September 23, 2019 | 90° F

With finals approaching, Rutgers reminds students to upkeep physical, mental health

With final exams approaching and a perceived pressure to succeed, many college students neglect mental and physical health in order to prioritize grades.

The Douglass Residential College (DRC) and Rutgers Health Services hosted “Douglass Wellness 360” to inform students about ways to have a healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude at the Douglass Student Center on April 10.

Ankita Gupta, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences sophomore, stays fit and unwinds by walking to her classes. She also spends time with her dog Max at Passion Puddle on Douglass campus.

"We want Rutgers students to have the opportunity to learn to take better care of themselves and have fun at this annual detox event,” Gupta said.

The event activities included a networking lunch, interactive activities, a wellness panel featuring three guest speakers, fitness classes and a health fair.

Gupta said her favorite parts of the event were the gift raffles and various speakers, who discussed the importance of good health.

Rutgers students should make sure to eat healthy and stay healthy, she said.

This year is the inaugural year for “Douglass Wellness 360,” said Beth Bors, advisor of the Health Science Research Symposium Committee (HSRS).

DRC offered two separate events last year: the Douglass Health Science Research Symposium hosted by the HSRS and the Douglass Stress Release Detox implemented by Douglass Peer Academic Leaders (PALs), Bors said.

These two student groups thought it would be exciting to combine the two events, Bors said.

DRC decided to host the event, since they wanted to help students lower stress levels, Bors said. The event was aimed at helping students have a healthy lifestyle and informing them of resources at the University that can assist in reducing stress.

Women tend to take on the caregiver role and forget that they need to take care of themselves, Bors said.

Members of HSRS hope students will continue to place overall wellness as a priority by empowering students through sharing research on wellness as well as providing opportunities and resources, she said.

“The entire day was spectacular and we were all very proud of the job that the students did to put it together,” Bors said. “The panel of researchers was an absolute highlight,” she said.

Matina Clapsis, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, helped plan the symposium for “Douglass Wellness 360.”

In November 2014, Clapsis and other members of the committee helped pick the theme and discussed details to evaluate last year's symposium, she said.

“The speakers energized the audience and got everyone excited about health and wellness,” she said. “Being healthy while maintaining a busy schedule is definitely possible and just requires some active planning and creative thinking.

Collaborating with Douglass PALs helped make the event grow larger and better than years past, Clapsis said.

“It is important that we are healthy enough to be successful, not just academically but in all aspects of our lives,” she said.

The research panel was a powerful part of the symposium because the three panelists were happy to be there and share knowledge with the students, Clapsis said.

Brittney Twyman, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, said she was drawn to “Douglass Wellness 360” because of its Zumba class.

“It is so engaging and is a great workout,” Twyman said. “It does not feel like a tough exercise because you are dancing to music, but it is.”

In her free time, Twyman tries to go to fitness classes, frequents the gym and watches the food she eats in an attempt to stay healthy, she said.

“I feel that physical health is important because if you are too tired, you will not do well in classes,” she said. “Mental health is important as well because if you are mentally fatigued you will have trouble concentrating and can engage in bad habits.”

It is easy to overeat, especially in dining halls, Twyman said. People need to be more aware of the importance of eating healthy and maintaining good health.

Linda Garcia, a Mason Gross School of the Arts first-year student, said she had a great time learning about mental and physical health.

“This event helps students be healthier and more positive in life, and that’s something everyone needs,” she said. “Life is too short to be upset so try your best to be happy, and do whatever you can to be healthy by exercising and eating the right foods.”

Garcia said she does cross-fit aerobics and Zumba to stay active and healthy, and looks at everything in a positive light too to stay mentally sharp.

Kaajal Kheny, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said she hopes the event allowed students to love themselves and understand the importance of heath and wellness.

"As impossible as it seems, it is important to get a good amount of sleep, especially for exhausted college students,” Kheny said. “Drinking water seems like a silly reminder, but it is very important.”

Kheny said she does yoga or sees friends to distress, and yoga and swimming are her favorite forms of physical fitness.

“'Douglass Wellness 360’ is an easy and fun way to remind students of how they can take care of themselves while still at school,” Kheny said.

Jessica Herring

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