As the semester is coming to an end and finals are quickly approaching, it is important for students to understand the detrimental effects of stress and the many services Stevenson provides to ensure students are coping to the best of their abilities.
SERVICES FOR STUDENTS TO ALLEVIATE STRESS
One service that Stevenson offers is free yoga that takes place in the Menning Meditation Center on Stevenson’s Greenspring campus. The yoga sessions are held on Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to noon and are guided by Elizabeth Schulman, adjunct professor of physical education.
In the past, Stevenson has brought in “therapy dogs,” provided to the school by Pets on Wheels. The dogs help to alleviate student stress, and the school is expecting to host this event again in the future.
Stevenson also has a group of Responsible Education Awareness Leaders, known as R.E.A.L. The group consists of approximately 30 peer-education students who go into classrooms to remind students how to properly cope with stress.
Freshman Michael Rose, who studies accounting, is the Vice President of R.E.A.L Peer Educators. Although coping with stress depends on each individual person, Rose offered his best advice to de-stress for finals. “Deep breathing exercises are very beneficial. Taking a deep breath in for a couple seconds, paying attention to it and letting it out slowly by counting and doing several repetitions of that is very helpful. It gets your body and your mind working in-sync together so that you can really be focused on what is in front of you.”
The Wellness Center, located on the Stevenson’s Owings Mills campus, also offers many helpful services to students including a full-time staff of counselors. The Wellness Center provides useful worksheets upon request for practicing mindfulness and a brochure of 101 tips to reduce stress.
TIPS ON DE-STRESSING DURING FINALS
Brenda Boggs, nurse practitioner at the Wellness Center, discussed how she would like to see more students take advantage of the yoga and meditation sessions. She explained, “Yoga and meditation are such a good thing to do for your health and to relax; to lower your blood pressure, clear your mind and just de-stress. It takes practice to really meditate and it’s something you have to continue to do in order to be able to meditate effectively.”
Boggs also emphasized how important it is to take care of one’s body and health during stressful times and develop appropriate health habits to cope.
Students should work on maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night, sticking to a healthy diet, watching their caffeine intake, utilizing Stevenson’s fitness centers and avoiding the use of drugs and alcohol as a coping method. If students can practice these five simple steps on a daily basis, their stress for finals will be much more manageable as they will have clearer, healthier minds.
Boggs added, “Students need to keep in perspective what’s good in life. When you’re really stressed, the smallest things can seem so overwhelming.”
She added a tip of advice for students who have trouble sleeping: “Write your thoughts down on a piece of paper near your bedside and set them aside. Then, you might be able to go back to sleep because now your thoughts are there on that piece of paper. Take them out of your head and get them in the morning.”
Stress is a common feeling among many individuals; however, it is how one deals with it that makes all the difference. Use some of the resources on campus as well as these tips in order minimize stress.