Students are encouraged to de-stress in Penn State's relaxation room

December 09, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK Pa. — Stress is an inevitable part of life. It can take a toll on students’ physical health, emotional well-being and academic success unless they learn to manage it appropriately.

College students experience stress related to changes in lifestyle, increased workload, new responsibilities and interpersonal relationships. In fact, 86% of college students said they felt overwhelmed by all they had to do at least once in the previous year, according to the American College Health Association's 2018 National College Health Assessment. 

Penn State offers a relaxation room, a free tool provided by Health Promotion and Wellness, part of Penn State Student Affairs. The purpose of the room is to help students de-stress from the daily demands of college life. It is located in the Wellness Suite, 20 Intramural Building, on campus. The space is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

The relaxation room features two biofeedback software programs on a desktop computer. The software programs feature breathing exercises to reduce heart rate and stress levels. A variety of relaxation, stress reduction, mindfulness, and brain massage audio tracks are available in the space. In addition, coloring books, a Zen sand garden, puzzles, light therapy boxes, and a comfortable space help students take a break, relax or study. 

As many people tend to spend less time outdoors during the winter months, this lack of exposure to sunlight may affect the mood of some students.

“Our beautiful mural of an outdoor landscape provides a reminder that winter will pass and that there is so much beauty in the coming months,” said Alexandria Berkavich, a Penn State student and HealthWorks peer educator.

Health Promotion and Wellness also provides light therapy boxes for students to use in the relaxation room. The boxes are designed to provide full spectrum light that mimics natural daylight. 

“The relaxation room is a hidden treasure at Penn State, but my hope is more and more students will start taking advantage of this awesome resource,” Berkavich said, adding that the room is a great resource to utilize during mid-terms and finals.

Sarah Reed, another HealthWorks peer educator, said her favorite part about the relaxation room is that it is “quiet and open for any students. It’s a safe and comfortable place for students to take a break from a busy day and relax, or even study.”

Students can take advantage of this great resource, targeting their mental health and wellness, five days a week with no appointment needed.  

For more information, check out the Student Affairs and relaxation room webpages.

Last Updated December 12, 2019