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Health Enhancement to offer ‘stress free zones’

November 21, 2011

A photo of stacked crayonsNIU’s Health Enhancement will open five “stress free zones” from Monday, Nov. 28, through Thursday, Dec. 1, to help students relax as they complete end-of-semester projects and prepare for final exams.

Daytime hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Diversions Lounge of the Holmes Student Center.

Evening hours are scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. in four locations:

  • Monday, Nov. 28: Neptune Northeast/Southeast Room
  • Tuesday, Nov. 29: Douglas TV Room
  • Wednesday, Nov. 30: Grant D Formal
  • Thursday, Dec. 1: Stevenson Multipurpose Room

Health Enhancement will provide an area for students to take stress assessments so they gain a better idea of what is stressing them and just how stressed they really are.

Stress management brochures and other resources, as well as water and healthy snacks, also will be provided.

Meanwhile, several activities are planned to help student unwind.

Card and Board Games

These activities help to decrease stress by provided a positive outlet to nervous energy. Additionally, it can help take your mind off of finals and other things stressing you out for a little while, and is a great way to socialize with friends.


Engaging in creative activities is another great way of managing stress. The person is focused on something fun from their childhood rather than on their stress. It allows the mind to clear, and the body to have a way to release some anxiety.

Photo of a stack of Play-Doh cansPlay-Doh

Similar to coloring, Play-Doh is nostalgic; it can trigger a happy childhood memory. Playing with Play-Doh allows you to distract yourself from whatever is currently stressing you out. By playing with it, you are exerting physical energy which will help in calming you down and de-stressing you.

Guided Meditation

This technique usually employs light music or nature sounds and a person walking you through a short meditation. Practicing meditation every day for as little as 10 minutes can help a person to clear their mind and relax their body.


Stress-related muscle tension in the neck, shoulders and back occur because of poor blood flow and lack of movement in those areas. A massage will help to loosen and relax your muscles as well as increase blood flow to those areas.

Therapy Dogs

Contact with animals has been known to have a positive effect on people who are dealing with large volumes of stress. Students can pet, and enjoy the company of, trained therapy dogs.

For more information, call (815) 753-9755 or email [email protected].