Organization Spotlight: MCAN Alaska

adelle-labrecqueBY ADELLE LaBRECQUE
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong

Unfortunately, clients of our mental health system often feel a sense of powerlessness as a “consumer” of services.

The Mental Health Consumer Action Network (MCAN), is a local non-profit organization that advocates for various improvements within the mental health system, by placing a large focus on individuals “having a collective voice.” MCAN enables clients to speak openly about mental illness and works hard to establish stronger relationships within the mental health network at large. Continue reading “Organization Spotlight: MCAN Alaska”

Mindfulness and the Power of Meditation

adelle-labrecqueBY ADELLE LaBRECQUE
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong


noun: mindfulness
1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
“their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Aloha, readers. If by chance, you just quickly skimmed the above definition, (as we tend to do when writing appears to lack creativity—no offense, Google Dictionary!), I strongly encourage you to read it through once more, with added emphasis on the second definition. Continue reading “Mindfulness and the Power of Meditation”

Self-love and Balance: The Ongoing Inner Struggle

adelle-labrecqueBY ADELLE LaBRECQUE
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong

…I want to swim away but don’t know how, sometimes it feels just like I’m falling in the ocean. Let the waves up and take me down, let the hurricane set in motion, yeah, let the rain of what I feel right now come down, let the rain come down…
-Blue October-

As the days are getting shorter, the darkness noticeably more depressing, it becomes all too easy to watch ourselves increasingly slip into a few common winter routines that may—or may not—benefit our overall well-being. Of course, a few lazy weekends here, an “I-couldn’t-make-it-because-we-were-completely-snowed-in” excuse there, and the occasional mistake of oversleeping are not all bad—until they become routine…our new daily habits. I’m not talking about those well-deserved nights spent binge watching a new series on Netflix, or the hermit-style long weekend we need to “get away from it all.” I’m talking about those unhealthy routines that we all get into from time-to-time, that continually weigh at our energy levels, waste our time, and make us experience silent inner-stress when we indulge in them. Those negative habits and routines that become depressing, downward-spiral behaviors after a point, even to the most positive of personality-types. Continue reading “Self-love and Balance: The Ongoing Inner Struggle”

Health Corner: Grief and Healing

For the UAS Whalesong

As a member of the UAS Community, you may have been impacted by tragic news of recent deaths and loss. Our most recent passing of student, Reed McWilliams, who suddenly passed away last weekend, can bring a host of grief and loss feelings including, shock and disbelief, sadness, anger, fear, physical symptoms and even guilt. This is an important time to take care of yourself while you begin the healing process.

Recovering from grief and loss is a normal process and important in dealing with the thoughts and feelings you experience when someone you love and care about dies. It is a necessary, although painful, part of the grief process. Continue reading “Health Corner: Grief and Healing”

Stress isn’t Actually That Bad For You

For the UAS Whalesong

As students, we all experience some degree of stress. How often and how severe the stress is can change, and is different from individual to individual, but it is still there nonetheless. Since it is still very early in the semester you might not be feeling it now. However, this time could be a key for you. By staying ahead with the readings and homework for your classes, you may be able to stay ahead of stress. Having a well established routine can impact how well you function when the going gets rough (as in your first round of midterms and eventually finals). Continue reading “Stress isn’t Actually That Bad For You”

Health Corner: Wi-Fi and Wellness

For the UAS Whalesong

A couple of years back I completed a pilgrimage called the Camino de Santiago (a.k.a. The Way of St. James). I spent a month in Europe backpacking across northern Spain, sleeping in hostels at night, and contemplating the meaning of my life in the great space of the world.

On that journey I did have several life-changing moments of clarity, which helped me step onto my current path. But the most enriching part of that journey was the first week, when I realized that asking for the Wi-Fi password would garner me looks of puzzlement – there is no Wi-Fi in rural Spain. Continue reading “Health Corner: Wi-Fi and Wellness”

Take Care of Yourself!

For the UAS Whalesong

People often tell you that you should wait to enjoy something or that you should work hard before you let yourself just boondoggle – that you have to gain the right to something or earn it. But what they most often forget is that one’s mental health should come before anything else. If you’re not doing okay, then everything else in your life might suffer because of it. Instead, you should be enjoying life, (while being safe, admittedly) but not forgetting that you have wants and needs beyond education. You have to love yourself in equal turn. Continue reading “Take Care of Yourself!”