December 7 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Olivet’s Counseling Department hosted its by-annual stress relief event in the Perry Center. Some of the event highlights included therapy dogs, essential oils, snacks and coloring.
“This is an event we have each semester,” Natalie Eick, one of the therapists in Olivet’s counseling department, said about the event on Thursday. “This week, we kind of wanted to amp it up.”
They certainly did. There were therapy dogs brought in by Riverside Medical Center, coloring pages, bubble wrap, Christmas cookies, hot chocolate, and essential oils that students could mix into a lotion. Students that attended the event enjoyed the opportunity to de-stress.
According to the Johns Hopkins website in regards to balancing school and personal life, “stress keeps us focused and aware of all the things that need to be done.” Finals certainly have this effect on students. The page also states that “when your stress level becomes more than a motivating tool, or when pressures are too intense or last too long, you may be in stress overload.” Some signs of this is having issues sleeping, feeling sad or depressed, and struggling with anxiety or panic attacks. The counseling department at Olivet understands that this can be a real problem, especially during finals, and that is why they organized the event for students.
The event featured essential oils that students could mix to fit their needs and take with them to apply as lotions. There were many different blends that they
could make such as one to focus, one for relaxation, and one for happiness. The counselors at Olivet helped the students create their blends. This was very beneficial for students, whether they were new to using oils or longtime fans.
Another student favorite was the therapy dogs. “[The dogs] seem to put people at ease,” Philip Hoffman said, one of the staff members who are involved in the Animal Ambassador program at the Riverside Medical Center. These dogs do not typically go to Olivet for the program. Instead, they mainly go to hospitals or schools, offering patients or students comfort so they can thrive. Even though the dogs are not typically used within a college environment, students found them more than capable of putting a smile on their face.
The counseling department had handouts for students with tips for dealing with stress during finals week, including making a to-do list, staying away from social media, and taking breaks to improve learning and motivation.
“It’s really important to take time for yourself,” Eick said. Despite the stress-filled time that finals bring, time to relax and destress is extremely important. Self time can include doing activities such as listening to music, exercising, spending time with friends or reading devotions. Eick said that even though finals are a crazy time, students should not just abandon their usual daily or weekly habits.
Eick emphasizes the important of sleep during finals. Lack of sleep can cause forgetfulness and anxiety the next day. This goes along with getting adequate food in your body during times of stress.
“Your physical and emotional well-being plays a major role in your academic, professional, and personal success,” said the John Hopkins website. Doing things like eating healthy and sleeping all help relieve stress.
Johns Hopkins also suggests other things that can help with the stress of finals. Practicing positive self-talk when stressed is also another thing that can be helpful, as well as staying optimistic and getting enough Vitamin D in your body. The page also advises to reward yourself after studying hard so you can be further motivated to work even harder. Seeking help from friends and family and laughter may help, too.
For more help on managing stress, you can look on the portal page on MyOlivet under “student support” and “counseling and health services.”