| 03.19.2018

Sweat off the stress — Student Recreation Center offers free yoga classes to reduce stress during dead week

During dead week, student stress increases along with the number of responsibilities they have.

“During dead week … students don’t realize how much they deteriorate,” said Peg Hamlett, fitness and wellness director. “It’s kind of easy to get into a rut.”

To combat the stress during dead week, the Student Recreation Center (SRC) will offer free yoga classes for students Monday through Friday. The hourly schedule is available on the SRC webpage.

“Everything is just so over-stimulated,” Hamlett said. “Yoga is just so good, because it lowers the pressure.”

Yoga gives students a chance to press pause during their chaotic schedules and focus on the moment, she said. Vinyasa yoga is her exercise of choice to de-stress, since it focuses on flow and relaxation.

“The focus will be on relaxation and balance,” said Bella Pekie, faculty lecturer and instructor. “There will be no strenuous poses and students will be encouraged to let go of the critical nature of their egos and to focus on breath and enjoyment in the present moment.”

Pekie said she will instruct Vinyasa yoga sessions extending to finals week from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 12:15-1:15 p.m. Dec. 13 and Dec. 15 in the Memorial Gym.

Vinyasa offers a calming routine to unhinge any stress points on the body, while Tai Chi is an intense exercise that forces the participant to focus on the moment, Hamlett said.

“Sometimes, what (students) need is a really hard exercising class,” she said. “Tai Chi is something so hard that they don’t have time to think about their tests.”

The Counseling and Testing Center (CTC) welcomes students all semester, including dead week and finals week, said Sharon Fritz, licensed psychologist at the CTC.

A session on reducing stress will be provided 3-6 p.m. Tuesday in the Idaho Commons as well.

“We will teach students different stress-management techniques,” Fritz said.

Hamlett said there are different methods that can be used outside of yoga or counseling to limit stress.

“Every hour, when you’re studying a lot, get up for at least five minutes,” Hamlett said. “Get away from the computer screen. Open up your back and chest.”

During a test, stressing out is common, she said. If a student does not know an answer to a question, she suggests to just breathe and simplify.  

“We sometimes analyze ourselves into the worse test grade,” Hamlett said. “Just relax. What’s going to happen is going to happen. When we replay things over and over again in our heads, we just (add to the anxiety).”

She said when a student studies excessively, their mind closes. But taking a break can help recall important information. Sometimes students want to memorize material enough to regurgitate it, Hamlett said.

“What’s important is that you take charge of feeding and nurturing your … well-being,” Pekie said.

Catherine Keenan can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

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