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Health Minds Healthy College

Healthy Minds Healthy College

Stress

Welcome Spring With Creativity: Join Our April Paint Night

March 23, 2021

How are you doing? Many of us are welcoming the milder temperatures and longer daylight hours of spring. At the same time, March and April are particularly stressful times in the academic calendar. As you manage the demands of work and school, you’re invited to find some balance by engaging in art-based creativity.

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, April 8

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
Facebook.com/powerofpainting
IG: @powerofpainting204

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.

Registration

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 blsawatzky@rrc.ca 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.

Friday Lunchtime Yoga is Back!

October 13, 2020

Holly Pluchinski, owner of Kayfabe Yoga, is back to teach a weekly 30 minute yoga class exclusively for RRC staff and students.

Yoga is a fantastic way to connect mind, body, and spirit while giving yourself the mindful movement you crave. As we all do what we can to cope with change and uncertainty, a regular yoga practice can take the edge off all of that stress.

Book the time in your calendar and do something good for yourself.

Date: Fridays, beginning Oct. 16
Time: Noon – 12:30pm
Location: WebEx, register here for the December 18 session

Participants will be able to see Holly demonstrate, however participants themselves will not be visible to others. The class is suitable for all ability levels.

You don’t need fancy equipment, or the perfect setting — just the desire to tune in and move.

Questions can be directed to Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator.

The First Thrive Event of the Year: A Virtual Paint Night!

September 15, 2020

Create your own version of this painting on Sept. 24

Take a break from the grind and explore your creative side at our first THRIVE event of this academic year.

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 Autumn themed 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, September 24

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 picked up at your campus between September 22 and 24. Brushes and unused paint must be returned to your campus by October 1.

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
Facebook.com/powerofpainting
IG: @powerofpainting204

How to Not Feel Helpless: Managing what we can and cannot control in times of crisis

June 2, 2020

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Guest post by our friends at BEACON. 

When it feels like bad news is an everyday occurrence, it can be a difficult and challenging experience. For many, the stress and anxiety that come along with this may also be accompanied by the feeling that we’re losing control, that we’re powerless, and we lack the resilience to properly cope – extreme situations tend to bring about extreme reactions.

Even when the news seems bleak, it’s crucial to maintain a sense of perspective. There will always be things that we can and cannot control in life – it’s often a question of how much we worry and obsess over the things that we have little or no control over, that can cause the most anxiety.

 

There are ways, however, to manage these things, and maintain a healthy outlook.

Compare Your Troubling Thoughts with Reality

Be aware of thoughts that you’re having and the extent to which those thoughts correspond to reality – and to the reality of your family and your immediate circle. If you have thoughts about people getting sick or about the news being more than you can handle, counter that by remembering that there’s a good chance that no one you know has COVID-19.

And if you do know someone who does have it, remind yourself that you can’t control the outcome. Practice realistic thinking limited to people you know personally, rather than about people from other cities who we don’t know.

Focus Your Attention Elsewhere

Find activities and things to do that are enjoyable, and that won’t bring your attention back to thinking about stressful events such as the coronavirus pandemic. It seems like when people talk, they often spend the whole time doing so about their anxiety and discussing worst-case scenarios. Make a point of having conversations about other topics, and consider designating talking about coronavirus as “off-limits” for a while.

Don’t Overwhelm Yourself with News

Try to limit the news that you consume, both in terms of the amount of time spent and from certain sources. You’re unlikely to miss anything important, so there’s no need to spend an excessive amount of time reading articles that all say the same thing.

Make sure that the sources you’re reading from are scientifically-based and reliable – that kind of news is likely to not change very quickly.

• • •

It’s never easy to deal with bad news and trying times, but it’s also important to know that there are always things you can do to limit the stress and worry you may feel. But remember that freaking out or panicking doesn’t help the situation; calm thinking will actually help with better decision making.  It can be easy to get swept up into a state of panic but at the end of the day, we’re better equipped to make good decisions if we remain calm.

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.

 

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.

Wellness Weekly: Curated Readings

October 1, 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.

Food and Mood

Ever wonder if a certain eating pattern is best for your mental health? When we make everyday food choices, many of us think first of our physical health and appearance. But there’s another factor we may want to consider in picking foods: their impact on our mental health. Read What Is The Best Diet for Mental Health by Kira M. Newman.

Creative Hobbies

If you’ve been trying to get a little more mindfulness in your life, whipping up a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies might be exactly what you need. Read more about how Research Suggests Taking Up Baking Can Help You Feel Better by Gwen Moran.

Stress and Memory

You spend weeks studying for an important test. On the big day, you wait nervously as your teacher hands it out. You’re working your way through, when you’re asked to define “ataraxia.” You know you’ve seen the word before, but your mind goes blank. What just happened? Elizabeth Cox details the complex relationship between stress and memory in her Ted-Ed animation: The Surprising Link Between Stress and Memory.

 

Have a favorite health and wellness related read that you think we should feature? Send it over to Breanna.