Productive unwinding

Ways to optimize rest and make the most of days off

In order to succeed at midterms and practicums, SAIT students need to learn effective stress management techniques to properly unwind.

Counsellor Teri Olson, a registered psychologist at SAIT’s Student Development and Counselling centre, said it’s one of the busiest times for counselling sessions.

A good way to check what will work for someone is to think about what it was like to be 10 years old.

“As kids, we spend a lot of time playing as opposed to worrying,” said Olson.

She said a small break during class, like standing up and stretching, is beneficial to the brain and can give it a minute to relax.

Elyse Lessard, who is in her last semester of environmental technology, said that during breaks she socializes with classmates. 

“I think laughing is good,” said Lessard. She said that interaction with peers is her way of laying back, and that joking around makes school less intense.

Olson added that “humour [is] the best remedy for everyday challenges.”

She also recommends taking a step away from technology, allowing the brain to do what it doesn’t often get to do.

She said this is the basic idea of how to unwind but still engage the brain.

Olson suggested techniques like focusing on one body part, and noticing how it feels.

She said this is effective because the mind focusses on the physical aspect of the body, in turn not allowing the mind to produce stress.

She said that the grounding technique causes people to pay attention to something else other than what they are thinking of in a moment that may be causing stress. 

According to an article on titled Five Steps to Mindfulness, the mind and body work as a team to find happiness that should be found naturally. 

“You’re turning your attention outward rather than inward,” said Olson. 

Olson recommends 10 minutes of every hour dedicated to time away from tense work. 

Olson also recommends aromatherapy. By engaging the senses, one can help the brain to relax. 

Art is another way to keep the brain calm because it focusses thoughts towards topics that are unrelated to stress. Students looking for a relaxing project can find colouring books in the counsellors waiting room or at the Odyssey Coffeehouse. 

SAITSA also offers help with student wellness and stress with free programs that can be found on that occur throughout the week.

Olson recommended the Wellness Wednesday program offered by SAITSA, which happens every Wednesday and offers free breakfast outside SAITSA Resources Centre (MC107) at 9 a.m., and free yoga at the SAITSA Support Centre (NJ105). 

Wellness walks are offered Mondays from 12 noon to 12:30 p.m. in front of Heritage Hall with counsellor Martha Edgar and do not require registration. 

If you are found off campus and still need unwinding techniques the 24-hour distress centre is always open to help. (403) 226-HELP (4357).

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