Health Minds Healthy College

Healthy Minds Healthy College

Wellness

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.

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

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 – talk begins

1:00pm – 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

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.

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.

Thrive Week Activities at NDC

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.

For information on activities at the Exchange District Campus, click here.

Notre Dame Campus

Adult Colouring and Jigsaw Puzzle Station
All Day | Everyday
Library

Monday, November 4

Massage Therapy
9am – 2pm
Library Hall
Enjoy a 10 minute massage from a registered massage therapist.
The sign-up sheet to book your massage time opens at 8:30 am.

Yoga
4:15-5:15 pm in the South Gym
Stretch, breathe and move your way to balance.

Tuesday, November 5

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

Paint Party with Painting on the Prairies
4 – 6:30pm in the Cave Lounge
Follow step-by-step instructions and add 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.

Wednesday, November 6

Comedy Show with Big Daddy Taz
noon – 1pm in the Cave Lounge. Snacks provided.
Share some laughs over lunch.

Board Game Night
4 – 6pm in the Cave Lounge. Snacks provided.
Thursday
Come alone or with friends to play a favorite board game or learn a new one.

Thursday, November 7

Smoothies and Resource Table
8 – 10am in the Library Hall
Use the bike blender to make yourself a healthy snack.

Zen Zone
9am – 2pm in the Cave Lounge
Enjoy calm music and relaxing activities while the Cave is transformed into a spa-like space.

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.

Friday, November 8

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

Saturday, November 9

Nature Walk Through Birds Hill Park
10am – 2pm
Meet at the NDC bus loop to catch our chartered bus. Family members are welcome. Please email blsawatzky@rrc.ca to register.

 

Want to tell your mental health story? Get in touch today!

October 1, 2019

We’re looking for a student who attends either the Notre Dame Campus or the Exchange District Campus to participate in a panel discussion at our upcoming Movies for Mental Health event. Click here for details about the event. You will be given a $40 honorarium for your time.

By volunteering your time and expertise, you play a crucial role in creating an event that will reduce the stigma around mental illness and encourage others to seek the help they need.

Being a Student Panelist

As a student panelist, your role is to share a real, lived-experience story to show the power that live storytelling can have in reducing mental health stigmas. Your generosity in talking about your experiences – the good parts and the bad – is actively helping your peers to overcome their own inhibitions that might prevent them from getting help. You are living, breathing proof that recovery and healing are possible and that mental wellness is real and attainable!

As you begin to put together your five-minute story, we invite you to reflect on what your main message is – what you’d like the audience to take away from your story. That can help guide you as you decide what you’d like to share. It can also be helpful to decide what pieces of your story, if any, you’d prefer not to share. You are in charge of what you share, and there is no pressure to go beyond what is comfortable for you.

If you’re interested in this opportunity, please contact Breanna today.

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.

Climate change and mental health: the intersections

September 24, 2019

With the upcoming General Strike for Climate Action happening at the Manitoba Legislative Building on Friday, September 27th, climate change is top of mind for many people. RRC’s Sustainability Office is marking the occasion in several ways.

Given this timing, it’s fitting to examine how mental health and climate change are connected. Once we take a look, there are indeed several ways that climate change affects mental health.

First, natural disasters place increased strain on people living in areas affected by droughts, floods, forest fires, hurricanes and the like. The trauma caused by these events increases risk of depression, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. While not everyone exposed to the trauma develops a disorder, when a whole community is affected by such a disaster, there will certainly be an increased demand for mental health services and a disruption to the community as a whole.

In addition, many people experience climate change related grief in response to experienced or anticipated loss of natural environments. Lakes, land, forests, and other natural environments help us develop a sense of place and are key settings in which we build good mental health. The grief related to losing these is very real and impacts a person’s well-being.

Yet another way in which climate change affects mental health is through climate anxiety: worry and fear related to the consequences of climate change. Many people can be concerned, even very concerned, about climate change while still functioning well in their lives. For some, however, this anxiety can become intense and lead to feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, intense anger, inability to continue with daily activities and even thoughts of suicide.

If you are feeling this extreme form of climate anxiety, please reach out for support. Students can connect with RRC Counselling Services or use the student benefits plan to connect with a therapist in the community. Staff can reach out to our Employee and Family Assistance Program.

For anyone whose mental health is affected by climate change, it can be helpful to participate in direct positive action and to be around others who understand your concerns. So, check out the activities that the Sustainability Office has planned and get involved.

References:

Lewis, J. (2018). In the Room With Climate Anxiety PART 1. Psychiatric Times, 35(11), 1–2.

Focus on climate change and mental health. (2018). Nature Climate Change,(4), 259-259.