IGNITE Student Life is offering self-care programs and services to maintain the health and wellness for Humber College and University of Guelph-Humber students during the pandemic.
The student government body’s programs dovetail with findings in the World Happiness Report 2021 in its report released on March 20, part of a multi-chapter study investigating well-being to social connectedness.
Research found reports of life satisfaction, happiness, physical and mental health declined enormously during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nicole Mitskopoulos, manager of Student Wellness at IGNITE, said Humber College offers self-care kits to students throughout the school year.
“With self-care we did recognize that was a major important thing right now, so we have sent a number of self care kits to students,” she said. “We launched that in the fall and had an email campaign around those.
“They were secured very quickly because students were really interested in them,” she said.
Each individual kit offers David’s Tea, a sleep mask, and wireless headphones so students could listen to music at home, Mitskopoulos said.
She told Humber News the self-kits will be launching again in the next couple of weeks.
IGNITE is also giving away the headspace meditation app for free to all students. Mitskopoulos says students can email IGNITE at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will provide the link to receive the app.
Humber still has events and social opportunities running through the school year. The school had many virtual fitness classes last semester, a virtual Winter Frost with a live DJ and musical performances, and Real Talks with Tyler Oakley and Justin Kan.
“We want to make it fun,” Mitskopoulos said.
“And we always have live events popping up and that’s really how we’ve tried to still maintain that social connection and that aspect of like, fun, even while we’re still studying from home,” she said.
The Sixth Chapter in the WHR 2021 report suggests social networking platforms, like what IGNITE is offering, have been associated with well-being. Evidence of interactions — including voice interactions, through video chat, phone or voice chat — have led to stronger social connections.
These stronger online social supports have been linked to greater well-being, which led to greater prosocial behaviour during the pandemic.
“However, it is important to note that physical distancing — which permits social interaction with housemates, digital interactions with the outside world — and is imposed on entire regions, not solitary individuals, is not the same as social isolation,” the report stated.
Stephanie Viola and Amanda Montana launched The Positivity Project at The University of Toronto on Dec. 29, 2020.
The co-founders told Humber News they created the club to spread messages of positivity during the pandemic and beyond. Their mission is to help individuals focus on the happiness and beauty life has to offer.
“We create a space where members can connect with others who share common goals of wanting to feel and think more positively while promoting other healthy habits that contribute to leading positive lives, such as expressing gratitude, choosing good thoughts, helping others, showing kindness, and more,” Viola said.
The Positivity Project hosts bi-weekly de-stressing events on Zoom, which include games nights, painting, movie nights, and baking.
“We are currently holding an art auction to raise money for Art With A Heart Inc., a local organization that uses art therapy to help people in various situations of need,” Montana said.
This club stresses the importance of taking time to do things people love and be a positive platform people can look to when they feel down. The club’s Instagram page, @thepositivityproject.uoft, shares positive messages, stories and quotes used to brighten people’s days.
Viola told Humber News how grateful they are to have social media as a tool to reach as many people as they can.
“We believe that social media can be a powerful tool when used correctly. It’s important that people use it to build others up, rather than tearing others down,” Montana said.