Wellness Week - January 18 to 22, 2021

Mind your connections

January 18 to 22, join us online for Wellness Week!

uOttawa is once again holding its famous Wellness Week! For obvious reasons, this year's Week will be mostly online.

January 18 to 22, kick off the winter semester with some fun and relaxing activities, or take the opportunity to learn about wellbeing and mental health in fun and insightful ways (or both!). All activities are free!

Wellness Week Videos


Does your schedule conflict with this year’s Wellness Week programming? If so, be sure to check out our Wellness week videos.

Try a quick core workout, find out about tips on how to stay connected while maintaining physical distance or learn about ergonomics.

Activities for all (students, professors, staff)

Monday - January 18
portrait of athlete Clara Hughes

Wellness Week Launch | Conference: Clara Hughes 


Right before this conference, at 10:45 a.m, the Okanagan Charter will be officially signed and adopted by uOttawa. Tune in for more info. Members of our community are also invited to pledge their support on this webpage.

Movement is Medicine

Clara Hughes has lived a life in constant motion. From the highest level of sport, winning medals for Canada in speed skating and cycling, to long-distance hiking trails.

Since competing in her last Olympic Games, Hughes has spent months on the trail, as well as thousands of kilometres of bike touring, adventure kayaking, and so much more.

Moving through vast landscapes have, in her own words, “allowed for a disconnection to the fast and furious pace of modern society, slowing things down to the pace of a human being.” Through nature and the power of movement, she was able to heal.

Hughes shares how this opportunity to heal is available to us all. Through humour and practical advice, she helps audiences learn to “disconnect” so that they can reconnect with who they really are, let go of the fear of failing, and learn to truly feel.

  • When: Monday, January 18. The Okanagan Charter signing event will start at 10:45 a.m., followed by the Clara Hughes conference from 11 to 11:45 a.m.
  • How to participate: Registration via EventBrite
  • Event language: English

Pensive woman

Make the Best of Stress (EN)

This workshop is focused on identifying signs of stress and practicing a variety of research-based methods for stress management, including mindfulness and relaxation, meeting one’s basic needs, physical activity, time management, priority-setting, and finding meaning in day to day activities. You will also be provided with a package of resources that will be referenced throughout the presentation and accessible at the start of the webinar.

  • With: The workshop will be facilitated by Alexandra Haddad and Lori Cohen.
  • When: Monday, January 18, 2 -3 p.m.
  • How to participate: Registration via EventBrite
  • Event language: English (The French version is held on Tuesday, Jan. 19)

A padlock locks a chain wrapped around a keyboard.

Virtual Escape Room

Enter the virtual escape room, follow the clues and get out! The questions, enigmas and locks refer to uOttawa health and wellness topics: global health, mental health, nutrition, drugs and alcohol, physical activity and sexual health. Everything you need to unlock each room can be found on the web!

Virtual Escape Rooms happen monthly!

  • When: Monday, January 18, all week
  • How to participate: You can find the instructions and the participation link on the Virtual Escape Room page
  • Event language: bilingual

drawing style, two peole taking into radio microphones

Counselling Services' Podcast

Every two weeks, an all new podcast will provide students with knowledge, tools and resources to increase connection and belonging. In this podcast we will talk about issues such as technology, identity, and belonging. We will be interviewing guests that include mental health counsellors, a National Geographic explorer and various members of the uOttawa community. For more information, please visit the counselling website!  

Tuesday - January 19

Conference: How do we promote the well-being of those who work or study online?

Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay

By the end of March 2020, 40% of Canadian employees had been dropped into the world of telework and many students were beginning to study entirely online. What had once been the exception was now the norm for many office workers, professionals, managers, and students. How do we nurture the well-being of teleworkers and online students? What are the challenges and best practices for managers and employees? What are the qualities of a good telework supervisor or worker? And what wellness tips can we give to managers, employers, and students? This webinar will cover these issues, and you will also be able to ask questions.

This conference will be given by Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay, Professor, Université Téluq.

  • When: Tuesday, January 19, 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
  • How to participate: Registration via EventBrite
  • Event language: French (The Q&A session will be bilingual.)

glass containers with pasta, flour, etc.

Zero-Waste Lifestyle Workshop (FR)

Ready to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle? Minimizing waste with your family or roommates? Take part in the workshop offered by Valérie Leloup, uOttawa alumna, founder and CEO of Nu Grocery, the first zero-waste grocery store in Ottawa. Event presented by the Alumni Relations Office

    Pensive woman

    Make the Best of Stress (FR)

    This workshop is focused on identifying signs of stress and practicing a variety of research-based methods for stress management, including mindfulness and relaxation, meeting one’s basic needs, physical activity, time management, priority-setting, and finding meaning in day to day activities. You will also be provided with a package of resources that will be referenced throughout the presentation and accessible at the start of the webinar.

    • With: The workshop will be facilitated by Alexandra Haddad and Severina Borisevich.
    • When: Tuesday, January 19, 1 - 2 p.m.
    • How to participate: Registration via EventBrite
    • Event language: French (The English version is held on Monday, Jan. 18)

    The words

    Trivia Tuesday

    Take part in our Health and Wellness quiz every Tuesday and compete against other players! Challenge your knowledge every Tuesday on topics such as nutrition, harm reduction, sexual health, mental health, physical activity, and more. You can choose to compete individually or with your friends as a team via FaceTime, Zoom, Messenger, etc.

    • When: Tuesday, January 19, all day
    • How to participate: Take the quiz on SurveyMonkey.
    • Event language: bilingual
    Wednesday - January 20
    illustration of a woman meditating, surrounded by communication symbols (speaking bubble, clocks, emails, etc.)

    Disconnecting From Stress

    Participants will learn about stress – good and bad – and what it means for our functioning. Strategies for managing stress are also explored. The session will review concepts including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Positive Psychology, as well as a free program available to all based in that model of CBT. The session will conclude with a review of the potential impact of social media and technologies on an individual mental health and wellness.

    This event is presented by RBC in collaboration the Canadian Mental Health Association.

    glass containers with pasta, flour, etc.

    Zero-Waste Lifestyle Workshop (EN)

    Ready to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle? Minimizing waste with your family or roommates? Take part in the workshop offered by Valérie Leloup, uOttawa alumna, founder and CEO of Nu Grocery, the first zero-waste grocery store in Ottawa. Event presented by the Alumni Relations Office

    The Journey of the Open Heart: Exploring Self-Compassion with Dr. Shroff

    a woman with both hands held to her heart

    Being kind to ourselves has become increasingly important during these times of isolation. In this workshop, we will discuss the importance of self-compassion and practice tools for becoming a warm and supportive companion to ourselves.

    Dr Farah Shroff is a practitioner, researcher and educator in the field of integrative health practices. She teaches at UBC’s Faculty of Medicine and works as a consultant in public health. Dr Shroff is also a teacher of yoga, meditation and other mind and body practices.

    a women meditating outside

    Guided meditation

    Students and staff can join our weekly meditation sessions offered by Art of Living. These guided meditation sessions are free and help you destress by using breathing and mindfulness techniques.

    • When: Wednesday, January 20, 5 - 5:45 p.m.
    • How to participate: Join via Zoom.
    • Event language: Bilingual
    • More information: Guided meditation happens weekly during the semester! Find them on Campus Activities.

    Wellness Talks

    Listen, share and connect with students from the uOttawa community during a 30 minute safe-space session led by students for students on the topic of wellness on campus.

    • When: Wednesday, January 20, 5 p.m.
    • How to participate: Join via Zoom.
    • Event language: English (session française suivra à 17h30)
    Thursday - January 21
    two people sitting, talking

    Mental Health Coaching

    Looking to talk to someone in a non-clinical setting? Book a one-on-one session to connect with a peer counsellor to get help in navigating the tools and services available to you as well as skill building in stressful times.

    • When: Thursday, January 21, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    • How to participate: Make an appointment via email, the Peer Wellness Chat or by sending a Direct Message to @uohealth.uosante on Instagram.
    • Event language: Bilingual

    PAC logo

    Physical Activity Counselling

    Do you know that physical activity is good for you but don't know how to translate that into action? Well then this workshop is for you! This interactive workshop will focus on discussing how to become a lifelong mover. We will first begin by discussing how to increase your own motivation towards physical activity, followed by providing some tangible evidence-based tools that can get -and keep - you moving. Whether you're wanting to start physical activity, or have started and want to maintain it in the long-run, we will be providing you with all of the necessary skills!

    Vision Board Party with Shondra Mings

    a woman is sitting on a pier, watching the horizon

    It’s a new year and it’s time to think about your goals. Come to this event to create your own vision board to help you manifest your goals. A vision board is a powerful technique that uses the imagination to help you achieve your dreams and goals whether they’re related to you career, family and friends. What are you career goals? What are your personal goals? During this online event you will be given the tools and knowledge to create your own physical or digital vision board.

     We want to inspire you this year to make your vision come true. All the participants have the chance to win a prize. The winner will be announced at the end of the party.

    To prepare for this virtual webinar, participants who wish to make a physical vision board are encouraged to have tape, glue, a collection of old magazines as well as printed images that they would like to include. For those who wish to create a digital vision board, you are encouraged to create a free account on Canva to use during the workshop. Bring some snacks and a beverage of your choosing. Sit back and learn how you are going to make 2021 work for you!

    Friday - January 22
    4 cartoon dog faces, looking happy

    Virtual Pet Therapy

    Students and staff who may be experiencing stress, a difficult situation, or who may just enjoy the benefits of a pet can take part in this session to improve their wellness by spending time with dogs who tune in to provide support virtually.

    • When: Friday, January 22, 11 - 11:30 a.m.
    • How to participate: via Zoom
    • Event language: bilingual
    • More information: Virtual Pet Therapy happens weekly during the semester!

    weekly planner, notebook and laptop

    New Year’s Resolutions That You’ll Actually Stick To

    Have a goal in mind but not sure where to start? Want to spend time to reflect on and create a new goal?

    No matter where you’re at with goal setting for the new year, join in on this action-oriented session of goal setting to help you clarify your goals, learn the little steps and daily changes to achieve those goals, and how to keep yourself accountable throughout the process. 

    house plants on a shelf

    Mindful Horticulture

    Pause with plants! Join Emma Terrell of the Urban Botanist for a one-hour session in learning about the benefits of engaging with nature in an urban setting. This guided session will walk you through the steps of how to become a plant parent, simple tools on how to get started, growing your collection on a budget, plant care, beginner plants tips, and how plants can improve your mind, body, space and spirit!

    • When: Friday, January 22, 2 - 3 p.m.
    • How to participate: Registration via EventBrite
    • Event language: The event will be mainly in English, but the presenter will be able to answer questions in French.
      a woman doing sit-ups

      Post-workday workout with Simone

      Bring awareness to your posture and core with an effective 3-move isometric circuit, complete with a warm-up and cool down. Join Simone and your fellow desk jockeys to increase recruitment in key muscles, lower blood pressure and recharge your system!

      Target muscles: mid back, core, lower body

      Intensity: low to medium

      Host: Simone Julien-Sparks, PTS, Associate PRO-Trainer

    • When: Friday January 22 at 4:00 p.m.
    • How to participate:Join via Zoom!
    • Event language:English/French

    Activities for employees (staff and professors)

    Health Risk Assessment for Employees
    father cooking with his daughter

    Do you wonder what’s affecting your health?

    From January 18 to February 12, uOttawa employees, who are members of the University's group insurance benefits plan with Canada Life, have the opportunity through our partners Canada Life and Health Connected to get a Health Risk Assessment. Learn about your health risks and build action plans to address them!

    Click here for more information.


    "Jaser pour jaser" Challenge
    colorful banner, with a bear and moose on a videoconference call, and the Healthy and active campus logo

    Within the context of this year's Wellness Week theme, Mind your connections, a Healthy and Active Campus is inviting you to practice the art of virtual networking by taking part in the “Jaser pour jaser” Challenge! We no longer meet by chance on campus, on our way to the nearby café, so we need to make a conscious effort to recreate those moments that used to allow us to connect with our colleagues in an informal setting.

    What is this challenge about? Simply taking the initiative to call colleagues on Teams, in a way that is not necessarily planned, and keeping in mind to avoid talking about work...

    Among those colleagues:

    • 1 can be someone you know, already on your team = 1 point.
    • 1 can be someone you know, but outside of your team = 2 points.
    • 1 can be someone you do not know yet = 5 points!

    The Health and Active Campus Champion representing your faculty or service will be sharing terms of participation with you and you will be able to enter your daily score onto this spreadsheet.

    A friendly ranking will be established at the end of the Challenge and the winning team will be awarded the virtual Champions’ Cup… until we are able to celebrate with the actual one!

    Did you take up the “Jaser pour jaser” Challenge brilliantly, or did you receive an unannounced call that made your day? We want to hear from you. Share your experience with us at mieuxetre.wellness@uOttawa.ca.

    Express Coaching Service

    Come and try the Express Coaching service! Quick, effective and confidential - for you!

    illustration of two people at the top of a mountain

    Exceptionally during Wellness Week, the coaching service will be offered to employees in addition to managers.

    University of Ottawa’s Human Resources offers a new virtual Express Coaching service since March 2020 built to meet managers’ needs on-demand and in a customized fashion.

    Coaching helps to manage stress, to think clearly, to ensure self-care and to support one and others’ well-being during extraordinary lightning speed changes.

    Express Coaching consists of a 20 to 60-minute in-the-moment coaching sessions with a certified coach that takes place at opportune times throughout the workday and on line through MS Teams or Zoom.

    Book your coaching session now: Book a coach

    Discover our coaches:

    Sophie Ménard


    I am a practitioner-researcher with a passion and dedication to engaging staff through learning and development in the workplace. I work closely with managers and executives to foster individuals to thrive in a changing workplace.

    Coaching Expertise

    I specialize in leadership development through coaching. I coach management teams and managers in both academic and administrative roles.

    I understand academics since I have been a full time professor, curriculum director and undergraduate supervisor in a faculty.

    In addition to my coaching practice, I am a researcher committed to contributing to knowledge in the field of organizational coaching. I have also been teaching the Leadership and Coaching course at the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa for the past few years.

    Applied Coaching

    Since 2015, I have led the Leadership, Learning and Organizational Development (LADO) sector within the Human Resources Department at the University of Ottawa. I have the pleasure of working with and coaching specialists in learning and change management.

    The sector I lead carries out strategic planning and organizational change and coaching mandates. Some examples of institutional programs that fall under the LADO’s mandate are: the Recognition and Engagement Program, the Leadership and Management Program, the Coaching Program and the Performance Management Program.

    Strategic Thinking, Cross-Cutting Approach and Mobilization of People

    I was the project leader for Transformation 2030 - the University of Ottawa's strategic planning process, as well as the project to develop the framework for teaching excellence and academic success.

    I also mentor the Vice-President, Planning, Programming and External Relations, Université Alassane Ouattara, Côte d'Ivoire.

    I am also a founding member of the Forum francophone de la recherche sur le coaching.

    Academic Traning

    • Doctorat in education. Thesis subject: The study of the relationships between intervention strategies of coaches and types of insight in executive coaching. 
    • Masters in Education (specialization in Angragogy)
    • Bachelor in Psychology

    Coaching clients since 2005

    • International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
    • University of Ottawa
    • Saint Paul University
    • Library and Archives Canada (LAC)
    • National Defence (DND)
    • Health Canada (HC)
    • Télé-Québec
    • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
    • NavCanada
    • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
    • CALACS francophone d'Ottawa
    • Ste-Anne's Hospital, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue
    • Transport Canada (TC)
    • SITQ, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
    • Justice Canada
    • Amnesty International, Canada
    • Association of Franco-Ontarian Education Managers (AGEFO)
    • Greenpeace Canada
    • Elisabeth Bruyère Hospital


    Rachel Ouellette

    Rachel Ouellette has worked for more than twenty years as a manager in senior administration at the University of Ottawa. In this capacity, she has had the opportunity to coach many employees and colleagues through various projects or specific challenges they faced. Over the past few months, she sought to further enhance her skills in this field through intensive training at a renowned coaching school. Rachel is also a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF).  

    Her professional areas of management expertise include project design, development and direction, strategic planning, human and financial resource management, organizational development, and results and performance evaluation. Rachel is recognized for her leadership and ability to mobilize teams and achieve results.  

    Over the years, Rachel has had the opportunity to demonstrate her communication, presentation and facilitation skills in many internal and external committees and groups, composed of stakeholders from various backgrounds, in a multidisciplinary environment.  

    Sylvie Séguin Brant

    "You either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness".  Brené Brown

    Sylvie is an Integral Master Coach ™ that is motivated by being of service to individuals with leadership aspirations while creating a safe environment that allows individuals to develop in areas that are most meaningful to them.

    Her respect of individuality and diversity in a complex environment is part of the integrated coaching approach she uses to support clients’ development.  This creates the opportunity for clients to gain greater clarity, insights and awareness resulting in measurable and sustainable results.

    Sylvie is an authentic and courageous leader who brings her dynamic style, her strategic thinking and listening skills to the sessions.

    She is a seasoned senior executive with over twenty years’ experience as a senior executive in the federal public services.  She has extensive experience in strategic planning, policy development, operations, developing and implementing programs and leading transformations.

    Sylvie is an Integral Master Coach™ and is an Associate Certified Coach under the International Coaching Federation (ICF).  Sylvie earned credentials in leadership psychometrics, - emotional intelligence (EQi 2.0). Sylvie holds a Bachelor honours degree in Psychology and a Master in Education with thesis entitled “Meaning Making: Daily Realities of Aboriginal Students Residing on the Territory and Attending Secondary School off the Territory.”

    Sylvie likes to greet the day with a nice walk with her dog while enjoying the outdoors. She loves to play soccer, cycle, watch hockey, read, travel and more importantly have a great laugh with family and friends.  She currently lives in Ottawa with her husband Kevin and their two boys who are entering adulthood.


    Zen Workplace

    a laptop in an ergonomic setup on a desk, surrounded by plants

    Ever feel like you get clutter brain while sitting at your desk, staring at your screen? That may be because your workspace is cluttered! Now more than ever, people are spending a lot of time in their workspace. Let us know how you cleaned up your workspace to be more organized, feel more productive and well, more zen. :)

    • During Wellness Week, submit photos of your workspace setup to healthpromo@uottawa.ca along with a little explanation of how this setup helps you avoid brain clutter!
    • Participants must be a uOttawa students to win prize (send photos from uOttawa email). Employees can participate but will not be eligible to prizes.

    Quarantine Crafts

    craft material on a table

    Macrame, pottery and DIY sock puppets. All of these are crafts you may have taken up during the long days since the pandemic began. We want to see some of your best (or worst) creations!

    • During Wellness Week, submit photos of your crafts to healthpromo@uottawa.ca along with an explanation of how the piece came about
    • Must be homemade (please submit 2 photos; 1 of your craft and 1 of you next to your craft!)
    • Submit any craft you’ve made yourself, since the beginning of the pandemic!
    • Participants must be a uOttawa students to win prize (send photos from uOttawa email). Employees can participate but will not be eligible to prizes.

    Important notice

    Photographs and film footage may be taken during the Wellness Week’s events, which may include your recognizable image. By participating in these events, you consent to being photographed or filmed and authorize the University to use the photographs or film in print, digital, video or web-based format for its promotional and archival purposes. For further information, email mieuxetre.wellness@uOttawa.ca.


    Human Resources wishes to thank its community partners: The Healthy and Active Campus Committee, Communications Directorate, Faculty of Health Sciences, Initiative 1/5,  SASS, Student Life (COOP and Careers, Sociocultural and Educational Programming, Sport Services, Wellness and Recreation Sector) and RBC. 


    Wellness Week is more than events: students can also win great prizes! Keep your eye on @uOttawa social media channels for giveaways or you can simply send an email to Mieuxetre.wellness@uottawa.ca to enter. Don't forget to use #uOttawaWellness when you're posting!

    Also check out our contests!

    Peer Wellness Chat

    Are you looking to connect with peers and get more involved in your campus community? Then the peer wellness chat is for you. Come and chat with us, we would be happy to answer your questions and get to know you.

    Would you like to be part of the Health Promotion volunteer team?

    We are recruiting for 2021-2022!

    More information

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