As finals are coming up, two students remind their classmates to slow down and take care of themselves.
Junior Shruti Patel and sophomore Hannah Smoot created a self-care workshop to help classmates release the stress from the finals. Smoot is also a staff writer for the Daily Tar Heel.
Patel said the event, Self-Care Workshop: Meditation and Creation, is related to Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“There are a lot of events about education and advocacy, but there hasn’t been a lot focusing on the self-care, which is also very important, not only for survivors, but also for people working in the field, and all students in general,” she said.
Patel said UNC students have a tendency to overwork themselves and push themselves too hard.
“It’s really easy to get burnt out, and kind of lose track of yourself,” she said. “It’s really unhealthy and scary when people don’t practice self-care.”
Patel said many people think self-care is only about watching a movie or taking a break, but it’s bigger than that.
“It’s not just like, you know, let me avoid my responsibility for 20 minutes,” she said. “It makes you pay more attention to yourself and being in the moment.”
Mildred Witt, a psychologist at Campus Health Services, and Linda Chupkowski, a clinical social worker at UNC Counseling and Psychological Services, led meditation for the first hour of the event. Then attendees were provided with construction paper, markers, color pencils and other materials to create artwork and relax.
Sophomore Anne Zhou said she learned about the event from the Carolina Women’s Center. She said she is always interested in what the center is offering.
“I was really excited about the meditation part, because I haven’t had the chance to meditate in a guided way in like a year,” she said. “I just have been really really stressed, so I thought that having a quiet space to do what I want to do for an hour is a really good way to kind of recharge.”
Zhou said she is usually calmer, more focused and more energetic after meditating.
Sophomore Emily Iffland said she likes to work out, do coloring, and spend time outdoors to release stress.
“I do like spending time outdoors and I guess I kind of take it as meditation,” she said. “It’s like trying to take myself away from all the school work.”
Iffland said she has a few friends that spend countless hours in Davis Library without eating or getting enough sleep.
“I understand that finals are very important, but I think taking care of yourself is first,” she said
“When people focus too much on their achievements, like succeeding on the finals, they really forget about themselves."
Patel said she and Smoot hope the event's attendees can bring what they learned back home.
“We would hope that they will practice this in their minds, practice self-care and be mindful of their needs,” Patel said.
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