Battling Anxiety with Finger-paint


By Quincey Taylor

As midterms pick up and assignments start to pile on top of each other, it is easy for students to start to feel overwhelmed. Even the best of students, including nursing students, can struggle with stress on an everyday basis.

At the BYU College of Nursing, a movement of stress relieving techniques are being taught to not only students, but also faculty and staff. This movement is embodied in the newly created Wellness Room on the first floor of the Kimball Tower. This room provides users with the tools they need to battle anxiety and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Associate professor Dr. Janelle Macintosh teaches the second-term Stress Management for Nurses class. It is her hope that every student will develop methods to deal with the inevitable strain that accompanies such a demanding occupation, as well as the current stress school cultivates.

In the class, Macintosh’s students participate in hands-on activities they can do in their everyday life. They learn the benefits of relaxing practices like enjoying aromatherapy, listening to calming music, coloring, doing yoga, using the techniques of Korean hand therapy, and guided meditating.

Taking the class also gives students access to the Wellness Room, which is a safe space for students to put their newly learned techniques into practice.

The walls of the room are a cool periwinkle and the lights are dimmed.


Exercise mats are neatly stacked in the corner, leaving open space in the middle of the room to practice yoga or meditation. IMG_3138Crayons and colored pencils are available in neat cubbies along the wall, as well as an aromatherapy diffuser. Students who use the room can enjoy a moment of peace, hidden from on looking eyes.

These techniques are extremely valuable for in any stressful context, even in helping others to relieve stress.  Mactinosh explains, “The main focus is to help them learn how to navigate through their own stress because once they have tried something then they can be a testimonial that it works.” Once students see the benefits of self-care, they can recommend the practices to spouses, family members, patients, or patient’s families.

Mactinosh is a true believer in work-life balance and says, “I think the hardest thing for nursing students is recognizing that perfect is not attainable. A balanced life is a happy life. If you have to get 110% on every test then you’re not balanced. There is no honor in being the type of nursing student that can’t do anything else. You miss out on so much of life if you can’t stop and breathe and look around you. So, I would admonish students to look for ways that they can be accountable to themselves to find that balance in their life. It’s so hard. But it’s so valuable, and it’s such a lifelong skill.”


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