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Campus & Community

Five Ways to De-stress During Finals Week

Try Cuddling Canines, Mindful Meditating or Picking Up a Paintbrush

By Karen Shih ’09

Student pets two dogs

Freshman Isabella Hofman hangs out with Finley (left) and Max (right), two Wags for Wellness therapy dogs. Mark your calendar to meet the pups on Thursday, or try out some other ways to relieve tension as exams loom.

Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

As you slog through a semester’s worth of notes, huddle with study buddies or prepare to take a red pen to hundreds of papers, it might be easy as finals approach this week to ignore your mental health.

But in-person and virtual activities across the University of Maryland campus in the coming days can help you stay balanced, whether you choose to snuggle with therapy dogs, practice some breathwork or grab a yummy treat.

“It’s really important to be intentional about taking time for yourself and away from stressors, even if it’s temporary. That’s where these programs can be helpful,” said Olivia Mays, mental health and stress management program coordinator at the University Health Center (UHC). “Research shows that getting out and moving your body, connecting with animals or just sitting for 10 minutes in nature can help you relax and refocus and reset.”

Pet Some Pups
Therapy dogs will offer up sloppy kisses and eager tail wags at the final session of Wags for Wellness of the school year on Thursday. Visit the ground floor of the UHC between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and feel the endorphins rush through your body.

Do Daily Meditation
Take 15 to 30 minutes to calm your mind with online meditation sessions from the UHC. These free Zoom sessions run through the end of this week and are offered at various times daily. Whether you’re looking for breathwork, sleep practice or to connect with fellow UMD community members, each session centers around a different focus to meet your needs. If none of the live Zoom sessions fits in your schedule, UHC also offers pre-recorded meditation.

Chow Down on Local Goodies
Stop by the final University of Maryland Farmers Market of the season on Wednesday to pick up some sweet treats like fresh-popped kettle corn or gooey fudge, a coffee pick-me-up or a batch of healthy greens to fuel your studies. Each week, Dining Services Chef Larry Tumlin also offers a cooking demonstration with free samples—so stop by for a taste and grab a recipe card! Located in Tawes Plaza, the market runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Grab a Paintbrush
Unlock your artistic side at Studio A in the basement of Stamp Student Union, where you can join the last Paint Night of the semester on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. The student fee is just $8 and includes an 8x10 canvas, paint and brushes. Bring your friends, listen to music and create art to take home!

Get Outside
Campus is beautiful at this time of year, with colorful flowers blooming, the ODK Fountain flowing and leafy green trees offering plenty of shady spots to lounge and study. Take a walk around the soothing labyrinth at Memorial Chapel’s Garden of Reflection and Remembrance. Pick up a game of volleyball at La Plata Beach. Or soak up some vitamin D—which can boost brain health—with a picnic on McKeldin Mall.

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.