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Human Resources

Not Myself Today — A mental health initiative

You can find helpful wellness tips in this downloadable pdf: Not Myself Today - Workplace Wellness Tips

F‌or more indepth information about Not Myself Today, keep reading! 


Winter Blues or something more? Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

If you’ve been finding yourself feeling down this winter, you’re not alone. January and February have reputations for being some of the least favorable months when it comes to mental health. When the excitement of the festive season passes, and holiday bills begin to arrive, many individuals in Canada may experience what’s called the Winter Blues. But for some people, it’s much more than that.  

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that significantly affects thoughts, mood, and behavior, and is characterized by a recurrent seasonal pattern.1 Most often occurring during the winter months, SAD symptoms typically start at the end of fall and carry on until spring.  

Symptoms include:

  • Feeling persistently down, anxious, or hopeless.
  • Increased irritability, frustration, or guilt. 
  • A desire to isolate or stay inside.1

While it’s understandable if you want to stick indoors this time of year, doing so could exacerbate symptoms. Studies indicate that sunlight affects the brain’s ability to maintain normal levels of serotonin – the chemical that helps regulate mood! Vitamin D (produced by sunlight) is also believed to promote serotonin activity. With less daylight to enjoy in the winter, people with SAD may experience lower vitamin D levels, further reducing serotonin activity.1

Fortunately, there are ways to help decrease symptoms and increase your mood indoors: get moving! When you exercise your body, you release endorphins and feel-good chemicals that reduce feelings of pain and increase feelings of pleasure, literally boosting your mood! Just 20-30 minutes of movement daily can have a big impact on mental health.2

Source: Winter Blues or something more? Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) - CMHA National

If you’re looking for motivation:

In just a few short days we’re gearing up to participate in The Push Up Challenge! From February 1-23, we’re pushing to complete 2,000 push-ups to represent the 20% of Canadians who will experience a mental illness each year. While push-ups are greatly encouraged, any form of exercise that’s exciting to you is welcome! 

Whether you’re facing occasional winter melancholy or suspect you might be experiencing SAD, understanding the distinction empowers you to seek professional help if needed.  

If you need support, please contact your local CMHA or visit the Government of Canada’s Wellness Together portal.  

If you are in crisis: 

9-8-8 is for anyone who is thinking about suicide, or who is worried about someone they know. Connect to a responder to get help without judgement. Call or text 9-8-8 toll-free, anytime for support in English or French. Call 9-8-8 (toll-free, 24/7) or text 9-8-8 (toll-free, 24/7). For more information, visit


Mental Health Meter

Characteristics of Mental Health

Understanding the characteristics that make up good mental health will help you determine how mentally fit you are. Here are some real-life examples:

Ability to enjoy life You’ve just become engaged. You join your friends and family in celebrating the future you are planning with your partner. You realize that life before and after your marriage will bring challenges, but worries about problems that may crop up do not dim the joy you feel.

Resilience Due to changes in the marketplace, you are suddenly laid off from a job you love. You are shocked and angry, but those emotions fade quickly as you put the event in perspective. You gather solid references, revamp your resume and begin your job search. Balance An old friend confronts you, saying you never have time for him. You are taken aback and give excuses of overwork. Then you look at it from their point of view, and realize you have been letting that relationship and other personal interests slide. You make a commitment to restore the balance.

Self-actualization While working full-time at an undemanding job, you take a night course in a field that has always intrigued you. You realize your talents and interests lie with this other area. You consult your teacher for advice and begin pursuing a new career path.

Flexibility The love of your life has walked out. You are devastated and feel like all your plans for the future have been ruined. After grieving for a time, you begin to see that your expectations of the relationship and of your partner were unrealistic. Gradually, you reconsider what you want and expect from a partner.

Take the Mental Health Meter

Now you’re ready to take our Mental Health Meter. Please answer every question below as honestly as you can. Read each statement, indicating whether you “Agree” or “Disagree” with it. Then, click on the “Submit“ button at the end to get your score and your results.


This is not a scientific test. Information provided is not a substitute for professional advice. If you feel that you may need advice, please consult a qualified health care professional or reach out to

Employee and Family Assistance Programs (EFAP).




Kindness is the glue that holds people and society together.  

Kindness in its power has the ability to improve mental health and well-being. 

“Kindness is the ability to know what the right thing to do is, and having the courage to do it!” Raktruist  

Cultivating kindness starts with self-kindness - using your own words and actions to soothe and shift ourselves. 


Kindness can take a variety of forms:

☀️The Sunshine - showing kindness is positive for us and it activates hormones that neutralize negative emotions and physical responses. 

⛈The Rainstorm - when life is tough… kindness can be harder to give and receive. 

��The Rainbows - being kind and having self-compassion can help us manage stress, sadness, and negativity.


In the midst of a storm, we can create more rainbows by using Mindful Self-Compassion through: 

��Mindfulness - this creates presence. Connect to your body and notice how you feel in the present moment.  

��Common humanity - this shows you are connected. Any emotions you are feeling, including suffering is part of our humanness.  

��Self-kindness - described above. 


“Compassion is the rainbow that you get when you bring the warmth of kindness to a stormy situation. No act of kindness is too small. The gift of kindness may start as a small ripple that over time can turn into a tidal wave affecting the lives of many.” Keith Heath 

What self-kindness do you need now? How will you bring more sunshine, rainstorms and rainbows to your current work context? 

People are talking more openly about mental health these days—attitudes are shifting, awareness is growing—but the work we need to do to foster safe, supportive, and mentally healthy spaces is an ongoing effort. We all have mental health, and we don’t leave it at the door when we come to work. Like our physical health, our mental health needs to be taken care of, and since we are spending most of our waking hours at work, we must commit to making workplace mental health matter.

To support our UFV community Human Resources is bringing Not Myself Today®, an initiative of the Canadian Mental Health Association, to all employees. We encourage you to explore the resources, tools and activities that are available to each of you online 24/7.

The Not Myself Today program focuses on three main objectives:

  • building a greater awareness and understanding of mental health;
  • reducing stigma; and
  • fostering a safe and supportive work culture.

To create an account, simply visit using the login code ALXJEM and create your own username and password.

At University of the Fraser Valley, we are excited to be at the forefront of organizations that are stepping up to make mental health our priority.

Zoe Strazza, SR HR Advisor


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