Stress-Reducing Activities & Resources


By Katie Southon, SCS Advising Leader

April is National Stress Awareness Month. I think it’s fitting as the academic year begins to come to a close and all the semester project presentations, midterms, and finals start to pile up on the calendar. I know that no matter how hard you have been working all semester, the last six weeks of the semester always ramp up in workload. While it’s important to stay focused and finish the semester out strong, it’s also important to remember that maintaining your physical, mental, and emotional health requires a concerted effort just like you’re studying. Here are some tips for places on campus where you may find some work-life balance.

1. Extracurriculars

Participating in an existing extracurricular activity or joining a new one will help increase your sense of belonging, decrease your stress levels, and allow you to develop more friendships. Many of the activities that RSOs host are focused on social-emotional wellness and can involve activities from crafting to working out. The new OneIllinois platform will help you find upcoming RSO events. Check it out!

2. Fitness Class at the ARC

We all know that moving your body helps to decrease stress and make you feel better, but sometimes it can be hard to design a workout plan or find motivation. The ARC hosts a wide variety of fitness classes every day, from yoga to strength training, that can help you reach your goals and get moving! These classes do require a membership, but if you’re just joining now, they have half-semester reduced rates. Personally, I love attending these classes because the registration keeps me accountable and the instructors design the class for you, so all you have to do is show up!

3. Events at the Union

The Illini Union consistently hosts events for students to relax and enjoy time with friends. There are weekly movie nights, improv shows, trivia, monthly Illinites and more. My personal favorite events are the Craft and Snacks, a biweekly event series that is exactly what it sounds like. They provide a snack and all the supplies needed to make a craft to take home. Most of the events at the Union are completely free, including Spring Jam on April 28th, where you can see NLE Choppa for free on the quad with a valid I-Card.

4. Go see a sporting event

There are so many sports happening around campus and most of them are free for students! Check out the calendar to find out all the important details and check your email for notifications about free giveaways, free food, and raffles at upcoming events. The best part? Sports like softball and baseball are outside, so you can get some much needed sunshine while cheering on the Illini.

5. Walk around the Arboretum or travel to Allerton Park

Speaking of sunshine, the weather is getting nicer and it’s the perfect time of year to take a stroll around the Arboretum. The cherry blossom trees are getting ready to bloom and you can check for updates from the Japan House to see when you should visit. If you’re looking to get a little further away from campus, Allerton Park & Retreat Center is known widely to have beautiful grounds, 14 formal gardens, and miles of hiking trails.

6. Counseling Center and McKinley Health Center

If you are looking for some stress-specific support, the Counseling Center has outreach programs designed to help you. McKinley Health Center also has stress-management workshops and relaxation techniques. You can also pick up a sleep pack from a Mckinley Self-Care Station that includes an eye mask, ear plugs, lavender wipes, tea, and more that is covered by your health services fee. 

I hope that you will try out some of these stress-relieving activities around campus during April. There are so many resources available around campus to help you manage your workload and take care of yourself. If you need more information or help finding an activity or support that suits you, schedule an appointment with your academic advisor, who will be able to direct you to services that fit your needs. Finish the semester strong and Go Illini!