Health Minds Healthy College

Campus Well-Being


New and First Time Visit to The Gym – An Inside-Out Perspective 

May 10, 2022

The following is a guest post by RRC Polytech’s Fitness Coordinator, Mario De Negri.

Doing anything for the first time will seem challenging and intimidating! We might try to avoid doing new things because it might feel uncomfortable. We may have questions like… where do I start? How will I know what to do? Will I feel okay? These questions are all normal thoughts we can have when we enter into places of uncertainty. 

 Interestingly enough, when we challenge ourselves to leave our comfort zone, things can turn out way different from expected. It’s like going on a trip to a new destination. We don’t know what to expect. We might have feelings of fear or nervousness. When we get back from our trip, it becomes a part of our comfort zone, so then we can’t relate to the feelings we had before. We may have never known if we hadn’t tried! 

 Here are some helpful perspective tips to help get you on your journey to physical health and well-being. 

Mind = Body  

Some steps to help ensure success is to visualize each specific action needed to get to your goal. An example of coming into the gym would be to imagine, and maybe you could list the things you need. “I have to get my bag packed with gym clothes and shoes. Then, I’d have to find my way of transportation to get to the gym. Then, I’d have to enter the gym and get changed in the changeroom.” Trying to picture yourself already doing all the steps means you are halfway there in motion. Visualizing our trip to the gym also helps us feel prepared for what we need and allows us to feel grounded in our discomfort.  

Discomfort = Comfort  

Most of the time, it’s more about showing up than it is about feeling the need to do things perfectly. Just attending can bring more comfort to the new environment for moving and exercise. The act of being there will start to feel more normal. Doing simple things like standing, to sitting on the floor and back to standing, repeating those actions can feel uncomfortable at first, but after enough repetitions, we begin to feel more at ease. Then, we can move on to more complicated and challenging movements that could invoke more discomfort, which our bodies will adapt to become comfortable again.  

Weak = Strong  

One of the things we don’t speak about in the gym is that the practice we are doing is trying to make ourselves weaker. In trying to feel weaker, the body will respond, and its response will be strength. The sensations we are experiencing in the gym are our bodies moving into more strength with each time we allow ourselves to feel out of breath or we cannot pick up that object one more time. Embracing our efforts to find where our limits are will transform us into how strong we will become.   

Silly = Serious  

Any new skill we attempt can make us feel silly. That is part of the journey of success. Try to practice being silly a few times in the gym by crawling on the floor, rolling around, or jumping around. The sillier we allow ourselves to be and feel, the response from the body will be a mastery of the movement, plus it will enable us to not to take ourselves too seriously and feel more ok being ourselves. Silly is more childlike and playful. Although it may be termed a “workout”, the gym should be a place for play and for users to feel more like children again. Jumping, crawling, pushing, and lifting are the playful actions we can do to help bring us more in tune with our inner self, which is outstanding work.  

Nervous = Relaxed  

It is normal to feel nervous when going into unfamiliar spaces. Meeting new people, new clubs, and new spaces all bring up some nervousness. However, after a bit of time, we meet others or get more familiar with the space, we can start to feel more comfortable because we know what to expect! Embracing some of the nervousness as your inner wisdom to understand there are things you may not know. As you step into this wisdom to grow and learn, you will relax and be more open to new experiences and essentially a new you. The gym can make us nervous because some things may be new, but the more we try, the more comfortable we will feel using gym equipment and working out in the space.  

Not Knowing = Knowing.  

We know far less than we think we know. Regardless if you have visited the gym 5 times or 30 times, we will always have new things to learn. If you are worried you won’t know something, ask questions, lots of them! Do a simple internet search on one exercise for one body part and practice it. Asking for help is difficult in any situation, so use the gym as a practice tool to ask for help so that it becomes easier to apply that to other areas of your life. For example, you could email us and get a fitness consultation with a simple questionnaire and some direction or book a time to get an orientation on the equipment. On the surface, many people put on a good show, but with every move they make, they experience the same discomfort and challenges we do, which connects us all. Knowing you may not know everything is a liberating and enlightening experience and will open doors to us we otherwise didn’t know. We are all human, and we all navigate through feelings of discomfort. The whole Campus Well-Being team is here for you to help meet you where you are at! 

Combatting Body Stigma, and Reclaiming Your Space at the Gym

April 26, 2022

The following blog is written by Judimar Diotay, 1st year Electrical Engineering Technology Student, at Red River College Polytechnic.

Hello, my name is Judimar. I am in my first year of electrical engineering technology at RRC Polytech. I like to work out and attend the EDC and NDC fitness centers now that the doors have re-opened. I noticed that the gym has been quiet, and the attendance levels have been low. Unfortunately, the college hallways reflect this as well.

I know we are coming out of a pandemic, but it made me reflect on barriers that my friends and classmates were facing that stopped them from heading to the gym.

I decided to do an informal survey to ask my fellow students what was stopping them from going to the RRC Polytech fitness centers. A significant barrier for many of them was related to body stigma and self-esteem. Additionally, my classmates discussed uncertainty about how to use the equipment. Finally, there was an overarching worry about how they would be perceived while working out.

When I heard this message – it gave me flashbacks to elementary school and what it was like to be bullied for being fat. It got worse during physical education no matter the activity -basketball, baseball, soccer, etc. My classmates always told me to sit out of the games. I rarely got to play unless the teacher intervened. So, I could relate to my colleagues’ worries personally, and I knew that I wanted to share their concerns with the Campus Well-Being unit.

It is hard to feel comfortable in a space where society has expectations of what we should look like, and which bodies hold more merit. But I realized early on that I deserve to care for my body just like anyone else and that I deserve to take up space in the gym if that is what I wanted. Body positivity is so much more than just accepting other bodies, but it is also an acknowledgement of the systemic barriers that hurt people who do not fit into these stereotypes. We need to figure out how to combat those hurtful ideas and come together as a community.

I want to share my body confidence principles with you!

  1. Focus on the people who “get it” 

Other people’s opinions about your body are more about them than about you. Focus on the people who cherish you and use that as motivation to focus on caring for yourself in your body. whatever that looks like for you!

  2. What can I control? What is not my job to control?

You cannot fully control what a person thinks or says about you, but you can control who you are and what you are meant to do on this earth. We will have days where our body image is worse than other days. But find the things you can control. Take extra care of yourself and talk to a friend who supports you.

  3. Remember you are loved and wanted

Your family, friends, and people who care love you for who you are and will be there when you need them the most. You deserve and have the right to take up space in this world, no matter what your body looks like. Finally, you can reflect on what your body has done for you. Bodies have helped us navigate the world and create relationships based on so much more than our weight.

  4. Follow Body Positive influencers

Fill your feed up with influencers with diverse body types. You will see all types of bodies working out, living, and wearing the clothes they want to wear. This normalizes different body types, but it also supports people who exist outside of dominant beauty standards.

  5. Be an ally

Stand up for others, advocate for your needs, and challenge body image and beauty stereotypes. Speaking up against injustice is a small step towards creating a cultural shift. Critically think about where the messages about beauty are coming from.

My Closing Message

Rest assured! Individuals who feel they do not belong in the gym hesitate to go. I discussed creating a body-positive and accepting environment at the gym with the Fitness Centre Supervisor and Mental Health Coordinator. Safety and comfort are priorities for the Campus Well-Being unit. We discussed the processes to ensure people feel safe at the gym. There are many supports available, and if you are hesitant about attending the gym, please make sure to contact They would be happy to help you with starting your journey at the RRC Polytech fitness centres.

 I hope that this message helped reach someone who may have been struggling with the same issues around body stigma – and that this will encourage them to reach out to someone for support or to try something new. Even though we at RRC Polytech represent a small corner of the world, we can turn this corner into a platform that promotes love and acceptance of an individual’s diversity and create a safe space for all people. We can challenge the norms together that often exclude individuals from certain activities. We can make body stigma and self-esteem issues a thing of the past through our combined willpower and perseverance.

Thank you for reading this, have a wonderful and joyous morning/afternoon/evening.


Judimar Diotay

Campus Well-Being May Events

April 26, 2022

Wellness Events

May 4th 12:00pm-1:00pm In-Person Immersive Meditation with Crystal Bowl Healing*  

May 5th  12:00-1:00pm Drop-in Relaxation Hour 

May 12th 12:00pm- 1:00pm Immersive Journaling & Meditation

May 11th  12:00pm -1:00pm In-Person Immersive Yoga with Holly*
May 17th 11:30-1:00pm Therapy Dogs at RRC Polytechnic @ Manitou a bi Bii daziigae
May 19th  12:00pm-1:00pm In-Person Immersive Meditation with Crystal Bowl Healing*  

May 25th 12:00pm -1:00pm In-Person Immersive Yoga with Holly *  

May 26th  11:30-1:00pm Therapy Dogs at RRC Polytechnic NDC- STTC    

*In-Person events require registration by emailing   
All in-person events taking place in- The immersion room (GM32, NDC- Mall level just outside the North Gym at NDC)  

Drop-in Sports

Our South Gym is open for lunch hour basketball and pickleball drop-in! See below for more information:

Basketball– Monday, Wednesday & Friday, NDC, 11:00am-1:00pm 

May 2nd 11:00am-1:00pm
May 4th 11:00am-1:00pm
May 6th 11:00am-1:00pm
May 9th 11:00am-1:00pm
May 11th 11:00am-1:00pm
May 16th 11:00am-1:00pm
May 18th 11:00am-1:00pm

Pickleball– Tuesday and Thursday, NDC, 11:00am-1:00pm 

  • Details: Pickleball equipment will need to be signed out from the North Gym front desk, and returned at the end of use. You will be required to leave your student or staff ID card with the front desk staff in exchange for your equipment loan.  

May 3rd 11:00am-1:00pm
May 5th 11:00am-1:00pm
May 10th 11:00am-1:00pm
May 12th 11:00am-1:00pm
May 17th 11:00am-1:00pm
May 19th 11:00am-1:00pm

Virtual Yoga with Holly Pluchinski 

  • Tuesdays 4-4:30pm  
  • Fridays at noon-12:30pm  
  • Yoga for all levels  

Tuesday, May 3rd  

Friday, May 6th  

Tuesday, May 10th  

Tuesday, May 17th  

Friday, May 20th  

Tuesday, May 24th  

Friday, May 27th  

Tuesday, May 31st  

Virtual Power Pilates with Sheena 

  • Mondays 12:15pm-12:45pm 
  • Mat based Core Strengthening for all levels  


Monday, May 2nd 

Monday, May 9th 

Monday, May 16th 

Monday, May 30th 

Virtual Circuit Training with Sheena 

  • Wednesdays 12:15pm-12:45pm 
  • Full Body Circuit for all levels  


Wednesday, May 4th 

Wednesday, May 11th 

Wednesday, May 18th 

Wednesday, May 25th 

Accessing Supports During Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April 19, 2022

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), observed each April, is an international campaign dedicated to raising awareness about sexual violence, promoting education and the prevention of sexual violence, and highlighting supports and resources available to those affected by sexual violence.

SAAM is a critical opportunity to not only demonstrate the College’s unwavering support and solidarity with survivors and those who are otherwise impacted by sexual violence, but to be agents of change in creating a campus culture that fosters healthy relationships and puts consent into practice. In marking SAAM, the College encourages all students to take the Respectful College Training to become leaders of change.

Helpful resources which highlight the College’s commitment to safe and supportive learning and working environments for all members of the College community can be found in the College’s Library Guide on Sexual Violence Awareness, Education, Prevention and Supports. The Guide includes links to 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, and BIPOC perspectives surrounding sexual violence.

The College recognizes that while SAAM is empowering, it can also be difficult and emotionally draining. Here are some ways that you can prioritize your health and wellbeing this month and every day of the year:

The College is committed to a safe and inclusive working and learning environment for its staff and students, free from all forms of sexual violence in all College spaces (including online spaces).  It is a shared responsibility of all members of the College community to encourage and foster such safe and inclusive spaces.

If you have experienced sexual violence, know that you are not to blame and that you are not alone — you have the option of sharing your experience and accessing help through both internal and external resources.  There are supports available to you through the College, including:

  • The College’s Resource and Resolution Advisor Christine Jeroski who is available to discuss with you your options for reporting a concern of sexual violence, discrimination, or harassment to the College if another member of the College community was involved.
  • The College’s No Wrong Door microsite includes information about College policies and procedures on reporting and responding to allegations of sexual violence and includes additional information about supports.
  • RRC Counselling Services are available to all students.
  • The REES (Respect Educate Empower Survivors) online reporting tool allows survivors to make a report of sexual violence to the College, the police, or anonymously using a secure online reporting form.

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.

Cooking for Wellness

April 12, 2022

Show yourself some love by cooking a delicious and balanced meal!

Learn how to make the Filipino classic, pork adobo, while cooking alongside your instructor, Abby Legaspi! This workshop is part of our Thrive event series, hosted by the RRCSA and Healthy Minds Healthy College. Spend some time cooking with your peers and colleagues, and enjoy a night filled with laughter and fun!

The Instructor

Abby Legaspi is a Nutrition graduate from the University of Manitoba with 10 years’ experience running cooking programs for different non-profit and grass roots organizations. She now works at Norwest Co-Op Community Food Centre and is passionate about almost everything related to food, from gardening to cooking. Abby sees food as a means to connect people while recognizing that food insecurity can be experienced by so many. As an advocate for good food, it is Abby’s hope that one day everyone will be food secure.

Bring Your Own Ingredients

• pork or chicken (thigh, legs, ribs or wings suggested)
• vinegar
• soy sauce
• pepper
• garlic

*You can also cook rice if that is you would like!

Register for Cooking for Wellness Here

In-Person Yoga With Holly

April 4, 2022

In-Person Yoga with Holly is starting this month! Holly will be joining us to lead full hour-long classes of mindfulness-based Yoga in the College’s immersion room (GM32, NDC). You can register for a class by emailing Pamela Villafranca. Space is limited. Join us for a unique yoga experience, and allow yourself to take a break, recharge, and focus on yourself. Please bring your own mat to class for this month!

April Dates

April 13th 12:00pm-1:00pm
April 27th 12:00pm-1:00pm
Location: : The Immersion room (GM32, NDC- Mall level just outside the North Gym)
Registration Required: email Pamela.

About the Instructor

Holly Pluchinski is a 400 hour registered yoga teacher who has been teaching since 2016. She believes that yoga can be both a tool for introspective growth and also fun which is why oftentimes there’s laughter in her classes. Holly’s yoga classes are often designed to embrace the brain to body connection through classic yoga poses and a focus on functional movements.

For questions and accessibility needs, please contact Pamela Villafranca

April Fitness Centre Hours & Gymnasium Updates

April 1, 2022

Exchange District Fitness Centre  

We are excited to announce that our EDC Fitness Centre will be extending its hours. Starting April 4th the Centre will be open 6:30am-6:00pm.

An April calendar, indicating that the EDC Fitness Centre will be open Monday to Friday from 6:30am to 6:00pm each day in April except for April 15 and 18 when we will be closed for good friday and easter monday.

Notre Dame Campus Loft Fitness Centre

The NDC Loft Fitness Centre will remain open from 6:30am to 6:00pm. Please note that there will be more closures this month due to holidays and exams.

An image of an April calendar that indicates the Loft fitness centre at notre dame campus will be open monday to friday from 6:30 am to 6pm except on the following days: April 15, 18, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, and 29. On April 12 the centre will be closed from noon to 2pm. On April 21 the centre will be closed from 11:45 to 2:15 pm.

Gymnasiums and Walking Track

Our South Gym walking track is NOW OPEN from 6:30am-6:00pm Monday to Friday. Come get moving and get your steps in!

We are now also offering lunch hour drop-in opportunities for basketball and pickleball in our South Gym. Please click here for more details and for information about other April Campus Well-Being events.

These spaces and programs are open to all current students and staff with a College issued ID card. On your first visit you will be asked to review and complete a waiver form. Be sure to bring a change of clothes, athletic footwear, and a lock to secure your belongings.

Questions? Please email

Campus Well-Being Events for April

April 1, 2022

Wellness Events

April 5th 12:00pm-1:00pm In-Person Immersive Meditation with Crystal Bowl Healing

April 7th 11:30-1:00pm Therapy Dogs at RRC Polytechnic STTC Lobby (Drop in) 

April 12th 12:00pm- 1:00pm Immersive Journaling & Meditation*
April 13th 12:00pm -1:00pm In-Person Immersive Yoga with Holly

April 14th– 6:00pm-8:00pm Virtual Paint Night 

April 21st  6:00pm -8:00pm Virtual Cooking for Wellness

April 27th 12:00pm -1:00pm In-Person Immersive Yoga with Holly * 

April 28th 6:00pm-8:00pm Virtual Vision Board  

*In-Person events require registration by emailing  
All in-person events taking place in- The immersion room (GM32, NDC- Mall level just outside the North Gym at NDC)

Drop-in Sports

For the month of April, we will be opening up our South Gym for lunch hour basketball and pickleball drop-in! See below for more information: 

Basketball- Monday, Wednesday & Friday, NDC, 11:00am-1:00pm

  • Details: We will leave a cart of basketballs at the South Gym, along with spray bottles and rags. Please wipe down your basketball once you are finished and return it to the cart when finished.
  • Monday April 4th
  • Wednesday April 6th
  • Friday April 8th   
  • Monday April 11th
  • Wednesday April 13th
  • Wednesday April 20th
  • Friday April 22nd   
  • No drop-in from Apr 25-29 due to exams

Pickleball- Tuesday and Thursday, NDC, 11:00am-1:00pm

  • Details: Pickleball equipment will need to be signed out from the North Gym front desk, and returned at the end of use. You will be required to leave your student or staff ID card with the front desk staff in exchange for your equipment loan.
  • Tuesday April 5th
  • Thursday April 7th
  • Tuesdays April 12th  
  • Tuesday April 19th
  • Thursday April 21st
  • No drop-in from Apr 25-29 due to exams

Virtual Yoga with Holly Pluchinski

  • Tuesdays 4-4:30pm 
  • Fridays at noon-12:30pm 
  • Yoga for all levels 

Friday, April 1st 
Tuesday April 5th 
Friday April 8th  
Tuesday April 12  
Tuesday April 19th  
Friday April 22nd  
Tuesday April 26th   
Friday April 29th  

Therapy Dogs are Back at RRC Polytech

March 28, 2022

Therapy Dogs are back at Red River College Polytechnic!!! Come say hello to a few dogs from the St. Johns Ambulance Therapy Dog Program (Zeus and Mark-Cuss). Animal and human interactions can offer many positive health benefits to us. For example, animals can help us decrease cortisol levels (stress hormone), lower our blood pressure, reduce feelings of loneliness, and help boost our moods.

Join us on April 7th in the Skilled Trades and Technology Centre Lobby to spend some time with these fantastic dogs and give yourself the space to take a break from your studies and practice self-care.

The Details

Date: April 7th 2022
Time: 11:30-1:00pm
Location: STTC Lobby

you have any questions about the visit feel free to reach out to Pamela Villafranca Villafranca.

Free In-Person Meditation Event

March 28, 2022

Curious about meditation? Unsure where to start?
Join us in person on April 5th to experience a guided Imagery meditation with sound healing to help to us find peace within, while relaxing to the healing intention and vibration of the crystal singing bowls. l’aura Carrol will guide us into nature and peaceful places as a way to unwind, restore and rejuvenate.

About the Facilitator

l’aura Carroll has been offering healing sessions and meditation opportunities for 25 years working with individuals, groups, workshops and recordings. l’aura is an Intuitive Energy Sound Healer, Hypnotherapist, Shamanic Practitioner, Reflexologist and Reiki Master. 

Find out more about l’aura on her website here.

The Details

Date: April 5th

Time: 12:00- 1:00pm

Location: eTV Immersion Room

For more information about meditation and the benefits of introducing meditation into your self care routine check out this great article discussing both the physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of meditation.

Registration required, to register please email Pamela Villafranca, Mental Health Coordinator.

For questions and accessibility needs, please contact Pamela Villafranca