Health Minds Healthy College

Campus Well-Being


Wellness in the time of COVID-19  

January 21, 2022

Many of us feel the continued pressure that the global pandemic has brought into our lives. Many of us are still working and learning from home, which can feel not very reassuring for some. In contrast, others may feel comfortable with the continuation of virtual life. Many of us are also sitting in a place where we feel tired and unsure of what the future has to bring. The Campus Wellness Team curated resources that approach wellness through a holistic lens- meaning the body and mind are parts of ourselves that require care during challenging and difficult times. Prioritizing caring for our mind and body during grief helps us combat isolation. And It gives us the tools to be able to support our mental health.

Below you will find some resources to help maintain physical and mental wellness during a time of social distancing. For additional information, continue to check for updates. 

RRCP Recreation Services

  • Monthly fitness challenges – challenge your friends to see how many you can accomplish at home!
  • New: Weekly Fitness classes facilitated live- Check out staff and student news 

Fitness Apps 

Several are free, but check to ensure before you download. Some examples include: 

  • Tone It Up (Apple and Google Play) 
  • New: BodySpace – this includes an online community component (Free)
  • New: 7 Minute Workout: Fitness App (Apple and Google Play) (Free with paid options) 
  • New: NIKE Training Club App (NTC (Free with paid options)

Fitness Bloggers 

Follow your favorite fitness professional on social media, or check out a new community to share your progress. 

  Many fitness facilities and companies are live streaming classes or providing online content. Check your local yoga studio, gym or other fitness facility to see if they are hosting anything. Alternatively, check out one of the options below. 

Fitness Subscription & Online Classes 

Please note that these options may involve fees. 

Fitness Streaming  

Mindfulness & Meditation 

  Mental Health Bloggers 


Social Connection 

  • Check staff news for events organized by Campus Wellbeing  
  • Connect with mental health coordinator 
  • Schedule a fitness and lifestyle consultation 
  • Schedule an informal coffee break on WebEx. Grab your beverage and just chat about whatever you feel like. 
  • Challenge yourself to reach out to colleagues and friends  
  • Send voice messages or hold video calls with friends and family 
  • Plan a skating day at the Forks 
  • Send in a Cheers for Peers to a colleague
  • If children are home from school, consider creating a daily schedule 
  • New:  Take a course at McNally Robinson 
  • New: Meet friends at the Winnipeg Art Galley- Free and Paid Classes  



Stress and anxiety are normal reactions to abnormal situations. Now more than ever, it’s important to prioritize self-care and finding activities that help us feel grounded.   Reach out to the Campus Well-being Team if you have any questions about campus Mental Health and Fitness resources.


Mindwell Programs- Leadership, Meditation, and Drop-In Mindfulness

December 14, 2021

As we step into the new year, MindWell is offering bite-sized programs and classes to help you create lasting positive change to support your mental health and wellness into the new year. Below are some of the offerings of MindWell programs and drop-ins available to RRC Polytech, staff, faculty and students.  All you have to do is sign up for a MindWell account and you will have access to all mental health workshops and drop-ins. 


What’s on Offer?

  • Taking Care of the Mind that Leads

For all managers and people leaders, learn how to ground and remain resourced, relaxed and responsive as you effectively lead your team to success.

Learn more >>>

  • Learn to Meditate: Modern Mindfulness for a Busy Life

Akin to training your muscles at the gym, mindfulness capabilities can be strengthened by meditation. Learn the basics and create your own simple meditation practice.  All skill levels welcome! 

Learn more >>>

  • Choose Your Own Well-Being

MindWell’s virtual mindfulness studio with drop-in classes every day of the week! Sign up for one of these 20-minute sessions to get your daily dose of mindfulness and community! Find what works for you, and learn new skills to support your wellness.

Learn more >>> 


If you have any questions please feel free to contact our Mental Health Coordinator, Pamela at

Winter Wonderland Paint Night

November 26, 2021


The holiday season can be both exciting and stressful. Exams may have left us feeling tired and in need of tuning in to the creative parts of ourselves. Practicing art and embracing our own creativity can help us feel grounded and is a beautiful form of self-care.  Please join us for a free Paint Night to take care of ourselves as we enter the winter season.

The Details

Date: December 16th, 2021

Time: 6-8pm

Platform: WebEx


Kisa MacIsaac, RRC grad and owner of Power of Painting, will (virtually) lead you through an evening of self-care as you create your very own painting.

THRIVE events encourage balance and self-care that in turn supports good mental health. All THRIVE events are offered at no charge to participants and are open to staff, students, and faculty.

Need Supplies?

For this virtual paint night, you’re welcome to use your own supplies or sign up to borrow a supply pack. Supply packs will include the canvas, paint, and brushes and can be requested when you register. Brushes and unused paint must be returned to your campus so they can be reused.

We have a limited number of supply packs, so be sure to register early.

There is abundant evidence that taking time to express ourselves through creativity in a social group improves mental health and overall well-being. Don’t miss this chance to make yourself a priority.

More on the Instructor

Kisa MacIsaac (she/her) is Métis, a mother, artist, educator, and a RRC graduate (ECE diploma 2005). She works in a nonprofit early learning and

childcare program in Winnipeg’s inner city and leads wellness painting events as well as creating custom artworks. Making art is medicine –

it has the power reduce stress and anxiety, it is relaxing. Everyone can make art, it’s all about letting go of fear and just creating and going with the flow!
Check out: Power of Painting – Workshops and Art by Kisa
IG: @powerofpainting204


Light Therapy

November 15, 2021

The beginning of Fall into Winter can be a difficult time for us. We may start to feel the looming unknown of winter, dread winter driving, and deal with shorter days with less sunlight. In Manitoba, because of our northern latitude, many folks experience Seasonable Affective Disorder, and many may experience milder winter blues.

Light therapy, sitting near a specialized light each day, is one form of treatment.

We are pleased to offer light therapy stations at the Exchange District and Notre Dame Campus libraries. In addition, several regional campuses also have light therapy stations.

If you have been feeling changes to your mood, lower energy levels, or any of the symptoms listed below you may want to give light therapy a try. Staff and students are invited to work or study at the station anytime the library is open.

Smaller portable lamps are available for loan through A/V services.  That lamp may be used anywhere in the library that is near a power outlet. You will find instructions on proper use as well as important notes posted above the lamp.

To be effective, light from the lamp must enter your eyes indirectly. While your eyes must be open, don’t look directly at the light. Keep your session to 30 minutes unless otherwise directed by a physician.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)

  • Feeling tired, depressed or sad
  • Increased appetite
  • Craving for carbohydrates and starchy foods
  • Weight gain
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Social withdrawal
  • Lack of interest in usual activities
  • Inability to concentrate, to focus
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Body aches and pains

If you feel that you may be experiencing any form of depression, including S.A.D., please speak to your primary health care provider.

Sources: The Mayo Clinic Website – and Northern Light Technologies Product Instructions

Better Mental Health Through Digital Therapy

October 11, 2021

For so many of us, mental health is an important topic. Every day, conversations related to mindfulness or self-care come up.

There are no quick fixes to our mental health, and some of us feel overwhelmed, like we’ve lost control of things; others simply can’t shake feeling down. These are issues that many students deal with every day. But the good news is that there’s help available with MindBeacon digital therapy – available to Red River College students at no cost with referral.

MindBeacon can empower you

Designed to improve your mental health and build your resilience to life’s challenges, MindBeacon provides Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (or CBT), an evidence-based form of psychological therapy.  Tis form of therapy is often considered the gold standard when it comes to helping people with mild to moderate depression, insomnia, or anxiety.

How CBT works

The premise behind CBT is that, with regular practice and guidance, we can manage the distressing thoughts and behaviours that come along with stressful, challenging situations – in a way that positively impacts our lives. It can be difficult at first, but with commitment to therapy, you can see your resilience grow.

Therapy on your terms

You use MindBeacon wherever and whenever you choose – all on your phone, tablet, or computer – with no appointments to keep. And your therapy is guided by a registered mental health professional, to help you develop crucial lifelong coping skills.

To get started, connect with any of the following:

Students attending a regional campus may contact an Academic Success Coach at their campus.

Staff who are interested in MindBeacon should inquire about extended health plan coverage. Many of our employee benefit packages do cover these services, since they’re provided by registered social workers or psychologists.

This service enhancement aligns with the Healthy Minds Healthy College strategic priority to improve access to mental health services, using innovation. If you have questions please contact Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator.

World Suicide Prevention Day: Creating Hope Through Action

September 7, 2021

World Suicide Prevention Day is a time to connect and reflect. Every year on September 10th, people in over 50 countries recognize this day.

World Suicide Prevention Day is a chance for everyone to join in promoting understanding about suicide: those impacted by a suicide attempt or loss, family and friends, workplaces, professionals, post-secondary institutions, students and community members.

Every year, 160 million people worldwide contemplate suicide and, tragically, 800,000 of them die by suicide. This means that more than 159 million people survive suicide-related crises every year. There is no reason that anyone has to die by suicide and, if we all do our part, we can prevent those deaths that do happen and the devastating impact that they have.

Virtual Speaker Series

This year, the Winnipeg Suicide Prevention Network (of which RRC is a member), is hosting a virtual speaker series on the theme of Creating Hope Through Action. Talks will take place at noon on Thursdays.

Noon on Thursday, September 9 – Kevin Lamoureux

In this session our special guest Kevin Lamoureux will focus on suicide prevention through the lens of social justice. Many young people find themselves struggling to overcome oppression and injustices that have sometimes impacted families and communities across generations. Every young person that finds themselves without hope is a failing of justice and equity, not a failing of the child. Grounded within the framework provided by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, this session will honour the care adults who work on behalf of young people to create lasting and meaningful change.

Zoom Link:

Noon on Thursday, September 16 – Buddy Up

Our special guest Akash Asif will share information about the Buddy Up campaign. An initiative of the Centre for Suicide Prevention, Buddy Up is a men’s suicide prevention communication campaign: a call to action for men, by men. With the help of Champions across Canada, Buddy Up works to promote authentic conversations among men and their buddies.


Noon on Thursday, September 23 – is Canada’s only charity training and empowering young leaders to revolutionize mental health. Jack Talks are mental health presentations delivered by young people to young people. Trained and certified youth speakers use the power of personal stories and mental health education to inspire, engage, educate, and equip young people to look out for themselves and their peers.

Zoom Link:

Noon on Thursday, September 30 – WE MATTER

Indigenous youth deserve to see themselves succeeding and thriving, and know that no matter what they may go through there is always a way forward. We Matter presenter Autumn LaRose Smith and a special guest Youth Ambassador will discuss why We Matter was created, Indigenous life promotion focusing on hope, culture and strength, and will share with you the resources and activities We Matter offers to support indigenous youth.

Zoom Link.

What Individuals Can Do To Help

Although it can be scary to talk about suicide, each of us can take action to support someone who is struggling.

  1. Check in with them regularly to see how they are doing;
  2. Listen supportively to what they have to say;
  3. Remember that you don’t have to have all the answers;
  4. Know and introduce them to resources in their area, if they need additional support;
  5. Be prepared to assist them in finding information, but don’t take over as that may reinforce their sense of helplessness.

Local Resources

RRC students who are having thoughts of suicide are encouraged to connect with Student Counselling Services. Professional counsellors provide free and confidential support around the topic of suicide and other problems or crises. Appointments can take place over the phone, via videoconferencing or in person (as available).

Staff and faculty members are encouraged to connect with RRC’s Employee and Family Assistance Program, Homewood Health for free and confidential support.

All community members can also call the Manitoba Suicide Prevention and Support Line or visit the Crisis Response Centre at 817 Bannatyne in Winnipeg. For resources outside of Winnipeg, please find your health region here.

Remember, through action we can create hope.


It’s Mental Health Week!

May 2, 2021

The 70th annual Mental Health Week, championed by Canadian Mental Health Association, takes place May 3-9. This year’s theme is “name it don’t numb it,” highlighting how naming, expressing and dealing with our emotions (event he difficult ones) is important for our mental health.

Here are a few suggested ways to participate in Mental Health Week:

  1. Attend Workplace Strategies for Mental Health’s live webinar on strategies that can help you flourish. The session takes place Tuesday May 4 at noon.  Learn more here.
  2. Explore Library Services’ Healthy Minds Healthy College Guide, featuring books, videos, websites and other resources on the topic of mental health.
  3. Connect on social media, using the hashtags #GetReal and #MentalHealthWeek.
  4. Attend a live, guided, drop-in mindfulness session with MindWell U. There are several date and time options each week that can be accessed through your MindwWell U hub. If you don’t already have a MindWell U account, you can create one here.

All suggested activities are free of charge. Any questions can be directed to Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator.

When it comes to emotions, feeling sad, angry and anxious at times is part of being human. When we have good mental health, it doesn’t mean that we’re happy all the time. Instead, we’re able to experience a full range of human emotions—even the uncomfortable ones like sadness, fear and anger.

When we push feelings down or ignore them, they don’t go away. Rather, one of the best methods to quiet an emotion is to give it a voice—name it.

Can you think of ways that you name and mange difficult emotions? Many people find it helpful to talk, write, or express themselves through art or music. Once you can label and sit with an emotion, it becomes easier to shape how you experience that emotion and make wise choices about your behaviour.

Everyone deserves to feel well and understanding our emotions is a part of feeling well.



Supporting Survivors During Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Year Round

April 20, 2021


By Jess Spindler, Resource and Resolution Advisor

April of each year is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)  SAAM is an international movement dedicated to raising awareness about sexual violence, its impacts, and supports available for those affected by sexual violence.

SAAM can be empowering for some survivors, while difficult and emotionally draining for others. Here are some ways that you can prioritize your health and wellbeing this month and every day of the year:

These resources and many others are included in the College’s Library Guide on Sexual Violence Awareness, Education, Prevention and Supports. The Guide includes links to books, articles, videos, websites and other resources on a range of related topics such as:

  • Campus sexual violence
  • Building a culture of consent
  • Understanding trauma and trauma-informed practice
  • Self-care, healing and recovery
  • Male survivors
  • BIPOC perspectives

Red River College is committed to a safe and inclusive working and learning environment for our staff and students, free from all forms of sexual violence. This commitment extends to all Colleges spaces—whether you are studying on campus, or learning online.

If you have experienced sexual violence, know that it is not your fault. Acts of sexual violence are the responsibility of the perpetrator alone, and you are never to blame. You should also know that you are not alone— you have the option of sharing your experience and accessing help. There are supports available to you through the College, including:

  • The College’s Resource and Resolution Advisor Jess Spindler is available to discuss with you your options for reporting a concern to the College, if another member of the College community was involved.
  • RRC Counselling Services are available to all students. Appointments with a counsellor are available by phone or video conferencing. Counselling can offer help with personal/relational challenges, managing mental wellness, and support in times of crisis.
  • The REES (Respect Educate Empower Survivors) online reporting tool, which allows survivors to make a report of sexual violence to their College or police using a secure online reporting form.
  • The College’s No Wrong Door microsite includes information about College policies and procedures on sexual violence, and additional information about supports.

If you are in crisis and need to speak with a counsellor immediately, please contact
Klinic’s 24 hour crisis line at: 1-888-322-3019, or
Sexual Assault Crisis Line: 1-888-292-7565

In the case of an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest emergency room


Mindfulness Challenge: Prize Winners Announced

March 3, 2021

To start 2021 on a mindful note, dozens of staff and students engaged in a 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge. The Challenge involves participating in short online lessons and practice for, you guessed it, 30 days.

While mindfulness practice can’t take away all of our stressors, it can certainly build up our ability to cope with these in healthy ways. By improving our ability to be in the present moment with openness and non-judgement, we can strengthen our mental resilience.

Everyone who completed was entered in a prize draw and we’re happy to announce the winners.

Grand Prizes

Grand prize winners each receive a $50 gift card to Good Local. Good Local is an online marketplace that makes it easy for Manitobans to buy local. Congratulations to winners Mavis McRae and Tim Reyes.

Second Prizes

Second prize winners each receive a $25 gift card to Good Local. Congratulations to winners Rita Zuba Prokopetz and Jaewook Park.

The Challenge

We asked our winners what they thought of the Challenge and here’s what they had to say.

Prize winner and challenge completer, Mavis McRae.

“The 30 day challenge is perfect for a task oriented person. The quick tips and bite sized info was just enough to remind me to take a second before reacting or switching tasks. Since habits build over time, 30 days is unlikely enough to build new good habits, but at least it is a start.  It was a good wake up call to all the things I do on autopilot.” – Mavis McRae, Director, Prairie Research Kitchen

Remember, the Challenge is available all year round and you can even do it with a buddy to keep you on track. Create your account to get started.

“The Mindwell training took me longer than 30 days because I wanted to ensure I was in the moment during every 5-minute session. We discussed some of the concepts in class, and some students ended up taking the training as well – some have completed it already. We used the learning to discuss self-discoveries, metacognition, etc. in one of our classes.” – Rita Zuba Prokopetz, Instructor

For any questions about the Mindwell resources, please contact Mental Health Coordinator, Breanna Sawatzky.

Shorter Days Bringing You Down?

November 17, 2020

This time of year, the shortened days and chilly temperatures can take a toll on our mental health. Even in a usual November, less daylight, more time spent indoors, and less physical activity can lead to a case of the winter blues. This year, as many of us are studying and working from home with less reason to leave our home, those winter blues can really drag us down.

Yes, it’s not technically winter yet, but here in Manitoba, we feel it already. Many people report having less energy, experiencing lower mood, and having more intense food cravings.

There are things we can do, however, to help promote good mental health. Here are some suggestions:

  • Get outside during daylight hours. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, the light and air will help.
  • Exercise regularly. Whether indoors or outdoors, regular exercise boosts your mood and energy levels. Movement of any kind helps. Try our livestreamed Friday lunchtime yoga class.
  • Connect with friends virtually. Make a point of spending time with people with whom you can chat and laugh.
  • Develop good sleep habits. Whenever possible, go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. Leave smartphones and tablets in another room.
  • Eat a balanced diet. We tend to crave carbs more in the winter, so make sure you’re still eating some veggies and fruit daily.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Sometimes, the seasonal change can trigger the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a treatable mental health condition. SAD is a type of Clinical Depression that is related to changes in the seasons. According to the Mayo Clinic, SAD symptoms that are specific to winter depression are:

  • Irritability
  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Problems getting along with other people
  • Hypersensitivity to rejection
  • Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs
  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain

If you’re feeling low for days at a time, have thoughts of suicide, or are using alcohol/drugs to cope, see your doctor or access RRC supports for students or staff.

Getting Better

Treatments for SAD can include medication, talk therapy, and light therapy. Light therapy involves sitting near a special lamp so that you’re exposed to bright light. Light therapy mimics natural outdoor light and appears to cause a change in brain chemicals linked to mood.

Borrow a Light Therapy Lamp from Library Services

Interested in trying light therapy? SAD Lamps are availaible on loan from Library Services. Simply complete the booking request to arrange the loan.

If you’re feeling the winter blues, whether it’s SAD or not, please reach out to someone and talk about it.

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

Learn more ›