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The #COVIDkindness Grows

April 21, 2020

RRC students and staff are practicing #COVIDkindness and paying attention to the kind acts of others. As we do this, our resilience grows. The stories below inspire us all to keep kindness and gratitude a priority throughout these challenging times.

From James Turner, Creative Communications Instructor

From Wade Parke, Co-op Coordinator in Indigenous Student Support & Community Relations

“What does it mean to be part of a team? Like many of you, I miss working together in a communal space with my team. We miss the things that give us meaning. I miss watching and cheering on our Winnipeg Jets. As a Winnipegger, I felt part of that team. As individuals we all pursue our goals and missions in life to the best of our abilities, but what really brings us together is our teams and communities; the coming together to support each other to bring out our best.

Our teams over the last couple of weeks have had to adapt to a new way to work and live. Our families, our jobs, and our community have adjusted, to work together to be the best we can under this cloud of uncertainty. But, what keeps my spirit up and keeps me motivated is being able to connect with my team to work together, talk, laugh, and check in with one another. So as we move forward I want to encourage everyone to be a good teammate at work, at home, and in the community. There’s a saying in hockey called taking one for the team So let’s all take one for the team during this time of adjustment.”

 

 

 

 

 

From Paula Amaral, Hospitality and Tourism Instructor

“I want to give a big kindness shout-out to our tech support specialist at the School of Hospitality and Culinary Art: Danny Lam.

When I first started teaching online using WebEx, Danny made himself readily available as he attended my classes while I was teaching. The support Danny showed while being present in the classroom over several sessions was really appreciated and comforting. Not only did he answer my questions when I was unsure of some of the features in Webex and provide valuable information to me and the students, but he also made himself available via cell phone/texting/emailing if I still needed help after I became somewhat proficient with the program. All of this was very much appreciated and put me at ease knowing I could fall back on him if I didn’t know how to navigate my way around. Thank you so much, Danny!”

Join the Movement! Here’s how it works

Over the next few weeks:

  1. Pay attention to acts of kindness you witness (or perform yourself).
  2. Send a description and photo (where possible) to blsawatzky@rrc.ca.
  3. Post on your social media channels, using the hashtag #COVIDkindness and tag in RRC.

Each week, Mental Health Coordinator, Breanna Sawatzky will collate your acts of kindness and share them in a Wellness Blog post. All students and staff are invited to participate.

The Goal

This movement is meant to foster a supportive community environment along with gratitude, both of which promote good mental health.

Everyone who participates will be entered in a prize draw. Prizes are to be determined, based on availability, but will certainly lift spirits.

 

Sharing More #COVIDkindness Stories

April 14, 2020

 

RRC students and staff are practicing #COVIDkindness and paying attention to the kind acts of others. This is a great way to build your own resilience and minimize the impact of the pandemic on our community. Here are some more stories you’ve shared.

From Kelly Sookram In The Community Services Learning Centre

“I am attaching a picture I took while on our daily walk-about in the neighborhood. Someone had chalked this message on the sidewalk and it sure felt good to read. Such a small act, yet capable of uplifting many spirits!”

 

 

 

From George, Student in the Sonography Program

“A neighbor offered to plow my driveway with his quad.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Laureen Janzen, Manager of Counselling and Accessibility

“On Saturday, April 4, the day after all that snow, a city plow drove down my back lane leaving a massive windrow behind my parked car! When I left my house to head to the grocery store, I noticed that not only had the plow come and gone, but my windrow had been cleared. In fact, a neighbor and his two young children were having a great time shoveling several windrows down the lane – spreading a little kindness during this tough time.”

Join the Movement! Here’s how it works

Over the next few weeks:

  1. Pay attention to acts of kindness you witness (or perform yourself).
  2. Send a description and photo (where possible) to blsawatzky@rrc.ca.
  3. Post on your social media channels, using the hashtag #COVIDkindness and tag in RRC.

Each week, Mental Health Coordinator, Breanna Sawatzky will collate your acts of kindness and share them in a Wellness Blog post. All students and staff are invited to participate.

The Goal

This movement is meant to foster a supportive community environment along with gratitude, both of which promote good mental health.

Everyone who participates will be entered in a prize draw. Prizes are to be determined, based on availability, but will certainly lift spirits.

Join the #COVIDkindness Movement!

March 31, 2020

Daily life sure has changed rapidly. A global pandemic has forced us to alter how we work, study, and relate to one another. While there isn’t much we can do about this reality, we can take steps to help ourselves and others cope through the changes.

A fantastic way to minimize the impact of this virus on our community is to be kind to one another. That’s why we’re launching the #COVIDkindness campaign at RRC.

Even our Federal Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu, is concerned about the toll that isolation and anxiety will take on the mental health of Canadians and is encouraging people to help themselves and others with kindness.

Here’s how it works

Over the next few weeks:

  1. Pay attention to acts of kindness you witness (or perform yourself).
  2. Send a description and photo (where possible) to blsawatzky@rrc.ca.
  3. Post on your social media channels, using the hashtag #COVIDkindness and tag in RRC.

Each week, Mental Health Coordinator, Breanna Sawatzky will collate your acts of kindness and share them in a Wellness Blog post. All students and staff are invited to participate.

The Goal

This movement is meant to foster a supportive community environment along with gratitude, both of which promote good mental health.

Everyone who participates will be entered in a prize draw. Prizes are to be determined, based on availability, but will certainly lift spirits.

Examples

What are some examples of #COVIDkindness?

  • A fellow student helps you figure out a new mode of technology.
  • A supervisor sets up a meeting at a time that works around your child care responsibilities.
  • An instructor is patient and understanding as you express frustration or worry.
  • A colleague shares funny memes or kindhearted humour to boost your spirits.

There are so many ways to be kind, so join the movement and share your acts of kindness.

 

 

 

Coping through this uncertainty

March 19, 2020

During this time of uncertainty it’s natural that our stress response will kick in. We are likely being bombarded with constant updates from the news, social media, our workplace, and our friends and family.

Our routines along with the expectations placed on us are changing quickly. We may also be in a state of waiting for answers or direction, which can be unsettling. With this heightened state of stress, it’s not surprising that our thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviours will be affected.

In addition, people who have experienced traumatic medical or other experiences in the past may have some of those feelings, memories, and fears come flooding back.

Here are some common ways that experiencing this stress can effect our body, mind, spirit and emotions.

  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Tearfulness
  • Frustration
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Upset stomach
  • Headaches
  • Desire to use drugs or alcohol
  • Hopelessness

Everyone is different and your response is neither right nor wrong, it’s simply your response. You may be experiencing something that is not listed above and that’s okay. What matters is that we are not helpless in the face of this stress; we can do our best to actively manage it.

Think about what you normally do to manage stress and reflect on how you can adapt that to the current circumstance. If you usually spend time with friends, can you chat on the phone or have a video call? If you usually go to the gym, can you walk or run outside? Or stream an online workout video?

Here are some immediate actions that can be helpful at this time.

Limit news and social media consumption. Stay informed, but be sure to take breaks from the feed and focus on information from reputable sources like the RRC newsletter and Manitoba Health. Is there someone in your feed who is triggering extra anxiety? Don’t be afraid to mute or unfollow them for now.

Remember the basics. Be sure to eat nutritious food, get fresh air, move your body, and get enough sleep. Without those basics, it’s hard to manage stress well.

Connect with others. Telephone, text, or video calls can be a great way to stay in touch. Instead of rehashing all the details, try to focus your conversations on how you are feeling, how you are coping, and mundane everyday matters.

Practice kindness. Everyone around us is likely experiencing heightened stress as well. Be kind, be patient, and leave space for people who are not at their best. We can get through this better if we work together.

Breathe. Taking slow, deep breaths that fill you belly can reverse the stress response and bring some clarity to your thoughts and actions. You can find a helpful video tutorial here.

Reach out for support. Sometimes, in order to be at our best we need to consult a mental health professional. There are several people ready to assist you. Read more here.

Wellness in the time of COVID-19

March 17, 2020

We are going through an unprecedented time at Red River College. Many of us have been asked to work or study from home, and aren’t participating in our usual activities. When our usual routine is disrupted, it can have an effect on both our physical and mental health.

Below you will find some resources to help maintain physical and mental wellness during a time of social distancing. Whenever possible, the following resources are free to either Red River College staff and students (look for the ^), or free for t0 general public (look for the *). For additional information, continue to check www.rrc.ca for updates.

Fitness and Physical Health Options

RRC Recreation Services ^

Fitness Apps

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

Fitness Bloggers

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

Fitness Streaming

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.

  • Planet Fitness – Facebook
  • Host your own! Use a video chat or meeting service to join your friends in a virtual group workout.

Subscription Services

Please note that these options may involve fees.

Mental Health and Wellness Options

Mindfulness & Meditation

Relaxation

  • ADAM* audio guided relaxation
  • Get outside and observe nature
  • Clear the Deck exercise to calm worry*
  • Have a cup of tea
  • Enjoy a warm bath or shower

Social Connection

  • Schedule an informal coffee break on WebEx. Grab your beverage and just chat about whatever you feel like.
  • Send voice messages or hold video calls with friends and family
  • Virtual friends/family meals
  • Proactive #COVIDkindness, while keeping physical distance
  • Send thank you notes
  • If children are home from school, consider creating a daily schedule

Creativity

Remember, taking care of your wellness will help sustain you through this challenging time. Be sure to make your well-being a priority.

#BellLetsTalkDay at RRC

January 28, 2020

Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day: a time to start conversations about mental health and reduce stigma associated with mental illness. There are several ways to get involved.

Paint on our giant canvas
Join us for tea, cookies, and conversations. Paint supportive words or images on a giant art canvas.

Notre Dame Campus: Library Hallway, 10am – 2pm
Exchange District Campus: Atrium, 10am – 2pm

Several other campuses are participating, so watch for posters on your campus to stay informed.

Visit the Bell Let’s Talk website
At https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/ways-to-help you’ll find suggested actions that you can take to end stigma and create positive change.  You’ll also find instructions on how to participate in the social media fundraising campaign.

Explore Resources

Browse through the rrc.ca/wellness microsite and get up to speed on the variety of resources available to you, your colleagues, your family, and your students.

Beat the Winter Blues with Light Therapy – In the Library!

December 17, 2019

Due to our northern latitude, many Manitobans experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), while others experience a milder form of winter blues. SAD is a form of depression that occurs mostly during the fall and winter months, when days shorten and sunlight decreases.

Light therapy, sitting near a specialized light each day, is one form of treatment. This is why we’re pleased to offer light therapy stations in the Exchange District and Notre Dame Campus libraries. Several regional campuses also have light therapy stations.

If you’ve 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.

You may also loan a smaller, portable lamp from A/V Services. That lamp may be used anywhere in the library that is near a power outlet. You’ll 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 SAD, please speak to your primary health care provider.

Sources: The Mayo Clinic Website – www.mayoclinic.org and Northern Light Technologies Product Instructions

Thrive Week Highlights

November 19, 2019

Earlier this month we enjoyed Thrive Week, a time to focus on balance and self-care to promote positive mental health. Our planning group delivered a variety of activities to encourage staff and students to get active, relaxed, connected and creative. Here are some activities that folks enjoyed.

The Paint Party at EDC, featuring Kisa MacIsaac from Power of Painting (and RRC alum).

A nature walk through Chickadee Trail at Birds Hill Provincial Park

A student enjoying a visit from St. John Ambulance therapy dogs. Photo: Gabby Piche

Thrive Ambassador and Business Administration student, Veronica Feliz, helping students and staff sign up for a free massage. Photo: Katlyn Streilein

Registered Massage Therapist, Jason Mathes, helping a student de-stress. Photo: Katlyn Streilein

MC College students providing free manicures and braids. Photo: Sarah Vandale.

A few of the painters from the NDC party with Painting on the Prairies.

There was so much more going on that we didn’t manage to capture through photos. Even many of the regional campuses hosted activities.

We hope everyone who participated in Thrive Week enjoyed a break from the grind of school and work and is inspired to make time for balance and self-care on an ongoing basis.

This week was possible thanks to funding from the Red River College Students’ Association, Human Resource Department and Healthy Minds Healthy College Initiative. Big thanks as well to the planning group: Amanda Dorscheid, Beverly Wood, Priyanji Mediwake, Arsalan Zaheer, Carmen McIntosh, Erin Edwards and Breanna Sawatzky.  Student volunteers who served as Thrive Ambassadors were a huge help.

Stay tuned for more Thrive style events in the new year.

Boosting Mental Health Can be a Walk in the Park

November 5, 2019

A walking path through Birds Hill Park

Being active in nature is great for your mental health. When the seasons change and the temperatures drop, we tend to stay inside more. Getting out for some fresh air and movement (even just walking), before the January deep freeze, can be really helpful.

This is why, for Thrive Week, we’re heading for a nature walk at Birds Hill Park.

All students and staff are invited; we have a bus chartered to transport us all.

To join the nature walk, simply email Breanna to reserve a seat on the bus. Meet us at the Notre Dame Campus bus loop at 10am Saturday, November 9th. The bus will return us to the same place at 2pm.

We’ll spend some time bird watching, walking through the trails, and enjoying some hot chocolate.

According to Manitoba Sustainable Development, this park is “a mosaic of landscapes not commonly found in such close association, such as esker ridges, dry prairie, wet meadows, bogs, and aspen-oak and mixed boreal forest communities.” 

Dress for the weather and pack some water and a snack. Family members are welcome.

Date: Saturday, November 9

Location: Meet at the Notre Dame Campus Bus Loop

Pick up time: 10am

Drop off time: 2pm

Contact: Breanna Sawatzky

 

Thrive Week Activities at EDC

October 28, 2019

Thrive Week, November 4-9,  is a time to focus on the importance of balance and self-care in developing positive mental health that supports success in learning and working.

We invite you to take a moment to do something that gets you active, creative, connected or relaxed – whatever it is you need for balance. All events are free and open to students and staff.

Exchange District Campus

Monday, November 4

Therapy Dogs
11:30am – 1pm in the Atrium
Come relax and pet a sweet, calm therapy dog.

Tuesday, November 5

Mental Health Workshop 
11:30am – 1:00pm in P107
Join educators from Klinic to explore the topic of mental health. Snacks provided.

Wednesday, November 6

Mindfulness Workshop
noon – 1pm in the Gym
Join Mario DeNegri to explore mental strategies for focus and peace.

Paint Party with Power of Painting
4pm – 6:30pm in the Dining Hall
Follow step-by-step instructions and a creative touch to your very own canvas.
Email blsawatzky@rrc.ca to save a prime seat, or just show up. Spaces limited. Snacks provided.

Thursday, November 7

Fresh Fruit and Resource Table
11am – 1pm in the Atrium
Grab a healthy snack and learn about mental health and wellness resources.

Yoga
4:15 – 5:15 pm in P107
Stretch, breathe and move your way to balance.

Friday, November 8

Braid and Manicure Bar
9am – 2pm in the Library Hallway
MC College students will help you relax as they pamper your hair and nails. First come, first served.