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Health Minds Healthy College

Healthy Minds Healthy College

Mind it!

Cooking for Wellness: A Thrive Workshop!

February 23, 2021

Did you know that eating balanced meals regularly can reduce anxiety symptoms, increase energy levels, and even improve concentration and memory? Eating habits are critical to overall wellness, yet when we get busy or stressed we often don’t make the best food choices.

So, show yourself some love by cooking a delicious and balanced meal. Learn how to make baked chicken and Asian coleslaw 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.

Date: Wednesday, March 3

Time: 7-9pm

Menu: Baked chicken with Asian coleslaw

Register here. After registering you will receive a Zoom link to join. Seating is limited to 20 participants.

Ingredient kits. If you require a kit with ingredients, be sure to register by February 28 so you can pick up the kit on Monday, March 1. For this event, kits can only be picked up at the Notre Dame Campus. You may also simply purchase the ingredients at your local grocery store.

All students and staff are welcome. For accessibility needs, please contact Breanna Sawatzky.

Cooking for Wellness workshop instructor Abby Legaspi

About the instructor: Abby Legaspi is a Nutrition graduate from U of M 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 many. As an advocate for good food, it is Abby’s hope that one day, everyone will be food secure.

Relieve Some Stress With Creativity: Join Our Virtual Paint Night

February 17, 2021

As the stresses of the term pile up, it’s even more important to be smart with your time and carve out a couple of hours to refresh your mind and spirit. A virtual paint night is the perfect opportunity to take this much needed break.

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.

The Details

Date: Thursday, February 25

Time: 7-9pm

Platform: WebEx

Register here.

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

A portrait of Kisa MacIsaacMore on the Instructor

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

Anxiety Solutions: Ask an Expert

February 2, 2021

February is Psychology Month; a time when psychologists make a special effort to educate the public on how psychology can help people live healthy and happy lives.

To celebrate Psychology Month, the Manitoba Psychological Society has organized a variety of educational seminars for the public on a wide array of psychology-related topics. RRC is fortunate to be hosting two of these events.

Anxiety Solutions

While anxiety is a natural and healthy human emotion, excessive anxiety can interfere with life, work, and studies. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many students and staff are experiencing more intense or prolonged forms of anxiety, from nervousness and worry to fear and dread.

You’re invited to attend a live virtual Q&A session where anxiety experts present solutions to common anxiety-related issues. There are two separate sessions scheduled in order to accommodate a variety of schedules.

When: Tuesday February 9, noon-1pm with Dr. Jason Ediger OR Thursday, February 18, 1-2pm with Dr. Elizabeth Hebert

Where: WebEx. Register here for February 9 OR register here for February 18.

All students and staff are welcome. Please contact Breanna Sawatzky for accessibility needs.

More About the Presenters

Dr. Jason Ediger, C. Psych.

Dr. Ediger has a special interest in blending cognitive behaviour therapy with mindfulness based approaches to change and coping. His practice focuses on anxiety, mood difficulties, chronic pain and health concerns in adults and adolescents.


Dr. Elizabeth Hebert, C. Psych.

Dr. Elizabeth Hebert provides psychological treatment services for anxiety disorders, OCD, PTSD, and other mental health concerns. Her main research interest is the development and evaluation of psychological treatments for anxiety disorders and the cognitive-behavioural mechanisms underlying these disorders.

Let’s Talk and Take Action for Mental Health

January 25, 2021

2020 Bell Let’s Talk Day activities at the Notre Dame Campus


This week RRC will be participating in Bell Let’s Talk Day. When it comes to mental health, now more than ever, every action counts. There are several ways to get involved.

Contribute to the Virtual Photo Booth

Capture and share a photo of you wearing a digital Bell Let’s Talk toque and add a message about how you are taking care of your mental health. Access the virtual photo booth here. Then check the RRC photo gallery here.

Attend the Talk (online)

This talk features two trained youth speakers who use the power of their personal stories to educate other young people about mental health, how to recognize signs of struggle, how to be there for others, and how to connect to help. The Q+A will invite audiences to submit their mental health questions and engage directly with speakers.
Tuesday, January 26 @ 6:00 p.m. Register here

Join the Social Media Campaign

On January 28, Bell donates 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for every applicable text, local or long distance call, tweet or TikTok video using #BellLetsTalk, every Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video, and every use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter.

Explore Resources

Browse through the Wellness and Counselling Services websites and get up to speed on the variety of resources available to students. Staff resources can be found on the Staff Forum.

Solutions for Better Sleep: Q&A with Dr. Elizabeth Hebert

January 19, 2021

How’s your sleep? If you’re finding it hard to get enough good sleep, you’re not alone.

Sleep is a key part of overall health and wellness so when it’s difficult or disrupted, your whole life can suffer. Join Dr. Elizabeth Hebert, licensed clinical psychologist and sleep expert, to find effective sleep solutions.

Date: Thursday, January 28

Time: 1-2pm

Platform: WebEx (register here)

Improving your sleep will help you do well in your studies, at work, and in life. Don’t miss this session and be sure to bring your questions for Dr. Hebert. All staff and students are welcome.

If you can’t attend at the scheduled time, watch staff and student news for a recording.

Questions or accessibility needs can be directed to Breanna Sawatzky.

Wellness Through Music: More Virtual Thrive Events!

January 19, 2021

Music is an excellent wellness tool. Whether you put on some music to shift your mood, express yourself by making music, or learn a new musical skill – the emotional and spiritual power of music can’t be denied. While we stay home as much as possible these days, it’s still important to take meaningful breaks from work and academics, giving our bodies and minds a chance to recharge.

Music Workshop Series

For these reasons we’re happy to invite staff and students to a series of Thrive events centred around music and delivered by the Manitoba Conservatory for Music and Arts.

Registration for each workshop opens two weeks in advance. After registering, you will recieve a Zoom link to join the event. All workshops run 7-8pm on a Wednesday. There is no cost to attend and you do not require your own instrument.

January 27: Improvisation

Music improvisation uses music patterns and concepts to create free form and stylistic new arrangements. Learn how to take your music knowledge and add your personal expressions to create a new arrangement.

February 17: Songwriting Collaboration

Participate in the creation of brand new music! Tune in to observe, provide your creative input toward lyrics and melodies, help improvise or vote on song ideas. We will use Garage Band to create a new music composition on the spot.

March 24: Song Sharing

What are some of your most loved songs and why? Bring a favourite song to this “round table” session and we will listen, discuss the artist, structure and meaning. You are welcome and encouraged to play your song using an instrument, or find a recorded version (whatever your preference). Let’s talk about what makes this music great!

April 21: Feel the Beat

Tap your feet, clap your hands and break out the pots and pans as you learn how to tell an exciting story through percussion soundscapes. Register here.

A Mindful Start to 2021 (with prizes!)

January 12, 2021

As we begin a new year amid ever present challenges, it’s a good idea to take time to develop a healthy mindset, along with stress management skills. With this in mind, you’re invited to join dozens of other RRC students and staff in a 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge.

Can you receive difficult messages with openness? Can you reverse the stress response and calm your nervous system? Are you able to step back from your thoughts and watch them come and go? All of these skills are key to building good mental health and all are part of the 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge curriculum.

The Challenge takes just five minutes a day, anytime, anywhere and on any device, yet there is evidence that it lowers stress, increases resilience, improves teamwork, and strengthens leadership skills.

The Challenge teaches ‘mindfulness-in-action’ so people don’t need to stop what they are doing to become calm, present and focused.

Learn more about the Challenge and other mindfulness resources here.


All RRC students and staff can register for the challenge here. You can even register a buddy to keep you motivated. You can register any time, but your challenge will officially begin on the Tuesday after you register.

Prize draw

Complete all 30 days of the Challenge and you unlock a certificate that will get you entered into a draw for prizes, including one of two $50 gift cards to Good Local. Simply send your certificate to before February 28 and you will be entered to win.

Please contact Breanna Sawatzky with any questions.

Webinar Invitation: Reducing Your Holiday Stress

December 1, 2020

Even if you adore the holiday season, chances are you find your stress levels rising in the month of December.

Holidays always come with their fair share of stress – but this is a year like no other, with added complications brought on by the challenges imposed by COVID and lockdown restrictions. We’ve all got different ways we cope with stress – but what happens when these challenges start to feel daunting, when it feels like we could really use some support? There are real and effective things you can do to rise to the occasion.

Join clinical psychologist Dr. Leorra Newman for an important and timely conversation on how reduce your stress and enjoy the holiday season.

Date: Thursday, December 10th

Time: 11am Central )

Register here


5 Everyday Exercises to Strengthen Your Mental Health

December 1, 2020

Adapted from our friends at BEACON.

Life has been stressful, uncertain and scary lately – that’s for sure. As everyone is grappling with all these things (and with the intense emotions that come along with them), we’re looking for better ways to strengthen our mental health whenever we have the chance.

Thankfully, there are plenty of things we can be doing every day to help maintain a healthy perspective. These five can be used to relax, recharge or simply mentally regroup, so you can get back to resiliency and meet challenges as they come.

Move that body
Exercise isn’t just great for your physical health – when you engage in activity, your body releases stress-reducing endorphins that can also help boost your mood and alleviate some of the anxiety and depression you’re feeling. Now that so many of us are stuck at home without access to gyms and equipment, try to find alternative ways to get physical, such as a body weight-resistance routine, going for a quick jog or a relaxing and revitalizing solo yoga session. Try joining our live (virtual) yoga class, Fridays on WebEx.

Disconnect for a few
If you’ve been paying attention to the news related to COVID-19, you know that it can be an endless – not to mention an endlessly stressful – stream of information. Likewise, if you’re on social media all day long, or if you’re now working from home and trying to adapt to new routines, it can be difficult keeping up with all the meetings, emails and everything else. It’s important to take a few moments for yourself – by disconnecting you can shift your focus away from stress-causing information. Unplug for a while. The world will get along just fine without you for a few minutes.

Do something nice (for someone else)
Now is a time when a little kindness goes a long way – whether it’s helping a neighbour from a safe distance, sending a note to a relative or donating to a local food bank. A kind act can benefit your mental health by elevating your self-esteem while helping you focus on empathy. Kind acts can also boost your brain’s dopamine levels, which means that you’ll feel just as good as the recipient of your positive actions.

Switch it up
The one thing many of us are feeling right now is the sense of sameness – it’s Groundhog Day every day. Our day-to-day routines under COVID-19 can be awfully repetitive, which, in turn, can negatively affect our mental health. While it’s true that a normal routine can add to our sense of security and safety (which many people are craving right now), switching up certain parts of your day can have its benefits. Try an impromptu midday walk if you can, work in a different area of your home or get take-out from a new spot. By altering your routine, you won’t feel quite so stuck in a rut.

Let the music play
If you’re experiencing a lot of stress, anxiety or negative feelings, try putting on a familiar piece of music that you enjoy – anything from Beethoven or Brahms, to Taylor Swift or Shawn Mendes will work. Listening to music will not only relax you and lift your mood; it can also help to enhance your motivation to get things done – something a lot of us may be looking for right now.

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.