August 7, 2013 • Written by Mike Krywy
Christine 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 knowing” is 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 →
July 22, 2013 • Written by Mike Krywy
Red 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 →
The Wellness committee was fortunate to have Kelly Small of the provincial government come and talk to us about a new initiative they are running called the Health e-Plan. This online tool is meant to help individuals assess their health, set wellness goals, take steps to achieve those goals, and track their progress. It also provides useful information of services providers nearest to where you live, and ideally, will enable the government to better understand and coordinate services for individuals by region. Below is the synopsis provided in the Health e-Plan brochure. If you’re interested, read further, and consider creating a plan for yourself.
What is Health e-plan?
The Health e-plan is an online interactive tool to help you:
- Better understand your current health and
- Learn ways to improve your health over time
How does it work?
Health e-Plan involves four easy steps:
- Assess your health
- Set goals
- Take action
- Track your progress
The first step is to create your personal health profile by answering questions about your current health status. This includes questions related to your physical condition, lifestyle and family history. Based on established medical guidelines, Health e-Plan will produce a detailed report to help you learn more about how your current habits and lifestyle choices, your family history and other factors may affect your health in the future. The health assessment also helps you set goals for improving your health and provides useful information for making changes.
Customized to your needs
In addition to helping you set goals to help improve your health status, Health e-Plan can help you meet those goals with a customized plan. My Wellness Connections will link you to resources in your community based on where you live and the results of your health assessment.
Rewarding your effort
After completing your health assessment you have an opportunity to participate in our Rewards Program. To participate, you complete an electronic entry ballot. You are then entered into a draw with a chance to win small weekly prizes as well as a grand prize each month. Each time you update your profile, you have another chance to enter and win.
Get started today!
Visit www.manitoba.ca and enter Health e-Plan in the search box at the top of the page.
To set up your personal health profile, you need information such as your waist and hip measurements, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If you don’t have this information handy, you can still get started. Then, update your profile with the correct information when you have it to ensure more meaningful and accurate results.
Looking to motivate each other to get active in the new year, the Aboriginal Student Support and Community Relations department held the ” It only takes a minute to win it!” challenge earlier this year.
To kick things off, event co-organizer Tracy Brant (Aboriginal Centre Coordinator) sent a message to staff in the department, encouraging them to enter into a four week challenge to increase daily fitness. Two teams of five members were formed, and each member began tracking the amount of time they spent participating in daily physical activity.
The rules were as follows:
- The activity needs to be at least 15 minutes per session
- The activity should get you heart rate up. If it’s something like walking try to walk at a brisk pace to get your heart rate up!
- Don’t stress out and put too much pressure on yourself…it is for fun (as well as an excuse to get off the couch and get active!)
The challenge ran from Monday, January 23 to February 20, 2012 – and resulted in a whopping 167 hours of physical activity! As one participant, Lisa Carriere, said:
“I felt the challenge was a great idea, it gave us a chance to get away from our desks and motivate each other as a team. I’m sure some people could hear us laughing in that stairway thinking – Hey, sounds like they’re having fun, and we were having fun!”
It goes to show how a little bit of friendly group competition among friends can help motivate one to spend a few more minutes each day to be active.
Staff from the ASSCR posting on the "dreaded" staircase
January 4, 2012 • Written by Hayley Brigg
It’s easy to make New Year’s resolutions, and it’s even easier to break them.
Whether you want to lose weight, quit smoking, or simply be more active, our New Year’s goals seem attainable until we get sidetracked. So how do we make sure that we stick to the resolutions that we make? A lot of it is about willpower, but organization goes a long way in making sure you reach the goals that you set out for yourself.
It’s hard to keep track of what progress you’re making or things you need to change in order to meet your goals unless you record it somehow. It’s important that we see how well (or poorly) we’re doing to help stay motivated, so keep some type of a log to remind yourself of what accomplishments you’ve made so far.
There are several easy resources that you can use, including websites like Remindr and HassleMe which allow you to set up random daily notifications to your email, cell phone, or social media outlet that can act as reminders to do things you’re trying to make a priority. If you want to lose weight, sites like Traineo allow you to keep a food diary, track how and when you’re working out, and give you access to healthy recipes and training tips from professionals. And if all else fails, a good old-fashioned notebook and pen will probably do the trick too.
If you’re trying to give your finances a makeover in the new year, Mint is an easy-to-use web application that can be synced with most mobile devices, and gives you a breakdown of exactly where your money is going – like how much per month you spend on fast food, or shopping.
If you’re a Red River College staff member or student, you can develop your own Personal Wellness Plan for free with the “One” initiative. The program is designed to help users identify ways to meet their goals, and also let them know of any activities or programs around the college that meet their wellness interests.
For more great mobile apps and gadgets you can try to help you keep your New Year’s resolutions, check out these great lists from Time Magazine and maketecheasier.com. Know of any other great ways to make sticking to your goals easier? Share it with us on the RRC Wellness blog.
Submitted by Hayley Brigg, Creative Communications student