Sometimes it can be difficult to manage all of the competing demands that come along with being a student. With so much to do and so little time to do it, typically the first thing that gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list is taking care of yourself, but self-care is an important aspect of managing your stress.

Self-care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental, and emotional health. Below are some ongoing activities that are free to all students and have been shown to reduce stress. Not every activity will work for everyone, but try out some that seem like they might work for you!

Activities

Did you know that regular mindfulness meditation can reduce stress, improve cognitive function, increase happiness, improve your immune system, and more? Let CAPS help you begin or maintain your meditation practice with free, drop-in group meditation sessions! These are open to the entire OSU community and all skill levels are welcome. No registration is required. Simply drop in on the days you are able to, but please arrive on time as not to disturb the session. Check out the current schedule!

The Mind Spa at CAPS is a unique sanctuary for everyone in the OSU community where you can soothe your mind, body, and spirit. Come explore an experience like no other on campus. Relax privately in this quiet single-user space, unkink that stubborn muscle in the full body massage chair, center yourself in the meditation corner, use our guided relaxation software to find calmness, or sit by the therapy light on a rainy day. You do not need to be a CAPS client to use the Mind Spa - it's open to all OSU students, faculty, and staff at no charge. Learn more about what's offered in the Mind Spa.

The Mind Spa is available on the 5th floor of Snell Hall Monday-Friday between 8:00am and 4:30pm (reduced hours during academic breaks and summer). Appointments can be scheduled for 30 minutes or 1 hour by calling 541-737-2131 or speaking with a CAPS receptionist at the front desk. Online scheduling is coming soon!

Biofeedback is a technique that trains people to improve their health by controlling certain bodily processes that normally happen involuntarily, such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and skin temperature.

CAPS has biofeedback tools within the Mind Spa that can be used anytime you book a Mind Spa session.

CAPS also has portable biofeedback tools that are available to borrow for up to two weeks at a time. Come to the 5th floor of Snell Hall and let the receptionist know that you would like to check one out.

CAPS has a light therapy lamp within the Mind Spa that can be used anytime you book a Mind Spa session.

CAPS also has portable light therapy lamps that are available to borrow for up to two weeks at a time. Come to the 5th floor of Snell Hall and let the receptionist know that you would like to check one out.

Light therapy lamps are also available to borrow at Student Health Services, located in Plageman Hall.

The Valley Library has light therapy lamps that are available for use while at the library. Ask the front desk and they can assist you.

The Academic Success Center knows success is holistic, and taking care of yourself by managing your stress and scheduling your time is an important aspect of your time here at OSU. The DAM Good Self-Care Packet at the Academic Success Center contains exercises, strategies, and tools for you to evaluate your current self-care strategies, offers options for reframing the way you think about and approach periods of stress (we know that school, and everything you’re involved in, and life, can be stressful!), and provides you with a place to plan ahead for those stressful periods, so that when you’re in the thick of it, you have something to turn to for support, ways to navigate, and paths forward.

Stop by Waldo 125 to pick up the DAM Good Self-Care Packet! The helpful staff there can also assist you with academic questions, help finding resources, or making an academic coaching appointment.

Wellness coaching is a free and unlimited service available to OSU students that provides opportunities to explore your personal strengths and apply them to your wellness goals. Wellness coaching takes an appreciative approach to creating the life you want by focusing on possibilities. Coaching sessions focus on your strengths and opportunities, building on what's working in your life rather than diagnosing and fixing what's not. Learn more or schedule an appointment

Lower your stress while you create something beautiful…adult coloring is trending and super relaxing! Hand-color a Mandala design or create your own with colored pencils & markers. FREE and open to all OSU students, faculty & staff. Sponsored by the OSU Craft Center and Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS).

Every Monday from 1pm to 3pm, October 2nd – November 27th in the Craft Center

Come explore art as an avenue of stress relief & stress management. Take a creative break! Just drop in! FREE & Open to all OSU Students, Faculty & Staff. Sponsored by the OSU Craft Center, Childcare & Family Resources & Healthy Campus Initiative.

Every Wednesday from 1pm to 3pm, October 4th – November 29th in the Craft Center

Join the campaign to spread a little art & good cheer around campus. Paint rocks with affirmative words or images. Supplies provided.

Every Thursday from 1pm to 3pm, October 5th – November 30th in the Craft Center

CAPS partners with the Memorial Union and Welcome Waggers to bring therapy dogs to campus each term. Interacting with therapy dogs has been shown to drastically reduce perceived stress in students, even after just a ten minute visit!

Look for Paws to De-Stress events during dead week and finals week in the MU Lounge. For information on dates and times of this event, follow CAPS’ social media on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Discovery walks are a collection of self-guided tours created to help you explore the beauty of Oregon State University’s Corvallis Campus while practicing active living. Each tour highlights a new theme with interesting sights and discoveries all along the way. Try one or try them all.

Walk your way to wellness !

A labyrinth is a pattern of pathways that weave in a circle around a central point. You walk through the pathways to get to the center. Labyrinths are about the journey, at least as much as the destination. They can be calming, as they slow you down while you wind your way through the path. A labyrinth is not a maze. There is only one way in and one way out, so you don't need to think about where you're going.

Strolling through a labyrinth can help you feel the relaxation response, which is the opposite of the stress "fight or flight" state, says Herbert Benson, MD, founder of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and author of Relaxation Revolution. More than 30 years of research shows that the relaxation response brings slower breathing, a slower heart rate, and lower blood pressure, among other things, Benson says. (Source)

There is a brick labyrinth just south of the CH2MHill Alumni Center which is available at all times for person who would like to walk the labyrinth. In addition, Westminster House provides opportunities for Labyrinth Walking on a portable labyrinth at various times throughout the year.

Evidence from the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy and the Journal of Clinical Nursing suggests that music can help improve mental health by reducing certain symptoms of depression and by making people feel more in control. It can reduce stress, help us get better sleep and improve our mood. Some scientists argue that listening to a song we love acts on the pleasure center of our brain by releasing dopamine, a hormone that makes us feel good. Many of us have personally experienced this—listening to a great song that somehow seems to magically transform our mood. It can help us get started with the day or keep us motivated during our workout routine. (Source)

Listen to the CAPS Relaxation Station on Spotify!