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Health Minds Healthy College

Healthy Minds Healthy College

Goal Achievement

How I Completed My Diploma During a Pandemic: One student’s story

May 8, 2020

Guest post by RRC student, Stuart Maddocks

The COVID-19 pandemic was one of the hardest experiences I have faced as a student. It disrupted my routine of having to leave my home to sit in a classroom with my friends and classmates. Additionally, being at home made me more distracted than I would be in the classroom. To overcome these challenges, I had a few strategies to help me get through the rest of my program. Here are some highlights of the methods I used to complete my final year as a Red River College Library and Information Technology student.

RRC Student, Stuart Maddocks

Work on Mental Fitness

For my first strategy, I used the Headspace meditation app. This application is a subscription-based service that provides meditation and yoga exercises for overcoming negative feelings. Exercises on Headspace range from simple guided meditations to “Everyday Exercises” with a different theme each day. As a student, I love Headspace’s student support section which covers topics from presentation stress to job interview anxiety. These exercises helped me get a good night’s sleep after a stressful day of online learning.

Current and future students can visit Headspace at: https://www.headspace.com/ or download the Headspace app on Apple Store or Google Play.

Get Moving

In addition to Headspace, I exercised at least 30 minutes each day. I would go for walks around my neighbourhood and through parks. It helped me get some fresh air after an intense study session. Walking outside provided me a change in scenery away from my usual surroundings at home. These daily exercises also helped me stretched my legs after sitting at my desk for a few hours. Lastly, walking helped me be more active with the gym being unavailable during the pandemic.

Reward Yourself

As a Red River College Alumnus, I cannot stress enough the importance of awarding yourself. In my case, I would watch movies after I complete assignments. Additionally, watching movies allowed me to escape my day to day life from the stresses of the pandemic and college life. I usually watch escapist movies from the Star Wars or James Bond franchises. The locations and settings transported me to another world for a much-needed distraction.

I hope these strategies will be useful for you when you are studying or starting your careers.

If you are an RRC student, staff or alumnus who would like to write a guest post, please contact Breanna Sawatzky.

 

Review Jordin Tootoo’s Visit to RRC

March 3, 2020

On February 5th, Jordin Tootoo visited RRC to share his story of hope, hockey and mental health. Many staff and students were moved by Jordin’s authentic presentation. Jordin spoke about his journey from Rankin Inlet to the NHL and then, in retirement, to suicide prevention work.

Jordin spoke candidly of being a suicide loss survivor, recovery from alcohol addiction, love of family and finding his sense of belonging.

Thankfully, you can:

  • Read all about why we invited him and the message he shared.
  • View the event photo gallery.
  • Watch the recorded presentation.

Jordin also took time to connect with many attendees, signing books and memorabilia. It’s clear that his life experience resonates with so many.

If you are curious about mental health supports for staff and students, please visit rrc.ca/wellness/supports or contact Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator.

Vision Board Workshops by Rising Strong: Register Today!

December 18, 2019

We’re excited to welcome Karina Walker, founder of Rising Strong, to facilitate two vision board workshops for RRC staff and students.

Vision boards are visual representations of your hopes, goals and desires. They help you visually experience what you want to do, where you want to go, who you want to be and how you want to feel. With busy schedules and distractions, having a board representing everything you want in life can help reinforce daily affirmations, clarify your goals and help set intentions.

This is sure to be an empowering evening of crafting and setting goals! Check out Karina’s Instagram to get a sense of her work.

Both workshops will feature free tea and dainties as well as a door prize draw.  Karina supplies everything you need to make your vision board, so just bring yourself (and perhaps a friend).

Notre Dame Campus
Tuesday, January 14; 4-7pm in the Prairie Lights Meeting Room

Exchange District Campus
Thursday, January 16; 4-7pm in P107, The Roblin Centre

All students and staff are welcome and can register by emailing Breanna Sawatzky.

Aiming at Wellness Together: A Lunch and Talk with Former NHL Forward Jordin Tootoo

December 16, 2019

Save the date! Former NHL forward Jordin Tootoo is the keynote speaker at our annual mental health awareness event.

In Jordin’s talk, Aiming at Wellness Together, he shares his personal experiences in order to open up important conversations around addiction recovery, mental health, and suicide prevention, all while sharing a hopeful message of resilience and understanding.

Join us for a free pizza lunch and meet Jordin.

Date: Wednesday, February 5th

Time: 11:30am – 1:30pm

11:30am – lunch

noon – program begins

1:15 pm – meet and greet with Jordin

Location: South Gym, Notre Dame Campus*

*The program will be recorded and live streamed thanks to the eTV studio. You can catch the live stream at live.etvlabs.com

At Exchange District Campus catch the live stream and enjoy some free pizza in the Indigenous Centre (P407), starting at 11:30am.

Jordin Tootoo played for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Western Hockey League (WHL) from 1999 to 2003 before being chosen by the Nashville Predators in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He went on to play with the Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils and Chicago Blackhawks.

Of Inuit and Ukrainian descent, Tootoo is not just the first Inuk player, but also the first one raised in Nunavut to play in the NHL. As an Indigenous athletic leader, Tootoo has long understood his responsibility as a role model, speaking openly about the need for mental health resources, and fighting the taboos around discussing mental illness. He was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal for his work in Nunavut promoting healthy living and encouraging conversations about difficult topics like addiction and suicide.

“It’s part of Canada that a lot of people struggle with mental health and addiction, suicide, these issues are a national epidemic” says Tootoo. Bestselling author of the memoir All The Way: My Life on Ice, Tootoo brings an uplifting message to his audiences, creating a culture of inspired inclusivity with authentic hockey and community stories.

RRC’s Healthy Minds Healthy College Initiative and the Students’ Association are pleased to welcome Jordin.

For questions or accessibility needs, please contact Breanna Sawatzky.

Mindfulness Challenge Prize Winners!

July 29, 2019

Richard LeSage, Course Developer

In May and June dozens of staff and faculty members participated in a  30 Day Mindfulness Challenge. Upon completion, those who engaged reported the following outcomes:

  • 95% noticed improved mental health.
  • 90% were better able to focus.
  • 95% found they were managing their stress better.

And because everyone loves prizes, all who completed the challenge were entered onto a draw for one of two passes to Float.Calm or a “Take 5” prize pack. We’re pleased to announce the winners, as determined by a random number generator.

 

Winners!

Lisa Case, Instructor, Applied Computer Education

Float Calm Gift Certificate #1 – Richard LeSage

Float Calm Gift Certificate #2 – Lisa Case

Take 5 prize pack #1 – Debbie Donato

Take 5 prize pack #2 – CindyLou Benoit

Take 5 prize pack #3 – Lyle Dunlop

Take 5 prize pack #4 – Damien Goodridge

Take 5 prize pack #5 – Bridget Budney

 

Congratulations to all the prize winners. If you have not yet claimed your prize, please contact Breanna.

Congratulations as well to all those who invested the time needed to complete the challenge. In our busy schedules it can be difficult to make time to learn and practice wellbeing strategies like mindfulness. Cheers to your improved focus, sense of calm and ability to manage stress.

Debbie Donato, Employment Advisor

The 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge is available to all RRC staff, students, and faculty members. It takes 5 to 10 minutes a day and can begin any Tuesday that works for you.

Reclaiming Well-Being: A Lunch and Talk with Olympian Waneek Horn-Miller

March 8, 2019

You’re invited to attend a lunch and talk featuring Waneek Horn-Miller – Mohawk woman, activist, and Olympian. She’ll be speaking about turning trauma into motivation and reclaiming well-being. All students, staff and faculty are invited to attend.

Date: March 26

Time: Noon – 1:30pm

Location: South Gym

Come early for a free pizza lunch. If you have accessibility needs, please contact Breanna.

ASL interpretation will be provided. If you can’t make it in person, catch the livestream at rrc.ca/streaming.

Throughout her life, Waneek Horn-Miller has always stood up for what was right—as a mother, an activist, an athlete, and an entrepreneur. This has entailed hard choices, pain, and sacrifice. But this commitment has also made her one of Canada’s most inspiring figures.

Horn-Miller’s public life began in 1990 at the age of 14. During the Oka Crisis, she protested the planned development of condos and a golf course on traditional Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) lands and burial grounds near Montreal. After nearly 80 days of stand-off with the RCMP and armed forces, she was stabbed in the chest by a Canadian soldier wielding a bayonet.

This near-death experience marked a turning point in her life. Instead of succumbing to very real traumas, including PTSD, she found the strength to pursue, and achieve, incredible things. “I come from people who have gone through horrific things in history,” she says. “War, death, famine, genocide. How many times did my ancestors want to give up, lay down, and die? But they didn’t. They fought to continue. You have to keep going forward.”

One of Horn-Miller’s greatest achievements has been in athletics. “Sport in the Native world is more than just something to be physically active,” she says. “It’s a suicide preventer. It’s a self-esteem creator. It’s a leadership developer.” She was the first woman to be named Carleton University’s Athlete of the Year, which she won four years in a row. After winning gold with her water polo team at the Pan Am Games in 1999, she became the first Mohawk woman from this country to ever compete in the Olympic games, co-captaining Team Canada in Sydney in 2000. That same year, she appeared on the cover of TIME magazine.

As one of Canada’s few Aboriginal Olympians, Waneek has used her passion and experiences in sport to influence Aboriginal and non-aboriginal leadership towards making Sport and Wellness a community building priority.

RRC’s Healthy Minds Healthy College Initiative, along with the Students’ Association and School of Indigenous Education are so pleased to welcome Waneek.

Vision Board Workshops by Rising Strong: Register Today!

January 23, 2019

We’re excited to welcome Karina Walker, founder of Rising Strong, to facilitate two vision board workshops for RRC staff and students.

Vision boards are visual representations of your hopes, goals and desires. They help you visually experience what you want to do, where you want to go, who you want to be and how you want to feel. With busy schedules and distractions, having a board representing everything you want in life can help reinforce daily affirmations, clarify your goals and help set intentions.

This is sure to be an empowering evening of crafting and setting goals! Check out Karina’s Instagram to get a sense of her work.

Both workshops will feature free tea and dainties as well as a door prize draw.  Karina supplies everything you need to make your vision board, so just bring yourself (and perhaps a friend).

Notre Dame Campus
Wednesday, February 6th 4-7pm in the Prairie Lights Meeting Room

Exchange District Campus
Tuesday, February 5th 4-7pm in P107, The Roblin Centre

All students and staff are welcome and can register by emailing Breanna Sawatzky.

 

 

 

Wellness Weekly: Curated Readings

January 8, 2019

In our Wellness Weekly, mental health roundup feature we curate some of the best writing on the web related to health and wellbeing. Here is some recommended reading for this week.

  • On Psychology Today, David DiSalvo writes about sleep’s connections with learning, emotion regulation, and anxiety. He presents evidence that disrupted sleep derails the brain’s normal cycle, affecting memory, the nervous and immune systems, and more. He also informs readers that “sleep therapy” could be an effective method of treating anxiety disorders and goes on to give some tips for recovering from sleep loss. Read Understanding the Connection Between Sleep and Anxiety.

 

  • Over at NPR, Maanvi Singh writes about some of the benefits of expressing gratitude. She summarizes many different forms of gratitude, including writing thank you letters and keeping a gratitude journal. In addition to the noted benefits, Singh also highlights what gratitude can’t do and some gaps in the research. For a richer understanding of gratitude and perhaps some ideas to apply personally, read If You Feel Thankful, Write it Down. It’s Good For Your Health.

 

  • On the Harvard Business Review, Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan explore the now ubiquitous topic of resilience. They argue against what they call a “militaristic, ‘tough’ approach to resilience and grit.” Instead, they outline evidence that rest periods are the key to resilience and eventual success. Rest from work and from screens, in fact, is key to reducing accidents and other health and safety problems. They assert that the “key to resilience is trying really hard, then stopping, recovering, and then trying again.” Find this interesting? Read Resilience is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure.  

Do you have some favorite reading you’d like featured? Contact Breanna.

Online Mindfulness Training Leads to Less Stress and Improved Performance

October 22, 2018

Registration

Please click on the link http://bit.ly/RRC30Day to register for the Challenge using your preferred email address. During the registration process, you’ll also be asked to input your mobile number and your ‘buddy’s’ email address (everyone in the Challenge gets to take it with a buddy of their choice, including friends or loved ones from outside the organization).

If you have any questions about the 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge or need any help registering, please email register@mindwellu.com and the Challenge tech team will get back to you. Your RRC contacts for this are Jacqueline Wood and Breanna Sawatzky.

The infographic below demonstrates how mindfulness can help us handle emotions at work (or at school) in a way that supports our success and wellbeing.

 

THRIVE Week Keynote Talk and Pizza Lunch with Kyle Nobess

October 31, 2017

The THRIVE Week planning group is pleased to announce that Kyle Nobess, local actor and screenwriter, will be delivering the keynote talk, “Mastering Confidence and Self-Belief: the answers are within you.” All staff and students are invited and free pizza lunch is provided. 

Celebrating more than a decade of sobriety and healthy living, Kyle has overcome the battles of addiction, low self-esteem, depression and lack of self-belief. These feelings affected not only his daily life, but his overall health and wellbeing. Through daily healing and personal development, Kyle rediscovered his self-respect, his self-worth and a true freedom within. This discovery gives him the tools and motivation to take on any task and to accomplish his goals and dreams in life. Kyle’s passion is to share with others that wellbeing is achievable and no hurdle is unsurmountable.

Check out a short video of Kyle here: https://youtu.be/3SB24ish_xY

Date: Tuesday, November 7th

Time: Noon-1pm

Location: Black Lecture Theatre, NDC

The talk will also be livestreamed to P107 at EDC.

*Thanks to eTV, livestreaming will be available at blogs.rrc.ca/etv/streaming/

Free pizza lunch will be provided at the Black Lecture Theatre (NDC) and P107 (EDC).

THRIVE Week is a time devoted to demonstrating the importance of self-care and balance on the development of positive mental health that supports academic and career success. This year, THRIVE will be held November 6-10 at all RRC campuses.

The weeklong series of events is a partnership between the RRC Students’ Association and the Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative.

Stay tuned for more THRIVE Week activities!