University promotes stress management

By Elizabeth Sayasane, Staff Writer

The end of the semester is a notoriously stressful time for students. Institutions around campus are making an effort to organize relaxation-promoting events before finals time.

McKinley Health Center has a number of stress-reducing resources available. Through their website, students can find relaxation techniques, including meditations and various relaxing audio clips, such as sounds at the beach.

Students can also pick up a stress relief pack. These become available the Monday before Reading Day. They are filled with items collected throughout the year, such as coupons and games.

The Stress Management Peers also host a number of workshops around campus. These workshops provide students with tips on coping with stress. They also host events, like the Bubble Bash last Friday. At this event, students could blow bubbles, pop bubble wrap, drink lemonade and relax.

McKinley also provides students with the opportunity to meet for an individual appointment with Jennifer Carson. Carson is the wellness promotion specialist and stress management coordinator. Carson meets with students one-on-one to discuss coping methods for stress.

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    Carson believes stress is very individualized, and she said she tries to find coping methods that will fit a person’s needs. They also need to be something a person can do consistently.

    Carson explained that she tends to approach stress management as centered around coping with it, as opposed to preventing it. She said having techniques to deal with it can be helpful. Once these techniques are in place, students can prevent future reactions from being too intense.

    These habits and coping methods can be attending to simple personal hygiene tips. Carson said that students need to remember to sleep and eat well during stressful times

    “I think we all have moments where we get caught up and overwhelmed and stressed out,” she said. “We tend to get so overwhelmed we forget some of our personal needs.”

    Mira Patel is a sophomore in LAS and is a member of the special populations health concerns committee at McKinley. She said this committee tries to raise student awareness of physical and mental health and be informed of the resources they have at their disposal.

    Patel works on creating events and programs around campus geared toward decreasing stress.

    On the Main Quad two days before Reading Day, mental health RSOs and the Stress Management Peers will be hosting a number of activities, such as yoga. They will also be handing out pamphlets containing stress-coping tips, including topics like being active, meditation and eating right.

    “At the end of the day, your mentality, the way you approach things, is what gets you through situations,” Patel said. “I feel like if students can’t handle their stress properly or how to handle problems that come their way, I feel like they can’t accomplish their goals or get anything done that they need to get done.”

    The Illini Union Board is working to give students a mental break with “Treat Yo’self Week.” Traditionally, this has been called last-chance week for graduating seniors. This is the first year this event has been created for all students preparing for finals.

    Greg Mueller, junior in ACES, has been planning events to fill the entire week. He is the director of traditional events for the IUB.

    This week will include a scavenger hunt, a field day on the Main Quad and a lecture by Eddie Huang. On Wednesday, students can find a happy hour on the Main Quad and then craft night in the Courtyard Cafe. There will be a zipline on Friday and then on Sunday is Spring Jam with T-Pain.

    Mueller says that it’s important to minimize stress for students who never give themselves a break.

    “I don’t find the point in being here, because why do something if it’s just going to impact your life in a negative way?” Mueller said.

    Other institutions are trying to help students cope with the additional stress of finals week. Krannert Art Museum is hosting Night at the Museum, where students can eat cookies and drink coffee at night.

    The Counseling Center Paraprofessionals are running #FinishStrongIllinois. This is a workshop focusing on mental health and self-care.

    Therapy dogs will also be visiting libraries close to finals time.

    At the end of the day, Carson reminds students to keep their health in mind during finals. 

    “It’s just so important to take care of you,” Carson said.

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