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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
Our hearts are more than a symbol for our feelings, although the heart does respond to stress, attraction, anxiety, joy and depression among many influencers. Our hearts provide a “pulse” (pun intended) for our current state of health – if the pressure is too high or too low we experience negative side effects, and the body responds through physical reactions such as sweating, “blushing”, feeling dizzy or short of breath. It’s important to listen to your heart when faced with mental and physical concerns, it will indicate the severity of the situation and if need be will override your whole system.
Taking care of your heart can be as simple as what you put into your body, using recipes like these found through the Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/recipes/heart-healthy-recipes/rcs-20077163/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=heart-healthy. Nutritional habits, however, are rarely as simple to identify and stick to so don’t be hesitant to ask for professional assistance.
Physical activity, particularly cardiovascular exercise, will benefit your mind and body. The heart requires exercise to strengthen it, allowing it to pump blood more efficiently throughout the body and keep all vital systems nourished. Although it is not always necessary to lost weight to improve your heart health, weight loss is often a side effect of improved nutrition and physical activity. Canadians are busier than ever, in their work and home lives, and it can be very tough to set aside time each day to exercise. The best strategy in that case is to learn how to sneak more physical activity into your already established routine, such as these examples: http://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/weight-management-guide/easy-ways-to-sneak-exercise-into-your-day/
Stress is a leading cause of high blood pressure, a huge strain on your heart. Learning to cope with external stressors before your body needs to physically react to call attention to the issue will benefit your mental and physical health. Resilience is our greatest weapon against stress. Learn to improve your personal resilience through this guide: http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/resilience-training/in-depth/resilience/art-20046311?pg=2
Take your total health to heart, and take care of it!
The Employee and Family Assistance Plan (EFAP) is available 24/7 with access to short-term counselling and a wide range of proactive tools and resources to make your work/life balance smoother, we all know this. What isn’t as well-known is the plethora of services we can take advantage of through LifeWorks.com that simply make life easier – not necessarily more balanced, but certainly easier.
- Need to know if you can build your own Will from an online kit or if your situation calls for a Lawyer’s touch? Access the Legal Consultation through your EFAP and figure out your next steps to secure your future.
- Pretty sure you have a handle on your daily finances but could use some help with your investment choices or long-term savings? The Financial Consultation will show you where the gaps are in your financial health so you make the most of your Financial Planner’s time – they’ll even help you find one!
- Child or Elder care needs slowing down your daily grind? Allow your EFAP to help you find a provider in your area that fits in your budget.
- Trying to quit smoking and just need a few quick tips to help with cravings throughout the day? The Stop Smoking Centre will provide just that!
- Have a child or teen that seems to be struggling with their own school/life balance or a mental health concern but they want nothing less than talking to you? They can access the EFAP as well with complete confidentiality from their phone, laptop or tablet so help is always on the way even when they’re always on the go.
- First time home-buyer? Learn everything you need to know from maintenance schedules and DIY repairs to budgeting and renovations.
- Going through a major life event like a death, divorce or job loss? Find coping strategies, community resources and solutions for whatever life has thrown at you.
The bottom line is that you don’t need a “life or death” situation to arise before you can access the EFAP, far from it! An EFAP should be used as a proactive tool as much as reactive, to help you out with life’s daily little curiosities, challenges and opportunities. This is a benefit the College wants employees to have and is paying 100% of the cost for, so take advantage and improve your life wherever you can with LifeWorks!
Click Here to visit LifeWorks
Have you taken advantage of the STRATA Select Program? Through our affiliation with HUB International STRATA Benefits Consulting, employees have access to voluntary products and services at discounted or preferred rates.
Travel Discounts – Take advantage of exclusive travel tour benefits, hotel discounts and preferred rates on vehicle rentals while you travel.
Direct Sellers Insurance Coverage – A unique program that provides coverage for a variety of risks and liabilities that direct sellers (e.g. Pampered Chef, Avon, Norwex, etc.) are exposed to when they are away from home, picking up or delivering products, at someone else’s home or at trade shows or other business events.
GOeVisit – Get convenient online access to medical professionals for non-emergency conditions, anywhere, anytime.
Group Home and Auto Insurance – Save up to 40% on your home and auto insurance by signing up for a group membership.
Home Phone Program – Reduce your monthly phone bill by accessing this home phone discount program which includes caller ID, voicemail and other calling features.
Home Security Systems – Through AAA, receive discounts on monitoring when you sign up for a home security system.
Hospital Cash – Receive money to assist you with unexpected costs during your hospital stay. Single or family coverage is available.
Individual Health, Dental and Travel Insurance – HUB STRATA’s Individual Insurance Specialist assists with the transition to personal insurance and provides coverage options for family members & relatives who do not have benefits in place.
Individual Life and Living Benefits – Access HUB STRATA’s Individual Life and Living Benefits Consultant to assess your coverage needs and recommend the best fit for you.
Long Distance Savings – Save on your landline or cellular long distance plans.
MyCare – In the event of a serious illness or major orthopaedic condition, MyCare provides affordable and timely access to world-renowned Mayo Clinic expertise.
Pet Health Insurance – Receive 10% off the regular monthly pet health insurance premiums through Petplan®.
Travel Health Insurance – Access to a full range of cost-effective travel insurance options through Medi-Quote Insurance Brokers.
For more information and to start using the discounts and services offered through the STRATA Select program, visit this website: http://select.hubinternational.com/selectredriver/.
Supporting Your Wellness
The LifeWorks website offers a wealth of information and resources to help you make the most of all aspects of your life. For the month of March, LifeWorks is featuring a suite of resources called Work and Career Boosters.
Work and Career Boosters features resources to help you improve your productivity and advance professionally.
Be sure to visit www.lifeworks.com to take advantage of the new 2017 content, including videos, podcasts, audio tips and much more.
Remember your EFAP User ID and Password:
User ID: rrcefap Password: efap
Michael Landsberg, TSN sports journalist and a face of Bell Let’s Talk Day, is bringing his #SickNotWeak talk to Red River College. Come listen to his talk, ask questions and take part in a meet & greet. Help us break down the stigma related to mental health problems.
#SickNotWeak helps people understand that mental illness is a sickness, not a weakness. Michael will speak about his own experience with mental illness and will inspire us to be a more mentally healthy community.
Date: Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Time: 12:00pm – 1:30pm
Where: North Gym, Notre Dame Campus – Livestreaming will be available at all other campuses
This event is for ALL staff, faculty and students. We understand that some of you may be in class or teaching class at this time, but we hope you consider attending and allowing your students to attend as well.
Lunch and Prizes
Come early for a FREE pizza & pop lunch.
There will also be prize draws where attendees can win restaurant gift cards, movie passes and even a visit to Thermea! Details regarding how you can win will be announced at the event.
This event is a part of the Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative. Some exciting new programs and services related to mental health at RRC will be launched at this event. Don’t miss it!
Engage in the conversation on Twitter, using #LandsbergAtRRC on March 22nd.
The Get Movin Challenge Winners for 2017 were announced in the Cave today. For the entire month of February, staff and students at RRC met the challenge of reaching 7,000 steps per day. Three separate prize categories were made, with entry into each level’s draw based on the amount of days with 7,000 steps reached. As the prize winners were announced, folks also enjoyed a pancake breakfast put on by the RRCSA, with proceeds going to the Food Bank. Thanks to everyoneattending today, and all of those who participated in the Get Movin Challenge, we already look forward to next years Challenge!
Bronze Level Winners (min 10 days)
Rebels Pack Winners: Dennis Korabelnikov; Lynn Gibson; Chad Smith; Samantha Feal; Debra Wutke; Tracy Luedtke; Ray Hoemsen; Laureen Janzen; F. Rick Pizzi; Penny Rawson; Roberta Mack
Yard Game Winner: Lynn Thompson
Lawn Chair (provided by Great-West Life) Winner: Erika Skaftfeld
Beach Umbrella (provided by Great-West Life) Winner: Leslie Ternowetsky
Yoga mat (x2) Winner: Marie Graff and Lauren Waples
Cooler basket (provided by HUB STRATA) Winner: Derek Reykdal
Silver Level Winners (min 15 days)
Athletic Therapy session Winners: – Riann Ritchot and Cynthia Alles-Parasidis
$50 Gift Card to Jane’s Restaurant Winner: Lana Neufeld
1 Free Rec Services Fitness Class Winner: Karen Di Pietro
Saje Wellness Diffuser with Oil (valued at $100) Winner: Hellen Pollard
1 Pair Snow Shoes Winner: James Slade
$100 Golf Dome Gift Certificate Winner: Diane Brown
Photoshoot (valued at $175, provided by Lindsay Rowan) Winner: Patrick Griffith
Gold Level Winners (min 20 days)
$200 Thermea Spa Gift Certificate Winner: Sean Audet
$200 Visa Gift Card Winner: Faye Bychuk
$200 Float Calm Therapy Centre Gift Certificate Winner: Maria Turla
$200 Sport Chek Gift Card Winner: Lindsay Allan
Door Prize Winner
2 Pack of Manitoba Moose Tickets Winner: Michelle Johnson
Last week RRC hosted two Anxiety Forums. For each event, we invited a prominent local Psychologist to speak about anxiety and then answer audience questions on the topic. The sessions were jammed full of thought provoking and useful information. Below are the 9 learnings that most resonated with me.
- Anxiety is adaptive. The physiological reactions related to the feeling of being anxious helped our ancestors survive. When threatened, increased heart rate, greater blood flow to large muscles, and sweating all helped early people escape danger and survive disasters.
- The best response to a panic attack is to “sit and breathe.” Often people feel like when they’re having a panic attack, they have to leave the situation they’re in (eg. classroom, bus), but leaving the situation is not necessary. Sit through it, breathe, and it will pass. In addition, picking something visual in your surrounding on which to focus can be helpful.
- Facing fears gradually AND regularly is best. Just as you wouldn’t pick up a huge, heavy weight on your first visit to the gym, you shouldn’t face your worst anxiety provoking situation all at once. Start gradually, by exposing yourself to a situation that challenges you in a manageable way. For example, if you have major anxiety around public speaking, you might start raising your hand in class every day until that action no longer feels unbearable. Then you’d move on to regularly practicing another activity that gets you a little closer to your end goal of public speaking. The keys are gradual AND regular. If this process isn’t working, chances are you’re either not doing it gradually enough or not often enough.
- Feelings are King. We tend to focus a lot on our feelings, because they’re very obvious to us. This can lead us to ignore the thoughts and behaviours that surround an anxiety provoking situation. Feelings, thoughts, physical reactions, and behaviours are all connected though, with each influencing and being influenced by the other. Starting to recognize the thoughts and behaviours that feed into anxiety can be a good beginning.
- Realistic thoughts are better than positive thoughts. Empty positive thoughts, such as, “everything will be okay,” are not grounded in strength, and therefore are not as helpful as realistic thoughts. “I’ll do well on this test if I give myself enough time to study and get a good sleep tonight,” is more likely to be a helpful thought, decreasing anxiety, since the thought is more realistic.
- Think through your anxious questions. If you keep saying to yourself, “what if I fail?, what if I fail?,” answer that question with what is likely to happen. Will you have to do better on the next test? Will you have to retake a course? Answer the ruminating question and then find ways to work toward success.
- Periods of reflection are important. Take time on a regular basis to reflect on how your mental health is doing. What’s important to you? What would you like to improve? What are some habits you’d like to work on? What are some things that are going well? Make realistic plans to reach your mental health goals.
- You will never have 100% control. As much as we’d like 100% control (so that we’d never have to feel anxious again), this is not going to happen. Instead, we have to grasp on to the little piece of control we do have and build on that.
- Sometimes we can manage on our own and sometimes we need help. Some of the strategies both Dr. Ediger and Dr. Abdulrehman discussed required being able to create plans, assess our thought patterns, come up with healthier thoughts, and try new ways of coping. Sometimes we can manage this process on our own. Sometimes a friend or family member can help us. Other times a professional like a counsellor or psychologist can be very helpful. If you’ve tried to make a change on your own and have faced road blocks, perhaps meeting with someone would help.
RRC students can set up a counselling appointment here.
RRC staff can set up a counselling appointment here. User ID: rrcefap Password: efap
Check out the Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba for a lot of great information and resources.
These are 9 learnings from the Anxiety Forums that stood out to me. Are there any points you’d add?