By Kelsey Kropiniski
With final exams being right around the corner, us UAlberta Library workers wanted to drop in with a few mental health and stress relief resources that we offer here at the library!
My name is Kelsey, and I work in Rutherford library as a second-year Masters of Library and Information Studies student. I think it’s pretty safe to say that for most folks here on campus, finals season is a lot. There is so much going on, and so many things to get through each day that adding in some time for self care can feel like an insurmountable task. I’ve noticed that for myself in particular, sometimes the thought of taking time away from studying to do something in support of my mental health can be stressful in and of itself, because it feels like another thing added to my already too long list of things to do. Please learn from my mistakes, and know that your mental wellbeing is just as important during exam time as it is during all other times of year – I promise!
Everyone is different. Which means that when it comes to stress management strategies, it’s important to know what works best for you. Within our library collection there are a wide range of resources aimed at helping students take a break and de-stress from their busy schedules. For example, we have an intensive collection of board games that can be found throughout our libraries. Next time that you and your study group are needing a quick brain break take a look through our catalogue, because we just might have your favourite game! They can be a little bit tricky to find, so library staff have created a helpful guide for finding board games within the collection.
Another challenging factor for us here at the UAlberta (especially this time of year) is the lack of sunlight. There’s truly nothing worse than getting to school before the sun rises in the morning and then not making it home before it sets at what feels like the middle of the afternoon. Fortunately for us, UAlberta Library lends out light therapy lamps, which are known to have positive effects for those with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): a condition where individuals experience recurrent depression during the winter months due to the lack of sunlight. They are also thought to help brighten the moods of users and to help with overall productivity. Find more information on how to reserve a light therapy lamp from the library here.
Giving your mind some time to relax amidst constant reading and writing is really important. Sometimes this can be done in really quick and simple ways. Colouring can be a really awesome and creative way to calm your mind. Through ERA, the University’s online repository, we have access to the Images of Research colouring book. It can be downloaded here.
The Unwind Your Mind initiative on campus has also come up with a helpful list of Take A Break Activities.
With all this in mind, one other thing to remember is that the services at the Library are offered with the intention of making your life easier. What this means is that all library services are, in a way, stress relief resources. If you’re finding that an assignment is causing you stress because you don’t know where to start – ask us! If you’re stuck in a never ending black hole of research – we can help! If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your very busy schedule – come and talk to us about it! Our main goal in the library is to connect users to the resources they need to be successful. We know that University life can be stressful even at the best of times, so please remember that we are always here to help in whatever way we can.