Manreet Birdi

Manreet Birdi
Marketing and Communications Specialist

For most of my life, I hated exercising and physical activity.

It was never my “thing”. I never felt motivated, I never liked playing sports in gym class and I never enjoyed going to the gym or working out.

That all changed in 2019, when I discovered rock climbing which altered my outlook on physical wellness. I was afraid at first — my body was weak and not used to physical activity. More importantly, I was absolutely terrified of trying new things. The thought of failing and embarrassing myself was the hardest part to maneuver, but I took a deep breath and told myself, “Just try it out, Manreet. This can either go well or you won’t like it! What’s there to lose?”

Since that day, I’ve continued climbing.

Finding your “thing” doesn’t mean literally finding a sport or workout you like. Your sport can be anything from rock climbing to writing a novel, from gardening to painting, or anything else that consumes you in the best way possible. Climbing did that for me.

As I continue with my co-op term, one that I originally started in Spring Term and was hired back for the fall, I see the positive effects of climbing pour back into my creativity and work ethic. I see every task in my work as a new unique problem, and I try new ways to go about it until I find the best solution. This new hobby of climbing has not only made me physically stronger, but has also helped me overcome personal battles ranging from fear and insecurity, to figuring out complex situations that strengthen my mind.

It helped me become more confident in my abilities, not just in fitness, but in the work I produce, too. Now, I take on new ideas and projects, even if I don’t think I’m exactly qualified to do them, because I may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome — just as I was with climbing.

Infographic on Manreet's fifteen minute workout


In addition to heading back to the gym, I’ve continued to do some at-home workouts tomorrow keep my fitness where I want it to be. Check out the at-home workout video below in the Waterloo Warriors Online Camp series to get your body ready to handle those dyno’s (dynamic problems) at the climbing gym!

Check out below how Alexis maintains her personal wellness by staying connected.

Holding onto friendships, long distance

Alexis Joy Nagum

Alexis Joy Nagum
Former Executive Communications Coordinator

As I mentioned in my last post, putting aside time from work to meet with friends remains an important part of my personal wellness. While restrictions lift and we’re seeing restaurants open and socially distanced hangouts continue in parks all over Ontario, how might we stay connected with those long-distance friends?

Here are some of online social events I’ve personally hosted in case it inspires you to do the same:

Virtual clubs

Waterloo’s university clubs have worked hard to transition their in-person gatherings to online events, hosting open mics, tea talks and virtual meetups. With the help of social media, livestreaming and zoom, many organizations have pivoted to online programming entirely. 

Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) has Welcome Week events plans ready to be hosted virtually by WUSA from Monday, September 14 to Friday, September 18. Ensure to follow WUSA on their Facebook events page for more details. 

You can also access even more online events hosted by Waterloo by downloading the Portal application, checking out the Student Leadership Program page and being connected to other students through Waterloo Ready.

Outside of the University, I’ve attended virtual workshops, book clubs and even concerts with my friends. While it’s a great way to connect with your social network, it’s also a good opportunity to support organizations in your community and all over Canada.

Hosting game nights

With many of our favourite games available online and downloadable through apps, we’ve moved board game nights online. In my circle, Jackbox became our go-to game early into the quarantine. A game that, much like Kahoot, allows you to connect to a game room from your phone and play remotely from any location, as long as you have a friend streaming the main screen. Now, we make time every week for tabletop gaming. Dungeons and Dragons is a ridiculously exciting and funny form of collaborative storytelling that is just as satisfying than any other video game that my friends try to introduce to me.

Here are three other online games we’ve tried:

  • Spyfall — a deception game for people good at pretending to know what’s going on
  • — online Pictionary
  • Codenames — a cooperative team game that tests how well you can read your friends minds

Attending movie night

With web apps, such as Watch Netflix Together and Netflix Party, you and your friends can binge the latest movie releases. But with my friends — spoiler — we never actually watch the movies. Movie night is an excuse to meet, crack jokes about movie tropes and talk about what’s going on in our lives.

With the Fall Term ramping up and stress levels beginning to rise, be sure take time to check-in with your friends and see how they’re doing. Events with friends don’t have to be a whole ordeal — keep it simple and let them be a time to unwind.

Send us a note with what you’ve been doing to stay connected with your friends or any other wellness advice you want to share through University of Waterloo’s main social channels, Twitter (@UWaterloo) or Instagram (@UofWaterloo), by using the hashtag #UWaterlooCoop and #WorkFromHome.