Raider Health Corp. De-Stress Fest helps students cope with stress before finals

Photo courtesy of MTSU Health Promotions 

Story by Nathan Mitchell / Contributing Writer 

The Raider Health Corp. held their De-Stress Fest Wednesday afternoon in the Student Union Commons. This event is held every semester to promote healthy habits that students can use to stay stress free while approaching finals week.

Symone Pearson, a Health Promotion Intern for RHC, talked about the importance of raising awareness about the effects of stress, and how a lot of students at MTSU deal with unhealthy levels of stress and anxiety during the semester and especially during finals week.

“A lot of the students who come into our office want to talk about stress and how to manage it. It’s a big issue and we think this event is a good way to give students tips on how to deal with it near finals,” Pearson said.

The event included several booths with a variety of ways to help students “de-stress.” The Campus Recreation booth handed out samples of green tea and flyers with everyday tips to relieve stress. The RHC’s booths were handing out healthy snacks, sleeping masks and “glitter globes” which were homemade miniature lava lamps that helped keep your thoughts away from school. They even had a magician there to entertain the students with card tricks.

However, the most popular booth of the day belonged to the Operation Education Animal Rescue. OpEd is a nonprofit animal rescue located in Middle Tennessee, and they brought along a couple of their furry friends to put a smile on students’ faces. Students all gathered around the booth to hang out with the adoptable dogs and learn more about the foster-based animal rescue group. Event Coordinator for OpEd Justin Way explained why they were there.

“Everyone knows that dogs are an amazing way to relieve stress, and this is a great opportunity to raise awareness for our organization while helping students de-stress for finals,” Way said.

Whether you’re playing with a puppy or enjoying a hobby, the RHC staff emphasized the need to find things that relax you and make you happy.

This event comes at a time where stress seems to be constantly increasing for everyone, especially students.

According to the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, student mental health is on the decline, and posted the lowest ever rating as of 2014. Students seem to be entering college with greater stress levels about their higher education than ever before. What seems to be the biggest concern among incoming college freshman? Money, or the lack of money when it comes to paying tuition. According to The Princeton Review 2017 College Hopes and Worries Survey, 38 percent of students say their biggest worry is the level of debt required to pay for the degree. For comparison, the biggest worry of 2006 was “won’t get into first college of choice.” This seems almost silly compared to stress that comes with graduation and the prospect of finding a career with a mountain of student debt looming large over you.

On top of all that, a recent survey by WalletHub found that Tennessee was the ninth most stressed state and the fifth most stressed state when dealing with… you guessed it, money-related issues.

So how exactly should we deal with all this stress? According to several experts, it really could be as simple as playing with a puppy for a while.

Several experts interviewed in the WalletHub article say finding a 30-minute activity you enjoy doing will take your attention away from stressful things.

This echoes the most important point Pearson made at the annual De-Stress Fest.

“Students today have a lot more to deal with while in college. Between jobs, schoolwork, internships, volunteer work, and paying for college, students deal with a lot of stressful things and situations. It’s important to find a balance to your schedule and make time for things that make you happy and keep you healthy,” Pearson said.

For more tips on relieving stress and other information on staying healthy, you can contact the Raider Health Corps here. To learn more about Operation Education Animal Rescue, click here.

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To contact News Editor Brinley Hineman, email newseditor@mtsusidelines.com.

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