Centers offer stress relief services for students preparing for finals

The Wellness Resource Center has a massage chair for student use.

The Women's Center and Wellness Resource Center are working to de-stress students heading into finals week. The Wellness Resource Center is offering a massage chair, and the Women's Center is extending its hours. Maneater File Photo

With finals week approaching, the Women’s Center and Wellness Resource Center provide extra services to help students cope with high levels of stress.

The Wellness Resource Center offers the "relaxation station" to students who need to take a break from studying or other daily pressures. Running from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every weekday until Dec. 14 in the Wellness Resource Center, it aids students in both physical and emotional stress relief. The station includes a massage chair.

Students are much more effective in their studying when they schedule time to unwind, Wellness Resource Center director Kim Dude said.

“We have relaxing music, and it’s just a very helpful 15 minutes,” Dude said. “It’s a time to escape and center yourself. You’re in a secluded area, and (the massage) just feels so good. It helps you take a mental vacation.”

The Wellness Resource Center also offers wellness coaching, often with graduate students, for advice on anxiety, time management and sleep schedules. Many groups ask the center to give presentations about stress, time management and study skills.

The Women’s Center plans to extend its hours during finals week to allow students to study on campus when other locations might be closed.

The extended hours began when the Women's Center was still in Memorial Union, Women’s Center director Suzy Day said.

“Students wanted to stay on campus and study, and there wasn’t anywhere to do so,” she said. “We open up our space so students can come here and feel comfortable.”

During finals week, the Women’s Center will offer studying supplies such as highlighters, lap desks, food and a place for students to take naps.

“People seem to be relaxed here, and it’s a pretty cool place to study,” Day said. “I would have studied here as an undergrad.”

Both centers have offered these services in the past and received positive feedback from students who took advantage of the opportunities.

According to a 2009 survey conducted by mtvU and the Associated Press, 85 percent of students reported feeling stress on a daily basis.

“There are multiple levels of stress this time of year that we just can’t escape from,” Dude said. “This is a very important time to buckle down. This is not a time to party. You’re going to have five weeks off. You have to devote this time to studying and taking care of yourself.”

Dude said she advises students who feel especially anxious at this point in the semester to make a list scheduling all the things they have to do. She also emphasized the importance of healthy behaviors such as eating healthy food, getting at least seven hours of sleep and exercising.

Students should always keep snacks on hand during finals week and should schedule breaks into their study time, Day said.

“You need to schedule breaks because your brain will stop absorbing information at some point,” she said. “High stress mixed with lack of sleep usually makes you feel really drained. You might not be yourself. It’s really hard to get all your work done when everything is happening at once.”

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