Pledge to ‘Keep Calm’ This Fall

Emily is going to make a plan. Natasha is going to breath deeply. Zach will stay positive. Tasha is going to play with a puppy and Kelsey is going to head outside. Albert will sing in the shower and Theresa plans to shake it off – literally!

These are just a few of the of pledges hundreds of Terps took at the First Look Fair earlier this month out on McKeldin Mall to do more of what helps them KEEP CALM AND STRESS LESS.

This is the rallying cry of Wellness @ Maryland’s year-long effort to educate students about stress and encourage them to manage it in healthy ways.

Students’ ideas to cope with stress ran a wide gamut of creative strategies from jumping on trampolines to making lists to giving a hug. There are clearly lots of ways Terps like to de-stress at Maryland and they span all six dimensions of wellness. Fortunately, there are lots of resources and programs right here on campus to help the Maryland community stick to their commitment to stress less this year.

Physical Wellness

I pledge to keep calm and …

  • “Box more” – Michael // Interested in sparring a few rounds to keep your physical wellness in check? Check out the Cardioboxing group fitness class at Eppley Recreation Center Aerobics Room, Monday at 7:45 p.m. and Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. In fact, pledging to do any variation of physical activity – going to the gym, taking Zumba, going  for a run or walk, taking a hike, and more – was easily the most common pledge students took to de-stress.
  • “Bike more” = Megan // UMD is a very bike-friendly campus. DOTS is a good place to start to learn about biking on campus and they can help you get your bike registered. BikeUMD organizes group rides and there’s a bike shop right on campus where you can get your bike tuned up or repaired for free.
  • “Eat fruit” – Dina B. // Eat any kind of fruit or vegetable for that matter! A healthy diet is a great way to manage stress and eating smart on campus is easy with lots of nutritious options available at campus dining locations and at The Farmers Market at Maryland, a weekly market right on campus. You can also get a free diet analysis at the Center for Health and Wellbeing.

Emotional Wellness

I pledge to keep calm and …

  • “Watch comedy once a week to laugh.” – Anon // Enjoy a hearty chuckle to boost your emotional wellness every Friday at 1 p.m. as Erasable Inc., Maryland’s only all-improv comedy theatre group, entertains on steps of McKeldin Library.
  • “Blasting my favorite song.” – Malik // This was another very popular stress management technique. There’s no question – Terps love to chill out with their favorite  kind of music which ranges from the Disney Pandora station to Lady Gaga to Green Day to Taylor Swift to Trip Hop. Check out the Stamp Friday Showcase every Friday from noon-1pm for a weekly concert in the Stamp featuring a wide variety of student performers and bands. You can also look into the concert offerings at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, or purchase tickets for a show at a local D.C. venue.
  • “Stop worrying about things I can’t control.” -Anagha // A key to emotional balance is knowing where to invest your emotional energy and what you can let go. If you’re having trouble with excessive worry or anxiety, don’t be afraid to seek help. The Counseling Center on campus may be a good place to start or call the UMD Help Center if you’re stressed and need to talk at 301-314-4357.

Spiritual Wellness

I pledge to keep calm and …

  • “Focus on the now.” – Ramin // Other students took similar pledges to breathe deeply, go to meditation club, and meditate in nature. Taking time to slow down and be present through meditation is an effective, easy way to manage stress and it’s available to you at any moment – all you have to do is focus on your breath. Take advantage of the free meditation sessions offered through the University Health Center or spend time walking meditatively at the labyrinth in the Garden of Reflection or Remembrance.
  • “Drink green tea.” – Soon // Sipping green tea can be a mindfulness practice that increases positivity and awareness of the present moment. Head to the Center for Health and Wellbeing to enjoy a cup from the tea bar or from a Dining Services location and enhance your spiritual wellness.
  • “Pray more.” -Charmaine // Calling upon religious traditions through prayer, reading spiritual texts, praise and worship and other methods of staying connected to a higher power came up several times for students on our pledge boards. Memorial Chapel is the center of religious life on campus and supports all fourteen university recognized chaplaincies and their programs. There are also dozens of spiritual/religious student organizations (filter by “organization type” – religious) where you can get involved.

Intellectual Wellness

I pledge to keep calm and …

  • “Read a good book.” – Anastasia // Have you picked up your free copy of this year’s First Year Book, The Influence Machine? Swing by 2110 Marie Mount Hall and begin reading this graphic nonfiction novel all about the media to stimulate your intellectual wellness. And don’t forget the vast number of books at your fingertips available through the University Libraries.
  • “Work on time management.” – Suman // Jason put it in other words – “stop procrastinating” and Nidal is going to “do work on time”. The Learning Assistance Services (LAS) in the Counseling Center offers several time management workshops and is available for consultations. To make an appointment with an academic mentor, call (301) 314-7693 or stop by 2201 Shoemaker Building. During an initial interview, a mentor will help you select an appropriate program.
  • “Do a puzzle!!!” – Kevin // Mind teasers, jigsaw puzzles and other intellectually stimulating activities are great diversions from everyday stressors. Did you know The Diamondback student newspaper has a  “fun and games” section with crossword and Sudoku puzzles?

Social Wellness

I pledge to keep calm and …

  • “Talk to my mom.” -Utkarsha // College is a great environment for meeting  people and making new friends, but don’t forget to stay in touch with those back home – especially parents. Sensing that your parents want to feel more connected while you’re at college? Direct them to for tons of resources just for them and invite them to Family Weekend Oct 5-7.
  • “Be with friends.” – Seth // Hanging out and spending time with those who matter to you and uplift your spirits is a great buffer against stress. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to have a good time around campus- check out the Free Stuff @ Maryland calendar next time you need something to do with friends.
  • “Less computer time.” – Barbara // Does it seem like you’re always “on”?  In addition to the seemingly constant distraction by computers and technology, they can also take away with quality face-to-face time with friends. Give yourself a break.  Turn off your digital devices when you sleep, drive, or need to give a face-to-face interaction your full attention.  Or just take a few hours each day to be totally tech-free, so you can take in the world around you.

Vocational Wellness

I pledge to keep calm and …

  • “Plan ahead.” – Chelsea // Being the man (or woman!) with the plan can go a long way to easing stress when it comes to thinking about your future. Get connected with the University Career Center & The President’s Promise to set your professional goals and map out your path to success. Play the “CAREER” the Turtle Passport Game to win prizes while exploring the career resources the center has to offer.
  • “STOP and know you have more time.” – Rochelle // While planning ahead certainly has its merits, it’s also OK to not try and figure everything out at once. Use all of your college years to accumulate experiences and determine your values, skills and interests as they might relate to a future career. If you’re not quite at the plan-making stage, consider making use of Career Counseling Services to get help with the process – and it is a process, so be patient.
  • “Get a good night’s sleep.” -Dylan // Sleeping and taking naps definitely made it into the top 5 most popular pledges students took and for good reason – sleep is essential to being your best at work (and at play and relationships for that matter). Vocational wellness doesn’t mean working all the time. Give yourself permission to rest and re-charge so you’re ready to tackle the next day’s work with a renewed vigor. The Center for Health and Wellbeing has some great sleep education resources – including a proven effective sleep program.

How do you like to keep calm and stress less? Share with us what you pledge to do more of in the comments below.

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