Category Archives: Health and Wellbeing

Can you spot an unhealthy relationship? (3 min read)

There is a line in the Netflix show, Bojack Horseman, that I find useful when thinking about relationships, “When you look at someone through rose-coloured glasses, all the red flags just look like flags”. This quote sums up why it’s so important to be able to identify and name behaviours in relationships which may be unhealthy and find ways to nurture healthy behaviours.

Unhealthy Behaviours

In unhealthy relationships, one person has power and control. Sometimes, it’s difficult to know if your relationship is healthy. Here are a few signs that will hopefully help you take off your rose-coloured glasses and spot those red flags.

  • Possessiveness and jealousy.
  • Reading your messages and wanting the passwords to your social media.
  • Isolating you from your friends and family.
  • Threatening harm to you or themselves.
  • Threatening your whānau, friends, pets, or property.
  • Yelling or breaking things when they’re angry.
  • Telling you how to behave.
  • Putting you down and belittling you.
  • Making you feel responsible for their actions or that it’s your job to keep them happy.
  • You think that being with them is better than being on your own. Or you think you can change them.
  • You feel embarrassed when you hang out in public.
  • Your gut is telling you that the relationship is unhealthy.

Healthy Behaviours

A healthy relationship doesn’t mean it’s perfect and they don’t look the same for everyone because people have different needs. Those needs may change over time or depend on the people in the relationship.

However, there are behaviours you could work towards to help your relationship flourish.

  • You are a team. You work together and support each other.
  • Open communication. You can be honest without fearing how the other person will respond.
  • The relationship feels balanced, and everyone puts in effort to make it successful.
  • You have fun together!
  • You have space to be independent outside of the relationship.
  • Everyone takes responsibility for their actions.
  • You have healthy ways to resolve conflict. Disagreements and arguments are OK and normal. What matters is how you approach that conflict – honesty and respect are key.
  • The relationship moves at a comfortable pace.
  • You respect each other’s boundaries.

If you need to talk to someone about your relationship:

You can find more info about Healthy Relationships here.


Storm Gardner

UC Student Care Advisor

Sexual Harm Support





Being a soundboard for friends (2min read)

It’s easy to miss, but this upcoming Saturday 30 July is International Day of Friendship. Below, Tracy Clelland from the School of Health Sciences shares her thoughts on good ways to support a friend if they’re going through something:

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

Music, free kai and vaccines to keep you safe this winter!

With the second wave of Omicron spreading across Aotearoa New Zealand, getting vaccinated against Covid-19 is the best thing you can do to protect you, your mates and your whānau.

The Ministry of Health also advises of a higher risk of measles this winter. Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) can all be very serious illnesses, but measles is particularly dangerous. The MMR vaccination helps protect you.

So if it’s time for your first or second (check eligibility here) Covid-19 booster, or your MMR vaccine, drop into our vaccination clinic on campus next week! The clinic will also offer first and second Covid-19 vaccine shots if you haven’t had these yet.

When: Tuesday 26 July, 10am – 4pm & Wednesday 27 July, 9am – 1pm
Where: Haere-roa

You don’t need to make an appointment, you can just pop in anytime that suits you. Both, the Covid-19 and MMR vaccine are free for all students, including international students. Our awesome volunteers will be there to welcome you into Haere-roa, answer any questions you have and make sure you’re well looked after. There’ll be music, free kai, and everyone is welcome, so bring along your friends, family and flatmates too!

Please make sure you wear a face mask, maintain physical distancing at all times, and stay home if you’re sick.

If we all get vaccinated and boosted, we will help keep ourselves and our community safe.

You can find out more about Covid-19 vaccines here and more about the MMR vaccine here.

This clinic is held in partnership with Te Whatu Ora Waitaha | Health New Zealand Canterbury and the University of Canterbury (UC).