Self-Care Fair promotes wellness for students

Some sticky notes with encouraging thoughts left on one of the tables at EMU's Self-Care Fair. 

With midterm exams dominating the week, Eastern Michigan University organizations set up a self-care fair to ease student anxieties and encourage individual wellness. 

The fair ran from 6-9p.m. on Monday, Feb. 26, taking place in the student ballroom with 140 students attending overall. EMU’s student government, Campus Life, and the Office of Wellness and Community Responsibility presented the event as an encouragement for students to take care of themselves during stressful times. 

“Self-Care is remembering to relax before stressful times and remembering that you’re important while taking care of others,” said Mel Roberts, student government’s director of student resources. “If you need to help your friend with something, remember to take care of yourself too.” 

Multiple tables were set up with various activities, such as rock painting, coloring pages, and sand bottle crafts. Sticky notes were given to write encouraging words onto, along with large posters on the wall dedicated to the same purpose. Each poster had a starting sentence (such as “Self-care is…”) where students could fill out the rest with colored markers. 

Food was provided in the form of various pastries and donuts as well as hot water for tea. Soft music was played in the room, the lights turned down low and blue up lighting meant to create a relaxing and calm atmosphere for students. 

Several therapy dogs and their owners took up one half of the room as well, who often visit for EMU’s bimonthly Wellness Woofs

Roberts explained how students who are stubborn about not setting time aside for themselves can see the benefit if they try. 

“I would start in small steps of self care would convince someone that self-care is important,” she said. “One of the activities we have here tonight is making a sugar scrub…using it once and a while with that relaxing, citrus scent on your face will remind you to take care of yourself.” 

Two members of the Heartfulness Institute, Satya Reddy and Praful Patel, had a table promoting their organization’s meditation courses. Reddy said meditation can have an extremely positive impact on how well students work. 

“It opens up the consciousness,” said Reddy. “You can do it for a half hour – but it’s [meditation] like making rice you cannot just speed up making raw rice you have to wait for a half hour, so it’s a process.” 

She mentioned how students often forget the importance of self-care when they’re busy doing everything else they’re committed to. 

“They [students] are rushing to do things but with meditation you can feel more balanced inside,” she said. “You can do those things in less time and in a much better way – your decision skills will improve.” 

One of the most common reasoning given as to why students, as well as people in general, for not taking steps to stay healthy is claiming they don’t have time to. 

“We have so much going on in our daily lives that we have to do to succeed that self-care often gets put on the back burner,” said senior senator for student government Lewis Jacques. “Self-care is a means for me to get back to that basic level.” 

Junior EMU student Alex Fodor said there’s truth to saying there’s little time, but time should always be made. 

“A lot of students feel like they don’t have the time or don’t know what they can do,” she said. “At least when there’s something like this going on campus you can come with your friends – sometimes just hanging out with friends longer is self-care itself.” 

Freshman Grace James went to the fair along with her boyfriend. She said self-care isn’t set in stone, and students can find methods that work best for them. 

“[Self-care] is making sure your happiness is achieved, making sure you can say ‘I am happy – I’m not stressed, I have completely gotten rid of any negative emotions – I am me’,” she said. 

While the fair was just for one night, organizers hoped the event would encourage students to take steps toward a healthier, more balanced life. 

The Apartments/Village community council will be holding a Self-Care day on Thursday, March 8 from 5-6:30p.m. in the Village MPR. Those seeking resources on self-care can contact the Office of Wellness and Community Responsibility as well as EMU’s counseling services (CAPS.) 

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