Lifestyle

Letting loose without substance use

There are many healthy ways to take the edge off

Calgary’s Rockies baseball alumni, Michael Goldade, preparing mentally for baseball season in a friends apartment on March 22, 2017 in Calgary. Goldade also plays guitar in his spare time to relax. (Photo by Katerina Kotsaftis/SAIT)

Calgary’s Rockies baseball alumni, Michael Goldade, preparing mentally for baseball season in a friends apartment on March 22, 2017 in Calgary. Goldade also plays guitar in his spare time to relax. (Photo by Katerina Kotsaftis/SAIT)

We are quickly approaching the end of the semester, and as projects pile up and final exams loom over our shoulders, feelings of stress start to compound.

We live in a culture of edges, one leading to another. A long week of school can lead to a few drinks and a hangover, which leads to sleep deprivation and unfinished assignments.

Starting the week by feeling overwhelmed and exhausted is not the ideal situation for focus and memory.

It’s a system built on stress and pressure.

Opal Retzer, a local artist, doesn’t use substances to relax and was determined to come up with better solutions.

“Escapism is to be expected, so I don’t want to do that,” said Retzer.

“So many people cannot bottle it up anymore, and they need to express how they are feeling,” said Retzer.

Luckily, there are resources available here at SAIT that can help take the pressure off, and it’s not just happy hour at The Gateway.

SAIT has the Student Support Centre in the Senator Burns Building which offers activities such as, Crafty Tuesday and Wellness Wednesdays. They’re open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The second floor of Heritage Hall is home to Student Development and Counselling, which offers both personal, and professional counselling services free of charge to full-time students.

Students are able to book appointments between 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Sometimes it can be hard to admit to ourselves and friends how stressed we are or what is going on.

Having a safe place to talk to a professional can help take that burden off and free your mind to focus on other things.

“I think [the stress] is a lack of connection. You are shutting out that beautiful voice that’s talking to you all the time and it’s intense and that’s why people try and dull it,” said Retzer.

SAIT also has an excellent Wellness Centre, downstairs in the Campus Centre open Monday to Friday: 5:30 am to 11 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The gym offers a variety of activities including swimming, cardio, weight-training and yoga classes.

Brett Lantz, a local outdoor photographer in Calgary, bases his workout on what he feels he needs at that moment.

“If I need to prove something, I rock-climb. However, if I need to relax I go to the mountains,” said Lantz

We aren’t often shown healthy ways to let loose, connect, be ourselves and unwind, with societal examples of time-out consisting of television, alcohol and drugs.

“We need to let go of our inhibitions, but we don’t need to harm ourselves in the process,” said Retzer.

However there is a problem, and its not a small one, we are social creatures.

We have this overwhelming need to connect in a society of disconnection. And so we default to the path of least resistance through sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

Justin Backiney, a former welding student at SAIT, quit drinking two years ago.

“You find yourself as Bill Murray on Groundhog Day doing the same routine over and over again,” said Backiney.

“I found different avenues to de-stress. Working with my hands, climbing and doing yoga,” said Backiney.

“Instead of escaping it, I embraced it, and I feel better at the end of the day for it.”

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