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The Thrive 5

There are many different and relevant ways to foster and maintain good mental health. As we navigate this unprecedented situation, you may be feeling stressed, or worried– and practicing physical distancing, may also leave you feeling isolated.  

Research* consistently points to five ways that can help promote a healthy mind. We call these the Thrive 5, and they are simple, easy-to-implement ways to help support your mental health. 

Thrive by Moving More 

Adding activity to each day can help you manage stress and can boost your mood. This is especially important when working or learning from home when we may tend to be more sedentary. 

Why not try to:

  • Join the Wellbeing Challenge! A free online challenge to help get you eating well, moving more, and staying socially connected from home. 
  • Check out exercise classes online: UBC Recreation wants to keep you moving while at home with Instagram Live Movement Breaks (led by the Move U Crew) and Virtual Fitness Classes. 
  • Stretch it out: Try taking a stretch break (or two) during your day. Try out these Move UBC tips from the Kinesiology Undergraduate Society. 
  • Dance: Bust a move to your favourite song at home. 
  • Take a brisk walk in nature: Be sure to practice physical distancing, and stay at least 6 feet from others. 
  • Take a stand: While working or learning from home, try standing for five minutes at the beginning of each hour. 
  • Join the LIFT Corporate Challenge! HR has teamed up with Morneau Shepell to bring faculty and staff the chance to stay physically active while working from home.  Register by April 10. 

Please avoid all gyms and shared equipment while practicing physical distancing. 


Thrive by Sleeping Soundly 

Getting enough quality sleep can help you tackle work, classes, and life’s everyday challenges. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep per day also helps boost your immunity and maintain your physical health. Try: 

  • Turning off your screens before bed. This is especially important if you find that information in the news and on social media is causing you stress.  Stay informed by visiting accurate sources
  • Establishing rest routines: It may be tempting to sleep in or to go to bed later than usual while working or studying from home, but waking up and going to bed at your regular times can help with better-quality rest. 
  • Taking a nap: A 20-minute nap during the day can leave you feeling more refreshed and well-rested. 


Thrive by Eating Well 

Eating a balanced diet can help fuel your body and mind! While physical distancing may mean fewer trips to the grocery store, it is possible (and important!) to provide your body with nutritious options. 

Here are some tips from Melissa Baker, Manager, Nutrition and Wellbeing with UBC Food Services:

  • Eat your fruits and veggies: Add one more fruit or vegetable to each meal. There are lots that will last a long time, including apples, yams, carrots, and beets. 
  • Try the power of plant-based: Try incorporating one plant-based meal into your diet each week. Tofu, chickpeas, lentils and canned/dried beans are great plant-based, protein-packed foods to try.
  • Eat breakfast: It's the most important meal of the day and will help you maintain alertness and focus. 
  • Stock your pantry with nutritious staples. Nut butters, canned beans, oatmeal are all healthy nonperishable options. There is no need to stock pile as grocery stores will remain open, so be sure to leave enough high-demand items for others! 

Have questions or concerns about nutrition? UBC’s Registered Dietitians are here to help. And for nutrition tips, recipes, and more, visit the UBC Food Services Nutrition Blog. 

If you are concerned about food security or need to access emergency food supplies, the AMS Food Bank is operating limited hours. The UBC Okanagan Pantry is currently closed, but is still providing hampers. 


Thrive by Giving Back 

Helping others adds to your sense of purpose, connection, and wellbeing. Although physical distancing means we are not able to volunteer in person or with others, there are still many ways to let people know you care and give back. 

  • Donating to causes that are near and dear to your heart. Did you know UBC has been supporting the United Way since 1976? And donations to the AMS Food Bank help support food-insecure students who may be particularly vulnerable during this time. 
  • Show your nurturing side: Whether you're caring for a pet or a plant, being nurturing can be a great mood booster. 
  • Lend a helping hand: If you're going grocery shopping, offer to pick up essential items for friends or neighbours who may not be able to do so themselves. Be sure to stay safe and healthy by washing your hands, avoid touching your face, and arrange for contact-less drop-off. 
  • Stay home: Right now, the best way we can can give back to our community, our healthcare heroes, and the world is by listening to our healthcare professionals and staying home. 


Thrive by Saying Hi! 

Spending time with family, friends, and community provides a sense of belonging. Physical distancing does not need to mean social isolation. There are still many ways you can connect with others while still protecting your health and the health of others. 

  • Join an online community! The Wellness Centre Online is a great resource for students who are feeling stressed, worried, or isolated during this time. Learn more about health-related resources, access tips and strategies for your wellbeing, and talk to a Wellness Peer. 
  • Reconnect with someone you’ve lost touch with. Give them a call or send them a text to let them know you're thinking of them! 
  • Set up "Skype dates" with family and friends - you can share a meal, a movie, play games, or just updates on your day. 
  • Move your meetings online: If you are working from home, schedule time to "meet" with co-workers, or to check in and see how they are doing. It helps build team morale and keeps you connected! 




As our community navigates these unprecedented times, it is important to consider ways to support mental health and resilience.  If you are experiencing fear, stress, worry and isolation, please know that these feelings are natural when facing threats that are beyond our control. 

If you need help in coping with these feelings, there are resources available. 

Resources for Students
Resources for Faculty/Staff

Want to Learn More? 

If you are interested in learning more about research and literature that supports the Thrive 5, please contact Levonne Abshire (, Thrive Committee co-chair. 


We all have a hand in shaping campus environments that support health, wellbeing, and sustainability. By championing wellbeing, we can build stronger and more inclusive communities at UBC and beyond.