On Wednesday, December 4 the Women’s Center partnered with A Window between Worlds and Office of Student Involvement to host Shrink Your Stress the week before Finals Week. The Women’s Center has done this in the past and it’s always been a hit, and I think my experience and involvement in planning the event just proved that. I submitted the program proposal, budget, created the event flier, and assisted in taking photographs at the event and directed students on how to do the activity. This Shrink Your Stress event, we had students crate shrink art thus the title of the program and either trace and decorate their own mandalas, trace their own image, or color in an already traced image (i.e. flower, leaf, and rainbow). This event reminded me of the events I would program as an Art Therapy Club Public Relations officer during my undergraduate career. During our biggest event, Late Night Breakfast during Stress Relief Week (also the week before Finals), the Art Therapy Club would distribute crayons and coloring sheets with mandalas, festive-holiday designs, and other imagery with the choice of having hot cocoa. So, it was cool to a different interpretation of a similar event to help relieve stress the week before Finals Week.
I felt like the event was successful as many students came to the tables to create shrink art and many students created multiple pieces once they had finished one – I was impressed with how artistic and creative all of the other students were. Many of them, after they created their first piece, went ahead and decorated another using images from their phone that they could trace. One student did a Pikachu, another did a Naruto character, and one did a floral wreath with her initials. We always had at least ten students at the tables working on their shrink art pieces. As a student, it can be hard to set time for oneself. I have struggled with this during my graduate studies and acknowledging when enough is just too much can be hard for me to gauge. I don’t usually understand the repercussions of my work load until after it passes and I feel the effects of burnout creep onto me. I think Shrink Your Stress, petting adorable animals, and decorating stuffed kangaroos during Stress Less Fest are great reminders to be mindful and evaluate one’s mental well-being in a time where that is often neglected. I want to point out though that there are many definitions of self-care. One student may set a goal to set three meals a day, whereas another’s goal may be to decompress with one episode of their favorite television show every night before they go to bed. There is no wrong way to do self-care.