The Art of Not Giving In to Stress

Written by Chris Pasion, graduate assistant to The Graduate School.

The end of the semester is a stressful time for everyone—deadlines creep closer, projects are due, exams loom overheard, some of us are preparing for graduation and the next step in our lives. The light at the end of the tunnel is in sight; here are some ideas to make getting there an easier process. 

On-campus photos

Free time is a luxury during these last few weeks and it can often feel like you should always be spending time working on something productive. The fall colors are starting to fade away in place of dreary winter weather and snow, with a mounting stack of assignments to keep us company. Feelings of stress can be wide-spread during this time especially, which necessitates a methodical approach to dealing with it and getting things done.

Luckily, there are many opportunities on campus for you to destress and step away from working on things, whether it be in order to talk to someone or to blow off  steam in some form or fashion.

Events & Resources

Student Wellness Center's Stress Less Fest

The Student Wellness Center's semesterly Stress Less Fest is one of the largest stress-relief-themed events on campus. The Student Wellness Center’s festival organizer lists off some of their plans, saying “there will be yoga classes, therapy pets, seminars put on by Learning Commons representatives, and more. There will be a lot of things going on around campus related to stress-relief.” The Student Wellness Center’s Health Hut will also be featured, giving away Stress Less Kits with candy, tea, and information on best practices for stress relief.

This year's festival will take place the week prior to finals (December 2nd-December 6th). Visit the Student Wellness Center’s Campuslink page for more information on individual events from the festival and where they’ll be located.

Campus Recreation Center

The Campus Recreation Center (CRC) is a great place to go if you’re looking to sweat out the stress. The rec center has multiple floors decked out with basketball courts, swimming pools, and even a few rock climbing walls (shoe and harness rentals are free). They also offer free group fitness classes that range from cycling to Zumba and yoga. On the first Thursday of each month, they host a Pet Therapy Thursday, where they bring in service dogs to mingle with the UC community (the next one is December 5th). If you haven’t been to the rec before, now is a great time to go, even if it’s just to float around in the lazy river for a while. 

CAPS' Let's Talk Sessions

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) realizes the stressful nature of the end of the semester, which is why they have doubled down on their Let’s Talk sessions that they offer throughout the year. These sessions give you access to clinicians easily without the need for an appointment. CAPS clinicians are available for free 15-20 minute consultations throughout many different areas on campus, from the College of Law, the AACRC, the LGBTQ Center, and more. Check their Let's Talk webpage for a full list of where they’ll have sessions throughout the rest of the semester.

Prayer and Meditation Room

Earlier this year, Langsam Library – in partnership with undergraduate student government – opened up a prayer and meditation room. This space acts as a quiet area for students to come and focus on prayer, spirituality, and mindfulness; it is a great place to go to get a quick break from studying if you are tied to campus. The room is located in 451 Langsam Library and is open 24/7 on a first-come basis. Read our past feature article on the Prayer and Meditation Room to find out more!

Words of Wisdom from Graduate Students

“When I am stressed, first I sit down, close my eyes, and do breathing exercises. Focusing on my breath allows me to get into the proper headspace for meditation. I don’t try to ignore my stressful thoughts or make them disappear; it works best for me to acknowledge them. I try to be present in the moment and feel everything.” 

    - Luna Amin, Fine Arts/Art Education        

“One thing I’ve started to do this month is to try to give myself Sundays off. I get the Sunday Scaries really bad, so not putting as much pressure on myself to get everything done on the weekend gives me more time to focus on doing things that set up a successful work week. I’ve found that because of this, I’m more productive during the week at getting things done. 

I also try not to make massive to-do lists. I try to accomplish one thing at a time and put all of my energy towards that until I’ve finished. After that, I can check it off the list and then it’s on to the next thing.”

    - Ariel Barat, Political Science

“Towards the end of the semester, I am generally just very stressed. One of my favorite practices is to go outside when I need to. Like, the other day my friend and I just randomly went to the zoo. Getting fresh air is really important for me, because most of the rest of my day is spent in a practice room or working on a computer.” 

    - Tony Padilla Denis, French Horn Performance

"I like to make to-do lists and map my week out in advance. I find spreading things out over the week and weekend to be less stressful than doing everything all at once and leave room for adjustments, so if I don't get something done when intended, I know I have time the next night or so. When all else fails, I binge watch The Office and try again the next day." 

    - Kelsey Graham, Professional Writing

“It may sound cliché at this point, but I meditate. I often like to go outside as well and be in the trees. Basically, anything that keeps me grounded. I read for fun, drink hot tea, and try to get plenty of sleep.”

    - Maria Rockett, Mental Health Counseling