By Kelly Zheng
The annual Stress Less Carnival, held April 18 on McKeldin Mall, offered students the chance to relax between classes and before finals. The carnival was an initiative from campus advocacy organization Active Minds at Maryland, which strives to reduce the stigma of mental health on campus
The carnival was one of five events from the group’s Stress Less Week, which hosted an array of activities to encourage self-care and de-stress students before becoming swamped with final exams.
“College students are under pressure all the time, and some stress even leads to mental health issues,” Active Minds at Maryland President Ateret Sultan-Reisler said. “This is a way for us to promote and raise awareness about different services for students to reach out to on campus.”
Students should also remember that self-care is important in order to be productive and successful, the senior psychology and art history major said.
The organization partnered with this university’s resources and support centers, Scholars Promoting and Revitalizing Care and Yogibo.
Sultan-Reisler said she hoped attendees were able to learn more about the services on campus that not every student is aware of.
The event did just that for senior computer science major Ellan Kim, who said she wished she had known about Active Minds earlier on in college.
“A lot of people think stress is normal because it’s common, but sometimes it…can be harmful,” Kim said. “Even though these activities aren’t medical treatments, they’re good ways for people to de-stress.”
Other activities included a bean bag throw, bubble wrap pop, coloring, painting, ring toss, tie-dye and trivia. There were also beaded necklaces and pins for students to take. The different colors of the beads represented whether someone was struggling with or supporting a friend with a mental illness.
Kim said that she appreciated how simple the activities were because she tends to stress a lot about the complications that may arise in the future.
“When I first heard there were dogs, I was excited and wanted to go see,” freshman psychology major Will Yan said. “I got the chance to sit down and paint with strangers; I really appreciated the time to just chill.”
Junior psychology major Rachel Amrhein said when her academics and personal life start stressing her out, she takes time for herself by working out and reading for fun.
“If you ignore your mental health and you’re feeling stressed, you can get into a state of chronic stress,” Amrhein said. “It’s really important to practice self-care daily, in whatever way that works best for you, to prevent breakdowns.”