UT Counseling, Natural Sciences Council, RecSports ease finals stress

Christine Ayala

With the stresses of the last week of class and upcoming finals, students should make time for their personal care, according to the UT Counseling and Mental Health Center.

Center Associate Director Jane Morgan Bost said students often disregard their diets and sleeping patterns because of academic stress when they should be doing the opposite. She said students can focus better while studying if they continue with their normal routine rather than trying to go without sleep and increasing their caffeine intake.

“Sleep tends to be one of those things that goes out the window the fastest when students are stressed, but it’s generally not effective or efficient to pull an all-nighter,” Morgan Bost said. “Students should have a plan that’s broken down day to day so it is not overwhelming. They should try to stick to as regular a sleep routine and diet as they can so they can maximize the time they do spend studying.”

Morgan Bost said the University offers students various resources to combat a stressful week including the center’s MindBody lab, which provides students with a quiet room with calming music to relax; the Healthy Horns Nap Map, an online tool pointing out places to nap on campus; and exercise and massages at RecSports.

Aside from promoting a healthy diet and exercise, the center suggested students make time for themselves at a petting zoo Monday at the East Mall. The event was hosted by the Natural Sciences Council and aimed to give students a relaxing distraction from academic stress.

Council Vice President Juan Herrejon said the event attracted hundreds of students with goats, sheep, bunnies, chickens and pigs from Rachel’s Barnyard, a mobile zoo. Herrejon said the council hosted “Pet Your Stress: Ease Your Stress” to provide students with a fun break during the busy week.

“It was a shock to a lot of people to see animals as they were coming from class and definitely worked as a little distraction getting to see something a little different on campus,” Herrejon said.

Rhonda Cox, RecSports memberships and guest services coordinator, said this week that RecSports is offering two free upgrades on table massages for students because the last week of class comes with added stress. Upgrade options include aroma therapy, hot towel hand or foot treatments and deep tissue massage.

In addition to massages, Cox said students can relieve stress with a quick walk around campus or the Gregory Gym track, or a short cardio work out. The gym will be open with limited hours throughout finals.

“During high-stress times, things like massages and working out regularly can help reduce tension and keep you focused on studying,” Cox said.

Printed on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 as: Leaders offer relaxation tips before finals