PEER SUPPORT CENTRE
At Saitsa, your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing is important to us. Take a break from your studies and learn more about wellness every Wednesday.
Student Development and Counselling is currently operating virtually! 403.284.7023 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Better quality of life is about making small improvements to different areas of our lives. It’s an on-going process for change and growth. The below 8 dimensions of wellness are equally important.
- Understand your feelings
- Express your feelings to people you trust
- Maintain a positive outlook
- Ex) Self-care, relaxation, stress-reduction
- Create a physical space that encourages good physical and mental health
- Find a space that you feel safe
- Understand your finances
- Establish good financial habits
- Be a life-long learner
- Expand skills, insights, and wisdoms
- Actively participate in cultural, scholastic and community activities
- Look for things that you are passionate about
- Feel appreciation for the value in your contributions
- Ex) volunteering
- Increase activity levels according to your abilities
- Reduce risks of many illnesses
- Explore outdoors and boost your energy levels
- Choose healthy foods
- Make at least one social connection daily
- Seek advice from peers/social groups
- Create healthy friendships
- Enhance your connections to self, nature, and others
- Disconnect from distractions
- Discover values and beliefs that are the most important to you
Ways to look after your mental health
- Be yourself
- Be kind
- Practice gratitude
- Get your groove on
- Eat healthy foods
Today we’re sharing volunteer testimonials with you, to showcase the ways that volunteering can increase your overall wellness. Check out the video, or read the full testimonials below!
Abirami Santhran: “Volunteering big or small can cause a sense of purpose in someone’s life. I believe creating purpose in someone’s life can positively impact their mental wellbeing. I haven’t volunteered much but I have done short volunteering tasks for a day or so for different organizations. Therefore, not only are you helping out the community but also you grow as a person and learn new things along the way!”
Arvie Justine Isidro (SAIT volunteer): “Volunteering is not something that I see as an additional edge on my resume, LinkedIn, or cover letter, but rather it is another way for myself to discover who I am. Being a Mentorship Team Lead at the Peer Mentorship Program at SAIT has allowed me to explore a passion that I had ever since I was younger. These volunteering commitments have given me so many opportunities to grow as a person and a future accounting leader. It provides me the chance to enhance my communication skills, social skills, and most importantly, my ability to manage a team. It is always so humbling to see how I can help fellow students who are also struggling in adjusting into the lifestyle of university. When I transitioned into post-secondary, I was clueless. I had no one to ask for guide on how I can navigate throughout my first year. This is probably one of the reasons why I have decided to participate as a Mentorship Team Lead. I want to share my experiences with fellow students because as we are all aware, online school is not the best way to learn complex concepts. However, we are currently living in a situation where public health awareness is our number one priority. I am so satisfied that I can share some of my tips and tricks for studying with my fellow students at the Peer Mentorship Program. Being a volunteer is not just about helping the community to build an inclusive and well-rounded environment for everyone, but rather it helps me grow as a person. Ever since I became a volunteer, I have seen tremendous growth in my social skills, interpersonal skills, and most importantly, my mental health has improved because becoming a volunteer is all about learning about yourself. I have rediscovered my passion for mentoring fellow students. It’s always fulfilling to see how I, as a student volunteer, can make significant impact on others.”
Betty Lubega: “Volunteering with Saitsa is one of the best decisions I’ve made as a student! It has given me the opportunity to meet students in person and virtually, and to really connect with students from different programs. Helping other students learn and experience the resources that Saitsa has to offer has really been an opportunity that I’ll never forget. I always feel happier when I’m volunteering because I really get to connect with others.Volunteering improved my communication, organization, and problem-solving skills, and it helped me to learn new skills. I learned more about myself with each opportunity, and I gained more confidence. Some of my best memories as a student have been from volunteering.”
Chao-Yi Li: “This year people are facing a difficult time so do I, and lots of people feel depress, stress and helpless. For me, I felt depressed sometimes, especially the lectures are delivering online which was hard to connect and communicate to peers and other social networks. Thus, when I saw there are still having the chance to apply volunteers in Saitsa, I think it is time to make some change and I knew that helping people makes me feel happy and much positive during this time.In the 2012 summer break, I was volunteering in the library, mainly responsible for organizing and finding books in the kid’s area also play with them. Moreover, I was helping other areas when they need help. Via this experience, I do like helping people and it makes me feel a sense of achievement. Therefore, I applied for SAITSA volunteers in different teams such as tax program teams, metal WHAT teams, hoping that I could contribute to the team and helping people during this pandemic. A quote that inspired me a lot is from Zig Ziglar “Making a big life change is pretty scary. But know what is scarier? Regret.”
Chris Magnusson: “I am very much an introvert by nature, and volunteering with the various organizations that I did so with helped me open up. I got to meet cool people, many of whom I’ve run into randomly since my time with Saitsa. And if you’re into self-promotion, you can add it to your resume and get hired faster.”
Debbie Chadwick: “Simply knowing that you have made a meaningful contribution to someone else’s life or even just made them smile when they were feeling upset or worried is truly a wonderful feeling. Be it passing on your knowledge about a subject, informing people about an important issue or just plain old making sure someone has some fun, it’s invaluable and forges real connections and gives the person volunteering a tremendous sense of satisfaction.”
Jennifer Hiu Nam Mok: “To me, volunteering is a way to meet new people and learn new things. Due to COVID-19, I didn’t meet any new friends since the lockdown started. Also, my level of English conversation maybe decreasing because I don’t have enough practice. My life at home is like stagnant water, no special or surprises. Therefore, I am looking forward to the following volunteer activities. At least, I am ready for the CVIPT now.”
Ngan (Kim) Phan: “My name is Kim, and I am from Vietnam. The first time that I have volunteered is for a child home where parentless children live and study in my country. It becomes one of the most meaningful experience I have had until now. I came there with other friends to help their ‘mothers’ – people who take care of them to prepare daily foods, play with these children, and talk with them about schoolwork. Seeing how happy they were at that time was gorgeous for me. Besides, I have experienced another volunteering activities in schools. I see myself growing kindness, love from people that I help, and gaining positive thoughts from other participants about volunteer. I did not have any volunteering last year, mostly because of problems from the pandemic. That is a reason why I want to do it more in this year. I understand that 2020 was the tough year for everyone, and it had a big impact on everything, especially mental health. Few people may feel hopeless and lost; others may need motivation and support in the new year. I hope to have a chance to make a great contribution to SAIT community and meet new people as well.”
Stephen Nagy: “Volunteering with Saitsa connected me with students in other programs that I otherwise wouldn’t meet. It’s a great way to make new friends by sharing experiences. Patrolling campus as a member of Safewalk gave me the opportunity to provide a service for the well-being of my fellow students.”
Today we’re sharing clubs testimonials with you, to showcase the ways that joining a club can increase your overall wellness. Check out the video, or read the full testimonials below!
Michaela Tomic: 4th year BBA, Marketing, President and Director of Marketing and Communications (Marketing at SAIT Club), VP Marketing (SAIT Finance Club)
“Being a part of the Saitsa and student club’s community has been such a positive outlet for me through my academic career. Working not only within the executive team of a club but also collaborating across clubs has allowed for some much-needed positivity and social time, especially given the current circumstance. Even getting online and chatting with some of my fellow executives about plans for the future is always such a positive experience that really makes my day. Just like many of my fellow students, I often struggle with the uncertainty of what the future holds for us but having such a strong community to rely on does truly make a difference. Students within the Saitsa circle are so welcoming and open that it really fosters an environment of comfortability with one another. As much as I do truly miss being on campus for all of our events and activities, it still makes my day to see everyone’s smiling faces. I would encourage all students to reach out and join a club that they take an interest in, even if it isn’t something you think will propel your career forward or look great on a resume, I think now is the time for us to prioritize our mental wellbeing, focus on all of the good things we can enjoy every day and come together as a community to support each other.”
How animals/pets improve wellness:
· Owning a pet brings us joy by sharing lives with companion animals. Did you know that human-animal bond offers many physical and mental health benefits besides bringing unconditional love and joy to one’s life?
· Caring for an animal can help to:
· Relieve depression and anxiety
· Lower stress levels
· Improve cardiovascular health
· Ease loneliness
· Find meaning and joy in life
· Encourage exercise and playfulness
· Provide valuable companionship
· Help to meet new people
· Stay connected
· Add structure and routine to your day
· Provide sensory stress relief (by petting)
Alternative pets and their benefits (besides dogs and cats):
Snakes and lizards
· Snakes and lizards can grow attached to their owners, recognizing those who care, handle, and fee them.
· Some even ask to be petted by raising their necks up.
· Perfect for those who have an allergy to furry pets.
· Rabbits can be an exceptional family pet, as they are with lots of energy and personality, but are not high maintenance.
· They don’t require a lot of space – a minimum of 4×4 feet of living space with the opportunity to roam wider each day
· Perfect pet for someone living in an apartment
· Companion birds have very long lifespans
· Owning a bird allows you to enjoy the love without having to deal with the grief that comes with losing your pet
· Birds encourage social interaction, which can be beneficial for people that live alone and/or want to keep mind sharp
· Talking and teaching tricks to a bird can promote healthy cognitive function
· Keeping and watching fish have been scientifically proven to reduce stress and calm heart rate
How Volunteering Benefits Your Wellbeing
One of the best things about volunteering is there are so many different ways to get involved! You can volunteer with SAIT, Saitsa, in your community or even with Saitsa clubs – yes, clubs involvement counts as volunteering! Today, I encourage you to read about how volunteering benefits your overall well-being and not just your resume.
It can make you happy!
Research has shown that if you measure hormones and brain activity, being helpful to others makes you happy. It’s human nature to want to give back to others, and the more that we volunteer or give to others, the happier we feel. Volunteering your time also keeps you connected with people, where you might develop a support system and a community of people who support you. There’s just a good feeling that you get when you volunteer your time for something that matters.
It can increase self-confidence.
While volunteering, you’re connecting and learning either with other people or from other people. It can provide you with a sense of accomplishment which can make you feel confident in the person you are becoming. Volunteering with something that matters to you, or that you enjoy can give you a sense of pride and identity.
It can reduce stress and anxiety.
The social aspect of working with others can benefit your overall well-being. Connecting with others and knowing that other people are interested in the same things that you are can help relieve anxiety and make you feel apart of something. Oftentimes certain volunteer roles help you gain experience in ways that you might not get as a student. This can be a huge stress reliever, knowing that you might be prepared for your future role after your time at SAIT.
It can give you a sense of purpose.
For many organizations, SAIT and Saitsa included, volunteers are so crucial to everything that we do. Volunteering can give you a sense of belonging and community where you are so valued and necessary. It can inspire you to look for ways to help others or do things better, all in all, a great way to spend your time.
It can create friendships!
Volunteering is a great way to connect with people who have similar interests as you! Saitsa clubs are great for this because you can meet so many people who are interested in the same things as you! Are you into online gaming? There’s a club for that. Do you enjoy hiking and being outdoors? There’s a club for that as well! There are so many academic and social clubs that cater to whatever you are interested in, and if there aren’t any that you see, you can create your own (check out saitsa.com/clubs for more info). All in all, friendships are a huge aspect of the post-secondary school life, so whether you meet someone through volunteering with SAIT, or in your community, it’s bound to have a positive effect on your overall well-being.
It can help you stay physically active.
Maybe not during COVID times, but volunteering can be a great way to get out from behind a screen. Check out resources such as the Volunteer Connector, to find some volunteer opportunities that might help you reach that daily step count.
All in All.
Volunteering is an incredibly positive experience and it can provide a lot of benefits to your overall well-being, definitely more than just what’s on this page. It can be an excellent way to explore your passions and interests, discover new hobbies, or reach your goals. Check out the below resources for ways that you can volunteer, you won’t regret it.
“Volunteering is a sure-fire way to raise one’s spirits, develop a sense of community (even more important now because of COVID 19), and live out your values of service, stewardship, and altruism“. – Melissa Gray, SAIT Student Development and Counselling
Get all your thoughts and feelings out of your head and down on paper! Do you keep a diary/journal? Did you know that journaling can help you create order when your world feels like it’s in chaos?
Benefits of Journaling
- Keep thoughts organized
- Improve writing skills
- Set and achieve goals
- Note ideas on-the-go
- Allows you to reflect on yourself
- You get to know yourself
- Enables you to be creative
- Prioritize tasks
- Improve memory
How to Journal
- Try to write every day: Set aside a few minutes to write every day! Set an alarm as a reminder.
- Make it easy: Keep a pen/paper handy at all times. Go digital and journal on Word.
- Write whatever feels right: There is no right or wrong way – discuss whatever you want.
- Use journal the way it works for you: You can keep a journal completely private or share parts of it with close friends and/or loved ones.
Types of Journal
- Motivational journal: Inspirational quote
- Gratitude journal: List things you are grateful for
- Writer’s journal: Famous quotes, social issues, or literary themes
- Thematic/subject journal: Record your thoughts and progress on specific problems/interests
- Success journal: Document today’s triumphs to help cheer you when you need a little pick-me-up
- Free-form journal: Write about anything and everything. Gives insights into how your thoughts and emotions over time.
Are you looking for ways to relax? Do you need a quick and easy way to unwind with a low-pressure activity that also improves your physical and mental wellness? Restore after a long day of classes and assignments by colouring or doodling! Benefits of colouring
- Alleviates stress and anxiety
- Exercises the mind Improves motor skills and vision
- Improves sleep
- Promotes creativity and flexible thinking
- Helps you relax and unwind
- Improves reasoning abilities
- Increases the ability to concentrate
- Improves memory
- Helps you learn better
- Calms down the mind