Get ready to ShakeOut – Thurs 29 October


New Zealand ShakeOut, our national earthquake drill and tsunami hīkoi, is happening on Thursday 28 October at 9.30am.

This is a great opportunity to make sure you’re prepared and know the right actions to take before, during and after an earthquake and tsunami. If you would like to take part, find out how you can get involved here.

If you can’t take part in the national earthquake drill, that’s okay. However, it’s still a good time to check that you’re prepared in case of an earthquake or tsunami. Have a read over this fact sheet to make sure you’d know what to do. Click here>

Be well, be prepared – how to manage stress and take care of your wellbeing

With assignment deadlines and exams coming up fast, you might be feeling a bit stressed and overwhelmed at the moment. That’s not a bad thing – in fact, it’s complelely normal. That’s why it’s important to take some time out to take care of your wellbeing and give yourself a bit of a break. This will help you ace those assessments! 

There are HEAPS of ways to look after yourself, whether it’s through exercising, connecting with friends and whānau, or simply taking some deep breathes.

Check out this new video featuring the Crusaders, the Student Volunteer Army (SVA) and 2021’s Young New Zealander of the Year Jazz Thornton, who all share some practical tips on how you can take charge of your own wellbeing this exam season.

  • Jazz Thornton catches up with UCSA Wellbeing Rep Emma Pickup for a quick coffee break to stay calm during exam time. They talk about some of the cool functions you’ll find on the Mentemia app for a snappy break.
  • The SVA have some great insight on how getting amongst the community and spending some time volunteering is great for mental wellbeing.
  • A few of the Crusaders show us the different ways to get active at the UC RecCentre. They fill us on in how getting moving for a study break supports focus and good mental wellbeing.

Ways to support a friend


Often when a friend tells us about a problem, we try to fix it for them. As Brene Brown states, we try to ‘silver line’ the problem and make it all okay. We often do this because we want to help, and we don’t like seeing the person in pain.

Yet rarely, when we try to solve someone else’s problem does it fix a difficult situation. We don’t know what is best for other people, but we can listen and be there for them. We need to make sure we do not make assumptions about how they feel or try to fix things. Rarely does an empathetic response start with statements like “I know how you feel” or “at least”. We can only know how a person feels when we ask them. What helps is being there for them, and listening to what they need.

When someone wants to tell us about something difficult, it’s best to start by listening and connecting with their feelings. Rather than offering solutions, start by affirming their feelings or asking them how they are feeling. When a friend tells you something difficult, try saying, “I don’t even know what to say right now, but I am so glad you told me”.

Brene Brown’s empathy vs sympathy three min video is one I show to most of my classes. It is also the one video most students remember three years later as it resonates with all of us. We all have had friends who have told us difficult things, and we wondered what we should say.

Take 3 minutes out of your day to watch this clip and remember that supporting a friend is about human connection. It is about supporting them to find solutions that work for them. In difficult times we often just need a friend to be that soundboard.

Tracy Clelland
Lecturer, School of Health Sciences