A petting zoo was one of the activities to help students destress.

Healthy Eagles ready to bust student stress

Healthy Eagles organize events to help fellow students destress and practice self-care.

With finals coming up, a group of Oxford students and staff want fellow students to know it's okay to destress.

The Healthy Eagles organized an afternoon event–called Stress Busters–on Reading Day, Wednesday, Dec. 6. During this biannual event that occurs during Reading Day each semester, organizers invite students to come out for 30 minutes to two hours to enjoy some free, relaxing activities to take their minds off their impending final exams.

“You need stress relief and self-care in order to take care of yourself and do your best on finals,” says Amanda Yu-Nguyen, director of Oxford’s Center for Healthful Living and Healthy Eagles program coordinator. “This is a good opportunity to step away from the computer or the library and practice self-care. In a highly competitive campus like Oxford, it's good to build this in for students.”

This year, students will be able to partake in 10 minute massages from local licensed massage therapists, enjoy King of Pops popsicles, visit a petting zoo, experiment with some breathing and stretching exercises, and have fun with physical activities at a variety of stations set up in the quad and surrounding areas.

“It's also good for social connections and a good way to relax with your friends,” Yu-Nguyen adds. “School-specific data showed that among student health and wellness needs that stress was a high priority that needed to be met.”

Fiona Bock, a sophomore from Los Angeles, and a part of the Healthy Eagles, encouraged all Oxford students to take advantage of this relaxing time.

“Especially at Oxford there is a stress culture–sometimes you feel that if you're not stressed out then you're doing something wrong, but it's okay to watch Netflix and sleep,” Bock says. “It's not a competition about who is more stressed out. We’re here for academics, but we also have to take care of ourselves, too.”

Healthy Eagles, which was created in 2011, also has organized other events throughout the school year, such as hiding prescription pill bottles on campus with facts and dangers about prescription drug abuse in them.

“It was surprising for me to learn that more people die from misuse of prescription drugs than in car accidents,” said Healthy Eagle Sally Kim, a sophomore from Bellevue, Wash. Thankfully, “90 percent of Oxford students say they don't use prescription drugs, so it isn't something students need to feel like they need to do to fit in here.”

The group also featured Tea Tuesday this year in Candler Hall. They provided loose leaf bags of green, black, and other teas and supplies like honey and lemon for students to fill their mugs with on a study break. They also hosted a smoothie event that featured a variety of samples along with smooth jazz earlier this semester as a relaxing time.

In addition to offering another Stress Busters event before spring finals, the Healthy Eagles also plan to feature both the tea and smoothie events again during the second semester, as well as bring more awareness about prescription drug abuse.

Kim says, “This is a good way to get your mind off finals and everything and socialize with your friends.”

To be a part of the Healthy Eagles program, students apply during the second semester of their first year at Oxford. They participate in training and take on a position during their sophomore year.