With soothing recreational activities like playing Jenga, coloring and making stress balls out of balloons and sand, students found and learned creative ways to relax by the Dancing Fountains on Brock Commons on Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019.
The Mindful Mingling event revolved around being mindful of mental health and showing how to apply various techniques of relaxation into a student’s everyday life.
Instead of playing the regular game of Jenga, the Mindful Mingling version had people pick up a block with a statement about self-care for students to read aloud. This was followed by a question relating to the topic from one of the people in charge.
Everyone who ran the event was sincerely interested in hearing students voice how they feel about their stress and the ways that they handle it, which gave the conversation a natural open feeling that allowed students and adults to be genuinely honest with one another.
Mental health awareness has become more of an open, yet crucial, topic of discussion in the past few years. Since stress is an unfortunate and influential force of nature on a great deal of students on college campuses, Mindful Mingling offered not only awareness of the subject, but specific advice on how to de-stress on a regular basis.
Madeline Schutt from the Office of Disability Resources said, “I think students in general need healthy techniques and alternatives that they can utilize now so that they can continue to use them later in life. Things like mindfulness, meditation, and coloring for instance, can help students relax instead of turning to unhealthier options for self-care. Getting good sleep is also very important, probably the most important that a student can do for themselves.”
As the semester gets closer and closer to finals week, finding methods of relaxation is vital to a student’s mental health as well as their overall wellbeing. No matter how much time everyone has, establishing a little slice of downtime should be something everyone should do, even if it is only for an hour or two.
Aside from participating in fun, calming activities, everyone at the event made sure to discuss how to make downtime a prominent part of a student’s regular schedule.
When asked how college students can prioritize self-care, Schutt mentioned, “First, I think students and people in general need to have a planner or a to do list, even if it’s just an app on their phone, to make time for self-care. The main way to prioritize self-care is to type it out or write it down and actually follow through. Most people tend to spend their free time looking at social media rather than spending ten minutes to enjoy views such as the Dancing Fountains on Brock Commons or other aspects of nature on our campus. Mindfulness is definitely about being in the present moment.”
Prioritizing mental health not only benefits how well a student performs in school but also enhances how they handle other types of difficult situations in their lives.
Schutt commented, “Using self-care will positively impact them in the long run with their grades, relationships with peers and their relationships with themselves as well."
While some students may have stopped by for the sake of learning how to make a stress ball, there was far more to take away from the event.
Schutt also stated, “I want students to have resources in their back pocket in times of stress to control how they respond to stressful events in their lives.”
Mindful Mingling was hosted by the Office of Disability Resources, CAPS, and several Student Wellness Ambassadors. This is the second year in a row that this event has been held at Longwood University.
Remember, if you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health, please reach out to someone whether it’s a friend or a professional.