Photo by Mariah Wilson

Stave off stress in That Empty Space

By Kristy Koehler, August 29 2018 —

Looking for free, on-campus de-stressors? That Empty Space (TES)  is hosting a number of wellness activities this semester.

Formerly used as an empty storage area, TES was renovated by the SU to provide usable space for student activities. Located on the main floor of MacHall between the Den and Subway, TES has been the home of de-stressing activities for several years. SU vice-president student life, Nabila Farid, says the central location of TES makes it a great space for attracting students. 

“We’re trying to do a lot in terms of mental health this year,” Farid said.

New this year is Piloxing, a fusion of Pilates, boxing and dance. Combining the flexibility-enhancing benefits of Pilates with the heart-pumping cardio workout of boxing and adding in some good dance fun, this class promises to be a welcome addition to the de-stressing vibe of TES. Classes start on Sept. 12 and run Wednesdays at noon. Participants should bring a yoga mat and water.

A free yoga class with certified instructors is also offered twice weekly in TES. Research shows yoga decreases cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress. Elevated levels of cortisol have been shown to interfere with learning and reduce capacity for memory — hugely detrimental for students. Yoga can also reduce back pain and increase flexibility. Sitting in a desk all day can take a toll on your body, so take advantage of this free activity. Yoga in the Space returns on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:30 p.m., starting on Sept. 11. The class is suitable for all levels and students just need to bring a mat and water.

Making a return to TES this semester is Pet Therapy. A hugely popular event, Pet Therapy is a way for students to take a few minutes out of their day and focus on something other than schoolwork. Dates are already scheduled for every month of the fall semester, with four-legged friends available to snuggle multiple times before finals in December. Check the SU website for times and policies.

Farid and the SU are also planning a series of mental health workshops in TES.

“The first topic we’re doing is healthy stress, so how stress can be perceived positively,” she said. “We’re going to be bringing in a speaker from the Wellness Centre.”

The first half of the workshop will involve a round-table discussion on how students perceive stress, and the second half will include a tactile portion where students will make their own stress ball. Participants will also receive a take-away bag with information on mental health resources. The workshop will be held on Sept. 14 from 1 – 2:30 p.m. More information will be posted on the SU website.

Though wellness activities can help you de-stress, if you are unable to manage your stress through self-care alone, the Wellness Centre in MacHall has professionals available to assist students.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the start date of Pilloxing classes. Classes start on Sept. 12. The Gauntlet apologizes to its readers for this error.

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