stretching illustration

Getting in the right state of mind for fall

UCR offers employees numerous mental health resources

August 28, 2023
Author: Imran Ghori
August 28, 2023

The fall season can be a time of stress and anxiety for many as they anticipate busier schedules and added responsibilities. UC Riverside Human Resources offers a number of resources for employees to prepare for the new school year.

Hung Wu, wellness coordinator for Workplace Health and Wellness, said it’s important for faculty and staff members to exercise self-care and mindfulness. 

“As we start the fall quarter, it’s going to take a couple of weeks for students, staff, and faculty to get acclimated,” he said. “It is pretty common to feel overwhelmed.”

For parents with children returning to school, there are added challenges such as changing schedules, preparing lunches, figuring out transportation, and allocating enough family time, Wu said.

UCR offers tools and resources for employees to manage those potential challenges, including counseling sessions through ComPsych, UCR’s faculty and staff employee assistance program. Employees can get three free sessions per topic for each member of their household. Issues such as burnout, stress, or depression all count as separate topics that employees can address in counseling sessions.

The program offers tips on preventing burnout and easing anxiety as well as creating a self-care plan. A Back to School toolkit includes tips and training resources on a variety of issues parents face such as the logistics of getting their children to school to nurturing their mental health. More information is available at ComPsych's website or by calling the toll-free number 1-866-615-3047.

Employees can also take advantage of wellness resources available to both members and non-members through Kaiser Permanente for mental and social health.

Wu suggested employees add simple practices to their daily well-being routines, such as practicing mindfulness in the morning, taking time to eat meals, taking walking breaks, stretching throughout the day, and meditating.

“Self-care is an investment in oneself that pays dividends across all aspects of life,” he said. “It empowers us to navigate the complexities of life with greater ease and grace. Self-care can enhance our resilience, boost our mood, and improve our ability to handle life's challenges.”

Wu is available to lead quick stretching sessions that include deep breathing and mindfulness exercises for campus departments or groups, virtually or in-person. Wu said groups that have participated reported the activities have a calming effect and put them in the right frame of mind to start a meeting.

Two previously recorded total body stretch sessions are available at the links below:

Total Body Stretch Routine with Ed Marchall 

Passcode: ImB9z*rD

Total Body Stretch Routine with Hung Wu  

Passcode: H8*ljrN7 

Wu will also host a four-week kindness campaign for the campus aimed at inspiring individuals to perform acts of kindness, big or small. The campaign will begin Sept. 18 and run through Oct. 16. Participants who sign up will be entered into a raffle.

The Workplace Health and Wellness team will have a table to pick up gratitude journals and wellness giveaways at:

•    Chancellors Annual Faculty and Staff Picnic on Sept. 12

•    The Community Partner Fair on Sept. 20th

•    Flu shot clinics on Sept. 26 and 28


Main illustration image from Getty Images