I'm a senior research and planning analyst at the College. My favourite sport is hockey, though I'm also very interested in martial arts. I also love the outdoors - hiking, bonfires, skiing and snowshoeing are all interests, as well as chatting with the birds.
Gardening with Native Plants. It’s that time of year (finally) when gardens are being planted. If you’re looking for a good selection of native plants, shrubs and trees you can check out Prairie Originals which has a huge selection of potted plants and seeds. Also look at their resources, which includes landscaping tips, links to other local eco-networks, farmer’s markets, and nature photography. There is also a link to the Living Prairie Museum (located on Ness) which sells some plants as well, in addition to providing other resources, workshops and information.
Summer Reading.Are you looking forward to enjoying a warm summer day sitting back and reading a good book while lazing in a hammock or comfy chair? If you’re that type of person, consider dropping in to the Library closest to you and see what they have to offer. One of the more interesting books that I’ve recently read is A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor of the British Museum, which exists as a book and a BBC radio series. This series tracks human history as told through little vignettes on selected objects, making it an easy book to pick up and put down at your leisure.
Discovering Art. The Winnipeg Art Gallery is one of many places that you can drop in to find interesting art. They currently have a 100 Masters show on that goes until Aug 18. They also have some summer art camps beginning in early July. A couple of other interesting local galleries to consider are Ace Art and if you’re looking for something edgier the Plug In Gallery usually has something to grab your attention.
Wow, the snow has finally melted (mostly) and it actually feels like spring. Nice. Here’s this weeks collection of wellness links courtesy of the Monday Mash.
Jazz Winnipeg has put out its lineup for the Winnipeg Jazz Festival that runs June 13th to the 23rd. Despite the name, the Jazz Festival features an eclectic mix of artists covering a wide variety of jazz styles, with some soul, blues, indie rock, and hip hop thrown in for good measure. Many of the performances take place in the Jazz District in Old Market Square, just a stone’s throw from our Exchange District campuses. You can find the full list of performers here.
One of the best things about spring is the return of so many birds who are coming back to their summer home or migrating through on their way further north. To familiarize yourself with bird songs, there’s some great resource books out there that have pictures accompanied with audio – such as the Backyard Birdsong Guide produced by Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I also came across a cool sounding app called iBird – which I haven’t used but might just pick up.
If you dread this time of year, when there is non-stop hockey and basketball playoff action and the television is going non-stop, Psychology Today has some advice for you – with five tips for living with an avid sports fan.
This week on the Monday Mash we have another set of fantastic Wellness-related links to share with you.
For those who love internet-radio here’s a couple of links for you. CBC Music is a fantastic resource for Canadian music of all kinds – where you can listen live to CBC radio, find your favourite Canadian artist, or stream music from one of their online channels.
If you’re into infotainment then Radiolab is what you need – such as this recent podcast about Stress (courtesy of my good friend Steve Page).
The Staff Survey is used to help support the People Plan and a variety of other stakeholders from across the College – including the Wellness Committee (see the FAQs about the Staff Survey post for more info).
Before wading into the data, I should disclose that I have been a member of the Wellness Committee since December 2008 and recently became a co-chair over the past year. So while I’m presenting the data-driven side of the story, many of the insights are drawn from having applied these findings as part of the Committee’s activities.
The Road Map
The staff survey was first used to gather wellness-related feedback back in February 2009, and it has been used many times since to explore and understand a variety of topics including:
Understanding how staff define “Wellness” and “being healthy”,
Identifying and prioritizing the strategies that the Wellness Committee should pursue,
Gauging the types of wellness activities that people currently participate in and those which they’d like to do more of,
Conducting market research on the effectiveness of Wellness events and activities – such as the Chili Cup and the Wellness blog,
Developing some baseline measures to gauge people’s personal sense of wellness and the social/environmental conditions that could potentially improve it.
Part 1 is going to tackle the first two items on the list.
What constitutes wellness?
As a starting point, the Wellness Committee wanted to get a better understanding of how staff define “being healthy” to see whether there was a dominant definition to help guide the committee’s activities. Not surprisingly, the definitions of “being healthy” covered a broad spectrum of ideas – including physical health, recreation and athletics; mental and emotional health and stress relief; and spiritual well-being.
Winter is almost…probably…possibly… over. Retrospectively, one of the things that kept me going through the many months of winter has been my love of sitting around a winter bonfire. So here is my ode to the fantastic combination of fire and ice, forever entwined in my list of the top five things to love about winter bonfires.
5. Outdoor Cuisine – Coming in at number five is the culinary delight of cooking on an outdoor fire. I know for many people, this would be much higher on the list. In fact, it probably merits a post of its own – best bonfire recipes ever!!! However, I’m usually a bit lame when it comes to outdoor cooking, opting for unwellness foods like hotdogs and marshmallows (alas, I’m not perfect). As an aside, I actually think that the way someone cooks marshmallows says a lot about their personality. I am a slow roasting, brown around the outside, non-charcoal kind of person. I believe this reflects a certain meticulous maturity when it comes to cooking this gourmet desert. However, when I was younger, I was a lot more like my son is now – a “stick it in the flame and watch it burn like a torch” kind of person.
4. Functionality – Fire can have many uses, first on the list being heat and light. Let’s face it, winter is cold. Sometimes very very very cold. Standing around a fire with some sort of windbreak can make even the most frigid nights quite warm.
When the Wellness blog debuted over a year ago, one of the first posts was a video collaboration between Doctor Mike Evans and filmmaker Nick de Pencier entitled 23 and a ½ hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health? touting the benefits of spending 30 minutes a day taking a walk. Since posting this excellent piece (initially shared by Lucille McLeod) I had forgotten about this wellness dynamic duo until last week, when I came to work and found a Globe and Mail article on my desk. The article was dropped off by Ashley Blackman – who is a Wellness Nut and Director of Research and Planning – as he is often sending me Wellness-related articles that he finds.
Aside from the interesting advice being provided, I am drawn in by the art of storytelling, which I think these two have aced. I doubt there are many people who can make Acne interesting, but somehow they do. Like all things medical, these videos aren’t necessarily the definitive word on the subject(s), but they provide a foundation for looking further and considering other advice and information.
February is Heart and Stroke Awareness Month, and the Wellness Committee is is once again promoting our Heart-Smart Potluck Challenge. The Wellness Committee challenges our college community to host a Heart-Smart Pot Luck between February 11th and February 22nd. Get together with your colleagues or challenge another department to a “Potluck Throw Down” to see who can make the tastiest Heart-Smart dish.
The Red River Runners are (left to right) Margarita, Judy, Sara, Fatima and Hannah
Post submitted by James Slade, runnning enthusiast, ACCESS program instructor
The annual Great Grain Relay is on March 9 this year. Red River College has been well represented over the past ten years or so and we have several medals to show for it! This great March fundraiser is in support of Juvenile Diabetes Research, which is a great cause. We’ll have great weather because it happens indoors at the Max Bell Track at the U of M! Are you interested in forming a team of 5 runners, or joining in?
Date: Saturday, March 9
Time: 12:00 noon - 2 pm
Distance: 800m relay – after you do your 800, you hand off. Once everyone on your team has gone, you are up again!
Place: Max Bell track at the U of M (free parking on Saturdays)
Beer garden and lunch after: Beer garden?? Did someone say beer and lunch???