megan-rafuse

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The theme this year is Leave No One Behind and so we’re thinking about the ways that violence impacts women differently due to race, class, ability, sexuality, gender expression, status, age, and location. Violence against women is complex but it affects us ALL.

Some things we’re doing:

Watching the documentary A Better Man on TVO or online. The film follows Toronto-based Attiya Khan as she confronts her abuser and asks for his side of the story as a part of her journey toward justice and healing. 

Dismantling rape culture by believing and supporting survivors and by having conversations with people of all ages about informed, enthusiastic consent.
 
Teaching our children, especially girls, that they have bodily autonomy by letting them choose when (and how) they want to give and receive physical affection. Check out this awesome campaign from Girl Scouts.
 
Advocating for our government officials to keep their promises on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Inquiry and on upholding Jordan’s Principle (which ensures Indigenous children have access to healthcare when they need it). Find your MP here: http://www.ourcommons.ca/Parliamentarians/en/members

Calling out the mansplainers, the “not all men” guys, the cat-callers and anyone else we witness harassing or disrespecting women, especially if we have male privilege.
 
Getting to know and supporting amazing local organizations like: Maggie’s, PASAN, Sistering, Toronto Newsgirls, Native Youth Sexual Health Network and Shameless Magazine. We support by following on social media, responding to calls to action, attending their events, and donating.
 

Maggie's Toronto Sex Worker Action Project: Maggie’s mission is to provide education, advocacy, and support to assist sex workers to live and work with safety and dignity. 

PASAN: A community-based prisoner health and harm reduction organization that provides support, education and advocacy to prisoners and ex-prisoners across Canada.

Sistering: A multi-service agency for at-risk, socially isolated women in Toronto who are homeless or precariously housed.

Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club: The mission of the Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club is to provide a safe and positive space for women and trans people to explore the sport of boxing. TNG started the Shape Your Life, a free boxing program for female-identified survivors of violence.

Native Youth Sexual Health Network: NYSHN is an organization by and for Indigenous youth that works across issues of sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice throughout the United States and Canada.

Shameless MagazineShameless is an independent Canadian voice for smart, strong, sassy young women and trans youth. As a fresh alternative to typical teen magazines, Shameless aims to do more than just publish a magazine: they aim to inspire, inform, and advocate for young women and trans youth.
 

An Indian social activist holds a placard as policemen (background R) look on during a rally on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in Kolkata on November 25, 2013. Getty Images.

An Indian social activist holds a placard as policemen (background R) look on during a rally on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in Kolkata on November 25, 2013. Getty Images.

How to Support a Loved One Through Tough Times

How to Support a Loved One Through Tough Times

Are we asking the right questions to our loved ones? Instead of our usual, "how are you?" why don't we ask the more difficult questions: "You said you haven't been sleeping well. What's keeping you up at night?" or "I know you're going through a break up. How are you coping?" or simply, "How is your mental health?" Sometimes a direct question can open up a conversation and we can direct our friends and family to the right resources.

Lucky 7: The 7 Benefits to Exercise for Your Mental Health

Lucky 7: The 7 Benefits to Exercise for Your Mental Health

Most people go to the gym or work out to improve their health, build muscle, and have a fitter body. However, exercise can have tremendous impact on our brain and overall mental health.

The next time you debate whether to go work out, consider the following benefits:


1. Stress Reduction

Tough day at work? Consider taking a long walk, or making a quick trip to the gym. The most common mental benefit of exercise is stress relief; it increases levels of norepinephrine, a chemical that regulates the brain’s response to stress.

Building Better Habits? There's an App for That

Building Better Habits? There's an App for That

Often times we think of habits as being negative: nail biting, skipping breakfast, or binge-watching Netflix. However, the power of habits can be used for good.

Imagine making a habit of flossing your teeth regularly, cleaning 15-minutes every day, or making your bed before you leave for work . . .

Take it one step further: imagine clearing your inbox every day, studying a language, or finally running that half-marathon you've always wanted to run. 

The secret behind highly successful people are good habits—things that require hard work, discipline, and consistency. Grit, we know, is the key to success. As psychologists have learned, successful people are not always the smartest; they're simply the ones who are willing to show up every day and put in the work. 

So, how do those of us who don't have the natural tendency for grit force ourselves to form a good habit? First, by understanding the process, and then by holding ourselves accountable. 

 

Just like with most things, we have to understand the stages of forming good habits...

Spring Forward With More Sleep: Sleep Hygiene Strategies

Spring Forward With More Sleep: Sleep Hygiene Strategies

Many of us think of sleep as a luxury—something that we give to ourselves sparingly or even as a reward.

What’s important to remember is that sleep affects your health and mental wellness just as much as exercise, diet, etc. It affects learning, memory, mood, and even insight.

Are you cheating yourself out of a full 8-hours of sleep? Here are some of the benefits you’re missing:


1. Memory  

There’s ample research on the correlation between sleep and memory. In fact, most scientists think that sleep embeds the things we’ve learned or experienced over the course of our day into our memories.

Learned something new? Want to store away that wonderful moment from your day forever? Sleep will help you retain that information.

Lack of sleep results in a lack of focus, impairing you to remember just where you placed your house keys. With so much of our mood associated with being able to get through the day without added stress, sleeping might help mitigate the stress and increase your mood.

What To Expect When Coming To Your First Therapy Session

What To Expect When Coming To Your First Therapy Session

The decision to begin therapy is often a difficult decision and the task of finding a therapist can be overwhelming and confusing. With so many theoretical approaches to counselling and many different therapists practicing in your community, it is essential to find someone that you feel comfortable talking to and working with. Your therapist will encourage you to ask questions during your initial consultation so that they can gain a feel for whether  theoretical orientation and communication style works for them.

During our initial consultation, your therapist will ask you to talk about yourself and what issues have driven you to seek therapy. Your therapist may also ask you a little bit about your current situation, prior experience, with counselling and what you hope to achieve from our therapy sessions. This initial conversation will also provide you with the opportunity to ask your therapist any questions you may have about the therapy process.