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Self-Care at Prince Albert Gabriel Dumont Institute

By Ashley Grimard, SUNTEP PA Faculty

Apr 20, 2022

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During the months of February and March, The Gabriel Dumont Institute campus in Prince Albert focused on self-care to help boost peoples’ spirits and mental health. We all know that this past winter felt especially long with the extreme cold, snowy weather, and the ongoing, persistent waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we approached Spring, we hoped we could give students and staff something to look forward to. The self-care bingo consisted of many activities to help boost student and staff mental health and morale, such as taking part in meditation, practicing gratitude, spending time outside, treating yourself to dessert, etc. Along with these specific events, we included cultural activities as well. Cultural activities included listening to an Indigenous Podcaster or YouTuber, taking part in a weekly smudge, learning about a new Indigenous business, and reaching out to a Grandparent, Elder, or Knowledge Keeper. There were a total of 24 squares to fill and six weeks to complete it. We had multiple entries submitted, and participants often noted how they were thoroughly enjoying the benefits of taking part in helping their own well-being through all parts of self: mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical.

Here are a few words from the Staff and Students who participated.

I liked that the self-care bingo included a variety of ways to take care of yourself.  There was something to appeal to everyone. I liked how these tasks were already a habit for many SUNTEP students. The benefit of taking part in self-care bingo gave me the incentive to take a step back from the school work that needs to be completed in March Madness. I am a student who hands in assignments early or on time, so this was a nice reminder for me to relax. I find that during such busy times it’s easy to fall behind in self-care because my mind is set on completing schoolwork. This challenge also showed me that Bonnie, Ashley, Christine, and Beige care about our holistic wellbeing because this bingo sheet was staff-made. It is nice to know you have instructors who care about your self-care because it often is overlooked by many.” – Brooke Andrews, SUNTEP Student

“I really enjoyed the self-care bingo and found it was a good way to slow down and take some time for myself and do a few things I normally wouldn’t make the time for.  As a working single mother and student it can be difficult to fit things into a day such as reading for fun, exercise, and actually enjoying a good relaxing meal but I made these a priority.  It also got me to try a few new things such as listening to an Indigenous podcast and journaling.  My children and I did some of the activities together and I really enjoyed that as I have 3 teenagers and it can be hard to find ways to have quality time together with everyone’s busy schedules and them being typical teenagers who don’t want to leave their rooms or be off their cell phones.  Probably my favorite activity though was practicing gratitude.  It has been a hard couple of years due to COVID-19 for a lot of people, myself included, and I found being grateful for the small things made a big impact on my day because while every day might not be great it made me find the something great in every day.  A big Thank You to the SUNTEP staff for coming up with this idea! “ -Teresa Simmonds, GDI Staff

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Gabriel Dumont Institue

GDI is a Saskatchewan-based educational, employment and cultural institute serving Métis across the province

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