Increasing health and wellness for Laurier students


Paige Bush, File Photo
Paige Bush, File Photo

In preparation for exam time, a period in which many experience high-stress levels, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Centre for Student Life and Engagement, in partnership with the Accessible Learning Centre and the Student Wellness Centre, will be holding a workshop in efforts to increase health and wellness of students.

The workshop —  Cultivating Calm — will be held on Dec. 8 in the Hawk’s Nest from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and will be facilitated by Mike Masse, a clinical professional and Holistic therapist who specializes in applying mindfulness to help youth and young adults reduce stress and anxiety.

The interactive training session is specifically designed to help students understand the importance of life balancing, explained Sarina Wheeler, Student Life and Engagement coordinator.

“Some benefits that students can expect to enjoy from the session would be greater self awareness and acceptance, increased self-esteem, stress reduction and coping methods for dealing with negative emotions of anxiety,” she said.

The workshop, which is only a 90-minute commitment, will be a chance for students to de-stress in the midst of busy exam time while building the necessary skills to cope during periods of high-stress levels.

“Students are dealing with multiple demands and multiple stresses beyond school,” said Wheeler.

“So doing activities like this where you’re making a small investment of time to learn some skills will help them to do better in exams to create a healthy work life balance.”

The workshop, which focuses on mindfulness, will aim to help students improve their capacity to respond to challenges.

Adrienne Luft, mental health and student support coordinator for the Student Wellness Centre, said that it has been demonstrated that mindfulness can help lower levels of stress and anxiety.

“A lot of times when people think of mindfulness or meditation they think they have to sit silently and retreat for hours to be able to be mindful, or that they need to shut their brain down, which is complete myth about mindfulness.”

It’s about tuning in and paying attention to what’s happening, not have no thoughts at all, which is something that keeps people from trying to practice,” she said.

Luft also said that taking small breaks to focus on self care is essential in order to lower stress during the long exam season.

“It’s okay to take little pauses to take care of yourself. I think that the common myth is that if I stop to take time to take care of myself, I wont have time to study and it’s taking short breaks that’s really important for taking care of ourselves.”

She explained that the smaller things can have the biggest impact. In contrast to making major life changes, such as going to the gym five times a week, it can be as simple as learning how to exercise and respect your brain.

“It’s little tools and tips. It’s sometimes learning from someone in a different way, it’s how do I still have ways to take care of myself like how do I eat, that’s a really important thought going into exams, what are small ways to take care of myself?”

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