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Counselors, students share tips on de-stressing


 Waterford freshman Kaitlyn True and Woodhaven freshman Natalie Wolney interact at Mess 'N Destress Nov. 15, 2018 in Finch Fieldhouse. 

Forty-four students distracted themselves from stress through messy activities at Mess ‘N De-Stress, an event organized by students in RPL 430 to benefit the Counseling Center.

For students who couldn’t make the Nov. 15 event in Finch Fieldhouse, counselors and students at the event offered plenty of tips to help manage stress.

Melissa Hutchinson, interim director of counseling services, said basics are important: getting the best nutrition, sleep and exercise possible. When it comes to studying, she said it can help to find study partners so students don’t feel that they’re missing out. 

“Students want to belong,” Hutchinson said. “Students want to interact with other students—so if you do things together, like study and have fun, it just enhances your spirits.”

Mess N' De-Stress participant plays paint-filled Twister Nov. 15 in Finch Fieldhouse.

To study well, students shouldn’t cram for exams without breaks since it actually reduces memory, Hutchinson said. But, she added, spending focused time on studying without social media or other distractions helps allow for more time later to spend on self-care.

“Students work hard, but you have to play hard too,” Hutchinson said. “You have to have balance in your life.” 

“Playing hard” can mean different things for different people. 

For Peggy Clerc, counseling center executive secretary, looking at pictures of treasured memories on her phone helps her de-stress. Clerc said de-stressing for students can look like taking a walk, reading or visiting therapy dogs during the Counseling Center’s Pause for Paws sessions.

Karley Sequin, Midland sophomore and mother of two, finds that re-reading favorite books or taking a drive by herself are helpful ways to de-stress.

“You have to make time for yourself or else you’ll go crazy,” Sequin said.

Flushing junior Maddison Nelson, while coloring with others on a giant adult coloring sheet, said coloring can help de-stress.

“It’s just really fun to take my mind off things,” she said. “It’s been a really stressful week.”

Nelson emphasized that students shouldn’t be ashamed to seek out resources available to them.

She personally enjoys de-stressing at the Counseling Center’s arts-related sessions. The Art & Creativity sessions takes place from 3:30-5 p.m. every Wednesday in Foust 134 and the Art Journaling sessions take place 11 a.m. to noon every Friday in Foust 134.

“It’s OK to get help," Nelson said. “Don’t feel ashamed. Reach out.”