College is a great place to make new friends and gain new experiences. However, it is also extremely challenging and requires significantly more effort than high school. At least for me personally, balancing academics, a job, research, and volunteering simultaneously can be stressful. Stress impacts both physical and emotional health, and it is therefore essential to make time to take care of yourself. The University of Minnesota offers a wide variety of amazing resources to help students do just that!
- Pet Away Worry and Stress (PAWS): This is, by far, my favorite de-stress activity on campus. PAWS offers the opportunity for students to sit with registered therapy animals such as dogs, bunnies, cats, and even a chicken. This is both relaxing and fun, and actually works. Playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol. It’s free, it’s fun, and it’s a good way to de-stress, especially if you’re missing your own pet from back home!
- Exercise: The University Recreation and Wellness center offers a wide range of exercise options on both Minneapolis and St Paul campuses. Working out has been proven to help reduce stress. If you are not completely comfortable exercising alone, there a large number of group fitness classes available. The Rec also offers fun ways to work out – the rock climbing wall is my personal favorite! Boynton, which is the student health service, also offers free yoga, tai chi, and pilates classes.
- Talk to someone: If you’re feeling overwhelmed with stress, you should talk to somebody. This can be anyone – a friend, family member, significant other, or a trained professional. The de-stress student peer health promotion group sponsored by Boynton Health Service and University Counseling and Consulting Services, focuses on student stress and mental health. Members of this group educate students about stressors, stress management skills, and campus resources related to stress management through Stress Check Ins and other activities.
- Student Academic Success Services (SASS): This campus resource not only helps with stress, but proves time management tips and study skill resources.
So don’t stress about being stressed, the U has you covered!