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Health Minds Healthy College

Healthy Minds Healthy College


Good Health at RRC-Second in our series

October 21, 2013

Physical activity improves health and wellbeing. According to Health Canada it can reduce stress, strengthen the heart and lungs, increase energy levels, as well as help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that individuals get at least two and a half hours of exercise a week, keeping an emphasis on getting moderate to vigorous physical activity broken down into sessions of ten minutes or more. As students we know the challenges of incorporating exercise into a busy schedule. Between the classes, studying, travel time, work, families and other commitments it often seems like there is not enough hours in the day. The idea of healthy living often falls to the wayside. According to a study done by McMaster University, regular exercise tends to steeply decline among youth as they move to university or college. Researchers found a 24% decrease in the 12 years from adolescence to early adulthood, with the steepest decline occurring during the transition to higher education. That is not good for young adults who need all their energy for school and home life!

Keeping physically active is key to a healthy lifestyle but remember it is best to check with your doctor before starting a new routine. If you have any chronic illness such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease it is important to consult a physician before starting. We have found some tips on how to incorporate exercise into your daily life, all of which we have tried and found have worked for us.squat

  • When waiting for a bus, a ride to work or to start school every morning, try exercising.
    • It gets your blood flowing and makes you feel more awake. Simple exercises such as calf raises are easy.
    • If you want to increase the intensity of your workouts you can try doing squats or lunges. Check out the American Council on Exercise for detailed instruction on how to do these properly.
  • Take more trips.
    • If you have to bring the two garbage cans to the road make two trips to the curb instead of carrying both cans at the same time.
    • You can park farther away from the store, which will result in more walking to and fro.
  • Use apps to help you workout. Yes there is an app for that!
    • Apps by Runtastic help you stick to a workout routine and they’re AppFREE. Some keep track of how many sit-ups or squats you do while another can track how far you’ve run and how many calories you’ve burned.
    • If you can’t find time to fit a workout in, track your daily activity is by using the Runtastic pedometer. This app tracks how many steps you walked as well as how many calories you’ve burned in a day.
  • When you’re watching television, get up and move during a commercial break.
    • During a commercial break get up and do 20 jumping jacks, sit-ups or lunges.
    • By doing so you are getting on average 15 minutes of exercise when watching an hour-long television show.
  • Sneak in workout.
    • If you have an hour lunch break take the first 30 minutes to eat and the next 30 minutes to walk around campus or do three flights of stairs. This will boost your energy for the rest of the day.
  • Utilize various resources within the RRC community. To learn about various facilities on both the Notre Dame and Exchange district campuses visit here. RRC Athletics and Recreation Services offers a variety of fitness classes, personal training and fitness assessments. For more information on any of these programs call (204)-632-3030.
  • Acknowledge that you are awesome for exercising!
    • Any sort of exercise, regardless of the intensity or duration, benefits your heart, muscles, mind, and overall healthfulness. Anything you can squeeze into your day is great. Aim to never leave a workout thinking anything other than, “I’m super proud of myself for what I did right there—I’m the best”

Stay tuned next week, as we will be discussing the importance of sleep and giving tips on how you can feel more energized throughout the day. We appreciate any feedback or comments about what we have discussed or what you would like us to talk about.

Health Services EDC Practicum Nursing Students Alexis and Candice

Where our mind can take us-advice from a child

October 7, 2013

miniature-garden-parkbench-2-q30Miniature Garden, See yourself on the bench?

A friend sent this video connection and an often said phrase “out of the mouth of babes” came to mind. A child explains how much better our imagination is than TV and how our mind can take us to beautiful places. We can help our mind focus on little things of the day and create positive energy and that can physically relax us. This is one of many ways we can improve our mental health. Take a moment to listen to the advice and comments as you watch the changing screens.

Health Services

If you think flu season is coming up…you’re right!

October 3, 2013

Don't Get Flu

Flu, cold or stomach flu – which is it?

You may be wondering: Do I have the flu, or stomach flu, or just a cold? Contrary to popular belief, the “stomach flu”, which is the general term used to describe nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, is not actually caused by influenza. Influenza is a respiratory virus, meaning it affects your lungs and chest, not your stomach.

Although they can seem similar, a common cold causes a runny/stuffy nose, sneezing, a sore throat and is much less serious than a flu. The greatest distinguishing factor between the two is the gradual onset of a cold as opposed to the sudden feeling of severe sickness caused by the flu. In fact, an influenza infection can sideline you from school and work for up to two weeks!

What is influenza then, and what is the big deal?

The “flu” (short for influenza) is caused by the influenza virus, which invades your nose, throat and lungs. This is also how the virus spreads from person to person. All the lovely folks you see coughing, sneezing, and blowing their nose around you are victims to the virus’ diabolical strategy of infecting as many people as it can, as quickly as it can.

Picture this: You’re on a bus and someone has just sneezed beside you. You may not know this, but it’s likely you were unfortunate enough to inhale a good dose of your neighbour’s respiratory droplets. Depending on your health and immune status, you may be in for a rough ride of sudden onset fever (>38 *C), coughing, headaches, sore throat, runny nose, weakness and fatigue that can sometimes last two weeks or longer. Another characteristic feature of the flu, commonly described as the feeling of “getting hit by a truck”, is severe muscle and joint pain. It is also important to note that children may show somewhat different symptoms of influenza than adults (such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting), as well as the symptoms listed above.

Why a flu vaccine?

A flu vaccine is the best known way to prevent you from the most common types of flu. That being said, it does not provide a 100% guarantee that you will not get the flu. Find out why and how effective the flu vaccine is in our following blog!

Check out our following blogs to learn about how the flu vaccine is manufactured, benefits of getting the flu vaccine and more interesting information as well as flu clinic dates.

From Health Services Practicum Nursing Students Thomas and Alexis

Planning for Energy-Tips on Healthy Snacks and Foods for CollegeLife

August 26, 2013

20-healthy-snacks-for-kids-college-students-h-L-QCZ3rvCollege life starts in the next week or two for most Colleges. It is tempting to grab quick fix foods to help get you through the day and give you some energy for those study and learning needs. Advice and experience from those who have gone before is valuable. Choose a diet (not go on a diet) that will give you long lasting energy. Chuck out the late night chips and energy drinks and restock with great snacks.  See some great ideas such as a downloadable shopping list and 20 super snacks at  Keep Your Diet Real. There is also great advice from a experienced College Student.

From Health Services

Wellness Interview with Nancy Alexander – Red River College’s Vice President HR and Sustainability

August 14, 2013

NancyPhotoNancy Alexander (Vice-President, Human Resource Services and Sustainability) has an extensive background in human resource management and environmental management. Nancy leads RRC’s Human Resource Services, Environmental Health & Safety Services, and Sustainability departments.

Mike Krywy (Chair of the Wellness Committee) spoke with Nancy about her Wellness beliefs, practices and strategies for fostering a Wellness culture at Red River College.

Who are some of the people in your life that you look up to as Wellness role models?

My mother — who turned 80 this year and is still extremely active every day — is my main role model. She is an amazing woman with so much energy. She loves to fish, she takes care of a huge garden, she loves to cook (especially perogies!), she picks berries and wild mushrooms. I come from a commercial fishing family, and my mom was always busy, whether it was getting ready for the season, or cooking food for lots of people.

She’s also an avid traveler, wandering throughout Manitoba and numerous countries worldwide. For her 80th birthday we recently took a trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, where we rode mules down 1,000-foot canyons and toured the desert to see wildflowers from sunup to sundown. Typically she’ll go out visiting friends throughout rural Manitoba, spend the day adventuring and visiting festivals, then get together with friends for coffee and talk into the late hours.

My adult children are also great role models, as they regularly exercise, eat healthy, and are continuous learners.

Finally, my husband is a role model for his supportiveness towards his large extended family and his practice of mindfulness. He is always reminding me of the reality of things, especially being mindful of the present moment. He believes that one should establish mindfulness in one’s day-to-day life, maintaining as much as possible a calm awareness of one’s body, feelings, and mind. I try to carry this out in my own day-to-day life, as well.

Wellness is sometimes broken up into physical, mental and spiritual aspects. How do you try to balance these areas in terms of your own personal wellness?

As you say, wellness is multi-faceted — physical, mental, social and emotional are all part of it. If people feel good physically and emotionally they are productive, and they interact in a positive way with people and the environment, both at work and at home.

I try to keep balanced by spending time outside, in nature. I really enjoy gardening, fishing and anything that gets me out into the natural environment, such as berry-picking and camping. I pick a wide variety of wild mushrooms like morels, field mushrooms, pidpenky, red tops, and so on. Being out in nature is great, as it helps me to put things in perspective. I’m not thinking about work because I have to pay attention to other things — walking in a forest, desert or prairie involves all of our senses.

For me, these activities cover all three areas of Wellness, particularly because they usually involve friends and family. This past weekend, we were out picking Lecinnum mushrooms (“red tops”) for hours — once in the sunshine and later in the pouring rain. Then we went fishing. Watching cranes and eagles fly low over the Red River and hearing their calls gives me an incredible sense of wellbeing. Pulling an anchor out of the Red River bottom isn’t bad for your physical side either.

NancyPhoto4I also enjoy gardening.  Many of the plants in my gardens are valued because they are a constant reminder to me of the people who gave them to me. I will often bring plants to my neighbors or to work and share them as they’ve been shared with me.



Read More →

Wellness Interview with Christine Crowe — Red River College’s Vice-President, Community Development

August 7, 2013

ChristineCrowChristine Crowe joined RRC from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, where she served as Dean, Faculty of Academic and Career Advancement. Christine now leads RRC’s Schools of Indigenous Education, International Education and Continuing Education, while also overseeing the College’s regional campuses, Language Training Centre and community outreach (full bio here).

Mike Krywy (Chair of the Wellness Committee) went for a leisurely walk with Christine to get her thoughts about wellness.

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts about Wellness. To start with, who are some of the people in your life that you look up to as Wellness role models?

My mom was a dancer, choreographer and a teacher who danced with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. One of my most powerful memories was watching her sit on the floor listening to music, and picking something for her next routine. She could sit on the floor for hours, but you could tell that she wasn’t in the room — she was creating that piece of choreography. Afterwards, I’d watch the choreography come to life during the practices with her dancers. I was her pianist for a while, and it was fantastic observing her in the creative process and seeing the beauty that came from it.

My mom suffered from depression through much of her life, and she used her creativity to bring herself out of her depression and back to the light. A year after she retired, she passed away. During that time I think she grieved because so much of her life was tied to that creation, and she didn’t know what to do when she was no longer creating. From her life I learned there is power of doing what you love, and how those actions can sustain and feed you.

I know you have a couple of young children. Are they also wellness role models for you?

They are amazing role models for me.

First of all, I’ve learned from them that not knowingis okay.Not knowing” is a place of curiosity and a source of great adventure. It is not something to hide or be afraid of. It speaks to humility. As an administrator, I’m someone who people often come to looking for answers. And that’s a scary place to be sometimes. However, if you’re able to admit that you don’t know something but are willing to explore finding an answer together, you’re able to move forward.

The other thing is “Being present”. I have learned a great deal from putting down my iPad and playing with my kids. The other day my kids were jumping on the trampoline and said, “Mom, come join us.” I hesitated. For one thing, I am terrified about jumping on the trampoline, as I haven’t done it for years. So I told them, “I just need a minute — can’t you do something on your own?” Then I stopped and said to myself, “Wait a minute, they want to do something with me. They want to play with me.” So I went and jumped on the trampoline…and it was terrifying! But it was also very fun.

I’ve had many of the same experiences with my own children, such as when they ask me to go for a swim and I make excuses about the water being too cold. Once I drop the excuses and jump in with them, I never regret it. Is there anything else that your children taught you? Read More →

Interview with Stan Chung (RRC VP Academic and Research)

July 22, 2013

StanChungRed River College’s VP Academic and Research Stan Sae-Hoon Chung joined RRC in 2012 because of its reputation as a global leader in advanced learning. Stan is an award-winning writer, visionary advocate for life-changing learning, and passionate believer in the college as an engine for social and economic transformation (full bio here). Mike Krywy (Chair of the Wellness Committee) sat down with Stan to get his thoughts about wellness.


Q: Wellness is sometimes broken up into physical, mental and spiritual aspects. What are your thoughts on this way of thinking?

I agree with that breakdown, as all those aspects are important. But I also think of wellness in terms of individual wellness, organizational wellness and global wellness. And those same three principles – physical, mental and spiritual – would apply to all three.

Take individual wellness. If we are not well as individuals, how can we be well as a community or as a people? So if individual wellness is not connected to the workplace or we fail to see the connection, you CAN end up with challenges. Then you have to ask, “What is the missing ingredient? Why are people not well or unhappy at work? What can we do to sustain and support individual wellness?” For me, the answer resides in a uniting sense of purpose.

Q: What are the key components of organizational wellness?

Organizational wellness can be defined in many ways. One way to understand it is through the strength of social bonds. We are all individuals linked in a network or community, and it is important to be socially connected, whether that’s at home or at work.

A simple question to ask is “Do you have a best friend at work?” Someone who – if you had a question as simple as “where’s the mail room?” – would provide you with directions. Research has shown that strong friendships can help make people more resilient and adaptable. When you have those social supports at work, you’re more likely to want to come to work, make a contribution, and enjoy it.

Q: As an organization, is there anything the College can do to help develop these social bonds and strengthen personal networks?

Read More →

Q+A with RRC President Stephanie Forsyth

June 27, 2013

RRC President Stephanie Forsyth at the 2012 Immigrant and International Welcome Party.

RRC President Stephanie Forsyth, at the 2012 Welcome Party for Immigrant and International Students.

At Red River College, we value a healthy environment and express this through promotion of creativity, wellness, flexibility, safety and sustainable learning. RRC President Stephanie Forsyth is a strong proponent of health, wellness and life balance.

As she did last year, Stephanie recently provided some insight into her personal beliefs, attitudes and activities on the subject.

Who are some of the people in your life that you look up to as Wellness role models?

My partner. She is the epitome of health, placing a high priority on physical fitness, healthy eating and mental health.

Children often act as good wellness role models, due to their ability to play, take on new things, and laugh and enjoy themselves. Are there some lessons or experiences that you can draw from your own childhood, or from being with children when it comes to Wellness?

I have the gift of two elementary-aged children in my life who have been great in keeping me focused on taking time each day for play. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t spend at least 30 minutes playing football, baseball or road hockey, or some other active activity with them.

Wellness is sometimes broken up into physical, mental and spiritual aspects. How do you try to balance these areas in terms of your own personal wellness?

It can be pretty hard to balance and schedule physical, mental and spiritual fitness. My partner and kids remind me of the importance of wellness; I want to be around for the long term – for them and for myself.

I try to stick to a routine of physical fitness by engaging in some physical activity at least 30 minutes to an hour each day; generally that involves doing something with the kids. When we are not out doing a sport, we hit the community centre as a family – my partner and I are in the gym while the kids are in swimming lessons or enjoying the pool.

I also try to avoid the ‘grab and go’ meal approach. I keep a small stock of healthy snacks in my office, and focus on meals that give carbs and sugars a miss.

It’s easy to become stressed in my job, so it’s important to focus on mental and spiritual fitness. For me that comes in the form of talking and connecting with family and friends, and by taking time out for reflective practice – e.g. reviewing the events of the day and thinking about the lessons learned, ways to enhance my performance, as well as acknowledging the things achieved.

To do these jobs, you need to be grounded and have mentors or ‘thought-partners’ you can turn to.

I find that ‘grounding’ in the Indigenous view of the world, the values of which are almost universally held among Indigenous people. These are values of community, relationship, harmony, wholeness, respect, interconnectedness and reciprocity – reciprocity between people and the natural world (the Buddhists might say ‘mindfulness’), and the circular nature of life – the natural cycles that sustain all life.

This Indigenous view was taught to me by Elders and knowledge-keepers through conversations, ceremony and story-telling, and there are particular Indigenous people who have remained my guides and ‘thought-partners’ today.

Some people will seek “creative” activities as part of their Wellness mix, whether this be writing, photography, acting, gardening or storytelling. Are there any creative activities that help you maintain a sense of wellness?

I express my creativity in cooking and gardening. I enjoy cooking with fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden to use in dishes like lettuce wraps, salad rolls and pad thai.

How important do you think it is to set Wellness goals?

It’s very easy to get off track, to let health and wellness priorities fall to the wayside. It’s very easy to not put ourselves first a few times a day or a week.

I have found it important to set small attainable goals – for me that currently means eliminating carbs like bread and pasta from my diet, as well as all sugar (with the exception of course of dark chocolate!) and having meetings while walking about. As I spend most of my day engaged in meetings, either one-on-one or in small groups, I am striving to have more ‘walking and talking’ sessions when I am meeting with someone one-on-one.

Given how busy life is, do you have any strategies for “making time” for Wellness activities as opposed to “taking time”?

I schedule wellness times in my calendar and try to stick to them.

The Wellness Committee at RRC tries to foster a wellness culture on campus through the Wellness blo, and activities like the Wellness Walk-a-thon, the Rebel Run and the Chili Cup. In what ways can the College continue to build upon the Wellness culture on campus?

It’s good to see College staff engage with each other across the organization, as it helps build community and organizational health. Community engagement is critical to the health of an organization. It would be nice to see monthly events held, even informally. These help build awareness and understanding of each other as individuals, not just co-workers.

Building this sense of community is challenging, however, as we sometimes forget that organizations are ‘living’ ‘human systems’, not words or organizational charts on paper. Our emphasis needs to be on people and the relationships that we have to one another. Too often we get focused on tasks and timelines and the end products, and forget that the process of working together is often more important than the end goal. If we focus more on these relationships at work and how we are working together, I believe we will become a more compassionate College, and will exhibit even greater patience, kindness and understanding with one another. Read More →

International Soccer Tournament – March 10th

February 28, 2012

Are you tired of playing winter sports? We may have just the right cure! The Diversity and Immigrant Student Support Department invites you to register and compete in the 3rd Annual indoor International Soccer Tournament on Saturday, March 10th at the Notre Dame Campus. In partnership with the Recreational Service department, we have coordinated a fun tournament that brings students and staff together from all different parts of the world.

General Tournament Information
Date: Saturday, March 10th, 2012
Where: Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus, North Gym
Time: 12:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Teams: Maximum team size of 8 -10 players
What to Bring: Players must wear gym clothes, shin guards and indoor running shoes. In order to tell teams apart, please bring TWO t-shirts: one black t-shirt and one white shirt. Water bottles (optional).
Registration Options:

Option A: Players may register as a full staff team consisting of no more than 10 players. Players, who wish to register together, must indicate the same team name.
Option B: Individual players are encouraged to sign up. You will be randomly assigned to a team the day of the tournament.

No contact is allowed. This also means NO Charging and No Slide Tackling. This is a 6 player vs. 6 player style tournament, using traditional futsol Balls and Nets. Wearing cleats are NOT allowed.

To register, please pick up at registration form in the Diversity and Immigrant Student Support Department in D-206 at the Notre Dame Campus. If this location is not accessible to you, please e-mail Margarita Rowley, no later than Friday, March 2nd, 2012 to receive an e-copy of the registration form.

Contact Information:

Margarita Rowley
Immigrant Student Advisor
Phone: (204) 949-8393
Office: Building D, Room 206 Notre Dame Campus

Submitted by Diversity and Immigrant Student Support Office

Burn the Blues!

January 27, 2012

Hello from Red River College’s Winkler Campus! More specifically, from the Administrative Assistant program here at the Winkler Campus. To help our Campus shake off those post-Christmas winter blues we threw an event on January 23, 2011 called Burn the Blues.

Now what is Burn the Blues, you ask? Good question! We designed the event around the idea of beating the winter blues. January is one of the most depressing months of the year, and we wanted to cheer up our fellow students. Wellness and inspiring others to be active and think about healthy choices was something we wanted to incorporate, and so Burn the Blues was born!

It was a great chance for all the students in Winkler (about 75) to mingle with each other, enjoy some smoothies, and win some free stuff. There’s was also great information about:

  • being active in winter
  • how different foods affect your mood

Not only that, students experienced a short, low-impact workout with a Tyson method trainer.

We want to thank Keith Doerksen (RRC Winkler Regional Manager) and Linda Fehr (our wonderful Event Planning instructor) for helping us make the event a possibility and a success!

 Submitted by Karla Penner, Winkler Campus