To help students during stressful finals week, wellness coordinator Maureen Muir worked with the counseling team to bring dogs to campus during lunch on Jan. 14. Generally, the team plans “Wellness Wednesday” lunch time activities every month; however, they shifted the plan for finals week to give students the opportunity to spend time with therapy dogs.
Muir explained that studies have proven that therapy dogs help people cope with anxiety and reduce stress levels. The research has shown that interaction with dogs has several physical benefits, including decreased blood pressure, and simply petting a dog decreases feelings of anxiety and depression.
“Everyone copes differently with stress, and you need to be aware of what works for you. My main suggestion is to allow yourself to takes breaks from school work and studying,” Muir said. “During those breaks, it’s important to get away from your screens! Yes, it can feel good to binge watch episodes of ‘The Office,’ but you need to get up and move around to really give your body and brain a break.”
Similar to Muir’s advice, the dogs were brought to give students the natural, electronic-free break they need. Even after finals, the advice is relevant and the counseling team highly encourages students to take similar breaks and minimize stressful activities.