Residence staff encourage self care with development of wellness room
Walk into MacEwan University Residence and you’ll observe a hub of activity—construction workers standing on ladders, painting the lobby ceiling, the muffled sound of hammers hitting nails behind closed doors, and reception desk staff helping the students and guests who maneuver around the various construction projects on the main floor.
Residence is getting a facelift, and the upgrades are meant to benefit the mental wellness of the students who live there.
New additions include a theatre room, a game room and updated study lounges—but one space stands out: the wellness room.
The converted suite serves as a space for students to get some time to themselves. The area includes two private rooms, both featuring massive massage chairs, sound machines and paintings that complement the soothing blue and green colour scheme.
Artwork by Lisa King.
In addition to helping design the wellness room, Lisa King, Campus Services administrative assistant, created the two watercolour paintings of humpback whales.
“The mental health of our students is key, so we’re trying to give them places to relax and have fun,” she says.
Juggling coursework, part-time jobs and extracurricular activities can weigh heavily on students. Lisa says the wellness room will provide the opportunity for students to temporarily remove themselves from the hectic pace of university life.
“The wellness room is somewhere that you can go and be by yourself,” she says. “It’s a calm and serene place where people can step away for a moment.”
Abhay Nanda, a senior residence advisor, is looking forward to inviting students to try out the space.
“There are a lot of stressed-out students in residence,” he says, noting that more than 700 people live in the building. “Because these students are always on campus, they don’t get much of a chance to escape that stress while living in residence,” he adds. “We want them to have a place to relax, step back and step out from the constant ‘go’ of being a student.”
Harry Linden, Residence Life coordinator, compares the wellness room to a spa where the focus is on mental health.
“If you don’t catch these problems early, your stress level can build until it’s unmanageable,” he says, highlighting how the space gives people the opportunity to do some self-regulated self care.
But if a massage and some quiet time isn’t enough to help students release some stress, there are other resources available to people living on campus. Students are encouraged to reach out to their resident advisors or speak to one of the counsellors in Wellness and Psychological Services if they’re feeling overwhelmed.
The wellness room is now open to students living in residence as a pilot project and will officially be available to the broader student, faculty and staff population in January. Stay tuned as details are released on how you too can take the wellness space for a spin.
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