Pahinungód System and OVPAA hold webinar on mindfulness, self-care for faculty educators with UP alum and Nat’l Social Scientist Dr. Carandang

August 28, 2020

As the University prepares for remote learning for the coming AY 2020-2021, wading into unchartered waters even as we face the uncertainties brought about by COVID-19, it recognizes the need to address the wellbeing of our faculty educators. The Ugnayan ng Pahinungód University of the Philippines System Office and the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs joined hands to organize a webinar for faculty educators entitled “Mindfulness and Self-Care: Essentials for Remote Teaching,” held on Monday, August 24, 2020 at 9:00AM via Zoom Video Conferencing Application.

Dr. Maria Lourdes “Honey” Carandang, National Social Scientist and UP alumna, graced the webinar with her presence as the resource speaker.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Maria Cynthia Rose Banzon Bautista gave the opening remarks. She emphasized that this talk is timely especially for the faculty members and may they see “mindfulness and self-care as an antidote to stress.”

Dr. Carandang stressed that mindfulness and self-care is a way of life and practice. In the Eastern definition, it is “paying total attention to what you are doing and putting your heart in it.” Being in the moment while doing mundane activities is mindfulness in practice--taking a shower, taking your breakfast, and drinking your coffee, to name a few.

She went on by giving practical tips in practicing mindfulness- “Find quiet time alone. Listen to your body and take care of it. Be kind.”

“Whether you are teaching a course, doing administrative work, parenting your child, etc., there is always your inner life that needs attending to in order for you to do your job well. This is the secret and gift of mindfulness, awareness of what we are thinking, feeling at the moment,” Dr. Carandang added.

After the presentation, the floor was opened for questions. Most of the questions revolved on work-from-home mindfulness imperatives and maintaining boundaries between home and work.

“I think what families have found useful is to really meet together and find a structure, meaning a schedule. A real, concrete schedule that you agree on,” answered Dr. Carandang. “That is one of the first steps in managing these very confusing complicated times that we have inside the home,” she added. She also noted that taking a pause is important so that the quality of work will not suffer.

Other questions include dealing with stressed and stressful faculty colleagues, helping students to be mindful during remote learning, and enlightening students who tie their self-worth to grades. Dr. Carandang addressed these by saying that honest conversations and acknowledgements are some of the most proven interventions.

On the question of institutionalizing a mental health care and well-being program in the University, Dr. Carandang encouraged the UP community to rally for a program by talking to existing offices that can make this work.

“Because of the pandemic and the digital challenges, the whole University community are being challenged more now than ever before. […] I think it is almost impossible to quarrel or to argue against a mental health well-being program in the University. […] Let us come together as a whole University and let us put a University Mental Health Program,” says Dr. Carandang.

Closing the webinar is the Ugnayan ng Pahinungód University of the Philippines System Office Director, Dr. Grace Aguiling-Dalisay. She shared that while she was discussing with Vice President Bautista and Asst. Vice President Evangeline Amor the similar initiatives on remote learning--OVPAA leading the University’s move to remote learning, and the Gurong Pahinungód Program--they were also able to touch the topic on mental health care and well-being. Dr. Aguiling-Dalisay also shared how they ended up conducting the webinar together, since one of its system-wide programs, the Pahinungód Committee on Psychosocial Emergency Services (CoPES), also aims to provide psychosocial support services by strengthening the capacities of volunteers and partner communities to better help themselves and others.

The Ugnayan ng Pahinungód / Oblation Corps (UP/OC) is the institutional volunteer service program of the University of the Philippines.

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