Program hosted to dispel winter-induced depression

Mikenna Lehane February 15, 2017 0

Feb. 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. the Student Wellness Advocacy Group (SWAG) sponsored Shake the Winter Blues.

The mission of SWAG is to work to support and encourage positive, informed choices, believing that a healthier lifestyle now will promote future well-being.

SWAG provides educational opportunities on current health issues for their peers in the residence halls and in the campus community. This is done through hall programs, outreach programming and collaboration with other campus groups.

Assistant Director of Health Promotion and overseer of SWAG Amanda Cheetham explained her role toward the group.

“I work with the Student Wellness Advocates to plan programs and events on campus to raise awareness for health and wellness topics,” Cheetham said.

Discussing the event further, Cheetham said, “It is an event to raise awareness about SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and to discuss how the winter weather might be affecting your mood and mental health.”

“The activities at the event are a mixture of resources available to students (Counseling Services and Relaxation Station) as well as some fun activities to help improve your mood in the short term (dogs, crafts, etc.),” she said.

At the event, students were welcomed to walk around to the different tables set up with a variety of different activities, all of which were designed to help relieve stress.

These activities included painting out their feelings, making lava lamps, coloring and petting dogs. There were also tables where students could receive information about counseling services, which are always available for students, and helpful tips about taking care of your emotions.

For example, when you are feeling tired it is best to avoid looking at bright screens for at least one to two hours before bed and to practice deep breathing and muscle relaxation.

When in a good mood, students can pass on the feeling by complimenting a stranger or leaving a nice comment on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

The first table students saw when they walked in was run by the two student leaders who coordinated the event. Sophomore Missy Ziegler and senior Kassandra Valdez both value what it has meant for them to be a part of SWAG. They added that people will often ask what the next event will be.

SWAG hold weekly meetings in order to brainstorm event ideas that will appeal to students.

“We have weekly meetings where everyone gets to voice their own ideas with the focus on people’s lives and stuff that is happening around campus,” Ziegler said.

Junior Ally Killen stated that her favorite aspect of the event is getting to pet the dogs and “doing the crafts in general has really helped to take some of my stress away.”

For junior Carly Foster, it was getting to express her emotions with the painting your emotions table.

“It was so nice to get to express my emotions through using colors for emotional stability,” Foster said.

“We have done this event in the past, and it is just a way to inform students on how winter can affect your emotions due to the reduced level of sunlight during the fall and winter months and ways for them to relieve some stress from classes and homework by enjoying some fun activities,” Valdez stated.


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