How to Take Care of Your Mental Health in Week 1 at Queen’s
Wasn’t it summer vacation a second ago? School’s officially back in, and with it comes some hurdles. First years, you’ll have your first ever university classes this week. Adjusting to university life and newfound independence can be tricky, and on-top of that you’ve got to find all your classrooms, buy/borrow textbooks, build on friendships, bond with your roommates, and learn how to take notes in 700-person lecture halls.
Upper year students likely know from experience that midterms season (aka October-November) is usually the prime time to be on the lookout for symptoms of mental illness in ourselves and our peers. However, we often take it for granted that our mental health is in flux all year long. If you’re feeling a bit down or unlike yourself, you’re not alone.
Here are some mental health resources that you and your friends can access on-campus and online this week at Queen’s. Take care of each other.
Tuesday, Sept. 12
8am-4pm Kingston Public Market – Don’t have any fresh food in the house? Why not go for a walk (or take the bus) down to Springer Market Square, meet some farmers and buy fresh produce. Fresh air, fall colours, and a brisk walk are wonderful for boosting your mood. Plus the Wolfe Island Bakery makes the most amazing cinnamon buns, so you can treat yo’self for taking a step in the right direction.
3pm FREE: Yoga for Every Body – As you may know, it’s fitness free-for-all week at the ARC, and this class is designed to help every body feel comfortable practicing yoga. If the line-up is too long, or you don’t make it to the class on time, try instead to make it to a yoga class at one of the ~12+ yoga studios downtown between classes this week.
5:30-7pm Mood Disorders Peer Support Group for Millennials – This is a free, confidential peer-led group for those looking for support in dealing with their own Depression, Anxiety or Bipolar Disorder. No registration is required. Talking to other people who have similar experiences can be a great way to build your own resolve and lean on others for support. It’s about a 15 minute walk from west campus, or you can take the #1, 2, 18 or 20 to get there from main.
Reminder: Now’s a good time to sign-up for a SASS workshop. Why? They’re free, usually 50 minutes long, easy to fit in between classes, and centrally located at Stauffer library. As upper years, we appreciate checking in with the Learning Strategies office now and again to make sure we’re not falling behind (they’re really friendly in there). Going to a free workshop can reinforce what you’re doing right, plus teach you new strategies for what you could be doing better. Topics include: “Best Practices for Note taking in Lectures,” “How to Build your Weekly Schedule,” “Unpacking your Reading,” “How to Write your First University Essay,” or “Balance School and Life: Time Management Skills 1.0″
Wednesday, Sept. 13
6:15am FREE: Sunrise Cycle – Having a hard time setting your sleep schedule up right? If you’ve started to reverse-cycle (sleep all day, stay up all night), it can be really difficult to get back-on-track. This fitness class (part of free-for-all week) might help. If you’re still “nocturnal” by week two of classes, we recommend visiting the Student Wellness Centre to have a check-up. Bonus: Why not give them a call while you’re reading this to see if you can get an appointment? They’re open 8:30am-4:30pm at (613) 533-2506, with family physicians, psychiatrists, registered nurses and support staff.
10am-4pm The Farmers’ Market at Queen’s – Yesterday, you went to the farmers. Today they’re coming to you. Fresh groceries from farm-to-table, plus a great way to eat a healthy lunch on-campus that hasn’t been deep fried.
12pm-12:30pm FREE Lunchtime Meditation – One of our favourite best-kept secrets on-campus. Beside Ban Righ Hall there’s a little house called Ban Righ Centre, and in the basement, you can join Dr Jacqueline Davies for a guided meditation, Wednesdays at lunch time, from 12pm-12:30pm. It’s open to everyone, but we suggest arriving early because seating is limited.
~12:30pm-1:45pm FREE: Pilates on the Ball – This free Pilates class in the ARC merges the principals of the Pilates method with the unique functions of the stability ball. Adding this unstable base of support will help increase your core strength, balance, stability, tone your muscles, and heighten your mind/body awareness. Pilates on the ball builds strong bodies and minds. Bonus: The ARC’s changing rooms have the. best. showers. ever. Say hello to hot water that doesn’t run out and pressure that feels like a back massage.
5:30pm Arts & Science Internship Info Session – Not loving your program so much, upper years? Just starting out in first or second and want to get more real-world experience? We feel you. Head to this info session to see what else is out there in your chosen career – and maybe even get something to look forward to. While other schools may have co-op, at Queen’s you can do a 12-month or 16-month internship *and get paid* in the middle of your degree! This info session is primarily intended for students in Arts & Science, but all undergraduate students are welcome to attend. (P.S. If you have night class, you can leave early).
Reminder: Registration for Queen’s Intramurals opens on Thursday morning 9AM, so visit our “How to Sign-up for Intramurals” page and get the step-by-step. Why? 2-3 hours of physical activity to look forward to every week in a social and fun atmosphere = endorphins that your body will need when it starts getting dark at 5pm. You can sign-up as an individual, or with a friend for a variety of sports, including dodgeball, basketball, volleyball and innertube waterpolo (which just sounds awesome, doesn’t it?)
Thursday, Sept. 14:
3pm-11pm Kingston Fall Fair – carnies, cotton candy, rides, and distractions from real life for a few hours could be exactly what the doctor ordered right about now. Costs about $10 to get in, and it’s up by the Memorial Centre, meaning you’ll get some fresh air if you walk (“went outside today” – check). If you’re one of those lucky humans who have a 3-hour lab on Friday mornings, then Friday night might be a better time to go – it runs daily until Sunday. Bonus: suggest it to your housemates/tutorial/floor and see if anybody else wants to be a kid again = social bonding = you’re not alone.
5pm-8pm Fall Season Launch at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre – art. The art scene in Kingston is remarkable, and the people are very interesting too. The Agnes is right across from Ban Righ, so why not get in on some free light refreshments? You’ll get to see the new exhibits before anybody else! Bonus: admission is always free, and they’re open 6 days a week, so if you need to find a new happy place of solitude on-campus, now’s the time to scout out the galleries of the Agnes.
5pm-7pm Men and Depression (support group) – This group meets at the Canadian Mental Health Association Kingston Branch, about a 20-minute bus ride (#2) or a ~$12 cab ride from Queen’s campus. It’s a safe space to talk to your peers and a professional counsellor about the darkness within.
7:30pm Men’s Lacrosse: Queen’s vs Trent – grab a blanket, a fuzzy sweater, and something tricolour, then head over to Tindall Field behind Vic Hall to cheer on our men’s lacrosse team in their outdoor home game against Trent U. It’s in the heart of campus, it’s free, and you’ll get to watch the sun setting over campus. Bonus: you can check “go to a Gaels home game” and “go outside today” off your to-do list and get a rush of dopamine for free!
Friday, Sept. 15, 2017
A note on “getting involved”
Did you miss the Tricolour Open House on Tuesday? Not to worry – we’ve collected a list of “deadlines” for committees that are looking for new members – some applications are due this weekend, others next week. It’s also okay to not get involved in a ton of things in the fall semester. Take your time to settle in. First years – transitioning from high school to university is a big deal, so try to be patient with yourself and seek guidance and support if you’re falling behind. Don’t feel bad about it – there will always, always be more opportunities to get involved when you have the time for it.
PRO TIP: If there are clubs that you’re interested in, but haven’t had the chance to apply yet or don’t think you can handle another commitment, why not ask them when their first event is… and then go to it! Attending their events is exactly what clubs want! You’ll meet the same great people, delve deeper into your interests, and all the while have a bit more of a school-life balance.
Good2Talk 24/7 – 1-866-925-5454 – For stresses big and small. Free, professional and confidential counselling support for students in Ontario.
AMS Peer Support Centre – (613) 533-6000 x 75111 and in the JDUC open 10am-10pm, 7 days a week – No issue is too big, too small, or too diverse. Students can drop-in for support or call-in for questions during those hours. Located in room 34 & 26 in the JDUC, (facing the Printing & Copy Centre, turn right and walk to the very end of the hallway).
AMHS-KFLA 24/7 crisis line – 613-544-4229 – if you are in distress, or know someone who is, give this number a call for free, confidential support delivered in a respectful, non-judgmental manner by a multidisciplinary team of mental health and addiction specialists.
This new blog series aims to give advice and tips about resources you can access on-campus at anytime to help improve your mood, get help, and find treatments that work for you. This post is dedicated to T.S. who was having a hard time this week – you’ve got this! If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org