By Hannah Moss
While finals week creeps up on the Humboldt State campus, student’s stress levels reach new highs. A new program, organized by the Humboldt State University student health and wellness services, hopes to lower the intensity of anxiety amongst the student body. The program is called Stressbusters, a resource that will be offering free five-minute back rubs at upcoming events across campus during finals week and upcoming semesters.
Shawn Silverstein, counselor at the Humboldt State Counseling and Psychological Services, knows a lot about the everyday stresses of a student on campus.
“There are a lot of people that come here from far away … transitioning to the weather here and being away from your family and friends seems to be a very stressful thing for some students” said Silverstein. “There’s also work and school work, I know finals is coming up.” However, there are also social stresses that come into play.
“For some people, developing and maintaining relationships can be stressful,” said Silverstein. “The break up of those intimate relationships can be stressful too.” Silverstein emphasized on the importance of a healthy level of stress, because stress motivates you to stay on task and do your work. He said the key is balance and human interactions.
“Having contact with human beings is essential,” said Silverstein. “We’re kind of relational beings and we seek meaning out of events and out of experiences, part of how we get meaning is through our interactions.”
Guest speaker Jordan Friedman, the creator and director of the Stressbusters program, flew out from New York to teach two three-hour stress busters trainings on May 3-4. Friedman has studied stress management education and has a master’s degree in public health from New York University and published The Stress Manager’s Manual. During the workshop, Friedman taught simple back rub techniques. He also emphasized the difference between a back rub and a back massage, explaining that in no ways do stress busters give the same services as a practitioner.
Joe Comer, 21-year-old social work major and peer health educator for the student health center, organized the program alongside health educator Mira Friedman. He explained that the main goal of Stressbusters is to get students who want to provide a resource that is therapeutic for other students as well as themselves.
“What inspired me was to create a program that would help promote wellness in different ways by providing a way to take care of themselves and others” said Comer. Comer is excited to see so many students getting involved and looks forward to future Stressbusters events.
Chelsea Hernandez, 19-year-old environmental resource engineer major, attended the training and is now a Stressbuster on campus.
“I learned a lot of new techniques for giving back rubs,” said Hernandez. Trainees were taught how to give five to seven-minute back, shoulder, arm, hand and neck rubs. Participants received their Stressbusters shirts to wear to events, as well as anti-bacterial spray to use between Stressbustees.
“I think it’s a great way for people on campus, especially around finals week, to de-stress” said Hernandez.
Ravin Craig, coordinator for peer health educators, hosted a zine release party from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Rec and Wellness Center drop-in lounge on May 6th. The Stress worked the event.
“I think Stressbusters is a fantastic program,” says Craig. “It gives students a way to connect as well as relieve stress for students who are at events.” According to Craig, almost 30 students have been trained to be the first Stressbusters at Humboldt State for the upcoming fall and spring semesters.
Marilyn Liu, 19-year-old international studies major attended an event. Liu has been stressed trying to find off campus housing, studying for finals and working on final projects. After her back rub, Liu felt more relaxed.
“I feel much better, a lot less tense which is very helpful,” said Liu. “It was nice to forget about all the stress for a little bit.”