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Teachings and tools for well-being

Faced with the mounting stresses of assignments, essays and mid-terms, a series at the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre is reminding students to take good care of themselves. FDASC is hosting  a six-week well-being series that promotes physical and mental health through a series of workshops and activities.

The well-being series is being held at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. (University Communications)

Melanie Gray (Artsci’15), helped plan and organize the series.

“Me and a few others felt that there needed to be an accessible way for students (and staff) to find balance in their day-to-day lives in the academic setting,” she says. “We dabbled in the idea of just a traditional sharing circle which is a wonderful tool to share and learn from other people’s experiences but sometimes they leave out touching on what happens after the circle.”

They decided to base the series around the sharing circle, which is non-hierarchical, confidential and encourages people to actively listen to one another, while also including workshops, activities and presentations from guest speakers.

Each week’s session will focus on a different topic, activity and teaching, such as the feather medicine wheel; breathing, focus and meditation; and a session devoted to creating a vision board. The vision board session, as well as a number of others, will be facilitated by Betty Carr-Braint, Four Directions’ Elder-in-Residence.

“The vision board is about the students creating a visual expression of their intentions and about asking what they want to invite into their lives,” says Ms. Carr-Braint, who’s serving as the elder support to the series’ circles.

“We want to provide them with teachings they can take away and give them tools for well-being.”

The group’s first meeting had students introducing themselves to one another, learning the etiquette of taking part in a sharing circle and creating strings of wampum beads.

Making the wampum strings were a small example of what the series is all about.

“They’re a reminder to take care of yourself,” says Ms. Carr-Braint. “A reminder that, at the right time, can make a big difference.”

The series is held Tuesdays at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre from 5-7 pm. It is open to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, and those interested in participating should contact Laura Maracle at laura.maracle@queensu.ca to register.