De-stressing and Building Resilience at NC State

When we went to college, certain times of year like mid-terms and finals created some stress. But today, students are feeling a ton of it, all year long. Students living in NC State's Wood Wellness Village have chosen to focus on well-being and live with fellow students doing the same. Last weekend, we ran a half-day workshop introducing them to new tools for unwinding, building mindfulness, and practicing resilience.

First up - flop ball (check out how cool their logo looks on it). First they got comfortable with dropping and then we challenged them with individual, partner, and group exercises. Laughter, cheers, and high-fives filled the room. They then learned to play with a variety of skill toys that they now have available to them in the dorm. All play a little differently and everyone had a favorite.

All of these skill toys and challenges provided an opportunity to reflect on how they approached the "stress" of learning something new and re-frame it as just a fun, new challenge. It also allowed the students to connect with each other in a new way at this halfway point in the year.

Enough of me describing it, let's hear what they had to say on their evaluations after:

  • It made me really appreciate how play can reduce stress and improve resiliency. Realized that "failing" is only a path to building greater success.
  • It has increased my awareness of how I don't give myself mental breaks and I will do that more
  • It allowed me to spend time with the others while having fun!
  • I came to understand more fully that relaxing and having fun is very important to maintaining a state of overall physical, mental, and emotional state of wellness.

But it was the comments like, "I really enjoyed being able to just relax and play" and "reconnecting with my just for fun roots" and "realizing play is a form of self-care" and "I need to relax more" that made concerned for about the current conditions for college students. We're happy to have been able to have an impact on this group, but know that there's more work to be done.