A few more days of classes before finals and the campus is crowded with demanding projects, half-written papers, and last-minute learning yet to be done. What’s a stressed-out Grinnellian to do? “Take care of yourself in whatever way wellness looks to you,” suggests Austin McKenney ’15.
It’s easy for students who are striving to achieve the high standards they set for themselves, he says, to forget even the basics — like eating, sleeping, and sticking to a time-management strategy. But being the person who studies the longest or sleeps the least can backfire. “We often forget that wellness makes you high functioning,” he adds.
McKenney, a hall wellness coordinator, builds strategies for staying sane and healthy into his day. “I tell people you have to make time for wellness. For example, I play a lot of music, including with a band and the Grinnell Singers. I use it as time to rejuvenate myself and really enjoy it. I don’t think about it as another time commitment,” he says.
In addition to eating well — “remember to take a piece of fruit with you when you leave the dining hall,” McKenney recommends — and sleeping at least seven hours a night, he suggests taking advantage of opportunities to relax and rejuvenate.
The wellness program is teaming up with others on campus to remind students of the importance of self-care. To launch self-care week, Dec. 3–7, Student Health and Counseling Services (SHACS) is offering chair massages and self-care kits, while Active Minds gives students the chance to “play the stress away.” Students can tackle stress while walking a labyrinth, making holiday cards with Erik ’89 and Susan Sanning’s therapy dog Bently, and munching homemade cookies in Burling courtesy of student athletes.
Other activities during the last three weeks of the semester include movies, a men’s health seminar, and study breaks, including the traditional and ever-popular Fireman’s pancake break. And Doug Cutchins ’93, director of social commitment; Jennifer Jacobsen ’95, wellness coordinator, and Dan Hirsch, assistant director of residence life, will once again lead the goofy “You Can Do It Parade” of faculty, staff, and alumni who give out goodies and cheer on students as they prepare for finals.
For anyone who needs a helping hand, says Hirsch, all the student services are still available and ready to help — just ask.