May 12, 2020

Build your mental health toolkit with UCalgary experts over the summer

Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning and the Campus Mental Health Strategy launch Summer Wellness Series May 19

As we begin to ease into the spring semester, it’s clear that life is still not the usual. The short-term COVID-19 response has begun to shift into a long view of how the coming months and years may look. Starting May 19, the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning and the Campus Mental Health Strategy are presenting the Summer Wellness Series, which will offer important mental health tools for the UCalgary community to build resilience and self-compassion on our path forward.

The monthly four-part series of webinars will feature a range of mental health experts at UCalgary who will cover self-care, resilience, emotional wellness and mindfulness. The first two facilitators shared some of their thoughts with us leading up to the series launch.

Self-care and crisis response during COVID-19

Dr. Glory Ovie, PhD, (pictured above, left) has a wealth of knowledge to offer when it comes to crisis management in higher education. Her doctoral research in the Werklund School of Education focused on how post-secondary leaders responded to different types of crises with emphasis on floods, fires and students’ murders. Her background has been extremely helpful while considering how COVID-19 will affect us now, and in the long term, which is why she champions self-care — a deliberate action taken in order to enhance our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health.

“In an airplane, you are asked to put on your oxygen mask first before helping others. Why? Not because you are selfish, but you need to be alive and stable to provide support for others,” she says. “Be intentional and aware of what your self-care needs are. Start with small steps if you are not used to practising self-care. Finally, approach self-care from the perspective of what works for you.”

In her webinar on May 19, you will hear from Ovie about different strategies for self-care and she will guide you through the process of developing a personalized self-care plan.

Join Glory Ovie’s webinar on May 19, 10:30 a.m. Register here

Resilience during COVID-19 and beyond

For Dr. Jennifer Thannhauser, PhD, (pictured above, right) associate director (counselling) with Student Wellness Services, resilience is a key factor for staying healthy. Resilience includes communities providing the necessary resources for its members to adapt to the changing circumstances,” she says. “It also includes individuals’ ability to draw on healthy coping skills, strategies, and perspectives as they respond to the challenges they are facing.”

Just like it’s never too late to start developing physical fitness, it is never too late to enhance our resilience. The first step, says Thannhauser, is to “recognize that we are all resilient in some way. Inevitably, we’ve encountered change and challenge in the past which we’ve had to navigate. It can be helpful to reflect back on these difficult times to remind ourselves of the people, resources, perspectives, and skills that played a positive role in navigating through the experience.”

Her webinar will provide intentional time for participants to reflect on their own resilience and develop strategies to enhance their resilience.

Join Jennifer Thannhauser’s webinar on June 23, 10:30 a.m. Register here

Learn more about the Summer Wellness Series, open to UCalgary faculty, students and staff, running May 19 to August 11.

At UCalgary we continue to offer mental health support for students, faculty and staff with remote services. If you are experiencing significant stress related to your mental health during COVID-19, seek support — visit our Mental Health During COVID-19 web page for a list of resources and supports.