Self Compassion Break

When we practice self-compassion and acceptance of ourselves and all we are struggling with, we tend to feel better. Too often we try to push down our negative emotions, or emotions we are taught to see as "negative" (like anxiety, sadness, grief etc.), instead of recognizing that all emotions are part of our experience as human. When we shame ourselves for being human, we end up often of having more difficulty managing our emotions, focusing and being productive and getting through our days. When we practice self-compassion regularly, we often find we can more easily manage our emotions when they arise, focus more readily and give compassion to all those around us.

Dr. Kristin Neff has done research and practice in the powerful positive impacts of practicing self-compassion. The below self-compassion exercise is taken from her work (https://self-compassion.org/exercise-2-self-compassion-break/). It can be a quick 5-minute activity to do once a day, or as needed throughout the day:

  • Take a moment to call to mind a difficult/stressful/painful recent experience.
  • Notice what your body feels like when you call this difficult/stressful/painful recent experience to mind.
  • Take a moment to say to yourself "this is painful," or "this is stressful" or "this is a moment of suffering," or some variation that works for you to acknowledge and be mindful to your own experience. It is a way of saying to yourself "I see you; I hear you. I notice you there."
  • Then acknowledge that you are not alone in your suffering, that it is a common human experience. You might say "I am not alone in this feeling," or "everyone struggles sometimes."
  • Then be kind to yourself. If it feels comfortable, wrap your arms around yourself, or touch your chest softly and say to yourself "may I give myself compassion," or "may I be patient with myself," or "may I give myself the forgiveness I deserve."
  • Notice what your body feels like when you give yourself self-compassion and acceptance and how different that is from when you started.

To learn more about self-compassion and other self-compassion practice, visit Dr. Kristin Neff's website here: https://self-compassion.org/the-three-elements-of-self-compassion-2/

Holiday Stress - Have a Stress Free Holiday

 Uprise Health provides free virtual counseling to UCC students and their families. They also share helpful resources about how to manage stress and fun ideas for helping kiddos through the holidays, along with ideas to stay connected if your not able to physically be together. See below for their helpful resources and call 844-492-0546 to sign up for free virtual counseling or for any questions! Have a Happy Holiday Season!

holiday stress flier

Click following link for full pdf of the above flier: Holiday_Stress_Flyer_2021__Uprise_Health_UCC_students.pdf1.66 MB

Helpful Links:

helping kids through holidays

Click following link for full pdf of the above flier: Helping_Kids_Through_the_Holidays_Flyer_2021__Uprise_Health_UCC_students.pdf1.51 MB

Helpful Links:

staying connected

 

Helpful Links:

Tips for Managing Stress while Balancing Multiple Responsibilities

Tips for Managing Stress

As students, employees, parents, friends, spouse's, individuals, we all have multiple roles we are juggling throughout the days, weeks, months and years.

Too often, when we are juggling multiple to-do lists and roles, our own self care and mental health falls to the bottom of the to-do list. However, when we neglect ourselves, we often have less and less to give to those responsibilities and people around us. The accumulated stress of this puts on our bodies and minds overtime can make many feel anxious, depressed, lack of motivation etc. There is no one size fits all advice that works for everyone, but if you  are overwhelmed by balancing school, job and home lives, I would emphasize that you are not alone and that there are things you can do to cope.

1. Be kind to yourself. Remember that you are doing the best you can and try not to judge yourself negatively. Negative self talk has a huge impact on our mood and motivation. When your pesky inner critic pops up in your mind, notice them and ask yourself "what am I doing well? what can I appreciate about the work I am putting into every area of my life?" Practice speaking to yourself with the compassion and kindness you would a friend.

2. Make a list of all your responsibilities and "to do's."Identify any stressors or responsibilities that can be adjusted, changed, or delegated.  For example is there a way to go down to part time work, while going to school and supplement this through scholarship or other forms of aid? Do you have family or friends who can help with childcare? Can you talk to your boss if you are over extended at work; is it possible you can work to delegate tasks to others? Can you set limits on checking emails for school or work after a certain time each day? Sometimes writing out, or talking through all the different responsibilities, and really looking at if anything on your plate can be reduced, or at the very least adjusted can be the most helpful. There are only so many hours in the day, and when we are scheduling every hour of the day, with no time for ourselves, over time we may easily become overwhelmed and burned out.

3. Think about how you can take care of yourself. Self care is mutli dimensional and includes attending to your physical needs through eating regularly, getting enough sleep, exercising (even a little bit everyday) etc, as well as your psychological, emotional and spiritual self care. Here is an example of a great self care assessment where individuals can assess how they are currently doing with self care and how to make improvements: 

4. Reach out for social support from friends and family, or professional support in the form of counseling if needed. There are counseling services that are free at UCC for students. There are also counseling resources in the community that can help, in addition to the Employee Assistance Program (866-750-1327) for UCC employees. Humans are social creatures, and connection is a basic need. We all need support sometimes and reaching out when we are overwhelmed, or feeling ourselves heading in that direction can help us manage our multiple roles and responsibilities, while caring for ourselves.

 Tips for Managing Stress

Graphic provided by UCC's The Mainstream, student Peyton Manning

Contact

Hanna Culbertson - Contact
MSW CSWA, Wellness Counselor, Student Services
Phone: 541-440-7896

Optimism and Self Care

As we begin the start of the Fall term I am filled with both a sense of the need for both optimism and self-care. I would say that one's capacity for optimism increases with their time invested in it intentionally, along with the practice of overall self-care.

Over the last year and a half, UCC and the rest of the world have seen our share of difficult times that have made it difficult for many to be optimistic. Amy Cuddy and JillEllyn Riley in The Washington Post coined the term "pandemic flux" for the state of the pandemic we are currently in. After experiencing a heady rush of relief in the summer, when the pandemic seemed to be at an end, the rise of the Delta Variant has caused a rush in anxiety, and in some, a sense of pessimism and fear. The human mind and body has built in ways of dealing with stress and trauma, but when the trauma is ongoing, like the Pandemic, it is completely  normal to feel exhausted and anxious, and find it difficult to maintain optimism. There is something helpful about validating and normalizing that this is a difficult time we are all living through and that if your feeling anxious or down - that is 100% normal.

And while we normalize for ourselves that it may be normal to feel down and to allow ourselves grace, this means it is EXTRA important to be intentional about building in Self Care and intentional practice of optimism. Optimism could mean finding time each day to focus on what is good and what you have to look forward to. It could mean taking a small step towards a goal and celebrating that. It could mean sharing a hopeful quote each morning with yourself and/or a friend. There are all kinds of ways to be build in optimism. See the below graphic for an idea for each day of the month of October.

optimistic october

If you like the above calendars visit Action for Happiness each month to get the newest one here: https://www.actionforhappiness.org/calendars

Part of being optimistic, is also remembering that you may need help or support to maintain your optimism and that is okay! See below resources for mental health support for students and employees.

Staff:

Students:

  • Wellness Counselor (available for zoom and in person with mask appointments): email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 541-440-7896. Visit here for more details: https://www.umpqua.edu/campus-mental-health-services-offered

 

  • Student Assistance Program (offers virtual appointments with licensed counselors): Call 844-492-0546 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and identify yourself as a UCC student seeking virtual counseling appointments. Visit here for more details: https://www.umpqua.edu/counseling-services.
    • Interested in watching a demo of the services? There is a ZOOM demo October 11th and 12th from 11:30 - 12:30. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the zoom link.

Mental Health Support Resources in the Community open for Staff and Students:

Visit the following link and scroll down to "local mental health resources" for a list of counselors and therapists in the Douglas County area: https://www.umpqua.edu/campus-mental-health-community-resources

Contact

Hanna Culbertson - Contact
MSW CSWA, Wellness Counselor, Student Services
Phone: 541-440-7896

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