There’s a sense of calm washing over Memory Mall.
It could be the smell of basil, the bubbles flying all around or the live music playing.
“Students just are in the place of not thinking about what you’re doing all the time, they’re kind of on autopilot,” said Pam Mills, the biofeedback and stress management program coordinator at Wellness & Health Promotion Services. “Mindfulness doesn’t necessarily have to be meditating or doing something serene. Doing every day activities mindfully and doing things one at a time helps the brain to sort everything that’s going on.”
On Wednesday, from noon to 3 p.m. at Memory Mall, student wellness services like the Recreation and Wellness Center, and Student Counseling and Psychological Services held their annual Just Be Day.
The event focused on giving students a time to relax and feel less stressed about upcoming finals.
UCF on-campus services had booths with individual activities that helped students refocus on themselves. The RWC hosted mini meditation yoga and meditation sessions and WHPS held a Fresh U cooking demonstration which taught students how to make pesto.
All around, more than 300 students attended Just Be Day, an increase from 200 students in the two previous years. For every booth visited, students had a punch card that was punched. By the end, if they had visited all the booths they were able to get a free Just Be Day shirt.
Other services like the Arboretum had students plant their own basil to take home and grow. Student Care Services had a banner where students could sit down and color while enjoying the afternoon sun. CAPS had a booth set up to help answer students’ questions about counseling.
“They [CAPS] definitely left me with some questions to think about, that was pretty deep, and I didn’t even know how to answer it,” Sam Charles, a pre-med biology sophomore, said. “I’m probably going to think it over and if anything, there’s the initial assessment [for counseling] and see if I need help.”
Students like biomedical sciences sophomore Judith Acosta, attended the event last year and said it greatly relieved stress from her finals which is why she wanted to attend again this year. WHPS also had a booth out that let students create their own aroma spritzer using essential oils. Acosta said it was what caught her eye and made her want to come to the event.
“The essential oils they gave out smell great and I’m definitely implementing it into my studying,” Acosta said. “I’m going to put it on the inside of my wrist and see if it helps me concentrate better. I’m also going to practice being more mindful when I’m studying.”
The event also included live music from UCF health science alumnus Alex Baron. He played live music at last year’s Just Be Day. He said he understood how stressed students felt when finals were coming up and wanted to help students again this year with his music.
“A lot of students get caught up in the day to day grind,” Baron said. “There’s so many distractions in college that lead you away from your path and what you’re trying to do. Events like this really bring people back so they can relax and do what they need to do.”
To get students to really understand what it means to be “mindful”, Mills said the event is really for students to live in the moment with all the small activities.
“Mindfulness is being intentional,” Mills said. “If you’re in the moment of every aspect, as you’re walking to class, being aware of your breathing, being aware of your foot as you’re going along the pathway, taking in what’s around you, the beautiful trees, you’re again in focus and you’re not worrying about something that happened yesterday, or worrying about our grades like we tend to do. You’re able to be in the moment and be more successful.”