In an effort to combat the ensuing stress, several UNR departments collaborated Tuesday for the Get Your Health On fair in front of the Joe Crowley Student Union. The Student Health Center, Lombardi Recreation Center, Student Counseling Services and UNR Welcome Team were some of the groups helping raise awareness to the importance of living healthy and relieving stress.
“You can’t achieve your full potential unless you are healthy. We often think of health as being sick or not sick, but (students) can do better in life, and as a student if they are healthy,” said Enid Jennings, health promotion program coordinator for the Student Health Center. “We have some new students coming in who are moving away from home for the first time and are learning how to live and eat healthy on campus, and we want to give them all the resources they need to learn about how they can get healthier on campus.”
Jennings, among others from the Student Health Center, was assisting students with a free wellness assessment that included body composition, calorie intake and blood-pressure monitoring segments. The students’ evaluations were also a chance for Jennings and her team to ask about students’ eating habits and provide useful information for how to eat healthy on campus.
“One of the simple things that people can do is increase fruits and vegetables. Very few of us are eating enough fruits and vegetables,” she said, “So we tell students that you can substitute some of those less healthy snacks that are more processed for whole fruits and vegetables and you can get those almost anywhere on campus if you look for them.”
Another attraction for students at the Student Health Center booth was the Oxygen Bar where students place an oxygen mask in their nostrils, plug the other end of their tube into one of the many fragrances and inhale. Jennings said the Oxygen Bar allows Student Health Center employees to educate students on the dangers of tobacco use, smoking and hookah.
“We are able to provide a little education while they are using it and basically show them that clean air is a much better option,” she said. “It’s a fun way to get them to come to the table and they enjoy it.”
Diane Phenix, crisis coordinator for Student Counseling Services and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, said studying at a university can be one of the most stressful situations for people, especially at a young age.
“Out of the environments I have experienced in my personal life and my professional life, university work is one of the most highly stressful,” Phenix said. “A lot of students are away from home and have new issues going on in the dorm room, a heavy workload and have multiple issues going on at once.”
Phenix said one of the best ways for students to combat stress is to put some focus on the hobbies they find most enjoyable. She said students who “throw themselves completely into school” often do not leave time to themselves, eventually leading to stress accumulation.
“A lot of times, when we get stressed, we stop doing the things that are the most fun, and the more things we begin to do, the more we throw away that time and it becomes a vicious cycle,” she said. “We try to teach them to interrupt that and make time for those fun things, even if it’s 15 minutes a day.”
Sheena Harvey, member services and intramural sports coordinator at Lombardi Recreation Center, said students’ success is often connected to the amount of physical activity they participate in during their college tenure.
“The fitness and health component is an important part of a student’s success in college. A lot of students coming out of high school played a sport or were physically active and they come into college and still need that,” Harvey said. “I think understanding time management and knowing when you have to study for a test is important. But you also have to be active. Whether it means not taking the shuttle or coming to a quick CrossFit class, there are tons of ways to stay active on campus.”
Harvey said correlations have been made among students who raise low grade-point averages when they become physically active, improving the quality of their education for the duration of their college career.
“When (students) make time to do that physical activity it provides stimulation to the mind and to the body,” she said. “Kids who remain active during their college careers tend to do better, and that’s just a proven fact.”