When the results came in for the 2011 National College Health Assessment Survey, a survey done for the first time at Denison that year, Molly Thurlow-Collen, interim director of health services, and Catherine Champagne, coordinator of alcohol drug, and health education, saw above-average levels of stress among Denison students. So they decided to do something not only to help the students chill out now in the midst of a hectic semester, but also to teach them how to manage stress throughout their adult lives in a series of “de-stress” events.
A few weeks ago, the Denison’s Health and Wellness Center hosted another event, the Fall De-stress Fest, complete with chair massages and animal-petting sessions. But a massage therapist and a cute puppy aren’t always at one’s disposal, so the health and wellness team also held sessions on deep-breathing, and has previously brought in experts to lead students through yoga, Tai Chi, and mindfulness exercises. The goal, says Thurlow-Cullen, is to give students the resources they need to both tolerate stress and decompress.
The events have been successful, with some 200 students showing up for the fall session. The next calming clinic will be held on Thursday, Dec. 5 — just in time for the upcoming final exams.