Students learn to cope with stress, anxiety during Blues Week

CSUN students received tools for coping with stress and anxiety as they prepared for finals week on Thursday at the USU as part of Beat the Blues Week.

Vaheh Hartoonian is a graduate student at CSUN and assistant coordinator of peer program at University Counseling Services on campus. He is not the only one familiar with anxiety, which was the motivation to host the workshop.

“We have been there, we have seen it either in ourselves or in the people around us so we wanted to do something about it,” said Hartoonian. “Depression, suicide and anxiety are very stigmatized in society.”

The students were reminded to take care of themselves and each other during the stressful time of finals. Hartoonian explained that being able to manage stress is important for the student and their academic success.

Hartoonian does not think there is a lot of understanding about depression and anxiety because it is difficult for people who have not experienced it to understand.

“Anxiety and depression is a powerful and often crippling illness,” said Hartoonian. “It’s cyclical, people don’t address it, they don’t talk about it and they don’t know about it and because they don’t know about it they don’t talk about it. You have to break the cycle and talk to people and get to know more.”

Gabriella Careera, senior childhood adolescent development major, feels constantly stressed and it increases in the beginning of the semester and during finals. During the semester she practices yoga to relieve stress.

“At the beginning of the semester the professors give homework right away and it’s overwhelming,” Careera said.

Patricia Lopez is another student who feels the pressure of balancing studies and personal life. She used to go to the gym to relieve stress but she does not have time anymore and knits instead. She enjoyed the visualization exercise because it made her more relaxed.

“Every night before I go to bed I knit,” said Lopez, junior psychology major currently knitting a blanket instead of the usual scarves.

Paulette Theresa, Psy.D., asked the attendees if they included massages, manicures or other stress relieving activities in their planners and most of the students said no.

“You need to balance your life,” said Theresa. “Start thinking about developing a lifestyle management.”

Susannah Frazier, M.A., explained the importance of saying no if their schedules are already fully booked. It is important to differentiate between should and must said Frazier.

“Look at your to do list, is there something that can wait?” Frazier said. “Be realistic and don’t take on more than you can handle.”

Frazier emphasized the importance of talking to people about their feelings, whether it is a friend, a family member or a journal.

“Don’t bottle things up,” Frazier said.

At the end of the workshop, Erica Ide, Psy.D., took the students through a 12-minute visualization exercise where she brought the students to a beach and the students reported feeling relaxed.