Hillel’s Wellness Week gives students chance to take mental break before finals

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By Samantha Rosen
For the Mitzpeh
@samantharosen96

Looking for a way to provide stress relief and study breaks for students during finals week, Hillel decided to host its first annual Wellness Week.

From May 8-11, Maryland Hillel will host various events around campus to help students relax and take care of themselves during finals. Hillel aims to create opportunities for reflection and relaxation for students, helping them feel calmer and providing them with mental breaks from studying.

“We hope that students gain a realization that it is healthy to feel calm and it is not healthy to always be studying and stressed out,” Lauren Kershenbaum, a sophomore studio art major and student planner of Wellness Week, said. “It is important to take breaks from studying once in a while and have fun.”

Kershenbaum, Jessa Cameron, Hillel Springboard innovation fellow, and Rabbi Aderet Drucker, campus rabbi and director of Jewish life and learning, developed the idea for Wellness Week when discussing yoga and mindfulness, and how to bring those two concepts to Hillel.

“The idea behind the whole week is to provide short, low-barrier events that students can come to and treat it as a quick study break from finals,” Cameron said. “We both really value the ideas behind yoga and thought it would be a good stress relief mental health idea for students.”

The week begins at 3 p.m. on May 8 with Meditation Monday at the Rosenbloom Hillel Center Shul. Rabbi Aderet Drucker will lead group meditation centered around spirituality and health. No prior yoga or meditation experience is necessary.

“I’ll be putting a Jewish spin on the meditation and inviting people to be mindful, gearing them up for their tests and getting through finals week,” Drucker said. “I want to create a space for people to feel relaxed and supported.”

At 1 p.m. Tuesday on McKeldin Mall, weather permitting, students can make their own healthy snacks at Trail Mix Tuesday. While relaxing on the mall and enjoying the weather, different ingredients will be provided for people to make their own trail mix to bring on the go as a healthy snack, Kershenbaum said.

Wellness Week continues with Workout Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Chapel Garden. Here, students will participate in a short yoga session led by Kershenbaum. The session will utilize poses that are aimed at relieving stress.

The week concludes with a Tea and Relax night on Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Rosenbloom Hillel Conference Center Room where participants can lay back and enjoy tea, face masks made with mud from Israel’s Dead Sea, and comfortable chairs. This spa night’s purpose is to give students a break from studying where they can enjoy time with friends.
“We wanted to let students know that Hillel is a place of support, not just for religious support but it is also here for mental needs,” Kershenbaum said. “We hope Wellness Week gives students the mental break they need.”

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