With projects, homework and tests in many classes, self-care can take a back seat to college students’ schedules.
There are many Lehigh clubs, organizations and businesses that help students relax and unwind.
Tika Barua, ’24, said she had the opportunity to connect with her spirituality and religion through meditation in 2020.
She says meditation helps her feel calm and stay in the moment.
Aiming to share her emotional journey with the Lehigh community, Barua hosted “Healing with Tika” on March 21 with the Center for Gender Equity.
“The event began with guided meditation using a Tibetan singing bowl to heal with its frequency,” Barua said. “I want to introduce our campus to meditation because I know students’ schedules are busy.”
After a guided meditation, Barua discussed the impact of human relationships, gender and spirituality.
Barua said he hopes to host more creative events to provide students with a comfortable and creative place to relax on campus.
Rabbi Steve Nathan, chaplain and director of Jewish Student Life, also hosts reflection sessions. Community members can join him every Tuesday at 12:15 pm in the third floor studio at Taylor Gym.
Nathan said that he has been thinking about it for years but he started studying meditation more and more meditation in the late 90s became popular.
This prompted him to begin a two-year program that included a minor to examine psychology from a Jewish perspective.
“It’s important to think because a lot of our world doesn’t think,” Nathan said. “Our world is moving fast, and there’s a lot going on. I think being able to slow down so far without judgment is what it’s all about being creative.
Nathan said that meditating for two minutes every day can have positive effects on a person’s physical and mental health.
He says that walking meditation is easy and can be done with walking, mindful eating, mindful driving or listening to music.
“It helps a person on the road,” Nathan said. “It’s just taking time to ignore things and just relax.”
Nicole Cestone, ’25, wanted to create a space for students to take their mind off work and relieve stress through some form of meditation.
Inspired by the relaxation he felt in campus events, Cestone founded the Lehigh Meditative Painting Club in 2022, which will be recognized in 2023.
He said the club hosts campus events throughout the semester to encourage creativity through art, such as origami and rope making.
“We’re thinking about how to create space and relieve stress in nature,” Cestone said. “My friends and I enjoyed attending the ‘Paint Night’ hosted by Lehigh After Dark and we were thinking about how we can participate in painting with mental health and creativity. .”
Cestone said he started to think more when he started college, and that being part of the team improved his mental health, especially during times when he was stressed from the schoolwork or exams.
The university is involved in creative activities, too.
Jenna Papaz, director of health promotion and prevention strategies, said that in 2021, when Lehigh’s campus is at its peak after the COVID-19 pandemic, it has met The Office of Student Affairs and Peer Health Advisors partner with Headspace to promote mental health awareness on campus.
According to Headspace world wide webThe app aims to reduce stress and help build good habits through science-backed meditation and mindfulness tools.
An Office of Student Affairs survey of 408 undergraduate students found that 15% of students said they were using Headspace. Among these users, 95% said it had a positive impact on their lives, 50% learned to think, 54% said it helped them manage their stress, 46% said it improved in their sleep and 37% said it increased their concentration.
“(Headspace) is creating a place for them to be with themselves, to be with their own thoughts and to be able to find a part of themselves that they didn’t know before,” said Papez.