Swipe Less, Engage More: Navigating Digital Wellness

In today's fast-paced digital age, our devices are essential for accessing information, completing schoolwork, and even working. They also play a crucial role in keeping us connected with friends, especailly those we miss during the summer. Apps like TikTok, Instagram, Netflix and various games provide entertainment, and serve as our go-to for passing time, staying connected, and getting quick answers. 

While completely disconnecting may not be realistic for many of us, we can try to foster healthier habits to improve our digital wellness.

Wellness Wins: Benefits to Decreasing Device Use

  • Boost your mood: Reducing device use can reduce stress and anxiety, promoting emotional well-being.

  • Increase mindfulness: Limiting device-use can help you be more present in the moment.

  • Improve Sleep: Minimizing exposure to the blue light emitted from devices can help regulate circadian rhythms and support better sleep patterns.

  • Enhance physical wellness: Less screen time reduces eye strain, improves posture, and encourages physical activity. 

  • Foster Creativity and Productivity: Freeing up time from devices allows for more creativity, and boosts productivity. 

  • Build More Meaningful Relationships: It's easier to build more meaningful in-person connections with others when you're fully present and engaged, which leads to deeper and more fulfilling relationships. 

Beyond the Screen: Alternatives to Device Use

  • Play with your pets! Time with pets not only makes them happier, but it can be good for you too.

  • Read a book! Go visit your local library, sit in the park, or cozy up at home with a good book.

  • Play board games and card games! Engage in some competition with your friends and family.

  • Practice, or learn a new hobby! Embrace new or forgotten passions like playing an instrument, painting, knitting or even skateboarding.

  • Touch grass, literally! Going outside is a great way to get vitamin D and some fresh air. Moving your body while outside, also known as ‘green exercise’ is also linked to improved mental health.

  • Move your body! Go for a walk, play some sports, take a dance class, and get your body moving!

  • Connect with people in person! Try to connect with the people you have around, or make some new friends. You can also opt for calling a friend on the phone rather than texting them. 

Mindful Moderation: Setting Limits

  • Take regular pauses from your devices throughout the day, and spending more time doing offline activities can be a good habit.

  • It’s also important to check in with yourself to see if you could use some time away from social media, or your devices. 

    • Try practicing digital mindfulness, by asking yourself why you are reaching for your phone, and if you can satisfy that need in another way. For example, if you’re looking to pass the time, could you do something productive, or a hobby instead?

  • Adjust your phone’s notifications. Sometimes it can feel like you always have to be available to others when you have a lot of social media notifications coming through, so turning off notifications to specific non-essential apps can help. 

  • Try not to use your devices while eating meals, or doing other activities, it can help increase being present

  • Plan an ‘offline hour’, which is an hour a day where you unplug from your devices

 

Remember, devices are valuable tools in our lives. Finding a balance between online and offline activities fosters a healthier relationships with not only technology, but with peers, and yourself. Prioritize real-life connections, and personal well-being. By swiping less, you can authentically engage more with the world around you. 

 –Aaliyah Stewart, SHW Summer Research Assistant

Your Guide to Pride

June is here, and that means so is Pride! Pride month is full of events such as parades, drag performances, trivia nights, and music. Whether you’re an ally or a member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, everyone is welcome! If you do go to a pride event, make sure to go with an open mind! You may learn some new things about different identities, and experiences. Whether you’re thinking about going to Thunder Bay Pride EventsOrillia Pride Events, or other Pride events, here are some tips to make sure you are safe and have fun!

Pride Preparation

Pack Light but Right 

You won’t want to carry around a large bag, so try to use a small bag that you can easily access. Some key things to pack:

  • Your ID

  • A water bottle and snacks! It’s important to stay hydrated, and fueled with nutrients during the busy day!

  • Sunscreen, a hat, and some sunglasses can help protect you from the sun. Even if it's not a bright sunny day, check the UV index, and protect yourself accordingly.

  • Rain Ponchos are great because they are easier to fit in a bag and use in crowds.

  • Make sure to have your phone with you which can help you get the social media of new friends, take photos, and call people if you get lost or need help. Consider bringing a portable phone charger in case your phone battery gets low. It may also be a good idea to make your background on your phone a message of who to call if it gets lost.

Plan Your Day

The day of a pride event can be really busy, so it’s best to have a plan before you go! Here are some things to think about before going:

  • Know how you’re getting to and from the pride events so that you can be prepared. If you’re taking the bus make sure you have your bus pass or bus fare, and what bus you’ll have to take. If you’re driving, figure out where you can park and if you need to pay.

  • Bring some friends if you can, it makes the day a lot more fun, and then you won’t be alone! If you do go with friends, designate a meeting spot just in case you get separated. Make sure to also share your plan with someone else!

  • If you’re going to a parade or march, scope out the route before going to the event. See the best places to be along the route, and what stores and amenities might be close by for snacks and bathroom breaks. Also, take note of where emergency services, safety zones, and exits are. 

Ready or Not, Pride, Here I come! 

Pride is a great time to bring out your fashion! This is a great time to express yourself however you want. You get to choose how visible you want to be as part of the event, so you get to choose how comfortable you are being seen as part of Pride, and potentially being posted online. 

  • Fit Check: Whether you channel your inner Trixie Mattel with all-out glam, or keep it subtle is all up to you! 

  • Match with friends: Coordinated outfits make photos super cute, and can make it easier to find each other in a crowd. 

  • Hype up: Get excited for the pride events by getting together with your pride events pals! You can get ready together while jamming out to your fave 2SLGBTQIA+ anthems. 

During the Pride events 

Stay Aware

Safety comes first! If something feels off, trust your instincts and leave the area. If you are concerned, or witness something unusual, or a hate crime, event staff and security are there to help. 

  • If it is an emergency where there is an immediate danger or threat to someone’s safety, call 911, or find the event security. 

  • If there is no immediate threat to safety you can make a report through the non-emergency line at your local police department, or you can notify event staff.

  • Write down everything that happened in detail, so you have it in case you need it later. 

  • Being a victim or a witness to a hate crime can be distressing, so reach out for support, at the end of this post are some resources you can contact.

  • It is okay not to intervene if you don’t feel safe doing so personally, but find someone responsible for event safety and let them know what’s going on. 

Drugs and Alcohol Safety

At Pride events, there may be alcohol, remember to pace yourself, keep an eye on your drink, and take drinks only from people you trust. The same safety tip for cannabis— only accept it from people you know and trust, and know your limits. If you plan on using recreational drugs, do so safely and carry a naloxone kit, which you can get from some pharmacies and organizations. Ensure you have a safe way home, plan a designated driver, use public transportation, or arrange a ride-sharing service. Seek help if you’re feeling unwell, many pride events have medical tents or first-aid stations. 

Self-Care

Pride events can be long, and overstimulating, so it’s important to check in with yourself during and after the pride events. You can go to pride events for as long as you’d like, take breaks anytime, and support and cool off in the A/C of local businesses. If the crowds are overwhelming, try to stay on the sides, or take breaks away from the crowd. 

  • Mindfulness techniques can be helpful if you notice yourself getting anxious or overwhelmed. Here are some examples:

  • Check-in with yourself. Pride month can bring up a lot of emotions, so make sure to check in with yourself after pride events. You can ask yourself questions like ‘Did you learn anything new about the community? About yourself?’, ‘How did the experience make you feel?’, ‘How are you feeling? Do you need any support?’

Other Guides

Resources

–Aaliyah Stewart, SHW Summer Research Assistant

Two individuals wearing a Progress Pride flag draped over their shoulders, stand facing each other at a Pride Parade.

Howl for Summer: A Guide to a Sizzling Summer in Thunder Bay

While you may know Thunder Bay for its snowy views, and winter adventures, the summer months bring a different magic to town! The sun is shining, and there are so many events and activities to do, there's something for everyone! 

I personally haven’t gotten the opportunity to spend a whole summer in town, but here are some things on my bucket list, or that I have gotten to do.

For the Art Lovers (music, visual arts, theatre)

  • Even though they are open all year round, I love going to The Hive in the summer season to paint pottery to add more decorations to my home. Spend a ‘crafternoon’ at Lakeside Studio & Cafe making crafts from their menu, which has something for everyone! But if you’d rather look at art, than make it, you can visit the Thunder Bay Art Gallery.

  • Summer is the perfect time for live outdoor concerts, and Thunder Bay has options for all music lovers. Every Wednesday night there are free concerts at Marina Park for Live on the Waterfront. If you’re a country fan like myself, you can buy tickets for Country on the Bay

  • There are events for other performing arts such as the Bay and Algoma Buskers Festival to watch the talent of various street performers, or local theatre productions. 

For the Foodies:

For the Historians

For the Sports Fans

  • Thunder Bay is home to the Thunder Bay Chill soccer team, and the Thunder Bay Border Cats baseball team, you can catch one of their home games! If you’d rather be the one participating check out local groups for running, cycling, cricket, golf courses and more to find sports to play this summer!

For the Outdoor-Enthusiasts 

  • Thunder Bay is full of breathtaking views, and outdoor adventures galore. Whether you’re looking to hike to the top of the Sleeping Giant, or pitch a tent under the stars at Trowbridge Falls, there are activities for everyone! Kakabeka Falls holds a special place in my heart and is my favourite place to get outside and read a good book to the sound of the waterfall. Some other honourable mentions: chasing the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), sailing on Lake Superior, taking your dog for a walk at Marina Park, or swimming at Boulevard Lake.

For Community Activities and Events

  • Join the Thunder Bay community in festivities for Pride, Canada Day, Karaoke and cultural events! Check out the Thunder Bay Events Calendar, and monthly Walleye Magazine (available digitally or at local retailers) for a list of events in the community.

–Aaliyah Stewart, SHW Summer Research Assistant

Understanding the Difference Between Mental Health and Mental Illness

Mental Health: A positive sense of emotional well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections and personal dignity 

Mental Illness: A wide range of mental health disorders characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, and behaviour associated with significant distress and impaired functioning

 

Depending on what website and who you talk to the terms mental illness and mental health can have varying definitions. Even when you dive into medical resources, there is not one sole definition that you can find. The idea of having good mental health equaling not having a mental illness just isn’t true, you can have a mental illness but have good mental health, and vice versa (Elmer, 2023). In 2019, 1 in every 8 people, or 970 million people around the world were living with a mental disorder, with anxiety and depressive disorders the most common (Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, 2022). In 2020, the number of people living with anxiety and depressive disorders rose significantly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Initial estimates show a 26% and 28% increase respectively for anxiety and major depressive disorders in just one year (Geneva: World Health Organization, 2022). 

Society has now emphasized the importance of proper language when referring to an individual's mental health (Elmer, 2023). Society still uses the term mental illness when describing someone's mental state. Still, it is now evolving to use the term ‘Mental Health Condition’ as it creates further separation from the stigmatizing term “mentally ill person” (Elmer, 2023). 

The difference between mental health and mental illness can bring up many questions and opinions regarding one health, some frequently asked questions regarding the two are:

1. Can you have poor mental health without a mental illness?

2. Can you have a mental illness with good mental health?

3. Can you prevent mental illness?

4. If I’m not happy, is my mental health poor?

You are able to have a mental illness, like anxiety or depression, but have a good sense of mental health, the two are not synonymous to each other. However, the key is to be proactive and focus each when necessary, by either going to get additional support or creating downtime to rest, relax, and recharge. 

A good first step for supporting your mental health involves discovering coping skills that work well for you. These might include:

There are many supports that Lakehead offers, if you visit the Stepped Care page there are over 8 resources available to you if you need to talk to someone. As well, many resources are available in Orillia if you feel like you need help with your mental health, those include: 



Citations

Healthline. (2023). Mental health vs. mental illness: What's the difference? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/mental-health-vs-mental-illness#tips-for-well-being

Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation. (2022.). Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx). Retrieved May 14, 2022, from https://vizhub.healthdata.org/gbd-results/

World Health Organization. (2022). Mental Health and COVID-19: Early evidence of the pandemic’s impact. Geneva.

- Tessa Wilkins, Peer Wellness Educator

Apps, Books & More for Your Wellness

Supporting your mental well-being is such an important part of not only being a student, but also a human. There are countless ways to support your wellness and we reached out to Lakehead staff for their recommendations on apps, books, shows, podcasts and that they use to support their wellness. Browse through our list of recommendations and try some for yourself on your path to mental health. 

Apps

Insight Timer

Insight Timer is free and available for iOS and android. It comes recommended by Jordan Sokoloski, Naturopathic Doctor on the Thunder Bay campus. It has a library of thousands of guided meditations for you to choose from, as well as the option to customize your meditation with features like a timer, various audio options, and bell sounds to help you relax and refresh, exactly how you like.

Calm

Calm helps you to meditate, sleep and relax. Browse a library of meditations, sleep stories, music and more to help you support your wellness. Topics include calming anxiety, managing stress, deep sleep, focus and concentration, breaking habits, gratitude, and more!

Headspace

Headspace offers a monthly subscription to help you stress less and sleep soundly. It offers thousands of guided meditations to help you with anything from managing stress, to sleep, fouc and mind and body health. Learn mindfulness skills from experts around the world, xplore a wide range of relaxing audio, tackle quick 3 minute sessions and even try out the Move Mode - to help incorporate movement into your busy day.

Happify

Happify consists of science-based activities and games that can help you overcome negative thoughts, stress and other challenges. Journal your moods, thoughts and emotions and use the exercises to help work through how you are feeling in a healthy way. Happify is available with a monthly, annual or lifetime subscription.

Moodfit

Moodfit helps you track your moods and gives you exercises and tasks to complete to help address negative emotions. It is adaptable, based on the goals that you chose for yourself and gives you the ability to easily track your progress. It even offers reminders to help keep you on track. Overtime, the app can provide you with insights to better understand what affects your moods and emotions and provides strategies for feeling better.

Mindshift

Mindshift was developed by Anxiety Canada - an anxiety awareness nonprofit organization. It uses cognitive behavioural therapy to teach relaxation skills and suggest healthy activities for maintaining wellness.There are guided meditations, and even a “quick relief” tool that you can use if you’re feeling overwhelmed in the moment.

TalkCampus

TalkCampus is an app made specifically for students. It is a peer to peer support based platform that allows you to talk with other students from around the world, anonymously. The platform is safe and moderated, and is designed as a place where you can be yourself and talk about how you are really feeling with others in similar situations.

Strava

Strava is a fitness tracking app that allows you to track workouts and connect with others. Irene Pugliese, Manager of Wellness Services recommends this app to help with staying accountable to your movement goals. Need more of a reason to use Strava? Student Health & Wellness uses the app for our It’s Your Move program, consisting of challenges for staff and students to participate in. Join our group - It’s Your Move LU today!

Books

The How of Happiness

The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky draws on groundbreaking research to set out a detailed, yet simple to follow plan to increase happiness in our day-to-day lives. It is a guide to understanding what happiness is, and what it isn’t, and helps readers learn various happiness-increasing strategies. Recommended by Irene Pugliese, Manager of Health Services.

Hello I Want To Die Please Fix Me

Hello I Want to Die Please Fix Me by Anna Mehler Paperny is a national bestseller that looks at depression in the first person. A Canadian journalist shares her experience seeking treatment for suicide ideation and depression. The book showcases honestly, the courageous and at times humerous, journey of navigating the struggles that nearly a fifth of the population face. Recommended by Lindsey Wachter, Health Promoter.

Burnout

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Amelia and Emily Nagoski comes recommended by Jordan Sokoloski, Naturopathic Doctor, Thunder Bay. The book explains why women experience burnout differently than men - and provides a simple, science-based plan to help women minimize stress, manage emotions, and live a more joyful life. Instead of asking us to ignore the very real obstacles and societal pressures that stand between women and well-being, the authors explain with compassion and optimism what we’re up against.

Magazines

Magazines are a great option for reading material if you feel like you already have too much reading to do as a student. Recommended by Kim Vallee, Librarian, Orillia, The Yoga Journal, WellBeing and Planet Mindful offer a great selection of wellness reading material. Many public libraries have free access to e-magazines, check a library near you to get access to some easy reading today.

Shows

Netflix Headspace Series

The Netflix Headspace Series offers 15-20 minute episodes surrounding the topics of meditation and mindfulness. The three components of the series include Guide to Meditation, Unwind Your Mind, and Guide to Sleep. Hartley Mendelsohn, Student Success Advisor, Thunder Bay recommends this series for you the next time you are looking for a show on Netflix!

Bliss

Bliss is available exclusively on Amazon Prime. It is a mind-bending love story between a recently fired divorcee and a woman living on the streets, convinced that the world is a computer simulation. The story combines drama and science fiction, while  exploring topics of mental health and addiction. Bliss is recommended by Irene Pugliese, Manager of Health Services.

Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso is a comedy series available on Apple TV. The show follows an American football coach who is recruited to manage a struggling English Premier League soccer team in London. What he lacks in knowledge, he makes up for in optimism, determination and biscuits. Recommended by Linsdsey Wachter, Health Promoter,  Cheryl D’Angelo, Director of Student Health and Wellness & Elana Weber, Athletics & Wellness Coordinator, Orillia.

Podcasts

The Happiness Lab

The Happiness Lab with Yale professor, Dr. Laurie Santos will take you through the latest research and share some surprising and inspiring stories that will shift your perspective and the way you think about happiness. Unlike many other happiness and self-love podcasts, The Happiness Lab is rooted in science that leaves the listener with tactical advice to make life more happy.  Recommended by Kim Vallee, Librarian, Orillia. 

Life Kit

Life Kit is here to help, after all, everyone needs a little help being human. Experts share advice from a wide range of topics from relationships, self-care, finances, and everything in between. Episodes are short and easy to enjoy and digest, perfect for students with hectic class and study schedules. Recommended by Kim Vallee, Librarian, Orillia, Life Kit is here to help you keep it together.

Feminist Survival Podcast

Feminist Survival Podcast, recommended by Jordan Sokoloski, Naturopathic Doctor, Thunder Bay, is perfect for anyone feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and still worrying that they aren’t doing enough. Hosted by Amelia and Emily Nagoski, authors of Burnout, The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, breakdown various wellness-related topics with insight and humor.    Listen to this podcast for new “survival” tips released every Monday.

 
Tablet Reads "Mental Health Matters"

The Importance of Consent

As Valentine’s Day approaches, you may have plans to meet up with a significant other or sexual partner to celebrate the holiday. Although Valentine’s Day can be an exciting time for people, it is also a time for which the topic of consent is extremely important. 

 

What is Consent?

Consent is a mutual agreement between two people that should occur prior and during sexual relations. Consent is not a simple “yes” or “no” answer, rather it can look different for everyone. Some examples of consent are:

-  Asking permission before changing activities. (ex. Is it okay if I...?)

-  Being sure that both parties are interested in participating. 

- Setting boundaries 

- Creating a safe environment, where the people involved are aware the event can stop at any time. 

 

It is important to note that consent is essential to any healthy relationship. 

 

Consent is not…

  • Based on someone’s appearance or personality (revealing clothing, flirting, kissing, etc)

  • Binding if one or more of the participating parties are intoxicated. 

  • Accepting that someone has explicitly said “no” and continuing anyways. 

 

Before participating in any activities this Valentines Day and beyond, it is important to be certain that everything is consensual, and that all parties have agreed to participate. 


If you need support, Student Health and Wellness has many resources available to students. For more information on the resources available to you, click here.

 

- Makayla Foster, Peer Wellness Educator Lead

Safer Cannabis Use

Cannabis is one of the most commonly used substances in Canada. Factors such as age, health and family medical history will affect how you experience cannabis use. The type of cannabis you use can also impact how you are affected by it as it comes in different strengths. Thus, it is vital if you decide to use cannabis, to be aware of its level of strength and how long you might experience the effects of it. Make sure to talk to a health care provider or pharmacist if you are using prescription, non-prescription or herbal products to avoid negative drug interactions.

If you decide to use cannabis you need to know what you are using, how strong it is, and how long the effects might last. It is also important to consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are taking any prescription, non-prescription and/or herbal products to ensure that there are no negative drug interactions. 

There is an increasing amount of research into the active ingredients in cannabis, how they impact the mind and their possible medicinal properties. Studies are finding more information about the harms that can happen from using cannabis such as injury, damage to the developing brain, and increased risks for major mental health disorders. Think about your personal risks and if you choose to use cannabis, learn about safer ways to use. See Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines for more details.

Make sure you know the laws regarding cannabis for where you live. Each province and local government/town or city across Canada can have different by-laws and laws dealing with cannabis. Check the municipal, provincial, and federal cannabis laws before you buy, possess, or consume cannabis.  The Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017, does not allow smoking or vaping cannabis in Ontario wherever it is illegal to smoke commercial tobacco products or vape.

 Cannabis And the Impact It Has on Health

 Cannabis, like any other drugs, can be harmful to your health. The risks are increased when:

  • use starts in the teen years

  • cannabis is used every day or almost daily basis;

  • the person utilizing cannabis has a personal or family history of substance use and/or mental health problems.

Look at some of the health risks shown by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA), such as mental health problems, impaired motor coordination and judgement, effects on the respiratory system and risk of using during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

The human body has a system that makes its own cannabinoids. This system runs many functions in the human body. It reacts to cannabinoids put into the body, which is why using cannabis affects the way a person thinks, feels and responds.  

Cannabis use impairs attention, judgement and coordination. Don't drive or operate machinery when using cannabis.

Cannabis use might increase manic symptoms in people who have bipolar disorder. If used often, cannabis might increase the risk of depression or worsen depression symptoms. Research suggests that cannabis use increases the risk of psychosis in people who have schizophrenia.

Smoking cannabis can affect your memory and cognitive function and cause harmful cardiovascular effects, such as high blood pressure. Long-term cannabis use can worsen respiratory conditions.

Safer Cannabis Use

If you choose to use cannabis, see the tips below to lower the risk of harm.

  • Legal cannabis products are regulated and tested for quality. Legal cannabis products are safer to use than cannabis you may get from your dealer or a friend. Avoid using cannabis if you see mold and mildew on it.
  •  Choose cannabis with lower levels of THC and try a small amount first. Some strains of cannabis may have higher THC content and may have a stronger effect than you were expecting, so be aware of the potency of the cannabis you are choosing to use. To be on the safe side, start small and use less. Smoking less helps reduce smoke and toxins in your lungs.​ You'll notice the full effects of smoking cannabis within 30 minutes of smoking it. Most physical and psychological effects of smoking cannabis will wear off within five hours but this can vary depending on the person.
  • Try cannabis in a safe setting where you feel comfortable and have support from people you know and that you can count on.

Problematic Cannabis Use

Using cannabis is a problem when it negatively affects your life or the lives of others. We may think this refers to people who use large amounts of cannabis on a regular basis, but even using cannabis on a single occasion can lead to issues. You may make a poor decision, such as driving a car before the effects of cannabis have worn off.

The risk of developing problems is often connected to the reason a person chooses to use cannabis to begin with. If someone uses cannabis now and then to have fun socially, then they will likely only use cannabis socially and occasionally – similar to having an alcoholic drink while at a party. But when a person uses cannabis to cope with challenges related to mental health and wellness or chronic stress, it may lead to long-lasting and intense use of cannabis. 

While most people who use cannabis do not become dependent on the drug, those who use cannabis frequently over a long period of time may be putting themselves at some risk. A person who uses cannabis frequently or on a daily basis may feel they need to use cannabis to feel normal and function during the day.

People who stop using cannabis after regular use may experience mild feelings of withdrawal, such as irritability, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping. 

Learn more about your cannabis use and the resources available with this guide from CCSA

-Logan Ryder, Peer Wellness Educator 

Staying in Thunder Bay For The Summer? Here's How to Enjoy What The City Has To Offer

Whether you are new to Thunder Bay or are simply looking to try new things. There are plenty of activities you can enjoy for free and at your own expense to fill your summer with positive memories and experience what this city has to offer!  

As a Thunder Bay local, I have attended many events and participated in various different activities throughout my beautiful city. Therefore, I have compiled a list of fun things to do and ways to enjoy our warm summer months as a true ‘Thunder Bayan.’

Events

Attending local events is a great way to explore the city and meet new people without the added stress of planning or hosting an event. Throughout the warmer months, an event is hosted nearly everyday, which provides newcomers and locals with the opportunity to try new things on a regular basis.

A great way to stay updated on local events is to check out the City of Thunder Bay’s Community Events Calendar. This calendar includes an array of information pertaining to what’s happening in the city and when. 

Another source I commonly refer to when looking for events is the Walleye, which is a free local magazine that is published monthly. You can pick up a copy of the Walleye at a local retailer or access it digitally online. 

Despite the array of amazing events that are available to the general public, the events listed below are two that I prioritize attending each year. 

Thunder Bay Country Market: Although this occurs every Wednesday from 3:30-6:30 pm and on Saturdays from 8:00am-1:00pm year round, I enjoy going in the summer as there is a large variety of fresh produce from local farmers. The Country Market is full of local vendors who offer an array of products such as groceries, baked goods, crafts, and art. The Country Market is a great place to grab a bite to eat from places such as Boreal Bakery and pick up gifts from Red Door Metalworks.

Live on the Waterfront: If you’re looking for something to help you get through the week, attending a waterfront concert is a must see as it is entertaining for all ages. Every Wednesday night from 6:00-9:00 pm from July 19 to August 16, 2023, the Marina Park will turn into a concert venue where you can listen to live music for free. In addition to music, there are multiple food trucks where you can purchase refreshments and snacks. If you plan on stopping by, I would recommend bringing lawn chairs and arriving early as parking and prime seating fills up quickly.

Activities

If crowded events don’t interest you, there are various fun activities you can participate in throughout the city on your own terms. 

Indoor Attractions 

  • Thunder Bay Museum: Learn about our city’s heritage via a three floor museum that display over 10,000 years of history with some displays changing a few times a year 

Outdoor Attractions

  • Marina Park: Overlooks the waterfront, includes activities such as sailing, a splash pad, skate park, and paved path for running, walking, cycling etc.

  • Belluz Farms: Head to a local farm to hand pick fresh strawberries in the summer sun and stop by their farm store to purchase other produce

-Madeline Fabiano, Student Health and Wellness Summer Assistant

Establishing New Routines

 

As a student-athlete who is taking a full course load and working a part-time job it is crucial for me to manage my time efficiently. This semester I am trying to implement a new routine and novel habits. On Sundays I am prioritizing meal-prepping, cleaning, and laundry while the rest of the week is devoted to my academic responsibilities, work commitments and sports while maintaining a consistent sleep schedule throughout the week. 

Meal Prep

Meal preparation proves to be an excellent strategy for reclaiming time during my hectic days. Before making food it is essential to plan meals ahead, ensuring I have the necessary ingredients on hand. While I often use the InstaCart app for grocery shopping to save time, it comes with drawbacks by paying higher prices because of the service fees and potential mismatches in pricing compared to in-store items. When the time permits, I prefer to visit a familiar grocery store with a pre-made list to speed up the process. Another time-saving tactic involves opting for store bought frozen food, although it comes with trade-offs like preservatives, high sodium and fat content, and reduced vitamin content.

A few meals that I have prepared: 

  • Stew and rice

  • Pasta with marinara sauce 

  • Shrimp fried rice

  • Lasagna

  • Chicken Salad

  • Burrito bowls

  • Salmon bowls

  • Protein balls

Key considerations for efficient meal prep include: 

  • Have adequate containers for your food

  • It can take a lot of time

  • Plan what you want to eat/cook for the week

  • Switch what food you make

  • Label the date on the containers

  • Freeze the food if you plan on keeping it for a longer period of time (better than store bought frozen food)

  • When making salad keep the dressing in a separate container, you don’t want your greens to wilt.

Cleaning

Maintaining a clean and organized living space offers me numerous benefits, including increased productivity, happiness, and focus, along with reduced stress levels. Throughout the week I make a conscious effort to keep my space tidy by putting items away once I am done using them. On Sundays I dedicate some time to deep cleaning alternating between cleaning my room, and the kitchen and washroom. Despite a demanding schedule, putting time aside for these thorough cleanings contributes to an overall neater living environment.

Sleep

In order to optimize my energy during the day and for the week I try to get enough sleep. Adequate sleep not only helps enhance mood but also promotes heart health, regulates blood sugar, improves memory and cognitive function, restores immunity, relieves stress, improves athletic performance and enhances digestion. Finally, by consistently adhering to a set sleep schedule, by going to bed and waking up at the same times each day, helps regulate my body’s internal clock which facilitates waking up and falling asleep.

  • Virginie Franks, Peer Wellness Educator Lead

Set Your Winter Semester for Success

Welcome to both new and returning ThunderWolves as we commence the Winter 2024 semester. While we say our goodbyes to the Winter Break and the Year 2023, and begin a new academic term, it becomes crucial to maintain organization and readiness for the upcoming challenges the new term might bring. The start of a fresh semester may evoke stress and anxiety; therefore establishing a healthy routine, setting goals, staying organized, and being aware of the signs of burnout are key components for a successful journey.

Helpful Tips for the Upcoming Semester

Set some goals

Establishing goals can be important in attaining desired outcomes. Prior to this, it is crucial to reflect on both successes and areas for improvement from the previous semester. Compiling a list can help in the identification of positive aspects, by emphasizing strengths and accomplishments. Additionally, noting areas requiring improvements facilitates the formulation of a comprehensive plan for progress and highlights challenges encountered.

Constructing goals becomes more effective by employing the SMART goals guide. Regularly revisiting the objectives you set for yourself is essential, because it allows for adjustments if they prove to be counterproductive. Utilizing a to-do list aids in prioritizing daily, weekly, or monthly tasks, ensuring focus on the most important ones. While ambition is admirable, it's vital not to overwhelm oneself with an excess of tasks. Maintaining a task limit of three allows for manageable progress, with the option to add more once initial tasks are completed.

Stay Organized

Enhance your semester experience by prioritizing organization. Employ tools like planners, Google Calendar, and apps like Notion to optimize your schedule. Personally, I find Google Calendar particularly effective, offering flexibility to adjust activity times if needed. I meticulously plan my day on Google Calendar, allocating time for study sessions, classes, breaks, workouts, work commitments, and practice sessions. The calendar's reminder feature keeps you on track by sending timely notifications for upcoming activities. You can also add assignment deadlines and exam dates. 

When studying, assign specific break times to maintain focus during study sessions and reward yourself. However, ensure that you set a definite time for this "reward" to prevent unintended procrastination. Rewards could include enjoying a coffee, a snack, or a brief phone break. If these rewards lead to time mismanagement, consider alternative incentives.

Explore various study locations on campus for a change of scenery. Options like the library, the agora, the ATAC, the Study, or the Wolfden at the athletics building offer diverse environments to suit your preferences.

Kickstart your study routine from the first day of school and employ different techniques to prepare for upcoming exams. Techniques may include:

Burnout

Navigating a student schedule can be overwhelming, therefore it is important to recognize signs of burnout before the semester begins. Identifying these indicators will allow you to determine when you need a break or when you need to seek additional help and support. Symptoms of burnout include:

  • Overwhelming Exhaustion
  • Sleep and Eating Inconsistencies
  • Lack of Motivation
  • Social Isolation

To manage burnout effectively, consider the following strategies:

  • Establish a Simple Daily Routine
  • Change Your Environment
  • Prioritize Self-Care and Healthy Sleep
  • Socialize with Friends and Family
  • Incorporate Movement in Your Day
  • Seek Professional Support

Recognizing and addressing burnout proactively enhances overall well-being and fosters a healthier academic experience.

For additional support in your academic semester, you can reach out to Student Health and Wellness for assistance in your overall well-being and for counselling services and health services. You can also reach out to the Academic Support Zone for assistance in your academics such as tutoring, writing support, academic skills support and available workshops.

 

  • Virginie Franks, Peer Wellness Educator Lead

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