UI students try to relax, fight stress

Nneamaka Onyejekwe, graduating student in MCB hands out stress packets at McKinley on Friday. Stress packets include complimentary snacks, toys, stress balloons and pamphlets on how to relax during finals week. This is one way the University helps students during stressful periods such as  midterms and finals.

Daily Illini File Photo

Nneamaka Onyejekwe, graduating student in MCB hands out “stress packets” at McKinley on Friday. Stress packets include complimentary snacks, toys, stress balloons and pamphlets on how to relax during finals week. This is one way the University helps students during stressful periods such as midterms and finals.

By Bridget Maiellaro

Finals are hard.

As students prepare for finals, new stresses may arise. In order to help students lower their stress levels, McKinley Health Center and the Oasis have continued to offer their services, in addition to providing students with free stress-relief packets, during finals week.

“If you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re more prone to being sick and it can complicate things during finals,” said Cyndi Foehrkolb, teaching assistant of a Community Health course on stress management. “Taking time for yourself can help you mentally and physically.”

Specifically designed for finals week, stress-relief packets are available at the Health Resource Centers at McKinley and the Oasis, the health rejuvenation center located in the lower level of the Illini Union. Packets include two pens, a pencil, a small toy, snacks and a stress relief ball made by the students in Community Health 340, a stress management class open to all majors.

Students in the class, who are trained as peer educators, made the stress balls with stretch wrap, flour, and balloons.

“They took Saran Wrap and put flour in the middle,” Foehrkolb said. “Then they wrapped up the flour, stretched out a balloon, stuck the Saran Wrap inside and tied it off.”

The stress-relief packets are given on a first come, first serve basis.

“Not only does the pack have some food, but there is also some fun stuff,” Foehrkolb said. “Everybody likes stress balls. Plus, it’s free. There’s no reason not to get one.”

The Oasis will continue offering its health, wellness and fitness services during finals week. Students can still receive massages by BodyWorks Associates for a small fee. Visit the health resource center and take part in SportWell services and workout center.

The Relaxation Room, which provides students with a 20-minute audio-visual guided imagery experience, will also remain open.

“The room’s guided imagery helps provide students with different breathing and muscle relaxation techniques,” Foehrkolb said.

While the guided imagery room and massages are available, Lisa Burgoon, SportWell coordinator and sport nutritionist, said students need to get more exercise during finals week.

“There are significant stress relief benefits from people who are exercising,” she said. “Any combination of stress management techniques will be good and can be really helpful.”

Burgoon said that engaging in physical activities during study breaks would be more effective and allow students to feel more refreshed.

Erin Fox, sophomore in Education, is one of many students who will take part in physical activity during finals week.

“I’ll probably try to make time to hang out with friends or go running, just to get away from my schoolwork for a little while,” she said.

Burgoon said that while a little stress helps motivate students, too much could be hazardous.