Stress Management

HOURS

  • Stress Management Consultation by appointment only

CONTACT

  • Mental Health and Stress Management Coordinator

    omays@umd.edu

    (301) 314-8123

  • Health Promotion and Wellness Services

    (301) 314-8128

Stress Management & Self Care

Stress is a part of life. Small amounts of stress can actually serve as a helpful motivator for accomplishing goals. It's not uncommon, though, for stress to become overwhelming, creating unpleasant symptoms and sometimes impacting our daily life. In fact, according to the National College Health Assessment, stress is consistently ranked the number one impediment of academic success at the University of Maryland.

Attending programs, services or events aimed at reducing stress or meeting with a health educator can be a helpful step for many as they work to better understand their individual sources of stress, their own body’s stress response, and ways to manage stress.

Before You Visit

Appointments are required for Stress Management Consultations. During the Fall 2020 semester, all appointments will be conducted virtually.

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis or urgent concern, or a mental health emergency during regular business hours, please contact Behavioral Health at the University Health Center or the Counseling Center.

For mental health assistance after-hours, please call the Counseling Center crisis support line at (301) 314-7651. 

 

SERVICES

Wags for Wellness, Therapy dog visits

testudo with a therapy dogWags for Wellness sessions feature registered therapy animal teams. Each team consists of at least one dog and one human. Each of the volunteer teams has been trained by People. Animals. Love. (PAL) to provide love, connection, companionship, and stress relief.

These therapy dog visits also serve as a great outlet for emotional wellbeing while connecting with other loving pets for our students who may be missing their childhood or family pets.

 

Our Wags for Wellness visits are currently on pause as we consider ways to safely and effectively offer this service.

Please continue to check back throughout the semester.

Stress Management Consultation

Individual consultations, with a health educator, are available to address issues related to stress. Appointments include identifying sources of stress, learning ways to manage stress, goal setting, and skill-building.

Some students may also utilize this service to learn more about relaxation techniques as a means to better cope with daily stressful situations. Some of the techniques covered during the appointment include: deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery.

 

Wellness tips for social distancing

Seek out healthy support

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A healthy support system is typically made up of trusted individuals who collectively support your emotional well being. For some, their support system may include family and friends while for others, it may include faith leaders and healthcare providers. There is no “perfect” support system but having a group of people who value and respect you can be helpful while navigating these extraordinary times. 

Nourish and recharge yourself daily

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Listen to your body and discover what healthy habits make you feel better and suit your lifestyle and level of mobility and fitness. Set aside time to fuel your body with food. Move. Dance. Run. Grab a snack when you need it and nap when it helps you recharge.

Keep in mind, many of the strategies you’ve previously used to nourish and recharge might look different now that you are adjusting to social-distancing and a virtual environment. That is OK. Give yourself time, permission, and forgiveness as you navigate the unknown. 

Take a break

Remember to take some time away from your work. Research shows that taking an intentional break can improve your physical and emotional health, increase productivity, boost creativity, and so much more. 

Incorporating breaks into your daily routine can be tricky. Start by intentionally taking a break for lunch. This will give your brain a chance to rest and regain its focus and energy while you fuel your body with the food you enjoy.

Practice deep breathing

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Deep breathing is considered one of the most effective ways to begin relieving stress immediately - and sometimes in as little as 30 seconds or less. 

For those ready to take deep breathing even further, meditation is a great next step. Meditation can be beneficial in reducing stress, increasing focus, and enhancing creativity. For many, meditation might be even more beneficial during these stressful and uncertain times. It has the ability to help us regulate our own emotions and be present in the current moment. Visit health.umd.edu/meditation for more information on the Health Center’s FREE online group meditation.

Get some rest

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Sleep is crucial to our wellbeing. According to the National Sleep Foundation, it is recommended that young adults get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Adequate sleep can reduce feelings of stress, improve your immune system, and enhance your brain function. When you sleep, your muscles have a chance to relax and energy can be restored throughout the body. 

Here are a few helpful tips from the National Sleep Foundation on how to get adequate sleep during a pandemic*:

  • Create a schedule and stick to a routine 
  • If you can, save your bed for sleeping
  • Expose yourself to natural light during the day 
  • Take short, planned naps when needed 
  • Practice relaxation techniques like yoga, light stretching, or deep breathing

* If you are concerned about your sleep patterns or you see that your sleep problems are worsening, please contact your healthcare provider.

 

Express Yourself

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Self-expression looks different for everyone and is beneficial for all. Whether it's journaling, photography, spoken word, painting, or something in between, conveying your emotions is good for the mind, body, and soul. In fact, expressive writing is not only a way to let creativity flow, it's a route to healing - emotionally, physically, and psychologically.

Laugh

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Do something every day that makes you laugh. Laughter activates the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good hormones. This promotes an overall sense of well-being. Read a funny meme. Watch a comedy movie. Reflect on some of your favorite laugh-out-loud moments. 

Treat Yourself

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Take time away from your responsibilities when you need it. Video chat with a friend. Go for a run. Read a book. Spend the day in your pajamas eating your favorite food and watching Netflix. Honor what feels most authentic to you. This is not selfish. It is rejuvenating and necessary.

Stay Connected

Connect with friends and loved ones

You may find yourself spending significant time alone, or with a small group of the same people, for the remainder of the semester. It’s more important than ever to connect with those near and far. Check-in with friends and loved ones. Make technology your friend and try platforms like FaceTime, Duo, WhatsApp, Google Hangout, and so many more to nurture those important relationships. You might even try something new like Netflix Party, or use an old-standby like phone-calls. Some people might even want to send handwritten notes to those who feel far away. You get to decide how you want to approach this moment.

 

Check-in with your pets

Yep! You heard it here first. You can even connect with animals. Petting a dog or a cat has been proven to reduce stress levels and increase comfort. 

 

Connect with the outdoors

Nature has many restorative properties - from reducing stress to facilitating physical activity, there is something for us all*.  In fact, studies show that as little as 10 minutes sitting or walking in nature can have a profound impact on your mental health. Even if you can’t get outside, there are ways to stay connected to the natural world - live-streams, documentaries, social media, and more. 

*At least for the foreseeable future, we encourage you to be mindful when you step outside, as even when outdoors it is important to maintain six-feet distance from others to limit the spread of COVID-19.

 

Connect with yourself

We encourage you to connect inwardly. Your relationship with yourself is important and vital to how you connect to the world. Take a moment to yourself. Ask your body what it needs at this time. We recognize for some this might prove to be a lot. You may realize you need more support and, at times like these, connecting with people you trust is essential. You can can also connect with the Counseling Center (301.314.7651) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1.800.273.8255). We are here for one another during this time. 

 

Health and Wellness Presentation

The Stress Management unit offers both peer educator and professional staff presentations.

  • Visit our Peer Programs page for more information about scheduling a Peer Education presentation or workshop (at least 2 weeks’ notice required).
  • For a professional staff presentation, program, interview, or consultation regarding stress, mental health, or wellness programming or outreach please email omays@umd.edu (at least 2 weeks’ notice required).