November is probably the most stressful month of the fall semester. Midterm exams fall during this month, and it feels like every possible important project, paper, and assignment is due at this time. Students and professors alike are catching up on work that they’ve fallen behind on. And in addition to all of that, registration opens for the next semester, so students need to be thinking not only about the ever-demanding present, but also about the future as well. Thanksgiving break looms in the foreground, but for many students, there’s the added stress of making plans to get home or finding someone to stay with if they aren’t able to go home.
For all of these reasons and more, Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, decided to host their Stress Less Week during the first week of November, from the first to the fifth. They had events all week long to help educate students on stress and how to deal with it, as well as providing ways to reduce stress.
Stress has been proven to not only affect your mental health but also your physical health. It’s important to pay attention to the signs your mind and body are showing you to indicate that you are stressed, like feeling tired or irritable constantly, struggling to focus, and experiencing headaches. If you are concerned about your levels of stress, try the tips below. If your stress levels are causing distress, contact a healthcare professional, CCAS, or a call center line designed to help you find solutions to manage your stress.
On Monday, they set up a table in Walton and greeted students with packets on stress, tea bags, and a sticker of their choice. There was also a table where students could make their own stress ball by filling an uninflated balloon with rice. Stress balls have been found to be useful in improving the focus of sixth graders in a study by Sheryl Stalvey and Heather Brasell, so anyone who took a few minutes to make their own stress ball may be finding that their focus in class improved.
Tuesday’s event was an art night in McInnis, where students could bring their own project or start a new one. The term art therapy was firts coined in 1942 by British artist Adrian Hill. It was used to improve the mood of tuberculosis patients confined to santitoriums, and by 1964, the idea of artistic expression as a metnally healing practice was cemented by the creation of the British Association of Art Therapists.
Psi Chi also partnered with Wednesday Night Worship for their mid-week event. The tag on their poster read, “Give your worries to God!” There are many Bible verses that are often quoted in tandem with that idea, such as Matthew 11:28-30 and 1 Peter 5:7. Music is also a source of comfort and an emotional outlet for many people, whether they play an instrument, sing, or just listen to music. Many people find it cathartic to sing along to songs with lyrics that express their worry and fear while also allowing them to give those emotions to God.
On Thursday, they held a Yoga Night where students were encouraged to bring their own mat. Yoga originated in South Asia as a practice connected to the Hindu religion, but today, many people in the West practice it without connecting it back to its origins. Many yoga practices involved stretching and regulated breathing.
Lastly, on Friday, Psi Chi concluded their Stress Less Week with DIY Self-Care Night, where they encouraged students to implement the practices that they’d found most helpful over the course of the week and to make them a regular part of their routine. Stress isn’t something that can be banished with one night of yoga or an hour doing art; because the causes of stress never go away, the solutions need to be consistent as well. Hopefully, Psi Chi Stress Less Week showed students how they can form consistent habits to reduce their own stress.
Sources: https://adelphipsych.sg/the-history-of-art-therapy/, the Bible