PAWS provides end-of-semester stress relief

Stress—the bane of college students— is often seen in its most destructive state during finals week.

With the pressure caused by rigorous projects and hours of endless studying, most students will accept any opportunity to take a break to maintain sanity.

Fortunately for Butler students, this week is host to a myriad of events targeted to help students deal with and reduce stress, promoting healthy life practices both during and outside of finals week.

Sarah Barnes Diaz, health education and outreach programs coordinator, described Stress Less Week as “a week-long series of events and messaging for students at Butler to promote healthy stress-management techniques and to encourage students to find some stress-management practices that work for them.”

Stress Less Week kicked off Monday with a Brain Food Breakfast coordinated by Peers Advocating Wellness for Students.

During the event, PAWS members distributed healthy snacks to students in Jordan Hall in the morning as they passed by.

On Tuesday, students had the opportunity to receive massages, drink tea and participate in aromatherapy while Wednesday yields opportunities for students to attend stress- management workshops, view student art at the Reilly Room’s Art Now Exhibit and play inner tube water polo at the Health and Recreation Complex.

Events hosted throughout Stress Less Week are tailored to appeal to a variety of student interests and schedules. The ultimate goal is helping students understand how they can deal with stress, especially during finals week.

“I think students are at a greater risk for experiencing the effects of stress,” Diaz said. “Not only are they thinking about some of the pressures that can come along with the holidays, they’re also trying to wrap up their semester with lots of final projects, papers, finals and pressure to do well academically so that they can continue to be successful.”

Though studying and other work will take up the majority of students’ time, attending a few of these small events can prove helpful.

“I think it’s a huge benefit because students become so focused on studying, and to study for 24 hours that entire week is obviously unhealthy,” freshman Katelyn Sussli said. “For them to be able to go out, take a little break and just hang out with friends for about an hour or so is really helpful.”

Increased stress levels for students are not exclusive to finals week, though. Many students said having similar events throughout each semester could help promote stress management appropriately.

“Usually, when you’re in school, there’s something looming above your head throughout the next couple of weeks,” freshman Matt Michel said. “It can make it tougher to enjoy your day, so having stress-alleviating events more often would make it a better experience.”

Many of the activities offered during Stress Less Week are available to students at their leisure.

Ultimately, it is up to students to make healthy choices and manage their stress appropriately.

“All of the events offered are things that students can find or do on campus anytime,” Diaz said. “We shove this calendar of events together the week before finals because it is a high-stress time.

“But there’s always dogs available on campus, and there’s always an opportunity to take a yoga class, get a massage at the HRC or any of these other things.”

With events like Doodle at Dinner and Flick n’ Float Friday Movie closing out the week, students still have time to enjoy themselves and reduce stress before the push toward finals.

Ideally, students will be able to take what they have learned about stress to manage it efficiently both in and after college, Diaz said.

“It’s really important to find and take opportunities to do things that recharge and rejuvenate you, especially during these high-stress times,” Diaz said. “Taking a break and doing something that brings you joy or gives you some peace is not at all a sign of weakness. It actually will help you be stronger and do better academically and in life as well.”

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