Tag Archives: Wellness

Breathe Well to Be Well

We all breathe, but the big question is,  ARE we breathing well, and what IS breathing well?

Breathing well can increase oxygen intake, calm the body and mind, reduce feelings of stress and anxiousness, and reduce heart rate and blood pressure. Calm breathing prevents excessive output of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, because it signals to the brain that you are safe –  there are no tigers chasing you!  In the end practicing breathing well helps you in everyday life where you may feel a sense of ease and feel more uplifted.

How do we breathe?

Housed in our rib cage are two large bags  connected to the outside world through a complex network, somewhat like  bunches of grapes.   These are our lungs, and it is where the magic of ‘gas exchange’ happens.  We breathe in oxygen, that oxgyen is taken to our body in our blood, and at the same time, we are breathing carbon dioxide out.

Breathing is automatic.  Our brain automatically activates the diaphragm and rib cage muscles along with some neck muscles to keep up breathing.  The muscles at the base of our ribs need to be working well first to pull the air into the base of the lungs, rather than the ones at the top.  If we top breathe, we reduce the amount of oxygen into our lungs.  So, to breathe well, we need to use ALL of our lungs.

Try to practice your breathing at least once per day and see how it can help you.   You could also download an app that takes you through the process, and we’ve made some recommendations at the end.

If you’d prefer to watch and learn,  check out Tina explaining it all in more detail, and the breathing technique, on our YouTube Channel.

Here is a simple technique we can do to practice breathing well.

1. Wrap your hands around your lower rib cage on either side
2. Slowly breathe in through your nose expanding the base of your chest and watch your belly rise (count for 4 seconds)
3. Slowly breathing out through pursed lips for 6 seconds keeping your shoulders down and neck relaxed
4. Repeat this 5 times to exercise your diaphragm

Apps you can download to help you improve your breathing

Universal Breathing – pranayama: https://www.saagara.com/apps/breathing/universal-breathing-pranayama
Paced breathing: http://pacedbreathing.blogspot.com/
Relax Stess and Anxiety Relief: https://www.saagara.com/apps/breathing/relax
Prana Breath: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.abdula.pranabreath
Breathing Zone: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/breathing-zone/id369838631

Rec & Sport Team

UCSA Winter Wellness Expo 2019

Winter Wellness Expo 2019

The Winter Wellness Expo is a free, all ages, alcohol-free event for all UC students.  It is brought to you by UCSA Help (Advocacy & Welfare) team, and will be held on Thursday 25 July Thursday in Haere-roa, from 10am – 2pm.

There will be stalls offering free second-hand stuff, free brand new beanies, scarves, toothpastes, toothbrushes and dental floss (limited quantity), as well as free hot drinks and cakes.  Other stalls include Tenancy Protection Association, Christchurch Budget Service and Community Energy Action’s curtain bank!

The NZ Police will be there to label phones, laptops etc. with UV markers, and give students tips on how to prevent burglaries.  NZ Fire Service will also be there to give students information on fire safety.

There will also be a sewing/mending station.  So find those garments that need mending and bring them all down to Haere-roa during Winter Wellness Expo.

And there’s more!  There will be a barber at the Expo for haircuts, and bunnies and guinea pigs for you to pet!!

So please let your students know, and come join us this Thursday between 10am and 2pm at Haere-roa!

Note: Please let your students know to bring some bags to pack the goodies in.

Also note: Please let your students know that if they are wanting their garments mended, please don’t come too late in the day as some can take a little while to repair.

Update and support for students and staff

Kia ora koutou,

As a university community we condemn the attacks in Christchurch and extend our solidarity and support to our community, especially our Muslim staff and students and their whānau.

We continue to offer support to all students and staff. We would like to remind our students and staff that there is help available and you are not alone. Please see below for more details.

A drop in centre will be available tomorrow, Sunday 17 March, for students and staff from 10am – 1pm in the Puaka-James Hight Library, where support will be available.

The UC Students’ Association and clubs, including SVA are providing outreach support to students. All tests and assignments are cancelled from 18 – 24 March. Your course coordinator will be in touch. Special consideration and allowances will be available. More details to follow.

Any staff needing support should talk to their manager. Additional Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) professionals have been relocated to their Christchurch office to provide dedicated onsite support throughout the coming weeks. If you require EAP support, please call them on 0800 327 669 at any time.

We anticipate the University will be fully open and operating as usual on Monday 18 March. On Monday at 12pm the UC community will gather together on C-Block lawn to show solidarity and support for one another. More details to come on Sunday afternoon.

If you are you concerned about your safety or have any information you wish to report, need any support or have any questions contact communications@canterbury.ac.nz or 0800 823 637.

We know this will have a deep impact on people and we are committed to supporting our UC community, especially the safety and wellbeing of all staff and students. We’d like to remind everyone to take care of themselves and each other, to seek help early, and that counselling is available for UC students and staff.

Professor Cheryl de la Rey
Vice-Chancellor | Tumu Whakarae


Common reaction to traumatic events and news

Over the next few days or weeks you may experience any of the following emotions. Please remember this is a normal reaction as the healing process takes place. Everybody’s individual experience will be different, and different people will react in a different way. You may find that your reaction is delayed.

Some common emotional responses are:

  • Shock, numbness
  • Confusion
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Anxiety, worrying, panic
  • Jumpiness, hyper-vigilance
  • Guilt
  • Feeling of helplessness
  • Sadness, depression
  • Fatigue
  • Disturbing images or memories
  • Nausea, headaches
  • Feeling vulnerable or unsafe
  • Social withdraw
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anger and blame of others
  • Numbness or feeling like you are not reacting 
Reasons for feeling anxious during and after traumatic events

There are many reasons why you may still feel distressed after an event. It may be because:

  • Someone you care about was injured or passed away, and you are grieving over your loss.
  • You are supporting your children who are traumatised.
  • Those events remind you of past distressing events in your life.
  • You worry about your safety.
  • People around you continue to show signs of stress due to the events.
Coping with these reactions

Below are some helpful tips that could help you and those who are close to you cope with stress reactions:

  • Allow yourself to experience those thoughts and feelings (even if you are not directly affected).
  • Talk openly about your thoughts and feelings to someone you trust.
  • Take time to look after yourself – make sure you keep doing things that you enjoy (eg. taking walks, hobbies, music, reading etc.).
  • Allow others to experience their thoughts and feelings, remembering that their reactions and timing of reactions may be different to yours.
  • Limit your exposure to social media and media reports, and monitor how the information may affect you.
  • Spend time with people you care about, including family and friends.
  • Seek support.
Seeking support

If you need to talk to a trained counsellor, free call or text 1737 from your mobile phone.

There are a number of services on campus you can contact for help at UC:

  • Student Care (https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/support/needtotalk) – Student Care can provide you a place to talk to someone if you do not know what to do, and also have a team of dedicated Student Advisors for both domestic and international students.
  • UC Health Centre (https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/healthcentre) – you can make an appointment to talk to a health professional including nurses, doctors and counsellors to help you get through this difficult time. If you need to be seen straight away, please tell the Health Centre reception staff that your situation is urgent; they will then find a health professional you can talk to.
  • UCSA Advocacy and Welfare (https://ucsa.org.nz/student-support/advocacy-welfare/) can help you if you are experiencing financial difficulties at this time, including support with food, and can help you communicate with your teaching staff and apply for extensions and Special Consideration if you are finding your study is being affected; and
  • UC Chaplains (https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/support/health/chaplains), who are available if you need someone to talk to.

There are also additional resources and support services in the community that you can access from home, and can assist non-students who you know have been affected are:

  • Lifeline: 0800 543 354
  • Need To Talk: 1737 (free text or phone)
  • Victim Support: 0800 842 846
Supporting Each Other

International students and students from minority groups may be feeling especially vulnerable or affected. Please remember to check-in with one another, ask “Are you okay?”, and encourage each other to contact family and loved ones (especially those outside of Christchurch) as often as they need to. If there is anything they need, please encourage them to contact the many support services available both inside and outside the University community.

If you are concerned about a friend, flatmate, or other acquaintance who may not be reaching out but still needs assistance, please contact any of the above services who may be able to get in touch with that person.

After the Christchurch Earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, people from all across the city came together to support each other, and create new feelings of community and mutual support. Difficult circumstances can often unite people. Many people within our emergency services and the general public risked their own safety to help those who were suffering. We believe that our city and community will respond with that same spirit of togetherness and mutual support again.

SOLIDARITY AND SUPPORT FOR OUR COMMUNITY

The University of Canterbury community is shocked and saddened at the horrific incidents that have unfolded in Christchurch today. Our thoughts are with all those affected and their loved ones.

Today’s events have impacted on all of us and we are committed to supporting our UC community, especially the safety and wellbeing of all staff and students, particularly those in our international community.

The University of Canterbury is proud to be a diverse and inclusive community. We host students from over 80 different countries and nationalities.

We abhor all acts of violence and extend our solidarity and support to our community.

We are offering support to all staff and students. We would like to remind our students and staff that there is help available and you are not alone.

Let us take care of ourselves and one another.

Professor Cheryl de la Rey
Vice-Chancellor | Tumu Whakarae

 

Support for students

  • A drop in centre will be available Saturday 16 March for staff and students from 9am – 3pm in the Puaka-James Hight Library, where support will be available.
  • In addition, we have arranged for a support line to be available if you need to talk to a trained counsellor, free call or text 1737 from your mobile phone.

From Monday:
If students need to talk to someone about anything, there are plenty of people who can help at UC including:

For more see: www.canterbury.ac.nz/support

Security on campus  
The Security Office provides support for students and staff on campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People can call the 0800 823 637 or use the help points around Ilam and Dovedale campuses. There will be additional security at the prayer room.

Breathe easy…staff only yoga starts Thursday and it’s not too late to register!

Are you interested in yoga, but want a private space with other UC Staff?  Our UC Staff only yoga starts again on Thursday 28 Feb – register now and find breathing space again.

The lovely Mel Mortiaux will be teaching a variety of yoga styles (hatha/restorative/yin/gentle flow) – this is a wonderful opportunity to experience a range of styles, in the comfort of our new ZenZone.   

The class is limited to just 14 people, so you’ll get close attention and guidance to find the right posture for your body.

The course runs for 8 weeks, on Thursdays at 6.10pm.  It’s great value at just $60, and your family/friends/support person are welcome to join also for $90. 

And because it’s the same group each week, Mel will be able to shape the class around your needs and progress.

So, what are you waiting for?  Sign up at reception today, or give us a call on 369 2433.

For more information contact Danielle Mather or see our website (where you’ll find some other great health and fitness courses).