Feeling stressed from finals? Unwind and recharge yourself at the Student Recreation Center and Oasis Wellness Center

The Reflection Patio at the CSUN Oasis Center in Northridge, Calif., Nov. 17, 2021. This part of the center offers an environment where students can unwind and reflect.

Thomas Bravo, Reporter

The typical “freshman 15” may not just apply to first-year students anymore. Stress and weight gain has increased across the board. Instead of the weight gain being attributed to the transition to college, it is now occurring at home.

The past year of quarantine and lockdowns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in stress, anxiety and sedentary lifestyles among young adults, according to studies published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

For students, adjusting to the new normal also meant missing out on vital aspects of the college experience such as hands-on learning and interactions with professors and classmates.

The return of some in-person classes at CSUN follow along with the reopening of many different campus resources. The university has facilities that can help improve both physical and mental health as well as help students who experience burnout.

CSUN kinesiology student Ian Manas struggled to maintain his routines during the citywide shutdowns of businesses, including gyms.

“My work out schedule was definitely thrown out of the loop, I became a bit lazier. It was tough staying motivated and trying to do workouts alone in my room,” Manas said. “Even the basketball courts near my place had their rims taken down during [the lockdowns], so I couldn’t even do that.”

A CSUN student relaxes on a swinging chair at the Oasis Labyrinth in Northridge, Calif., on Nov. 17, 2021. (Graciela Colorado)

At CSUN, there are two places on campus that are designed to address fitness and health: the Student Recreation Center and the Oasis Wellness Center.

Located at the University Student Union, the SRC is the main campus hub for students when it comes to improving their physical fitness and relieving tension. A report from the National Institute of Health stated that exercising can improve mental health by improving cognitive function and reducing anxiety and depression.

The SRC membership is included in the student tuition. Currently, students are required to submit a health screening through the SRC app before entering.

The SRC includes resources that can help students focus on many different exercise regimens, whether that is strength or endurance based. It has equipment dedicated to both weight lifting and cardio. It features a 44-foot high rock climbing wall, an indoor track and a recreational pool for aerobic exercises.

The Ridge Rock Wall inside the Student Recreation Center in Northridge, Calif., on Nov. 17, 2021. The Rock Wall offers different levels of climbing experiences and is open to all CSUN students and SRC members. (Graciela Colorado)

There are three full hardwood basketball courts located inside the SRC. The courts are currently closed to the public because SRC employees have reported seeing many different groups continually lowering their face masks while playing.

The SRC is open Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. It opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. on weekends.

The CSUN Oasis Wellness Center is a place where students can unwind, reset and experience tranquility. The facility features are designed to help reduce stress and promote relaxation.

One room is lined up with massage chairs and recliners, while speakers are constantly filling the room with smooth jazz music at a low volume. Students mostly use the facility to study or relax.

“The place is very quiet,” Oasis Center employee Aki Dawson said. “Students can come here and study if they do not want to go to the library. It is more calming here.”

Like the University Library, the Oasis Center offers conference rooms that students can rent if they want to study in groups.

According to the American Institute of Stress, sleep can drastically reduce anxiety. At the Oasis Center, students are able to rent out “napping pods” for 45 minutes. Each pod is designed in a way that is supposed to block out light, making it easier to sleep.

The workshops that are offered at the Oasis Center seek to promote healthier lifestyles and are aimed at treating anxiety. The classes are centered around meditation and nutrition and they include yoga and breathing exercises. According to Oasis Center employees, these classes are their most popular and fill up the fastest.

Wellness coaches provide counseling and help individuals with aspects like time management. These classes are designed to help address student burnout. Students can also sign up for one-on-one wellness sessions that are provided by the Klotz Student Health Center.

The Oasis Center is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Oasis Center is not open on weekends.

Although the rush of campus life can create stress and anxiety, there are locations throughout campus that are designed to help students with their physical and mental health.