resources and apps, that can be used to increase awareness of the present moment in order to build resilience, compassion, and empathy.
Join Linda Carlson’s webinar on August 11th at 10:30 am. Register here.
Previous topics covered in the Summer Wellness Series webinars include self-care in a time of crisis and tools for resilience. These webinars can be viewed here. Viewers can learn strategies from UCalgary experts to improve resilience and develop a self-care plan.
If I take the time to review these skills and reflect on my personal well-being in order to respond to the current challenges in my life, I can maintain my sanity. It can be easy to neglect our inner thoughts when things are busy, but having these webinars as dedicated time for self-care has been very useful.
– Chelsie Hart, PhD student at the Department of Psychology
At UCalgary, we continue to provide mental health support for students, faculties, and employees with remote services. If you are experiencing significant mental health-related stress during COVID-19, seek support. For a list of resources and supports, please visit our Mental Health During COVID-19 website.