On Wednesday September 30, Kate Bates hosted a workshop at the Arcus Center called “Feel the Burn…Out? You Don’t Have To!” in which she gave students the chance to identify their stressors and ways to relieve them.
Bates, Associate Director of Student Activities and Leadership at Western Michigan University, has facilitated this type of workshop many times.
“I have been doing work within student activities for five years now and before that I worked for eight years in housing,” Bates said.
At these workshops, Bates begins by putting the participants in a juggling circle in which she throws different objects in for them to pass or juggle. The different objects represent different stressors that people encounter in everyday life.
For example, Bates explained that, “the tennis balls represent things you have to do” whether it be schoolwork or going to class or working at a job. This exercise is meant to portray the stress that comes with juggling so many things at once.
Bates emphasizes that “everybody has their thing”, their own way to de-stress, and that it’s a matter of finding out what works for you. Through the workshop, she attempts to help participants find their de-stressor.
“You know what feels right,” Bates said. “But I can help you put it into a context in which you can say ‘oh that makes sense.’”
“It’s ironic that the things we should be doing (to take care of ourselves are) what we drop,” Bates added. “We stop exercising, start eating bad food, chugging red bulls, use drugs, or drink alcohol.”
She stresses the importance of finding the ways to reduce stress in order to keep up “self-care”, especially going into our fourth week of the quarter at Kalamazoo College.
“Managing your time for when you know you will be most productive and least productive, for that’s when you should put in the de-stressors,” Bates said.
She emphasized that while “(she is) not an expert,” by facilitating these workshops she is able to help people discover ways that they can help themselves. Bates didn’t give any definite points that she says will help everyone with stress, but that people should start with “small changes that (they) can fit in today” because it will be more useful in the long-run in managing stress.