Taking a hike to better mental health: Thrive Week 2022

November 4, 2022

Next week, RRC Polytech staff and students will cuddle with dogs, walk through the forest and learn the art of Japanese taiko drumming, all in the name of supporting their mental health and well-being.

The College’s Thrive Week activities encourage students and staff to focus on balance and self-care, while developing positive mental health that supports success in learning and work.

“RRC Polytech is committed to providing an environment where equity, diversity and inclusion can thrive — and part of that is addressing the diverse realities we each face when it comes to mental health,” says Melanie Gudmundson, Chief Human Resource Officer.

“Campus well-being is a priority. We understand that personal and community health contributes both to student success and employee engagement, so it’s important to offer opportunities for our community to find some much-needed balance in their busy days, whether they’re on campus or learning or working remotely.”

The week starts off Nov. 7 with a visit from the St. John Ambulance therapy dog program. On Nov. 8, the College hosts keynote speaker Jaime Manness, a nurse and RRC Polytech grad who’s the creator, owner and author of Hike Manitoba, which includes five guidebooks on hiking in Manitoba.

Manness will talk about how spending time in nature helps her manage a high-pressure career, while sharing expert tips on hiking in the province.

Thrive Week also features a series of virtual and in-person events — such as a group walk through Birds Hill Park and a workshop with Fubuki Daiko — where staff and students are invited to take a moment to do something for themselves that promotes relaxation, creativity or connection.

“Addressing our mental health can often feel like a daunting task. Thrive Week focuses on accessible ways we can all be more mindful and present in our day-to-day lives,” says Breanna Sawatzky, RRC Polytech’s Campus Mental Health Specialist.

“Health is not only about our bodies, but also our minds, emotions, spirit and relationships. Our hope is that the events provided throughout the week will allow our community to focus on small but significant ways to improve our mental health.”

The College’s Campus Well-Being unit provides year-round support and activities for physical and mental health, including recreation and fitness classes and mental wellness initiatives such as the MindWell platform, which includes online mindfulness training and live guided mindfulness practices.

For more information, visit