May 042005
Authors: Lindsay Reiter

On a campus where thousands of students are busy carrying out their hectic lives, studying for finals and finishing classes, some may find a serene and peaceful oasis known as the Wellness Zone.

A place for students to relax and get away from the day's chaos, Wellness Zone this week is offering a special Stress Busters program to help students deal with the stress that comes with preparing for finals.

"The Stress Busters Program provides a place for students to take a break. We anticipate that they will be stressed and we try to help out with that and meet their needs," said Erin Northup, a senior health and exercise science major.

Sophomore Andy Marr, a history major, goes to the Wellness Zone often to relax between classes.

"The staff here is really fun. It's a nice place to come to relax in the Lory Student Center. I like to bring my homework here, too," Marr said.

The Wellness Zone modified its program this week and added a variety of stress-relieving activities and programs – such as play therapy and pet therapy – to some of the regular programs, which include biofeedback and stress management, chair massages and "ask the sexpert."

"The idea behind play therapy is that it is so opposite from what you're doing. Take a break from studying for finals and just play with Play-Doh or color for a few minutes," Northup said. "It's a fun idea and it's easy to stop in. Besides, it's a good mental break."

One of the most popular programs is pet therapy by HABIC, which stands for Human-Animal Bond in Colorado. HABIC is dedicated to "improving the quality of life for people of all ages through the therapeutic use of companion animals." It will have dogs at the Wellness Zone from noon to 2 p.m. today for students to pet and play with.

"Many students have dogs that they had to leave at home, so HABIC gives them the opportunity to spend time with dogs and pet them. It's not a really structured event. You just get to hangout with the dogs," Northup said.

In addition to offering stress-relieving activities, the Wellness Zone also offers students a way to identify when they are stressed and teaches techniques to calm down through the use of biofeedback.

After measuring stress levels, students are taught how to recognize that they are stressed and what to do about it.

"You can train your mind to know what it feels like when your body is stressed. We teach breathing and stretching exercises to help control stress," said Adam Sargent, a junior psychology major.

The stress-management program is offered throughout the semester from 10 a.m. until noon on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, not just during the Stress Busters Program.

Students can also get a 10-minute massage for $5, which can be billed to their account.

As part of the Stress Busters Program, the Wellness Zone is conducting drawings for prizes.

"Some of the prizes are a week's worth of yoga classes, a chair massage, gift certificates to the (University) Bookstore and gift certificates for food," Northup said.

The Stress Busters Program will end Friday.

"We are open during finals week, but the Stress Busters program is only this week. Because the staff is all students there won't be any additional programs, but the Wellness Zone will still be open," Northup said.

Northup said the environment is the main reason people should come in.

"I encourage people to come check it out. There are free snacks and staff waiting to talk," Northup said.

Marr advises students to take advantage of the relaxing and welcoming environment.

"I think more people should take advantage of it. Most people don't know about it unless they walk in here," he said.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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