More cracks and pops couldn’t be heard anywhere else than from the mindfulness and meditation class at TRECS. The class instructor, Patrick Angelaccio, an advocate for mental health and wellbeing, guides the class through a series of stretches and breathing techniques meant to open airways and minds. The class is self-paced, calm and accessible for everyone.

Between the stretches and music from the film “UP” softly playing in the background, students are encouraged to de-stress and focus on themselves. This makes sense considering the college experience is known for unhealthy eating and gaining extra stress from class work.

The stigma that one will fall behind if they’re not always on the grind brings a rush in the air that seems to distract students from the present. Students fill their time with a combination of work and class, then proceed to use more of their time working a job, often to pay for school.

As a result, it can be easy to trade mental health for good grades, a social life, extracurriculars and filling up that resume. Unfortunately, this trade off can be more costly than expected, with problems like depression or with sleep developing.

For some, de-stressing may seem like a waste of time considering there’s work to be done instead. On the other hand, there may be something to gain by taking a little time out of the day for centering ourselves.

Camryn Sprouse, a student in the class, said that she attends the mindfulness and meditation classes at the student recreation center in order to take a break from the stress of her day.

“This class does provide me that hour of purely focusing on my mental health and just getting and recouping with my body instead of focusing on ... the outer factors of the world,” Sprouse said.

Making intentional efforts to relieve mental stress and to enjoy the moment you’re in can make a big impact on mental health. During this period of uncertainty, campus has had to adapt to ever changing conditions that require students to follow things like social distancing and online classes. It’s important to follow these policies, but they can be isolating and frustrating.

Life is already quick paced and UT’s campus is trying to both recover from pandemic conditions and bring back a sense of normal. This doesn’t make it any easier to come to terms with the past one to two years. Keeping a sound mind is more important now than ever.

Angelaccio spoke about the importance of fitting mental health time into busy college life.

“People don’t give it the respect it needs ... mental health is an actual part of our health” Angelaccio said.

With a variety of classes, TRECS helps students have “me time,” which can be important for mental health and staying successful in school. At the end of the day, a good balance between work time, social time and mental health time might be the best way to go about being healthy and academically successful.

For the fall 2021 semester, Angelaccio’s mindfulness and meditation class will be offered every Friday from 11-11:45 a.m. in Studio 9 at TRECS.

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