The winter season is a difficult time for students, particularly due to a decrease in outdoor activities, social interaction, and sunshine, which increases stress, anxiety, and sadness. As we approach midterms and assignments in the upcoming weeks, remember to dedicate time for yourself, whether that time be for self-care, exercise, sleep, etc. A great way to foster mindfulness in your daily activities can be as easy as listening to mental health wellness podcasts. Listening to podcasts can be effective in improving mental health outcomes and the best part is that you can listen to them while studying, running errands, or walking to class!
Tune in with E.L. Adams
E.L. Adams, a Clinical and Educational Psychologist for children and adolescents, has several podcasts that are aimed at improving mental health. His work focuses on both the appreciation and role that music plays in shaping positive mental health outcomes, especially during the winter season. In many of his podcasts, Adams acknowledges song lyrics that emphasize the importance of thinking in the present and taking on life day-by-day.
In our society, mental health often carries a stigma that interferes with individuals from seeking the support they need. To address this issue, E.L.A. Psychological and Counseling Services created workshops like Mental Health, Mood, and Music (MHMM), which aims to break down the barriers surrounding mental health and promote open conversations. MHMM is a unique mental health series that harnesses the power of music as a gateway to meditation. These workshops provide a safe and welcoming environment for participants to delve into their personal thoughts, moods, and feelings. By using music as a tool for reflection, MHMM aims to foster a supportive community where individuals can share their experiences without fear of judgment, ultimately contributing to the destigmatization of mental health.
Music Therapy reduces stress and anxiety, increases well-being, mood, serotonin and dopamine levels, which can be effective in treating depression. Music also provides a source of entertainment in social settings, which increases social connectedness. Music helps us to stay motivated while completing tasks, therefore increasing productivity. Many individuals also turn to music when grieving or encountering other hardships such as breakups with their partner.
Mental Health: The Three C’s
Consider the below Three C's from E.L. Adams to promote growth in mental health and overall well-being:
1. Clarity: helps us to better understand ourselves and how our cognitions, behaviours, and emotions are impacting our daily lives.
2. Change: you can create change once you have the clarity to make health modifications to improve cognitions, behaviours, and emotions.
3. Comfort: we seek comfort through relationships, our actions and ideas. Comfort is an essential component in allowing us to follow through with changes that may be uncomfortable at first, but over time, it will become easier to do daily activities.
Other Strategies for Tackling the Winter Blues
Hanging out with friends and family
Consistent and good quality sleep
Nourishing your body with food
Winter is almost over, you got this!
Resources on Campus
Campus Wellness Project has a directory of all wellness-related resources on campus searchable by name, department, and community.
Student Wellness Services Offers booked medical and mental health appointments, walk-in counselling clinic, and wellness coaching appointments.
Office of Faith and Spiritual Life: Offers interfaith counselling, ceremonial services, community development, and spiritual support. Available to discuss spiritual, religious, personal, and financial problems.
AMS Peer Support Centre: Offers peer-based support to undergraduate students on a drop-in basis.
Student Experience Office (SEO) Offers programs and services to orient students to university life, to support their successful transitions into and through university, and to encourage leadership development, student engagement, and co-curricular involvement while at Queen's.
AMS Clubs allow you to connect with other students and give you an opportunity to make meaningful contributions to the Queen’s and Kingston Community. The AMS Clubs Directory lists and provides a description of the student clubs/organizations available and includes some of the equity deserving and mental health groups.