Students de-stress before finals

EMMA'LE MAAS, Staff Writer

Student Wellness Services hosted De-Stress Days from Dec. 9 to 11 in the Maucker Union ballrooms. The bi-annual event is held before finals week every semester.

Activities include PlayDoh, puzzles, coloring, rock-painting, positive notes, therapy animals, hot chocolate and tea and several other arts and crafts. Other activities include the “Walk the Labyrinth” experience: a quiet meditation-type room where allowing students walk a path to clear their minds and alleviate stress.

Health Promotion Coordinator Shawna Haislet helps organize the event in order to promote well-being in students, especially during finals time. Her personal favorite De-Stress Days activity is rock-painting.

“It’s a way for you not only de-stress, but also be creative,” she said. “It’s a way to remind yourself that you’ll be okay.”

Haislet and other coordinators base the activities on results from The National College Health Assessment that UNI students answer concerning their health habits.

“Stress is always the number one factor that negatively affects academic success,” Haislet said.

Haislet advised students that stress is not necessarily always a negative thing.

“Stress can keep you motivated to work and be productive,” she said, also emphasizing, however, the importance of self-awareness and getting the seven to nine hours of sleep required to be successful.

Montana Hart, a senior social science education major, said her top ways of dealing with stress is working out in creative ways such as Zumba or jazzercise. She advised other students to find their outlet as well as invest in time management.

“I like to write things down, and you get gratification when you cross things off,” said Hart, who has attended De-Stress Days for the past few semesters.

“[My favorite part is] hearing about all of the different resources they have here on campus,” Hart said. “Just seeing that they really care about students and their success is really nice.”

Sophomore elementary education major Sophie Buckley, who attended the event for the first time this year, said her favorite part was the “Retrieving Freedom Dogs” showcasing working dogs in training, with ages ranging from four months to two years old.

As finals week approaches, Buckley wanted to remind other students to take things into perspective.

“Grades don’t define you as a person, and neither does a test,” she said.

Students can attend more de-stress events at Rod Library next week, including P.E.T.P.A.L.S from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 12, 13, 16 and 17 in the Learning Commons featuring dogs and cats that specialize in relieving human concerns.

The Student Health Center also partners with the library for Student Wellness Wednesdays in the Makerspace, which provides relaxing activities and a variety of information based on a different wellness topic each week. The final Student Wellness Wednesday of the semester will take place on Dec. 18. 

“You can go to the library next week for all of your de-stressing needs!” Haislet said.