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October 29, 2018
3 mins read

Reset with Thrive Week

Your mental health can be a lot like a succulent.

Succulents seem like cute and hardy plants that require little maintenance. You think you can leave them on your windowsill for that touch of aesthetic, and a few weeks of inattention later, you have a shrivelled nub.

The reality is that they need consistent care. I’ve tried, in vain, to revive my houseplants with extra sunlight and water to make up for my neglect. But that’s not how it works—and the same goes for your health.

When it comes to your wellbeing, planning to catch up on your 'watering' can seem like the only option sometimes. The weather, looming deadlines, and life beyond being a student can make this time of year a bit difficult.

I know that when I'm feeling burnt out, I often find myself getting stuck in a feedback loop of feeling guilty when I do take a break. But I'm learning that there are easy and guiltless ways to recharge and be mindful of our health. That’s where Thrive comes in.

UBC’s Thrive Week starts today, which means there’s a week of events and reminders to help you unwind. They’re all related to the “Thrive 5”—the top 5 ways to boost and maintain mental health, based on research.

Check out these events and tips to help you thrive this week and year-round:

1. Get moving

Getting that heart rate up can give you a healthy dose of endorphins to manage stress, improve your mood, and lead to a better night’s rest.

During Thrive Week:

Year-round:

2. Eat good food

A balanced diet doesn’t mean a Red Bull in each hand. Choose foods that don’t just fill you up, but nourish you.

During Thrive Week:

Year-round:

  • Add a handful of spinach to literally anything—make sure you’re getting your greens.

  • Incorporate healthy habits to your daily diet.

3. Spend time with friends

Spend some quality time with your friends. It could be a quick coffee shop catch-up or dinner with your family. Reconnecting with the people that support you can help you stay grounded.

During Thrive Week:

Year-round:

4. Get rest

I’ve learned (the hard way) that quality rest can make a huge difference in focus, memory, and grades.

During Thrive Week:

Year-round:

  • Build a bedtime routine. Disconnect from your screen (as foreign as that is) before you sleep for a better night’s rest.

  • Learn how to pull an all-nighter in the least unhealthy way (and only if you have to!) as well as its impact on your health.

5. Lend a hand

Giving back can do the soul good. Supporting your friends or community can strengthen your sense of purpose—and help you see beyond your immediate challenges.

During Thrive Week:

Year-round:

  • Connect to your community: volunteer at a non-profit through CCEL.

  • Commit to helping your friends (from small errands to moving across the city).

Your succulent is hardy but not invincible. It might be tempting to think that you’re invincible when the going gets tough, but nobody is an exception to the rule that we need to take care of ourselves. Taking a break may seem counterintuitive now, but it'll make a difference on your productivity and health in the long run. 

If you find that you’re struggling with mental health challenges (and there is no problem too small to acknowledge), know that there are resources online, on campus, and in our community to support you.

Thrive may just be a week long, but being mindful of your mental health is lifelong—make the time to take care of yourself.