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Brown bag event gives students helpful tips for self-care before finals

As Finals Week approached, students, staff and community members packed tightly into the Ohio University Women’s Center on Dec. 1 for a Brown Bag Lunch and Learn on self-care.

Ohio University Counseling and Psychological Services interns Lindsay Donofrio and Michelle Barron-Wearsch hosted a conversation about stressors, their causes and how students can manage stress and engage in self-care and wellness during Finals Week and all year.

“We recognize that this is a stressful time and we hope that you come up with some ways on how to take care of yourself this upcoming week and moving forward,” Barron-Wearsch said.

Donofrio and Barron-Wearsch, predoctoral students, discussed typical signs or reactions to stress, which include over and under sleeping and eating, avoidance of necessary work and physical bodily responses, such as sickness and muscle tension.

“Stress is a normal reaction that we have to good and bad things that happen in our lives, and whether it’s a good or bad change, we can react in similar ways,” Barron-Wearsch said.

Donofrio mentioned that those who are graduating may be experiencing higher levels of stress as they anticipate the future.

In times of high levels of stress, she said, “Self-care if the first thing to go.”

The duo said self-care involves healthy ways of coping with stress. This can include getting organized, exercising and writing as a planning method or outlet.

“Whether it’s carving out a small part of your day by taking five minutes to do deep breathing, having some hot decaffeinated tea at the end of your day or coloring, it stimulates a different part of your brain and can help you in that moment and help you relieve stress and anxiety. It can have a really powerful impact,” Barron-Wearsch said.

Loren Richardson, a freshman majoring in international business, came to the event to learn about ways to handle stress as she approaches final exams.

“It was very welcoming, and I felt like I got a couple more ways to deal with stress that I didn’t know before. I also have more resources now if I ever need to talk to anybody,” Richardson said.

As the event ended, Donofrio reminded students that it is important to engage in self-care even when you’re not stressed out. “Think about it as a lifestyle change,” she said.

The Counseling Center, located on the third floor of Hudson Health Center, has drop-in hours from 9:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is open for appointments from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with after hours in room 160 of the Living Learning Center from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and Sunday.

For more information on Counseling and Psychological Services, visit www.ohio.edu/counseling