Mind it!

Wrapping up THRIVE Week and Prize Pack Winner

November 10, 2017 • Written by

This past week has been devoted to demonstrating the importance of self-care and balance in developing positive mental health that supports academic and career success.

Positive mental health involves feeling good and functioning well. We can say we’re mentally healthy when we feel generally satisfied with life, participate in meaningful activities, and maintain positive relationships with others. Of course this state is always in flux; we can have good days and bad days. Creating good habits in the four areas listed below can help us have more good mental health days.

  • Physical Activity

For THRIVE Week we highlighted some activities that are available on some RRC Campuses – particularly basketball, pickleball, and yoga. Check out Recreation and Athletics for support with incorporating physical activity in your day.

  • Self-expression

This week we provided opportunities for folks to get involved with expressive writing, painting, and coloring. There are many other ways to express yourself (singing, praying, baking, drumming, praying, making music, etc.) so find something that works for you and make a little time for this practice each day.

  • Social connection

Being with others who we can positively connect with, whether to laugh, play, or talk, supports our well-being. This week we brought people together over tea, cookies, and board games and several other events. In all your busyness, don’t neglect your important relationships.

  • Relaxation

A highlight of THRIVE Week were the beautiful therapy dogs from St John Ambulance. Staff and students who sat with the dogs found their nervous systems slow down in the presence of these calming animals. Folks at EDC were also treated to massages from Robertson College students. Relaxing regularly is key to good mental health. We also held music therapy and meditation workshops that were deeply relaxing.

Kyle Nobess, our Keynote Speaker delivered his talk: Mastering Confidence and Self-Belief, encouraging us to look inward to find strength on our journey to wellness.

We’d also like to thank Elder Mae Louise Campbell for holding a teaching on Women’s Self-Care. Check out the Indigenous Centre for many wellness supporting activities and teachings.

 

 

In addition, QPOC Winnipeg delivered a powerful panel discussion that educated those in attendance about the barriers faced by queer students of colour as well as what helped them thrive as post-secondary students. Thanks QPOC!


 

If you missed the presentations we have links to recordings available below.

QPOC Talks: Thriving as a Post-Secondary Student

Kyle Nobess: Mastering Confidence and Self-Belief

Prize Winner

And the winning prize ticket number is… Please email SAEvents@rrc.ca to claim your prize pack, which includes Manitoba Moose tickets, and a bunch of RRC gear from the Campus Store.


Thank-You!

Thank you to all who participated in THRIVE Week 2017. The week was a partnership between the RRC Students’ Association and the Healthy Minds Healthy College Initiative.

Guide to THRIVE Week Events and Activities!

October 31, 2017 • Written by

THRIVE Week is a time devoted to demonstrating the importance of self-care and balance on the development of positive mental health that supports academic and career success. This year, THRIVE will be held November 6-10 at all RRC campuses.

The weeklong series of events is a partnership between the RRC Students’ Association and the Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative.

THRIVE Week 2017 features

  • keynote Speaker Kyle Nobess
  • therapy dogs on campus
  • yoga
  • basketball
  • paint night
  • massage therapy
  • sweat lodge ceremony
  • pickleball
  • meditation
  • music therapy and more!

Check out the details in our Notre Dame Campus THRIVE Guide and Exchange District Campus THRIVE Guide.

THRIVE Week Keynote Talk and Pizza Lunch with Kyle Nobess

October 31, 2017 • Written by

The THRIVE Week planning group is pleased to announce that Kyle Nobess, local actor and screenwriter, will be delivering the keynote talk, “Mastering Confidence and Self-Belief: the answers are within you.” All staff and students are invited and free pizza lunch is provided. 

Celebrating more than a decade of sobriety and healthy living, Kyle has overcome the battles of addiction, low self-esteem, depression and lack of self-belief. These feelings affected not only his daily life, but his overall health and wellbeing. Through daily healing and personal development, Kyle rediscovered his self-respect, his self-worth and a true freedom within. This discovery gives him the tools and motivation to take on any task and to accomplish his goals and dreams in life. Kyle’s passion is to share with others that wellbeing is achievable and no hurdle is unsurmountable.

Check out a short video of Kyle here: https://youtu.be/3SB24ish_xY

Date: Tuesday, November 7th

Time: Noon-1pm

Location: Black Lecture Theatre, NDC

The talk will also be livestreamed to P107 at EDC.

*Thanks to eTV, livestreaming will be available at blogs.rrc.ca/etv/streaming/

Free pizza lunch will be provided at the Black Lecture Theatre (NDC) and P107 (EDC).

THRIVE Week is a time devoted to demonstrating the importance of self-care and balance on the development of positive mental health that supports academic and career success. This year, THRIVE will be held November 6-10 at all RRC campuses.

The weeklong series of events is a partnership between the RRC Students’ Association and the Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative.

Stay tuned for more THRIVE Week activities!

Send Your Stress Away: Expressive writing supported by neuroscience

October 23, 2017 • Written by

Neuroscientists have found that people who are chronic worriers tend to use more brain energy when they make a mistake (see this study, for example). Knowing this, researchers have been trying to find a way to reduce this enlarged response to errors among anxious people. One strategy that appears to work is expressive writing.

Expressive writing is the process of writing about something personal and important to you without regard for grammar, spelling, punctuation or other formal strictures. You are writing only for yourself, focusing on how you feel about the topic or event about which you choose to write.

 

A recent study in the journal Psychophysiology found that anxious college students who practiced expressive writing for 8 minutes prior to a computer task, showed less of a brain response to errors than another group of anxious college students who engaged in regular writing before the computer task. The researchers propose that the mental drain anxiety creates was in deed reduced, freeing up mental resources to focus on the computer task. They conclude “expressive writing shows promise for alleviating the interfering impact of worries on cognition.”

This adds to the body of evidence that writing down our feelings, stresses, or worries can help us be more efficient in getting the things done that we need. Check out the work of James W. Pennebaker and colleagues for evidence that expressive writing is linked to better immune functioning, less distress for migraine sufferers, fewer physician appointments, and reduced anxiety.

During THRIVE Week, come down to our Send Your Stress Away event, where we’ll provide postcards on which you can practice expressive writing and give your brain a break from your worries.

Date: Wednesday, November 8th

Time: 8:30am-3:00pm

NDC: Library Hallway

EDC: North Atrium

Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator

An Impactful Mental Illness Awareness Week at RRC

October 8, 2017 • Written by

Last week, RRC observed Mental Illness Awareness Week by learning about the realities individuals face when they experience mental illness. Since we know that many staff, students, and faculty members will experience mental health problems and illness, understanding the illness and recovery process is an important part of working toward a more supportive and inclusive campus community.

Learning About Recovery Through Art and Community

Local non-profit, Artbeat Studio, visited both NDC and EDC to spread the word about their community based, peer directed program that supports artists with lived mental illness experiences to heal through art and community. You can catch the City News coverage here: City News and Artbeat at RRC

The artists who visited our campuses are: Bradley Guiboche; Nicholas Ahrens-Townshend; and Kathleen Crosby.

Learning About Anxiety Disorders

Further, we were pleased to host talks by Sarah Petty and Kendall McLean from the Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba (ADAM); a non-profit, peer-led self help organization  where all staff have personally experienced and overcome the disabling effects of anxiety, and are now sharing that knowledge and hope with others.

If you missed the talks, we’re thankful that eTV Studio recorded Sarah’s presentation and has posted the link to view it here.

Learning about Schizophrenia

Courtesy of the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society

On Thursday, October 5th we hosted the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society; a non-profit, charitable, community-based mental health organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for those affected with schizophrenia and psychosis. Speaker Jane Burpee helped us better understand this disorder, which effects one per cent of the population. You can find the video recording of her talk here.

Learn More

The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health is the driving force behind Mental Illness Awareness Week annually. One of MIAW’s major initiatives is the Faces of Mental Illness campaign, a national outreach campaign featuring the stories of Canadians living in recovery from mental illness. Five Canadians have shared their stories so that you and I can better understand illnesses like Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, ADHD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. You can read bios and watch video clips put together by this national campaign.

If, as you learn more about these disorders, you feel you might be experiencing one yourself, please reach out for help. Your family doctor is often a good place to start. RRC staff can also access our Employee and Family Assistance Plan. RRC students can complete an intake form in order to access confidential Counselling services. People who experience mental illness can get help, get better, and live a good life.

Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator

Mental Illness Awareness Week

September 20, 2017 • Written by

Mental Illness Awareness Week

Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is an annual national public education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness. Many people who work and learn at RRC have experienced or will experience mental illness in their lifetime.Show your support for an inclusive campus community by attending one or more of or MIAW events.

Art Show by Artbeat Studio

Artbeat Studio is a mental health consumer initiated, peer-directed, recovery oriented program providing studio space, mentorship and more to artists living with mental illness. Come view artwork and chat with an artist about the power of art and community to promote healing.

NDC: Tuesday, Oct 3rd noon-2:00 pm, Library Hallway

EDC: Thursday, Oct 5th noon- 2:00 pm, Atrium

Coping with Anxiety as a Student: A Lived Experience

The Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba is a peer-led organization whose staff have personally experienced and overcome the disabling effects of anxiety. Attend this talk where the presenter will share knowledge about Anxiety Disorders as well as strategies to cope in an academic and workplace setting.

NDC: Wednesday, Oct 4th, noon-1:00 pm, Orange lecture theatre, livestreaming available

EDC: Wednesday, Oct 4th, noon-1:00 pm, P107

All About Schizophrenia

One percent of the population live with Schizophrenia so chances are you’ll work with, learn with, or teach someone who has this diagnosis. Attend this talk, by the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society, to increase your knowledge about Schizophrenia and Psychosis, while having your questions answered by the experts.

NDC: Thursday, October 5th, 11:00-noon, White lecture theatre, livestreaming available

Faces of Mental Illness Campaign

The Faces of Mental Illness is a national outreach campaign featuring the stories of Canadians living in recovery from mental illness. Posters featuring the Faces will be all over campus in an effort to raise awareness and end the stigma associated with mental illness.

If you’d like a poster to put up in your area, please contact blsawatzky@rrc.ca.

Multitasking, Memory, and Meeting Deadlines

September 19, 2017 • Written by

Do you often have your phone on your desk while you work or study? Do you have multiple browser tabs open at once, checking social media while working on an assignment?  Do you quickly check your email during a lecture or presentation? If you answered yes, you’re not alone; these are common habits for most people, including students.

If you’re trying to make the most of your time and meet deadlines efficiently, however, this kind of multitasking may be sabotaging your efforts. “Switching cost” is the term Psychologists use to describe the price of changing from one task to another.  Researchers have found that switching attention like this leads us to take longer to complete a task, remember less, and make more errors. For busy students who are trying to balance demanding programs, home responsibilities, and self-care there’s certainly no time to waste!

In fact, the switching cost, or time and quality loss, is higher when the tasks were doing are more complicated. For example, searching for your keys and walking to your car are not very demanding tasks, so you may not experience much of a cost for multitasking. But, completing difficult math problems and engaging in a text conversation are complicated tasks where you’d likely take longer and make more errors if you were to multitask.

So, what can we do? Try devoting a set amount of time to one task and rewarding yourself with a break to take a walk, stretch, check email, or respond to a text. When you’re not on a break, turn off all notification sounds or vibrations and close other browser tabs. It will likely feel mentally difficult to resist the urge to switch tasks, but remember that feeling of difficulty is actually your brain getting better at focusing.

A helpful free App to check out is Focus Keeper: Work & Study Timer (available for iPhone). It uses a timer to help you manage your focused times and break times. Read a review here. If you know of an App that helps you avoid multitasking and increase your productivity, place your recommendation in the comments.

Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator

Observe World Suicide Prevention Day with RRC

August 28, 2017 • Written by

Each year, roughly 4000 Canadians die by suicide. Not only are these losses tragic, but each individual who dies by suicide was no doubt connected to a community of people who will experience complex grief. There are family members, colleagues, and friends who are left to sort through intense feelings, sometimes of helplessness, guilt, or pain.

The Winnipeg Suicide Prevention Network (WSPN) recognizes that communities like RRC have an important role to play in both preventing suicide and supporting individual and collective healing; we agree. Laureen Janzen, Manager of Counselling and Accessibility Services, is a WSPN member and has been helping to plan World Suicide Prevention Day 2017. There will be a free public event over the noon hour on September 8th.

As part of the Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative at RRC, we would like to invite staff, students, and faculty to join us in observing this important day. This year’s theme is “Building Communities of Hope and Resilience.” Please contact Breanna Sawatzky at blsawatzky@rrc.ca if you are interested in attending with the RRC group. As you will see below, the event is about an hour in length and is open to all in the community.

Support for Alcoholism Recovery Coming to Campus

August 22, 2017 • Written by

This Autumn, there will be an additional support on campus to help individuals attain recovery and wellness: an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group.

According to AA, Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

For more information about AA, and answers to frequently asked questions, visit http://www.aamanitoba.org/

At this point, we are asking any individuals who would like to either help start the group, or attend the group contact Steve (with AA) or Breanna (RRC’s Mental Health Coordinator) so that we can decide on a day and time to hold the meeting.

Contacts

Steve: area80picpc@gmail.com

Breanna: blsawatzky@rrc.ca

 

RRC piloting online mindfulness training for faculty and staff: Enter draw for a spot!

May 9, 2017 • Written by

Red River College is piloting the evidence based 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge with 30 faculty and staff who will be selected by lottery. The training starts on Monday, May 29 and everyone who registers gets to take the Challenge for free with a buddy of their choice.

We’re pleased to pilot mindfulness training at the College as it dovetails nicely with our Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative’s goal of providing mental health supports in innovative ways. Faculty and staff who would like to be included in the lottery should email blsawatzky@rrc.ca by May 19.

The 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge has been implemented at the Mental Health Commission of Canada, UBC, WestJet, Memorial University, Harvard Law School and more. Research at Sauder School of Business found evidence that the Challenge lowers stress, increases resilience, improves teamwork, and strengthens leadership skills. The Challenge also teaches ‘mindfulness-in-action’ so people don’t need to stop what they are doing to become calmer, present and focused.

If the pilot is successful at RRC and we offer the Challenge again in the future, there may be a modest cost attached. Getting involved in the pilot is your chance to receive this training for free!

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