Every semester for the last several years the Library has been offering free coffee, hot cocoa, and tea in preparation for finals week as well as a myriad of activities geared to help students destress during the most stressful time of the semester. Unfortunately, like many things due to the pandemic, we’re not able to hold our in-person stressless week. Instead, we’ve curated a list of tips and resources that involve little to no screen time to help you stress less.
Did you know...
UMD has dedicated staff through Health Services that are here for you if you are struggling in any way - big or small. Students have access to counseling services and medical services. Check out the online resources available through Health Services. You can also contact them at (218) 726-8155.
Resources to help you step away from your screens.
According to a 2019 study documented in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, college-age students spend about 8-10 hours on average looking at a screen per day. That’s a staggering amount. While the effects of screen time are still being studied, it is known and understood that excessive screen time can affect many aspects of our health and wellbeing.
Here is a list of activities to destress and engage in mindfulness:
- Try a Walking Meditation: (Don’t worry, your eyes are open for this one!) Try this 10 Minute Walking Meditation
- Get Outdoors! Time spent in the outdoors helps to engage all of your senses.
- Walking/Exercise: Getting up and moving, even a simple walk helps to refresh your mind. Exercise prompts the release of endorphins. Consider these playlists from the UMD Exercise Science Club - the Exercise Snacks are really great!
- Meditation: Anyone can meditate and you don’t have to have any experience. We recommend getting started with some simple breathing meditations. Try this Mindfulness of Breath for Beginners - 6 Minute Meditation.
- Journaling: Journaling is a great way to evaluate your emotions, frustrations, etc. Try using these prompts, or simply write in a “stream of consciousness” style: ignoring grammar, punctuation, flow, etc. Simply write whatever comes to mind.
- Play a game with those who are in your “bubble.” Playing board games or any game engages your brain. Browse our list of Board Games.
- Coloring! There are many free coloring page resources. Google tip: try searching for “free coloring pages”
*Note that we do not provide any special access to any of these apps and we are not supported in any financial way by the recommendations above. We simply aim to connect students with resources that might help them destress.
Screen time does have some benefits.
It’s probably safe to say that we are all very fatigued when it comes to screen time, especially with online learning, but certain apps can be helpful when it comes to mindfulness and stress management. The apps we’ve shared below do not require you to spend time staring at a screen; most are audio resources. Consider trying these apps:
- Calm is an app for sleep, meditation, and relaxation. It is available on Android and Apple and can be accessed through your browser (free and paid versions available)
- Insight Timer is an app for meditation, sleep, relaxation, and personal growth. It is available on Android and Apple and can be accessed through your browser (free and paid versions available)
- Spotify offers meditations, calming music, and podcasts.
Have an Alexa or similar device at home? Try enabling soundscape skills for some extra ambiance, especially when you get ready for bed! You can also ask your device to set a daily reminder to take a break.
For example: Ask Alexa to play Calm Radio (skill must be enabled in order to play) or ask Alexa to open Headspace, a meditation app (skill must be enabled in order to play). You can browse other skills available on Alexa.
Check out these tips for using an Alexa or Google device to meditate.
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Do you have a mindfulness-related resource that you think other students would benefit from? We’d love to hear from you! Send us an email at [email protected]!