Category Archives: Wellness

I hate the flu


A call for easy breakfast recipes

Breakfast is easily the most important meal of the day, and with so much going on in my life this term, I need the early morning energy boost more than ever. The only problem? I love variety in my diet, but I’m running out of breakfast ideas!

So here’s what I’d like to happen: I’ll post one recipe that’s been working for me, and you’ll share one that you enjoy, too. It doesn’t have to be complicated at all, but the key points are:

  • Fast: 15 minutes or less preparation time is ideal.
  • Easy: The fewer the ingredients, the better.
  • Tasty: In your tried and true opinion, at least!

Here’s a recipe I recently tried (with some modifications) and subsequently repeated:

Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie
Makes 2 servings

2 heaping tablespoons peanut butter
1 ripe banana, in chunks (frozen, if you like extra chill)
1 cup (250 ml) plain or vanilla yoghurt
1 cup (250 ml) milk, or 1 cup ice cubes
Honey (to taste, though I usually go without)

1. Throw everything into a blender and blend until smooth. Serve.

It may sound strange that I’ve never really had many smoothies before, much less made them, but I think I’ll be making variations on these for quite some time. They are incredibly easy to make and ridiculously filling. The only catch to this recipe is that you need to get a blender (I picked mine up for $35 at Canadian Tire, and that wasn’t me trying to get a deal), but I sincerely believe it’s well worth the investment!

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Being sick multiple times over a few weeks teaches you a lot about patience. It provides an excellent opportunity for introspection and increased self-awareness. It helps you reassess your priorities and renew your appreciation for the things you might otherwise take for granted, like (usually) having good health.

My milder mood has also made it easier to review my resolutions for 2011 which, frankly, bombed. As in, not only did I fail to achieve them, they dropped quite sharply downwards.

Oh, well — sometimes, you just have years like that despite your best efforts. 2011 was one of my most challenging years, just as it is most likely going to be one of the most life-changing ones in the long run. Instead of focusing on the difficulties and wishing, as I have every December since 2007, that next year might be better, I’d like to look past the fog of discontent and pay attention to the aspects I might otherwise forget until it’s too late.

because when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing

(source unknown)

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Get assistance with the MSP and PhamaCare

help is on the way

Ever wished you didn’t have to make those monthly payments to the MSP or that your prescription drugs didn’t cost so much? You may want to look into getting assistance through the MSP Premium Assistance program and/or Fair PharmaCare.

MSP Premium Assistance is available to Canadian citizens and landed immigrants who have been resident in BC for the last 12 months. Subsidies range from 20 to 100% based on your household net income in the last tax year. As a single student earning only enough to cover regular living expenses, it’s been a great help to me since second year to not pay the monthly $60.50 for the MSP.

Fair PharmaCare is also available to all British Columbians (not just those on MSP Premium Assistance). To be eligible, you need to have MSP and submitted your tax returns from two years ago; subsidies are again based on your household net income. You can easily register online. Anyone who’s ever had to have prescriptions, regular or not, knows they can be quite expensive without a subsidy. Today, I just got a prescription filled for me that came to $1.20 after PharmaCare assistance. Thank goodness!

Unfortunately, I don’t know what you can do if you haven’t reached the one or two year residency requirement (or if you didn’t file your taxes — really, file them). If anyone has suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them.

In the meantime, I’m going to collapse on my bed again. Winter is not good to me.

I love to see you smile

One of my friends recently commented on how I don’t really talk very much about myself anymore. ‘But I blog!’ I defended. ‘About my life! As a UBC student!’

Not really, my friend countered. Apparently, I talk about all the events that are going on around campus and I mention random things that I enjoy in Things I Love Thursday, but I don’t really talk about my life as a student.

Like how yesterday, I stood with some Speakeasy volunteers outside Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and handed out free hot chocolate. (Two heaping spoonfuls of chocolate mix are recommended, though you can have more if you want!) It was the perfect day for hot chocolate — sunny, dry and cold, especially after standing there for two hours. We didn’t have a sign with us advertising the freebie, so we had to call out to passers-by instead — and how people’s faces lit up at the chime of ‘Free!’ It’s the most beautiful sound in the college world.

The sound must also have resonated throughout IKBLC: every now and then, small groups of exhausted students emerged from the bowels of the library beast with a hopeful ‘I heard there’s free hot chocolate?’

Yes, it’s free. No, there aren’t any strings attached or even a survey to fill. We can give you a spiel if you have the time to hear it,* but we’re really giving this out as a form of stress relief and self-care during exam time.

It’s fascinating how suspicious some people can be, but it’s even more lovely to see smiles magically appearing on stressed-out faces. I also gave a couple of free hugs to students, including one poor soul who came up for just the hug and not the chocolate. Aww!

Honestly, the experience really made my day, because one of the things I miss most about being a volunteer is being on shift at the desk, smiling at strangers and being helpful. I got to talk to a number of interesting individuals, including a few exchange students from South Africa and New Zealand (where we commented on each other’s accents).

Then I went back to the office and did a whole bunch of behind-the-scenes work that will just never make it to this blog because, seriously, there is only so much potential to wax lyrical on writing meeting minutes.

And my friend wonders why I don’t talk about my life as a student.

Thank you to everyone who came by and chatted, and good luck with all your exams! Don’t forget to take care of yourselves!

*The spiel:

Speakeasy is a peer support service run by students for students. We’re located in the north side of the SUB. We offer one-on-one, confidential sessions by drop-in; no appointment necessary. Volunteers are trained to tackle issues ranging across the board: exam stress, relationships, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, etc. We also offer referrals to groups both on and off campus who can provide further support. Operating hours during exams are currently Mondays–Fridays, 10–5.