Grateful for some ‘me’ time
- Jeanelle Mandes | February 27, 2020
Happy New Year everyone! (Indian time)
January was a long month with a mixture of cold and warm weather. As we witnessed the weather change, we also see so many sicknesses go around. I kicked off my New Year’s Eve with a nasty head cold cooped up in my kokum’s basement trying to break my high fever. It was only two days after that I started to feel better. Thinking I was done with being sick this year, it came back with a vengeance a month later. To learn my lesson from the first time, I took the time to stay home from work and rest.
My life has always been on the go since I started my new job teaching journalism at the University of Regina back in the fall while I continue my duties with Eagle Feather News.
I’ve always put others and work before my own health and wellness. I was always worried about finishing tasks with both of my jobs and I never had the time to sit, relax and take some “me” time. It was nice and it felt good. So, it’s important to take that time for yourself when you’re not feeling well and it’s okay to step back and say, ‘my body needs to rest.’ When people say, “get some rest,” take that advice and actually rest. I returned back to work with a clearer mind, no sniffles or constantly sanitizing my hands and I felt even more recharged.
Speaking of wellness, my daughter Sharlize, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, is now involved in a horse therapy program which has been helping her tremendously in identifying her emotions, learning patience and empathy, and how to self-regulate during meltdown crisis moments. Once a week, she comes in for a few hours to feed and care for a designated horse. Sharlize grew up around horses and I always knew she had an incredible gift for being around these powerful animals. Her anxiety level decreases a lot when she is around horses. It’s like their spirits intertwine. Watching my daughter around horses is such a beautiful feeling because I know she’s in her happy place, which makes me happy. There’s something about horses where they radiate peace and tranquility.
Which leads me to my next area. Pet therapy. I’ve always found this particular service compelling. There is such a high appreciation for animals that are trained to work with those who need the service whether it be to cope with health problems, mental illness, physical or neurological disability or even just needing an animal to pet.
This issue includes a story of Takoza Equine Assisted Traditional Alternative Therapy, which is based south out of Katepwa Lake along the Qu’Appelle Valley. It was introduced a number of years ago to treat clients who suffer with mental issues, PTSD, trauma and anger issues. Horse therapy programs are becoming so popular on the prairies that there are waitlists. But if you want to see positive results, it’s worth waiting for.
As mentioned earlier, I started teaching at the University of Regina School of Journalism holding the Asper Visiting Chair of Journalism. I teach Indigenous Peoples & the Press and the lab for Advanced Print. I am loving my position as a professor because I can teach what I know. The Indigenous Peoples & the Press course takes a look into the Indigenous representations in the media and learning on how to report in Indigenous communities and how to properly cover Indigenous stories. In my Advanced Print lab class, I have three students who will be contributing to Eagle Feather News paper monthly for the rest of the semester. This part of their assignments is to cover Indigenous stories through a non-Indigenous lens. I believe this gives them a basic understanding of following protocols when covering an Indigenous story. So, welcome my three students; Suliman, Ade and Kaitlynn, who you will be reading their stories until April.
As Health and Wellness is theme for this month’s issue, it’s a good time to acknowledge that it’s also Aboriginal Storytelling Month. We are all storytellers in our own way. Picking up a good book is therapeutic and yet refreshing. If you don’t feel like reading, you can check out Indigenous storytelling events. The old people say winter is usually the time when stories are shared. When I head back to my reserve for a weekend, I turn my cellphone off and have an actual listen and visit with my kokum-mom and uncle-dad (haha – Indigenous peoples and their family ties always seem to confuse many.) I love listening to their stories of when they were young or the stories they share that were passed on to them from my late grandparents and great-grandparents. I treasure those moments.
So, with that, enjoy this issue which is jam packed with unique and heart-warming stories of our Indigenous peoples.