Maryland Today | Five ways to reduce stress during finals week

As you slog through a semester’s notes, jostle with classmates, or prepare to redpen hundreds of papers, it could be easy to ignore your sanity as final exams approach this week.

But in-person and virtual activities on the University of Maryland campus over the coming days can help you stay balanced, whether it’s snuggling with therapy dogs, doing breathing exercises, or indulging in a tasty treat.

“It’s really important to consciously take time for yourself and stay away from stressors, even if it’s temporary. That’s where these programs can help,” said Olivia Mays, program coordinator for mental health and stress management at the University Health Center (UHC). “Research shows that getting outside and moving your body, connecting with animals, or just sitting in nature for 10 minutes can help you relax, refocus, and reorient yourself.”

Pet some puppies
Therapy dogs will offer sloppy kisses and eager tail wags at the final Wags for Wellness session of the school year on Thursday. From 1pm to 3pm, visit the second floor of the McKeldin Library and feel the endorphins rush through your body.

Do daily meditation
Take 15 to 30 minutes to quiet your mind with University Health Center online meditation sessions. These free Zoom sessions will run through the end of this week and will be offered at different times each day. Whether you are looking for breathing exercises, sleep exercises, or to connect with other members of the UMD community, each session focuses on a different area to meet your needs. If none of the live Zoom sessions fit your schedule, UHC also offers pre-recorded meditations.

Chow down on local treats
Stop by Wednesday at the University of Maryland’s final Farmers’ Market of the season to pick up some sweet treats like freshly popped kettle corn or sticky fudge, a coffee pick-me-up, or a batch of healthy veggies to kickstart your studies. Dining Services Executive Chef Larry Tumlin also offers a weekly cooking demonstration with free samples – so stop by and grab a recipe card! The market is located in Tawes Plaza and runs from 11am to 3pm

Grab a brush
Unleash your artistic side in Stamp Student Union’s basement in Studio A, where you can attend the last Paint Night of the semester on Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. The student fee is only $8 and includes an 8×10 canvas, paint and brushes. Bring your friends, listen to music and create take-home artworks!

Go out
The campus is beautiful this time of year, with colorful blooming flowers, the flowing ODK fountain, and verdant trees providing plenty of shady spots to lounge and study. Take a stroll through the soothing maze in the Memorial Chapel’s Garden of Reflection and Remembrance. Play volleyball on La Plata Beach. Or stock up on some vitamin D, which may boost brain health, with a picnic at McKeldin Mall.

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