MAP: The best spots to de-stress at Sac State


Eucario Calderon - The State Hornet

Student plays and pets dog during a puppy therapy session. Pet therapy is only one of the outlets Sac State offers to help with de-stressing and mental health.

Campus is bustling late April with birds trilling, squirrels grunting and students stressing as weeks of finals preparation ensnare Sacramento State.

Statista, an online portal that accumulates various statistics, published a college student health report for the 2017-2018 academic year stating roughly 30% of undergraduate students in the U.S. “felt overwhelming anxiety in the last two weeks as of fall 2018.”

Statista also reported nearly 13% of undergraduate students in the U.S. “felt extremely tired every day of the past seven days as of fall 2018.”

Finals season can be a hellish time for any student, but many have the additional challenge of caring for their mental illness throughout periods of prolonged stress.

More than 300,000 people live with mental illness in Sacramento County, but research shows stigma prevents the majority from pursuing professional help, according to Christina Burns, an Edelman account executive writing on behalf of the “Mental Illness: It’s Not What You Think” Project.

Burns said May will be the 70th year recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month.

Here are some places Sac State students can find some peace and quiet on campus to de-stress and attend to their well-being, alongside Sac State’s counseling and psychological services.

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“Time for a Nap” at The WELL

If students don’t already have a secret slumber hideaway, they can enjoy school-sanctioned nap time at the new “Time for a Nap” meditation class at The WELL.

The class is new this semester, according to The WELL fitness attendant Ciara Caffrey.

Students receive sleep hygiene tips, a blanket and an optional yoga block, according to Paha Xiong, a senior and Peer Health Educator intern with Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS). Students can nap on yoga mats for the rest of the session, Xiong said.

Photo courtesy of The WELL at Sac State
Students can get sleeping tips and take a nap at the new free class offered at The WELL, with a yoga block, yoga mat, and blanket as shown in this photo posted on The WELL’s Facebook Feburary 20, 2019. Developing healthy sleep habits can help students manage their stress.

“If they’ve never been to the nap class before then we would give them a sleeping mask, and a sleeping kit, and they can bring that back every time to the nap class,” Xiong said.

The sleeping kit includes a face mask, earplugs, and a sheet of sleep hygiene tips, she said.

Instructor Alivia Gok supervises the nap class Wednesdays in the Feather Studio from 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m, according to the MINDBODY app. Students can sign up for the class through the app.  

“Be Your Best, De-stress” Week Across Campus

Sac State’s DEGREES Project will host events for “Be Your Best, De-stress” week Monday, April 29 through Friday, May 3 for students to relax ahead of finals, DEGREES Project coach Kaifa Yates said via email.

“Mindful Monday” featured yoga sessions in the Main Quad between Lassen Hall and Riverfront Center.

On “2K Tuesday,” the DEGREES Project will offer students the chance to play video games and eat snacks from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Lassen 2302, Yates said.

Students can chill out on hammocks in the Main Quad from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for “Hump Day Hammocks,” Wednesday, as a joint effort between the DEGREES Project and Sac State’s Hammock Club, according to Yates.

RELATED: Sleep, study, or socialize — as long as you’re doing it in a hammock

On “Thoughtful Thursday,” DEGREES Project employees will hand out care packages with stress balls and thoughtful quotes to students in the Library Quad from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., he said. Students can win prizes at a spin wheel and write encouraging thoughts on sticky notes to put on a board.

“Stress Less Fest” on Friday will mark the finale of “Be Your Best, De-stress Week” with Peak Adventures hosting outdoor activities, clubs gathering in the Main Quad and free Jamba Juice for a limited number of students, Yates said.

He said the DEGREES Project also invited the 106.5 radio station to the event Friday.

“As DEGREES Project coaches, we understand the level of hard work it takes to end the semester off right, and we wanted to support the students through various de-stress activities,” Yates said.

The Meditation Room

The University Union expansion project included a new Meditation Room for students to meditate, pray, or get a moment of peace and quiet.

Guidelines for using the space discourage sleeping, taking extended use past 15 minutes, the use of electronics, and bringing food or drinks into the space, according to its University Union webpage.

In the new meditation room there are cubbies near the entrance that store prayer mats and copies of the Quran and the Bible.

The Union expansion also includes a foot-washing station across near the Meditation Room for students who perform ablution before prayers, the website said. The room is located in the North Lounge on the second floor of the University Union.


The Terminal Lounge

The Union also offers the Terminal Lounge where students can play board games, let loose with some karaoke, or reserve a personal listening room to watch music videos or listen to a playlist. All students have to do to access these services is present their Sac State OneCard.

Students can relax in bean bag chairs and enjoy the Terminal Lounge’s large flat-screen TVs, as well. The personal listening rooms feature bean bag chairs and Apple TVs for users to watch available VEVO music videos or iTunes Music Video Library content, according to their website.

The Terminal Lounge also loans out free laptops and iphone and android chargers for Sac State students to use. Operating hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

If silent appreciation of music isn’t enough, karaoke machines are available at the Terminal Lounge Thursdays 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., according to the site.

Eucario Calderon – The State Hornet
Student plays and pets dog during a puppy therapy session. Pet therapy is only one of the outlets Sac State offers to help with de-stressing and mental health.

Stress-Less Puppies programs

The Stress-Less Puppies program that brings therapy dogs to campus to melt student stress away nearing midterms and finals have two upcoming visits scheduled, according to Alexandria Byrd, the administrative assistant for Health and Wellness Promotion at Sac State.

Peer Health Educators will also be present to provide sleep hygiene tips for students during the puppy visits, according to Byrd.

She said students can expect puppy therapy on May 1 in the Library Quad from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A local chapter of the Love on a Leash organization will host the session April 29 and the Sacramento Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will host May 1, working with the local community to bring dogs to campus, Byrd said.

The Sokiku Nakatani Tea Room and Garden

Admire the tranquil beauty of the Sokiku Nakatani Tea Room and Garden at Sac State. Students can observe traditional aesthetics and can gain multi-cultural learning experience by attending a tea gathering that demonstrates the traditional Japanese way of serving tea.

The Tea Room and Garden on the lower level of the University Library can be found under the library walkway.

Student Health and Counseling Services at The WELL

Sac State offers students with a range of mental health services, including short-term individual counseling through Counseling and Psychological Services, or CAPS.

These individual sessions last between 30 to 50 minutes on usually weekly basis, according to the Student Health and Counseling Services website. Students can talk to a counselor about a range of subjects, like academic troubles, LGBT issues, trauma, grief, relationships, anxiety, addiction, and more.

Group counseling and workshops are also available. Some current group therapy courses include Anxiety Management I, Guy’s Group, and SAFE – Surviving Assault, Finding Empowerment, according to the website.  

Students can make an appointment in person at the main office on the second floor of The WELL or call (916) 278-6461. The main office is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fridays, the website said.

Camille Escovedo – The State Hornet
The lobby of the Center for Counseling and Diagnostic Services Friday, March 29, 2019 in Eureka Hall at Sac State. Members of the Sacramento community, including Sac State students, can receive individual, couple, an family therapy from Sac State graduate students, under supervision by trained professionals.

The Center for Counseling and Diagnostic Services

Sacramento State offers counseling for individuals, couples, and families of the greater Sacramento community, as well as Sac State students, according to the Center for Counseling and Diagnostic Services webpage.

The website said Sac State students receive free counseling at The WELL, but can pay small fees to receive services from the Center in Eureka Hall 421. Graduate students provide the counseling while supervised through a one-way mirror by a licensed clinician.

The Center for Counseling and Diagnostic Services therapy sessions are available by appointment only, through the website.

Sac State students weigh in on surviving finals stress  

Sac State student Oscar Aguilar said he likes to take walks in front of Capistrano Hall where he studies music and past the flowers in front of campus.

“I feel like getting away from everything from your studies and just being in nature helps with calming down the body,” Aguilar said. “You really have a different perspective than being in one enclosed area.”

Byrd said students can often be harder on themselves than they need to be and that they can give themselves permission to release some of that self-imposed pressure when preparing for finals.

“It’s perfectly okay to fail. That’s the biggest one I always like to tell students, is there’s nothing wrong with that,” Byrd said. “Then the other part’s just making sure to put in time to still take care of yourself even when you are stressed even if that’s just five minutes watching a cat video.”

Byrd gives this advice as she remembers what it is like to be a stressed-out student during her undergraduate and graduate school years.

“Just making sure to set some kind of time aside at least once a day to take care of yourself in some way that makes you feel better,” Byrd said.