Center offers stress relief tips

Although the holidays can be an exciting time, the combination of finals week, returning home and needing to purchase presents is enough to stress out even the most well-organized student.

Tomorrow the University Counseling Center will hold a workshop that provides students with suggestions on how to manage the stress that may come with the holidays. The workshop will be from 5-6 p.m. in the Counseling Center, which is located in Saddelmire. Students can call the Counseling Center to register to attend.

The holidays can be stressful for students for numerous reasons, Rebecca Davenport, a University counseling psychologist said. One cause of stress for students may be the transition from living independently at the University to returning home. “The transition from school to home, even if it is a good transition, it is still stressful,” Davenport said.

Davenport also said students may experience holiday stress if they are unable to return home for the holidays or if students have strained relationships with family.

Financial concerns may also cause holiday stress. “We may not have the money to buy the gifts we want to buy, and sometimes parents are in the same situation,” she said.

Images in holiday media may also lead society to anticipate a picture-perfect holiday. “For many of us, those perfect images don’t ring true,” Davenport said.

The workshop will focus on relaxation techniques that teach students to manage stress by focusing on the “here and now.”

These relaxation techniques will include breathing exercises and visualization. Students can enjoy the holidays and reduce stress by “slowing down and being in the moment,” Davenport said.

“I think that often we live for ‘once this is over, I’ll be happy,'” Davenport said. “Once finals are over, once I am home . . . ” Many students start off their holidays on a stressful note by coming away from a week of hard studying and a lack of sleep. “There is so much stress associated with finals,” Davenport said. “I think finals can be a set-up to a build-up of tension. Students are coming into the holidays very exhausted, sometimes being with family can be recharging and for some of us it’s not recharging,” Davenport said.

Students, Katie Horton, a senior and business major, and Emily Walch, a junior and human resource management major, can identify with the stress that sometimes comes along with the holidays.

“I think the holidays are stressful because we have finals and we don’t get home until right before Christmas,” Horton said, “and then it’s time to do holiday shopping and you don’t have any money.”

Walch said budgeting time can help students reduce holiday stress. “Study for finals early and start your shopping early,” Walch said.

Despite the stress the holidays can bring, they can be a wonderful and happy time, Davenport said. The key, however, is making the holidays work in each individual’s picture with their particular make-up of relationships, Davenport said.

Editor’s Note: The Counseling Center will also hold a workshop titled “Coping with Test Anxiety to Conquer Finals” on Dec. 3, from 3-4 p.m. in the Counseling Center.