By Camilla Hodge
Many students expect to breathe a sigh of relief and kick back on long weekends, like this upcoming Memorial Day.
Unfortunately, there are those who have to use their downtime for some down-to-business studying, and the lack of relaxation time may not be good for their health.
It is important to allot time for recreation, said Patti Freeman, a BYU professor of recreation management youth leadership.
“The importance of leisure time is that it provides balance and an opportunity to rejuvenate your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being,” she said. “Leisure time isn”t just time to kill. It should be time spent purposely to come back rejuvenated.”
Leisure time is also a way students can also cope with stress.
The body is designed to tolerate a certain amount of stress before exhibiting signs of wear, such as fatigue or poor appetite, said Dr. Lloyd Hoffman of the BYU Student Health Center. Yet, stress is a natural part of being a student and a natural part of life.
“If you didn”t have stress, you wouldn”t get anything done in life,” he said.
The key is to understand and recognize excess amounts of stress and then to handle it in a positive way, Hoffman said. It is usually a student”s reaction to stress that causes health problems, not stress itself.
“You may just need to get away and go for a bike ride, go for a hike or do something to allow the body to regain control of the situation,” Hoffman said. “You need to find something that distracts you, that you enjoy, where you really can relieve stress and get away from stressful things.”
This Memorial Day weekend, students will be finding various stress-relieving distractions.
“I”m celebrating my mom”s birthday, and I”m also going to take a test,” said Mary Alma Miller, a junior from Gainsville, Ga., majoring in nutritional science.
Pat Mullen, a graduate student from Sacramento, Calif., studying computer sciences, will be dividing his time between studies and taking his young family to the pool.
Megan Beardall, a junior from Fort Collins, Colo., majoring in music performance, will be found two places this weekend: a barbecue at her friend”s house on Memorial Day and working in the Harold B. Lee Library.
The best activities that help manage and relieve stress are those that “get you off the couch,” Freeman said.
“Do what you enjoy, ” she said. “We justify a lot of TV and videos with our roommates, yet that doesn”t allow you to interact with them. Anything active is a much better option.”
For some students, interactive recreation isn”t complicated.
“I usually think about it on the fly,” said Daniel Haskin, a freshman from Chicago. “I am pretty planless at this moment.”