This time of year brings a lot of different stressors to students. Finals season, the holidays and graduation for some students can pile up, creating mental and physical tension.
Students looking for ways to destress can turn to resources on and off campus to seek a release and reprieve. Working the following solutions into a regular schedule before, during and after winter break can set students up for a productive Spring.
Adventurous students might try water activities like paddle boarding, surfing or scuba diving in the Monterey area. California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) offers beginning scuba lessons for students interested in exploring the lush underwater habitat the bay has to offer.
Water polo coach and interim aquatics coordinator Emily Schmidt likes to use the water to destress.
“Swimming is unique in that it creates a quiet bubble which can help quiet the mind,” Schmidt said. “The water pressure can also feel a bit like a hug to some folks.”
Schmidt added that the club water polo team, which is coed, will also be restarting and students can look at club sports on MyRaft for more info.
For students who aren’t as excited by the water, Schmidt suggests checking out CSUMB’s “Exercise is Medicine,” which Schmidt describes as offering lots of different land-based exercise options for all CSUMB students, faculty and staff.
For students who want to stick to land, hiking is also a great option.
“I’d recommend Garrapata State Park or Point Lobos for great vistas, moderate hikes, and a close proximity to campus,” said Kaci Turpin, coordinator of outdoor recreation at CSUMB.
Located right in CSUMB’s backyard is Fort Ord.
“We are so lucky to have Fort Ord National Monument in our backyard with miles of trails through rolling hills and pockets of chaparral and oak woodlands,” Turpin said.
The recreation department likes to utilize the app “All Trials,” when deciding where to take their next hike.
Turpin believes recreation has many benefits.
“Through individual and group based activities, students can take a moment to step away from academics, move their bodies, laugh and create memories with friends – all of which contributes to lower stress levels,” Turpin said.
“There is an entire movement surrounding Nature Rx that is providing a non-pharmacological alternative to improving our mental health by simply spending more time outdoors. Physiologically, it can improve concentration and cognitive function, so consider a walk outside when you need a recharge after hours of studying,” added Turpin citing an article from Cornell University.
For students who prefer the indoors, CSUMB yoga teacher Marcia Moseley explained the benefits of yoga. Moseley recommended finding what works for each student individually.
“One pose, one exercise, one activity does not fit all when dealing with stress,” Moseley said.
“Practice movement and compassion,” Moseley said. “Practice fun activities, practice all kinds of activities and tune into your experience. Practice quietness, try to make room for yourself – by yourself.”
Developing habits takes time and effort but will serve you well when you most need it in times of stress.
“Take a break from studying and move your body! Whether it’s in the pool, gym or outside on the trails. Fresh air and getting your body moving can do wonders for your mental well-being and your brain as you study for finals,” echoed Schmidt.
Students can check out Monterey Bay Moves for recreation activities, sign up for yoga classes or swim classes on Oasis to start working recreation into their routine, or check out MyRaft for recreation’s upcoming events.
For students looking to take a dip in the pool on campus, current open swim times are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m.