CAPS Flourishing Initiative

Vision

Tritons Flourish is an extension of CAPS’ Vision to “promote the individual and collective mental health and well-being of the student as ‘whole person’ embedded in a social context.” We manifest this vision through preventative and clinical services, outreach initiatives, and community building. Working to remove systemic barriers provides culturally responsive clinical services to the UCSD community, which allows us to reach underserved and historically underrepresented students. We facilitate structural competency by offering access to services in new and innovative ways. As advocates for social justice, we promote equity, diversity, and inclusion. We support the development of student leaders to cultivate their voice and create positive change on campus and in the world.


Mission

The Tritons Flourish Initiative is an implementation of CAPS essential function of promoting well-being and flourishing. With a focus on primary prevention and culturally relevant interventions, our mission is to promote the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, environmental, and intellectual well-being of our students, the UCSD community, and ourselves. We facilitate the optimization of student functioning in all areas of their lives in order to promote personal growth, foster academic success, maximize retention, and develop well-rounded contributors to a global society.


“Flourish” as defined by the Tritons Flourish Team

You might be asking yourself, “What does ‘flourish’ mean?” or “What does ‘flourishing’ look like?” You might even be asking, “How can I flourish, when I’m just struggling to get by day to day?” The Tritons Flourish team recognizes that “flourishing” looks different to different people. It’s not the absence of hardship, the denial of reality, pretending that everything is okay, or being tolerant of things that are unjust. Flourishing is intentionally and consistently using your personal resources and coping skills, even in the midst of challenging times. Flourishing is about how you respond to hardships so that you can get where you want to be!

Tritons Flourish by:
- Recognizing, building, and utilizing their strengths
- Connecting with others and developing a sense of belonging
- Finding regular experiences that create positive emotion
- Discovering their passions and interests
- Engaging in something that gives meaning and a sense of purpose
- Feeling a sense of accomplishment
- Being compassionate to themselves and others
- Building resiliency to get through tough times
- Developing “grit” to stick with long-term goals
- Redefining “failure” and having the courage to be imperfect
- Practicing regular self-care (e.g., healthy sleep, eating, and exercise)

As you can see, learning to “flourish” is a high level academic and personal success tool. “Flourishing” is a sustainable approach to life that can be used to help you through graduation and life beyond UCSD.

In what ways are you already flourishing? What might be one goal you could set to help you flourish at UCSD?

CAPS Wellness Peer Educators are a group of undergraduate students who provide outreach and education about mental health and well-being. You can request a program through their 9-part “Tritons Flourish Workshop Series” for your campus group by visiting: http://caps.ucsd.edu/peer .

Tritons Flourish Mental Health & Wellbeing Tips

As a busy UCSD student, it’s important to remember to engage in your self-care. This includes taking care of your physical and mental health, which will have a direct impact on your academic success. While many students drop their self-care in order to cram for exams, this can ironically decrease your performance. Prioritizing your self-care and using the tips below will help you to flourish, both personally and academically!

(1) Sleep:
Sleep impacts your physical health and your cognitive functioning. Be sure to get plenty of sleep prior to the event. Be aware that alcohol and caffeine can have a negative impact on your sleep. Sleep Better- 5 strategies to increase your chances of sleeping better:
• Minimize artificial sources of light in your bedroom (eg., no TV or electronics- blue light decreases melatonin levels and disturbs sleep quality; Dark blinds and curtains so light doesn’t get in)
• Ensure there is white noise in the background- You sleep better when there is regular constant noise in the background
• Keep your bedroom cool- about 2-4 degrees cooler than what you are usually comfortable (eg., 68 degrees), we sleep better in cooler temperatures
• Maintain a routine- You sleep better when you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
• Prevent stress from ruining your sleep (eg., Don’t check email after dinner).

(2) Exercise:
Regular exercise and physical activity help to improve your mood and cope with stress and anxiety.
• Use devices/apps that help track your steps- Merely having a device that measures how much you move leads you to move more
• Move more regularly while studying. It’s important to take a break every 20-30 minutes. If you sit for hours on end, blood sugar and insulin increase. Even a short 2 minute break every 20 minutes or so counteracts this negative impact.
• Exercise in the morning provides significant mood boosting benefits that last throughout the day.
• Do whatever physical exercise appeals to you (e.g., cardio, strength training, yoga, dance, walk with dog or friend, play ping pong, try a new sport, sign up for a recreation class).
• Even if you start with 5 minutes per day, you will likely start to recognize the benefits and continue to exercise.
• Higher physical activity and physical fitness levels are associated with improved cognitive performance (e.g., concentration, memory) among students.

(3) Eating:
Eating right is an important part of stress management, helps you maintain energy throughout the day, improves cognitive performance, and keeps your mood steady.
• Carry healthy snacks with you (e.g., nuts, apple, carrots)
• Don’t get super hungry, we tend to crave unhealthy carbohydrate heavy food when we get super hungry
• Have well-balanced meals. For example, start your meals with healthy items (e.g., fruit or salad- we eat as much as 50% more of the food we start our meal with)
• Remember to eat breakfast! The CDC reports that skipping breakfast is associated with decreased cognitive performance (e.g., alertness, attention, memory, problem-solving) among students. So have a hearty breakfast (e.g., eggs, salmon).

(4) Time Management:
Prepare in advance for the amount of time you’ll need to study for midterm and final exams. When you know you have a large event coming up that will take a lot of time (e.g., attending a wedding, a birthday party, going to a club event), it’s important to plan effectively. Start weeks in advance and schedule study time around this large event. This way you can actually enjoy the event while you are there! It will also reduce the likelihood of you having to cram and pull an “all-nighter.”

Tips for time management: Get organized! Having a daily and weekly planner can help you to prioritize and organize your multiple activities. Start with the BIG PICTURE

a. Create a QUARTER schedule: Put important dates and deadlines for the entire quarter into your organizer (exams, paper deadlines, etc.)

b. Create a WEEKLY schedule: Add in all activities that have “Fixed Times” First (e.g., classes, work, club meetings, etc.) Then add:
• Prep time (e.g., getting ready, travel)
• Study time (plan to study when you have your best energy)
• Breaks (Don’t set yourself up for failure! Schedule 5-10 minute breaks every hour)
• Time for errands/exercise
• Time for Fun!
• Be sure to prioritize 7-8 hours of sleep
• Be sure to have a realistic assessment of how long it takes you to complete certain tasks and plan accordingly

c. Create a DAILY schedule:
• Look at your organizer every day
• ABC, 123 Method:
-> A = Absolutely have to get done today! (If more than one, label A1, A2, A3, etc.)
-> B = Things you’d like to get done.
-> C = If get A & B done, then do C.

d. ↓Wasting Time: Identify your biggest distractions (e.g., phone and text messages, internet, social media, email, video games). Turn these things OFF during study time

e. Increase Motivators:
• Create accountability (e.g., have a study buddy)
• Reward with “guilt-free” Fun!

f. Learn to say “no”.
• This is related to making time commitments carefully and wisely. Sometimes, it is “OK” to say No and one needs to learn to decline opportunities appropriately.
• Take on commitments that you know you can deliver upon and that are meaningful to you.

(5) Social Support: Relationships are one of the most important factors of well-being. Developing, deepening, and maintaining close, supportive relationships help us to flourish. While at UCSD, it’s important to not just focus on academics, but to find a sense of belonging and community; to be part of a group in which you feel you are a valued member. Close relationships help to reduce loneliness and provide support during stressful times.

(6) Find your Passion: Find at least one interest or hobby that you can pursue and look forward to once or twice a week. “Engagement” in activities in which you get completely absorbed and feel perfectly challenged, neither bored nor overwhelmed, can be extremely rewarding and help us to flourish.

CAPS Wellness Peer Educators are a group of undergraduate students who provide outreach and education about mental health and well-being. You can request a program through their 9-part “Tritons Flourish Workshop Series” for your campus group by visiting: http://caps.ucsd.edu/peer