Health Topics

These resources are suggestions and are not intended to replace therapy or medical care. We are not responsible for information on external websites.


Nutrition

Wellness Tips - Nutrition

Did you know that only 12.6% of Mount Royal students (American College Health Assessment, 2016) eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day? Good nutrition has a strong link to your well-being – it can help you keep your energy up and perform well academically (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015).

Tips
  1. Drink more water. A lot of us don’t get enough water. Proper hydration helps maintain energy, concentration, and even your immune system. Avoid sugary drinks that are full of empty calories. The colour of your urine is a good indicator of your hydration level. The darker the colour, the more dehydrated you are.
  2. Eat breakfast. You need to kickstart your brain in the morning to be at your best. Alberta Health Services has lots of great ideas for fast, easy and healthy “to go” breakfasts.
  3. Eat brain food. Keep your brain powered up all day long by adding to your diet healthy fats such as seeds, nuts, olive oil and avocados.
  4. Fuel yourself. Avoid energy and mood drops by eating regularly throughout the day. Include high fiber choices whenever possible.
  5. Fruits and vegetables. Eat lots of them and a variety of colors. Challenge yourself to gradually eat more fruits and veggies and aim to eat all the colours of the rainbow!
Campus resources
Online resources

 

 

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Mental health

Wellness Tips - Mental Health

Mental health is one of the top concerns for university students. In fact more than 65% of students report feeling overwhelming anxiety within the last 12 months (American College Health Assessment, 2016). The good news is that there is a lot you can do to maintain and improve your mental health.

Tips
  1. Talk to someone. Make sure to spend time with people that you care about and reach out if you’re struggling. Student Counselling Services is free for all students.
  2. Take time for you. Figure out what works for you, it may be a quiet walk, meditation, a hot bath or reading for pleasure. Add the activity to your schedule on a regular basis.
  3. Pay attention to your physical needs. Drink water, eat regularly, get some sunlight and make sure you are getting enough sleep.
  4. Set realistic goals. You have a lot to do, but you also need to be realistic about what you can do and evaluate what makes sense for you. This is a great conversation to have with a mental health professional.
  5. Shift your mindset. When we are stressed our brains tend to focus on the negative. Pay more attention to things that are going well or the steps you are taking to improve your mental health. Reach out and get help when you need it.
Campus resources
  •  Early Support Program – Connecting Mount Royal students to the right resources and supports as early as possible, before difficulties become too overwhelming.
  •  Wellness Services, Mental Health – Counsellors, mental health nurses, physicians and a psychiatrist, as well as workshops and groups.
  •  Iniskim Centre – A variety of services to support First Nations, Métis and Inuit students
  •  SAMRU Peer Support Centre – Need to talk to someone who gets it? The Peer Support Centre is open to all current credit students free of charge, and includes various programs and services.
  •  Interfaith Centre – Supporting religious and spiritual life and fostering a community of belonging.
Community resources
Online resources
  •  BreathingRoom – An online program to help manage symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. Mount Royal students have free access.
  •  AnxietyBC – Self-help and evidence-based anxiety resources.
  •  HeadsUpGuys – Information and practical tips to manage and prevent depression in men.
  •  For the Mind – Guided meditation audio clips for calming and relaxing.

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Physical activity

Wellness Tips - Physical Activity

Physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of over 25 chronic conditions (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2015). Physical activity can also be a great way to battle stress and to improve mood (CDC, 2015). Even doing cardio or aerobic activity in 10 minutes bouts can have a great impact.

Tips
  1. Short breaks are great! Taking short walks throughout the day makes a huge difference.
  2. Be active with the people you care about. Go for a walk with a friend or attend a fitness class with a classmate.
  3. Stretch! Students spend a lot of time sitting and stretching helps keep your muscles flexible, strong and healthy!
  4. Be active while studying. Did you know that our library has treadmill desks and standing desks to help you spend a little less time sitting?
  5. Find something you enjoy. Being active should be an enjoyable part of your day, try out different classes, go rock climbing, or take a walk and figure out what works for you. Check out everything Recreation has to offer!
Campus and community resources
  •  Cougar Athletics and Recreation – Did you know all full-time and part-time credit students have FREE access to Recreation? There are lots of different activities for you to enjoy.
Online resources

 

 

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Romantic and dating relationships

Wellness Tips - Relationships

More than 60% of students report that in the last 12 months their intimate or social relationships were very difficult to handle (American College Health Assessment, 2016).

Tips
  1. Open and respectful communication. Express your needs and emotions using open and honest communication. If conflict arises, respectfully listen and let go of the need to be right.
  2. Set healthy boundaries. Know what you want in the relationship and what you don’t want – and communicate these boundaries. Respect each other’s boundaries.
  3. Trust your gut. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, scared or bad about yourself, take a step back and re-evaluate the relationship.
  4. Recognize your mistakes. We all do things that intentionally or unintentionally hurt others. Take responsibility for your actions by apologizing and choosing to change the behavior.
  5. Ensure there is balance in the relationship. In healthy relationships there is a balance in terms of power and decision-making. Neither party should be trying to fix or control the other.
  6. Conflict resolution. Conflicts are dealt with directly and respectfully. Know that there will be issues that you will not agree on, but agree to disagree, and let go of the need to be right.
  7. Talk to someone you trust. When situations become hard to manage on your own, reach out and talk to someone you trust or a professional. Our counsellors can provide you with lots of relationship advice, communication strategies and resources.
  8. Take time for you. The relationship you have with yourself is as important to nurture as your relationships with others. Schedule time for activities that help you feel grounded and balanced. It could be going for a walk, meditating or praying, having a hobby, listening to music or spending time in nature. You are responsible for your own happiness and well-being.
Campus resources
  •  Stepping Up – A peer-facilitated dating violence prevention program.
  •  SAMRU Student Clubs – Join a club to meet new people and pursue your passions.

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Friendship and loneliness

Wellness Tips - Relationships

 A friendship is a mutual relationship between two people that is satisfying, safe and where both people feel seen.

— Shasta Nelson

More than 60% of students report that in the last 12 months their intimate or social relationships were very difficult to handle (American College Health Assessment, 2016). Additionally, more than 60% of students report being very lonely in the past year. University can be a really challenging time and connection with others can make it a little easier!

Tips

In a healthy friendship, there is:

  • Healthy boundaries. And respect for each other’s boundaries.
  • Safety and mutual trust. There is no gossiping. There is also accountability and consistency.
  • Room for more. You can be friends with someone else too.
  • Satisfaction and positivity. Healthy friendships don’t drag you down. They are mutually supportive and add joy and peace to your life.

Tips for forming and maintaining friendships:

  1. Get yourself out there. Spend time with friends or family. Join an activity or a club you enjoy or volunteer to meet people with common interests.
  2. Open and respectful communication. Express your needs and emotions using open and honest communication. If conflict arises, respectfully listen and let go of the need to be right.
  3. Recognize your mistakes. We all do things that intentionally or unintentionally hurt others. Take responsibility for your actions by apologizing and choosing to change the behavior.
  4. Talk to someone you trust. When situations become hard to manage on your own, reach out and talk to someone you trust or a professional. Our counsellors can provide you with lots of relationship advice, communication strategies and resources.
  5. Take time for you. The relationship you have with yourself is as important to nurture as your relationships with others. Schedule time for activities that help you feel grounded and balanced. It could be going for a walk, meditating or praying, having a hobby, listening to music or spending time in nature.
Campus resources
Online resources

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Sexual healthSexual Health Picture
Sex, pleasure, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), healthy relationships, pregnancy prevention and much more – sometimes it can seem like there is a lot to know! But don't worry, the campus supports and links below will give you information on these topics.

Tips
  1. Stay safe. Wellness Services provides free condoms – grab a handful from U216.
  2. Get tested. Primary care physicians provide STI testing and pregnancy testing and can answer questions you may have about sexual health. If you don’t have a primary care physician, book an appointment with a physician at our Health Services clinic.
  3. Trust your gut. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, scared or bad about yourself take a step back and re-evaluate the relationship.
  4. Talk to someone. Our counsellors can provide you with lots of relationship advice, communication strategies and resources.
  5. Don’t be a bystander. If you see something happening, intervene in a way that keeps you safe and enlist others to help as well.
Campus resources
Community resources
Online resources

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AlcoholALCOHOLHEALTH

Most students overestimate the amount their peers drink. 60% of Mount Royal students who drink had fewer than four alcoholic beverages last time they partied (American College Health Assesment, 2016). If you choose to use alcohol, there are lots of ways to make sure that you, and those around you, stay safe.

Tips
  1. Know your limits. Did you know binge drinking means five or more drinks for men or four or more drinks for women in one sitting?
  2. Drink water. Alternate each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water to stay hydrated and help prevent a hangover.
  3. Eat. Having something to eat before you drink is an easy safe-drinking strategy.
  4. Set limits. Decide ahead of time how much you’re comfortable drinking, and don’t drink more than that. If you find you often have trouble stopping drinking once you have started, this would be a really great thing to bring up with your doctor or a mental health professional.
  5. Be safe. Always have a safe way to get home and don’t mix alcohol with other drugs.
Campus and community resources
  •  Mental Health Nurses at Wellness Services – Can help you assess your drinking habits and connect you with the right resources.
  •  Calgary Alcoholics Anonymous – Find meetings all over the city and learn more about AA.
  •  AHS Addictions Helpline: 1.888.332.2332 – Free 24/7 addictions support, information and referral to services including addiction counselling.
Online resources

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TobaccoSexual Health Picture

Only 13% of Mount Royal students have used cigarettes in the last 30 days (American College Health Assessment, 2016). Wellness Services can help you develop strategies and find resources to help you decrease or stop smoking.

Tips
  1. Get support. Involve your friends and family and talk to a medical or mental health professional.
  2. Remove temptation. Get rid of all your tobacco products.
  3. Pay attention to triggers. Are there certain settings, situations or people that motivate you to smoke?
  4. Reward yourself. Celebrate the end of the first day, the first week or the first month. Treat yourself to something special, like a special dinner or that movie you’ve been wanting to see.
  5. Consider nicotine replacement therapies. Talk to your doctor about gum or a patch that can help you handle cravings.
Campus and community resources
Online resources
  •  SmokeFree – Support, tips, tools and expert advice to help you or someone you love quit smoking.

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CannabisCANNABISHEALTH

Did you know that cannabis has a variety of effects on your body from your brain, to your immune system, to your digestion? A lot of the effects can also differ depending on how you consume cannabis. If you do choose to use cannabis, keep these tips in mind to ensure you are staying safe in your consumption.

Tips
  1. Be safe. Use only in a safe place and with people who you know and trust.
  2. Don’t mix. Don’t mix cannabis with alcohol or other drugs. This can make negative effects much worse. If you’re taking prescription drugs, be honest with your doctor and talk about how cannabis may interact with your medication.
  3. Never drive while using cannabis or for several hours after use.
  4. Keep track. Monitor your use and be aware if you notice yourself using more frequently.
  5. Be careful when you use. Cannabis impacts your ability to learn and memorize new information, so it’s probably best to avoid before class or when you’re trying to work on assignments.
Campus and community resources   
Online resources

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Illicit drugsDRUGHEALTH

Did you know that fewer than 2% of Mount Royal students report using opioids in the last 30 days (American College Health Assessment, 2016)? Most students are making really safe choices when it comes to illicit drug use – however the risks are still important to consider. In 2017, almost 700 people died from overdoses in Alberta and data suggests this number will keep increasing (Government of Alberta, 2018). We all have a role to play in keeping people safe.

Tips
  1. There are no “safe amounts” of opioids and it can be impossible to tell what’s in illicit substances – abstaining is the only way to be totally safe. Mount Royal has supports and services available if you want to talk about your drug use or a friend’s drug use (see below).
  2. Naloxone. Get a Naloxone kit and learn how to use it. Wellness Services offers free workshops for everyone and you can pick up a free Naloxone kit at the pharmacy in Wyckham.
  3. Break the stigma. It is really hard for people to admit to drug use because there are so many judgements associated. Remember that anyone could be a person with a drug addiction and don’t perpetuate harmful and discriminatory ideas, such as suggesting that you can tell who uses drugs just by looking at them.
Campus and community resources
Online resources
  •  Reduce Your Risk – These tips from AHS can help prevent an overdose for people who are using hard drugs.

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Sleep

Wellness Tips - Sleep

Did you know that 40% of Mount Royal students report sleep is difficult to handle or traumatic (American College Health Assessment, 2016)? Sleep is very important for overall well-being and for academic success.

Tips
  1. Follow a sleep routine. Plan calming activities for 30 minutes before bed to signal the brain that it is time to sleep. Turn off your phone, computer and the TV. Try drinking chamomile tea, diffusing lavender oil, reading, stretching or meditating. Get up at the same time seven days a week.
  2. Prepare your sleep environment. It is important your bedroom is quiet and comfortable. Block out any light. Ensure your room is not too hot or too cool. Use ear plugs or white noise if needed.
  3. Nap smartly. Avoid naps if possible, as they can interfere with your ability to sleep at night. If you decide to nap, be sure it is before 3 p.m. and for less than an hour.
  4. Exercise regularly. Being active promotes a better quality sleep and can also boost your mood. Do not exercise within two hours of bedtime.
  5. Keep your bed for sleep and sex only. Homework and worrying do not belong in your bed. If find yourself worrying, imagine your bed is encased in a bubble that worries cannot enter. Write down your worries and put them away.
  6. Sleep only when you’re sleepy. If you find yourself lying awake for over 20 minutes, get up and do a quiet activity until you feel sleepy, so you associate your bed with sleep and not wakefulness.
  7. Be mindful of things that can interfere with sleep. Limit your intake of caffeine and nicotine, especially in the evening. Avoid exposure to blue light (cell phones, computers, TV) at least 90 minutes before bed. Avoid alcohol before bed.
Campus and community resources
  •  SAMRU Nap Room – 3rd floor, Wyckham House
  •  ABZzzs of Sleep workshop – Trouble getting a good night's sleep? Attend this workshop to understand more about your body's sleep cycle and learn strategies for getting the rest you need to learn and feel well.
Online resources
  •  Better Sleep Council of Canada – Sleep education, including information about mattresses, sleep positions, sleep cycles and much more.
  •  Getting a Good Night's Sleep – Sleep hygiene tips from AnxietyBC.
  •  f.lux – Reduces the blue light from your screens, which can aid sleep (works on Mac and PC computers and devices).
  •  mySleepButton – An app based on cognitive science designed to help you fall asleep.
  •  For the Mind – Guided meditation audio clips for calming and relaxing.

 

 

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Financial health

Wellness Tips - Finance

Did you know that 60% of Mount Royal students report that their financial situation negatively impacts their health (American College Health Assessment, 2016)? Being a student can be expensive and stressful – however, there are ways to reduce some of this anxiety and places to go if you need some help.

Tips
  1. Keep a budget. Use an app or a pen and paper to track of what you’re spending and see where you can save some money.
  2. Save on textbooks. Look for used or electronic options, which can be significantly less expensive than buying the hard copy.
  3. Use cash. Research shows we spend less if we’re using cash than if we’re paying with a credit card.
  4. Make food at home. Eating out adds up really quickly and can take up a large amount of your budget.
  5. Finance your education. Learn about scholarships and bursaries you may be eligible for.
Campus and community resources
  •  MRU Student Awards and Financial Services – This office is responsible for helping students with government student loan, grant and scholarship inquiries. They can also provide assistance with emergency funding issues and budgeting.
  •  SAMRU emergency loans – These loans are interest (and judgement!) free and available to full- and part-time students.
  •  SAMRU Peer Support Centre – Current Mount Royal students can drop by for financial support, including emergency bus tickets, financial literacy workshops and food support.
Online resources

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