By Liz Haas

Staff Writer

Puppies, cookies, chair massages and art therapy: Finals week doesn’t have to be a complete grind.

During the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of finals’ week, Healthy UNH and the UNH libraries are bringing students “Frazzle Free Finals,” a series of 13 stress-relieving activities in Dimond Library. These activities include petting therapy dogs with “Study Buddies,” the opportunity to take a coffee and cookie or “YoNola” break, and even the chance to give your loudest “Primal Scream” at 8:30 p.m. on Monday in the Dimond lobby.

“Take regular breaks from studying and projects (to) relax and clear the mind,” recommends Kathleen Grace-Bishop, Health Services’ director of education and promotion. She advises for the insertion of staff breaks into each day along with the utilizing of a variety of stress relieving techniques, such as coloring or meditation, to unwind.  Even with a packed schedule, she says that pausing to take deep breaths throughout the day can promote relaxation when one is feeling overwhelmed.

Frazzle Free Finals includs just some of the many calming activities available to students during finals week and throughout the semester. According to Grace-Bishop, residence halls have already begun reserving sleep and coloring party kits to help students unwind. Health Services offers a drop-in meditation group each Monday from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. in MUB 340, and students are welcome to make individual appointments with Hamilton, the Health Services therapy dog, when he is not attending formal stress-relief sessions on campus.

“Remember that stress is a part of life,” says Grace-Bishop. “It is a physical, emotional and mental response to change, positive or negative.”

She says the key to healthy stress management is returning to a relaxed state to avoid long-term consequences.

Grace-Bishop also encourages students to remember to care for their bodies both physically and mentally during finals week.

“Don’t pull all-nighters,” she said. “Eat at regular intervals to keep your energy up.” She recommends writing a to-do list with a schedule for both studying and specific breaks to exercise, refuel and relax.

“Don’t procrastinate what needs to be done,” she said.

Health Services also encourages students to continue healthy eating, sleeping and exercise habits over break. Grace-Bishop says making time for enjoyable activities will help students recharge for next semester, and that maintaining these healthy habits can help students deal with stress next semester.

Health Services offers a variety of stress management and reduction services throughout the semester, including light-therapy, counseling sessions, massage therapy and bi-weekly yoga classes. For more information, self-help tips, and to schedule an appointment, visit the UNH Health Services stress management website.