That’s a Wrap!

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As students and busy professionals it is often hard to stay healthy. However, if you are prepared and know how to make a few easy, nutritional dishes it can help you to stay on track and avoid eating too many unhealthy things.

One of my favourite meals to make when I am in a rush is a wrap or sandwich.

Check out this video on how to make healthy wraps brought to you by the UBC Wellness Centre’s Nutrition Team (2012).

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Creative Ways to use Summer Fruit!

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One of my favorite things about summer is all the fruit that becomes abundant! There is so many different things that you can do with it and there are so many options for fruits to try.

Check out this video on how to make healthy blueberry muffins brought to you by the UBC Wellness Centre’s Nutrition Team (2012).

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Cook a lot and save for later!

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I find that if I cook a lot at once it saves me time and it is an easy way to deal with my cravings. When I am craving something sweet I often end up eating something unhealthy, unless I have left overs from a big cooking session. For example, I will make healthy muffins and freeze the extras for later (perfect way to satisfy my sweet tooth cravings). All I have to do is pop one in the microwave and they are good to go.

Another one of my favorite things to do it make a lot of granola at once and continue to use it for the rest of the month. This is really great because it makes a healthy breakfast (have it with yogurt and/or fresh fruit) or it can be a healthy snack option. I think granola is really fun to make and continues to be a great healthy option for a long time. You can also easily change up the granola recipe to play with the flavors. It is really easy to add different dried fruits, nuts etc.

Check out this video on how to make great granola brought to you by the UBC Wellness Centre’s Nutrition Team (2012).

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Healthy Relationships

Brought to you by the Wellness Centre Sexual Health and Relationships Team.

It is important to remember that there is a broad range of relationships and that it is essential for any of these relationships to be a healthy. There is no clear definition of a healthy or unhealthy relationship but, generally, a healthy relationship possesses a series of characteristics that can be described in terms of how they affect one’s mental-health.  

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Surviving Your 1st week at UBC

CollegeDegrees360, Flickr

Your first week at UBC can be overwhelming regardless of what year you are in. I know every year at UBC my first week was always a new and different experience.

You will most likely be moving into residence or a new place in Vancouver, trying to finalize your schedule, buy your textbooks, meet new people/catch up with people you met previous years, trying to find your way around/figure out where all your classes are, trying to find good involvement opportunities etc. It starts to add up.

Here are some tips for surviving your first week of university at UBC: 

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Need some extra $$ or experience

GoodNCrazy, Flickr

One of the best things that I did during my time at UBC was work learn positions.

I had two different positions during my time at UBC and my experience at both was unforgettable and amazing.

I not only made some extra money (they generally pay really well, since the program is subsidized by the university), but I also got further involved on campus, met new people (I got to network with amazing people all over campus), I got experience in my field of interest, I used both of my supervisors as references for graduate school, and I learned a ton of new skills.
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Do find that you don’t have time to eat healthy?

I felt the same way for a long time when I was a student and living on my own. This was when I really started to appreciate how nice it was living at home with my mom preparing most of my meals.

However, I decided that not having enough time wasn’t an excuse to not eat healthy.

Flickr Image: Fruit Salad by Jennifer from SweetOnVeg

Tips that I have used to stay healthy and manage my time: 

  • Menu planning for the week: Decide what you want to make each day (for at least one meal) so that you can be prepared and make sure you have all the items on hand. Creating a menu also helps you commit to making certain items each day of the week and staying healthy and not giving into pesky cravings.
  • Strategic grocery shopping: Make sure you create a list of things that you need before going to the store so that you get everything that you need and you don’t end up picking up extra items that aren’t healthy.  This will prevent you from having to make multiple trips to the store each week, which will save time.
  • Walk the perimeter of the grocery store: When shopping for food start by walking the perimeter of the store before entering the isles. All the fresh and less processed food can be found here i.e. produce, milk, fresh baked goods/breads etc. This will hopefully prevent you from buying unnecessary processed snack items, such as chips and candy.
  • Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry: Shopping when you are hungry will make you impulse buy. You will see something unhealthy and want to get it. So try to go shopping after you have eaten to make sure that you don’t end up buying items that you don’t need and that aren’t good for you.
  • Try and set up weekly dinners with friends: Get a couple of friends together and make a pact to make dinner for each other or together once a week, you can take turns hosting. This is a fun way to try new recipes and to hang out with friends and have a healthy home cooked meal.


If you need more tips or advice on how to stay healthy call 8-1-1 on weekdays (9am – 5pm) from anywhere in British Columbia to speak with a dietitian about nutrition and healthy eating.

Health Canada Website 

Stayed tuned for more nutrition related posts that feature videos on how to make cheap, easy, and healthy meals!


Benefits of Summer School!

School is probably the last thing you want to be thinking about when it comes to summer. It seems like such a drag to be in school when the weather is so nice out, but I think there are many benefits to taking summer classes. I have taken summer school 3 summers during my undergraduate degree and haven’t regretted any of them.

Reasons why I think summer classes are a bonus:

1.) You get to concentrate on one course for a couple weeks. I think this is really good because you are focused on one course for a short period of time and you don’t have to really think about anything else or have to juggle 4-5 classes. Some of my highest marks are from taking summer courses.

2.) They are condensed. Before you know it the summer class will be done and you will have one less class to take during the semester. Essentially you get ahead, or catch up if you took less classes the semester before.

3.) Lots of online class options. There a lot of online options for classes in the summer, which gives you a lot of freedom. You can take classes from anywhere in the world and this make it really easy to work classes around your other commitments.

4.)Still can work/enjoy summer. Classes are only a couple hours a day so you can still work and do other fun activities in the summer if you want to.

5.) Get to stay in beautiful Vancouver . We all know that the school year at UBC can be really dreary with all the rain. The best time to enjoy the outdoors in this beautiful city is the summer. So taking summer classes may not be the worst thing if it means staying in Vancouver.

6.) You get to keep your Upass. One of the major benefits of being a student is that you get Upass, we all know how expensive bus passes can be.

So keep your chin up if you are starting summer courses soon, it is not all bad. Before you know it you will be done and you can enjoy summer!

Resources to help you out and stay focused for your summer courses:

Time Management Tips from UBC Learning Commons

Visit the UBC Wellness Centre (IKBLC 183) for more tips and information

Healthy Minds Breakfast!

Healthy Minds is hosting a breakfast as a part of Stress Less for Exam Success.

Nutrition is very important for academic success so come join us  for food and information about the important link between health and academic success.

Date: Wednesday April 3rd, 2013

Time: 9-11am (or until food runs out)

Location: Centre for Student Involvement in Brock Hall

Calming the Perfect Storm: Stress, Anxiety, & exams!

The Storm is on its way. This storm is called 2012/2013 final exams. You can try to ignore, run and avoid this exam storm, but eventually, you must take on this foe head first.  Here are four things to keep in mind:

Just get started

Do you always find yourself staying up  after midnight cramming for your final exams? The easiest way to avoid this horrible phenomenon is to get started earlier.

You can do this by setting out a study schedule for yourself or by just opening your textbook to the first page of the chapter. By taking the first steps to studying for an exam early, you will be able to motivate yourself to stay on track to cover all the material that will be on the final exam.  This will allow you to reduce your stress and anxiety levels, and likely result in better academic performance on your exams.


Did you know that your brain is more efficient after a good workout?  Physical training improves blood flow to the brain, makes the mind clear, gives intellectual energy and increases the ability to concentrate. By exercising, you will be able to give your brain a well-deserved break while allowing it to rejuvenate itself for your next study period. Exercise is a great way to reduce your stress levels and help you stay calm during the exam period.

30 minutes of Relaxation

It is common to feel anxiety the night before the exam. Tossing and turning while falling asleep can add to the anxiety and lead to further stress and frustration.  To avoid this, try setting aside 30 minutes before going to bed to relax. Listen to calming music, watch a little TV, meditate, or even play Call of Duty: Black Ops if you find that relaxing. The goal is to create a sense of calm before trying to fall asleep.

Remember Your Value as a Person

Many students think getting an A+ on final exams is the goal to work towards, but what’s more important is setting realistic goals for yourself and trying to achieve them.  It’s important to remember that the grade you receive on the final exam has no reflection on your value as a person. Keep this in mind when your stressing and feeling anxious about your exams.

More information and tips about stress and anxiety

Stress busters: Relaxation techniques for busy students

Stress busters: The art of time management

Stress, anxiety, and exams

“Get Pap’d”- Drop in pap testing at Student Health Service

Drop-in pap tests

Date: Wednesday, March 27
Time: 1pm to 4pm
Details: If you’re due for a pap test this year, come by Student Health Service during this time and “get pap’d”! Wellness Peers will also be at Student Health Service with free mini-cupcakes and more information during this time.

More information about pap tests

What is the pap test?

A routine screening done by a doctor or nurse to check for signs of abnormal cell growth in the cervix, infections, or cervical cancer.

Why should you get regular pap tests?

  • This can save your life! The chances of curing cervical cancer in early stages is very high [3].
  • Early detection of infections or abnormal cell growth allows for the doctor to provide you with the right treatment to prevent cervical cancer from occurring [3].

Who should get pap tests?

Anyone with a cervix who:

  • had sexual activity or sexual contact in the last three years [3];
  • and/or is 21 years older and older  [3].

You will need to continue with pap testing even if you have received HPV vaccinations such as Gardasil [1].

Human Papillomavirus (aka HPV) are a group of viruses that can lead to cancer if the infections are not treated properly. This virus is the main cause of cervical cancer can be contracted through any kind of sexual touching [1].

When should you get the pap test?

Around 10 to 20 days after the first day of your last period. This means to schedule your pap test when you are NOT on your period.

This test should be done once per year for three consecutive years and once every two years thereafter.

Where can you get the pap test?

What should you do to prepare for the pap test?

Doctors suggest to avoid the following for two days prior to the exam:

  • Douching
  • Using tampons
  • Using vaginal creams, suppositories, and medicine
  • Using vaginal deodorant sprays/powders
  • Having sex

These may affect the test results by washing away or hiding abnormal cervical cells [3].

How much does this exam cost?

The pap test are covered by MSP. There are no extra charges.

Other frequently asked questions:

Q: Do I need a pap test if I am in a same-sex relationship [1]?
A: Yes!

Q: Do I need a pap test if I have not been sexually active recently but have been in the past [1]?
A: Yes!

Q: Do I need a pap test if I have been having sex with the same partner for many years [1]?
A: Yes!

Q: Do I need a pap test if I have not been having sexual intercourse but have been having sexual activity in other ways [1]?
A: Yes!

Q: Do I need a pap test even if I have had the HPV vaccine [1]?
A: Yes!


1. A pap test could save your life. (2012, July ).

2. Pap tests. (2011, Feb 17). 

3. Pap test fact sheet. (2009, Jan 14). 

No-bake Energy Bites!!

Don’t you hate it when you are studying, but all you can think about it food. Then you head to the kitchen and nothing seems appetizing? Then check out the latest video made by the Nutrition Team at the Wellness Centre! This recipe is quick, easy and healthy and will be able to help you with those cravings.

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Commerce Wellness Fair February 13th

Submitted by Abby Nann, UBC Commerce Student

I find that it is so easy for me to get caught up in school work etc. out here at UBC that it is always helpful to find ways to remind myself to take care of both my physical and mental health. There are so many resources offered on campus geared towards student well-being that it is just a matter of connecting with them!

As a commerce student myself, on Wednesday February 13th I plan on attending the Commerce Wellness Fair which is happening from 11am – 3 

There will be many informational and interactive booths (UBC REC will also be present) in the main lobby– the CA Hall- of The Henry Angus building.Also, word on the street is that there will be free samples/giveaways- which I am super stoked about.

So I guess, in essence, this is a call to all commerce community members to join me at the fair.

Health is wealth, take care of yourself.

Open Your Mind: UBC Mental Health Symposium


Are you interested in mental health?

Want to find out more about what is happening at UBC related to mental health / mental health initiatives?

Want to network with other people that are passionate about mental health?

Then you should consider coming to the third UBC Mental Health Symposium!


Date: Saturday, January 26th, 2013
Time: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm (includes refreshments in the morning and full lunch)
Venue: Brock Hall Concourse

Cost: Free

Register Online by January 24


  • Networking between students interested/involved in mental health initiatives on campus
  • Dialogue about mental health at UBC
  • Anti-stigma education/awareness
  • Sharing of Mental Health Needs Assessment results
  • Focus on action planning: what can be done in the short and long term


10:00 am –10:30 am: Networking and mid-morning refreshments
10:30 am – 11:30 am: Catalyst presentations
11:30 am – 12:30 pm: Cafe Conversations: Your Vision for  Healthy Campus
12:30 pm – 1:00 pm: Lunch
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm: Action Planning: Open Space to Share Your Passion
2:30 pm – 3:00 pm: Closing presenter (Speaker: Tracy Windsor from The Kaleidoscope)

3:15 pm – 4:30 pm: [Optional] Splatter Painting!

Splatter art is an abstract technique where one simply takes paint and “splatters” it on a canvas using any material of their choice, which can range from the conventional paintbrush to direct application from the hands. Individuals who have previously engaged in splatter painting have said they found the process to fun, while reducing stress and fostering creativity.

Catalyst Presentations

3- 20 minute presentations

Anti-Stigma (Speakers: Jonny Morris -Director, Public Policy and Campus Mental Health, Canadian Mental Health Association – BC Division (CMHA-BC)  & Shaylyn Streatch, Coordinator, Healthy Minds/Healthy Campuses)

Mental Health Needs Assessment Results (Speaker: Kim Carter- MHNA Project Coordinator + co-student researchers)

What’s happening at UBC regarding Mental Health (Speakers: Kiran Mahal- AMS VP Academic & Janet Teasdale-Senior Director, Student Development & Services)

Healthy Minds Breakfast

Healthy Minds is hosting a breakfast as a part of Stress Less for Exam Success.

Nutrition is very important for academic success so come join us  for food and information about the important link between health and academic success.

Date: Friday November 30th, 2012

Time: 9-11am (or until food runs out)

Location: Centre for Student Involvement in Brock Hall


Mental Health and Spirituality

Where do mental health and spirituality intersect? Should spirituality even be an aspect considered in one’s mental health?

Dr. Sharon Smith (PHD in Rehabilitation Sciences) shares her insights on mental health and spirituality. Sharon is the Director of the organization, Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries. She will share her personal stories with depression and offer practical and professional advice in approaching mental health.

Special guest, Tim Chan, UBC Sauder Graduate, and author will share insights from his personal journey with depression.

This event is free. Doors open at 4:30pm. Arrive early for seating!


Date: Thursday November 29th, 2012

Time: 5:00pm until 6:30pm

Location: Wood 1

Organized by: UBC Power to Change

For more details visit the Facebook event page

Five ways to boost your mood!

Post by Gurkirat Randhawa, UBC student and Healthy Minds Project Assistant

Feeling sad is a common emotional experience. In fact, did you know that 70% of UBC students have reported feeling very sad [1]?  So, when your mood is low and you’re feeling sad or down, how can you boost your mood and stay on track?

While everyone has their own ways of coping, here are a few tips that might help:

Do you have a favourite song or artist that you commiserate with or celebrate with? Maybe you play an instrument? Music can exert a very powerful influence on the heart and mind. So try and listen to one of your favourite upbeat and fun songs, and possibly partake in a random high-energy dance session in your room. Just remember to close the curtains/door, unless you want an audience (invite them to join?).

Try: Vevo music videos


Keep doing activities (i.e. yoga, running, baking, etc.) that you enjoy even if you think you are too busy
When you’re feeling down you might stop doing things that normally keep you feeling good and in a positive mood. However, if you feel good, it’s easier to get stuff done and, well, you feel good And that’s good. Good? Good!

Try: Getting active with UBC REC


Challenge negative thinking with self-supportive thoughts
How you feel and how you act depends a lot on how you think. Try positive self-talk, which involves repeating realistic and self-supportive thoughts. For example, you might say to yourself “everyone makes mistakes.” And it’s true… everyone does make mistakes. In short, positive self-talk can help you maintain a more balanced perspective.

Try: Positive self-talk


Set small, specific, and realistic goals
When your mood is low, or you’re having a bad day, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Take a deep breath, and then take a few moments to prioritize what needs to be done. Set clear, doable goals, and break down large tasks into smaller chunks. This will increase your chances of success and help you feel more prepared, which in turn can improve your mood. Remember, you can do it (see point #3 above).

Try: Setting SMART goals


Connect socially and reach out for support
Being with others can help you feel good (exceptions to this include being on a packed 99 B-Line or standing in the Blue Chip lineup at 9 am… let’s not go there). In all seriousness though, staying connected with supportive people can make you less vulnerable to depression, enhances your self-esteem, and helps you recover from low moods faster. When you’re feeling down, try talking with people who care about you.

Try: Having some fun and getting involved


Remember, as with any difficulty, if your sadness persists or other health conditions emerge, make sure to reach out for assistance. Try speaking with a peer at the Wellness Centre, or speak with a counsellor at Counselling Services.

[1] National College Health Assessment (2009), “NCHA, UBC Undergraduate Domestic.”

Student Health Service: Your family doctor at UBC

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Maybe you’re feeling sick or you’re having trouble sleeping. You might need a prescription refilled, or you might need some relief from back pain. Student Health Service is here for you if you need help with your health and can be your family doctor at UBC.

What is Student Health Service?

Student Health Service is a primary care clinic on UBC’s Vancouver campus where family doctors and registered nurses provide care for individuals and groups.

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Sleep and Academics!


Did you know that sleep difficulties are among the top health issues impacting UBC students’ academic performance?  Perhaps this isn’t too surprising, as students often skimp on sleep to meet deadlines, cram for exams and pursue other facets of the “student life”.

However, getting enough sleep and quality sleep are crucial in helping you perform your best. Without a good night’s rest, you run the risk of performing poorly on exams, feeling anxious or sad or worried, and lowering your immune response which leaves you prone to illness. On the other hand, getting enough quality sleep will improve your ability to remember and retain new information. Sleeping the whole night improves your ability to learn; reason enough for students to prioritize quality sleep!


Here are some proven ways to improve your sleep habits:

  • Get up at the same time each morning. This includes weekends whenever possible. This practice will ensure your “internal clock” keeps you on schedule for sleep and wake times. Do not oversleep.
  • Avoid naps. You sleep better at night if you avoid napping during the day.
  • Avoid caffeine, tobacco, marijuana, and alcohol before bed. These drugs will keep you from falling asleep and staying asleep. Avoid these at least three hours before bedtime.
  • Go to sleep when you feel sleepy. If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes of hitting the pillow, get up and do something until you feel sleepy. If you force yourself to sleep you’ll inevitably feel frustrated making sleep more difficult.
  • Keep your bedroom a sleep (and/or sex) sanctuary. Put your computer, TV, phone in another room and keep your bedroom quiet, cool, and dark. Do your homework elsewhere and save your bedroom space for only the most relaxing activities.
  • Exercise. Doing physical activity of some kind three hours before bed can promote better sleep. Try to fit in a good workout after school or work and use the rest of the evening to unwind.

For more articles on sleep visit Live Well Learn Well:

Is lack of sleep affecting your GPA?

Fatigued? How to get more energy