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Mental Health Awareness Week: Vancouver students share strategies for maintaining well-being

Stories | 05.04.23

This year, the first week of May is Mental Health Awareness Week in Canada. The first ever annual Mental Health Week was launched by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in 1951 to spread awareness of mental health conditions.

Adler University prides itself on its ability to train the mental health professionals of tomorrow. With the stress of graduate school, many students often need to learn and find ways to maintain their mental well-being. With this year’s theme beingMy Story,five students from the Vancouver Campus are sharing their unique ways of maintaining their mental health and well-being. 

Photo of Shivani Agarwal

Shivani Agarwal

Shivani Agarwal
Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC)
First year Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology student

As a graduate student, I intentionally carve out time from my study and work schedule to take care of my mental health.  For me, that looks like giving myself an evening off every week where I cook, clean, and do “nothing.. I connect with my loved ones back home as that fills me with warmth and energy.  I make sure I get my full night’s sleep.  Sometimes when a dedicated evening is not possible, I find time within the day to be mindful – I use my shower time to intentionally focus on my body and breathe deeply, allowing myself five mins of meditation.  I also stay connected with my therapist on the regular and as needed. I have found that creating this self-care routine really helps me stay grounded and allows me flexibility so that I can stay at it sustainably.

 

 

Photo of Anmol Johal

Anmol Johal

Anmol Johal
First year Master’s (M.A.) in Counselling Psychology student
 

As a graduate student, especially within the field of counselling psychology, maintaining and caring for our mental health has become a top priority.  Ensuring our mental health is taken care of is equivalent, if not more important, than taking care of our physical health.  Personally, I have always found sports and being outdoors healing, which allows me to maintain my mental health.  However, as I’ve gotten busier and busier as a graduate student, a more conscious effort must be made to actively ensure that I care for and maintain my mental health.  Now, I find this maintenance includes ensuring that I am leaving time in my week to spend with my friends and family and coaching a kids field hockey team.  Social interactions have always been healing for me, a way to recharge and rebuild from stressful or busy periods in our life.  Being with people I love or surrounding myself with activities I love helps me feel fulfilled mentally and ensures that I am actively engaging in self-care and mental health maintenance while in graduate school.

 

Photo of Evelyn Travis

Evelyn Travis

Evelyn Travis
First year Master’s in Art Therapy student

As a graduate student, I maintain my mental health by doing the following: 

I attend counselling sessions regularly as I view this as an essential piece of my journey.  I believe one may not help others until they help themselves first. Put your oxygen mask on first so you may save others later.  Next is self-care.  I recognize that physical exercise of any form is critical, so I have joined a gym and recently joined a Dungeons and Dragons fitness program.  I have also begun volunteering with an association called ElderDog, also known as Pawd [https://www.ivolunteer.ca/agency/detail/?agency_id=213966].  I help elders in the community who cannot walk their dogs. Allowing the elders to keep their animals ensures that the animal gets their daily regimented exercise. Lastly, I joined a local soccer club which provides a double whammy, social, and activity. 

The most important piece is my connection to my cohort.  Without them, I do not believe graduate school would be as manageable. 

Of course, I am ensuring to stay connected to my family and friends at home, which can prove difficult when I am a five-hour drive away.

 

Photo of Courtney McCabe

Courtney McCabe

Courtney McCabe
First year Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology student

As a graduate student, I maintain my mental health by engaging in activities such as bike riding around the sea wall in beautiful Stanley Park, spending time with my beloved dog Lola, and attending art exhibitions.  I find all these activities very grounding and calming, as they provide me with an opportunity to disconnect from my studies. I particularly enjoy going to art exhibitions as I have always had a keen interest in the arts, as well as other creative endeavors.

 

 

 

Photo of Colleen Rainey

Colleen Rainey

Colleen Rainey
First year Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology student

As a full-time student and mom of two young children, it can be challenging to prioritize my mental health and wellness. For me, daily physical activity is probably the most vital contributor to my sense of well-being. My weekends are often spent outdoors with my children, either at a park, hiking, or swimming in the summertime. Even a 20-minute family stroll around the neighbourhood improves my mood and perspective. Exercise and time outdoors also help me think more clearly and focus on my studies, so being active keeps me feeling at my best and most productive in all facets.

 

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