An Upstairs Paradise

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An Upstairs Paradise

Are you feeling the weight of your courses sinking in at this point of the semester? Are you feeling overwhelmed juggling school, work, and your social life? Do you need a place on campus to find comfort and relax?

Look no further than to the WREC’s Wellness Programs. The Wildcat Recreation Center (WREC) is expanding their definition of ‘fitness’ to reach the interests of those who need more than just weights and treadmills. The Wellness Program is catered differently for each semester, bringing in new activities, such as nap classes, different types of yoga, massage days and even therapy dogs.

“More and more, we are noticing, that the students are struggling with depression and anxiety. It is our job to provide the space and tools to teach them how to cope with that stress and anxiety so they don’t reach those epic levels where they can’t succeed academically,” said Brooke McCall, the WREC’s Program Coordinator. “We are really excited about all these programs, and the opportunity to expand what we offer outside the general realm of ‘fitness’ and open people’s minds about what fitness and wellness is in this setting.”

Have You Heard of the Zen Den?

One of four massage chairs in Zen Den II.

The Zen Den is designed to give students a quiet place to go and relax. In fact, there are actually two Zen Dens on campus! You can find Zen Den I in the Student Services Center (SSC) 430, which is geared more towards meditation and relaxation with mental health and wellness in mind. If you head up to the 3rd Floor of the BMU, you can find Zen Den II. Zen Den II was put together by the WREC in order to make it more accessible for students to have a quiet place away from roommates. It has four massage chairs, three hammocks, beanbag chairs and various sensory items that help relieve stress.  Most importantly, it is a quiet soothing space that is right here on campus. “If you are feeling anxiety before a test or [if] you feel overwhelmed and don’t know what to do or where to go, you have this space and this anchoring point that you can go and take a few minutes to check out, and hopefully, giving yourself permission to do so,” said McCall.

The Zen Den II is also the home of their Canine and Cuddles program. The WREC brings in therapy dogs from Chico’s Canine Connection once a month and students are welcome to come pet, cuddle, and bond with the dogs from 11am to 2pm. “It’s super impactful. Students miss their pets, or they want pets but they can’t have them yet. There is something physiological that happens to your body when you pet a dog, your blood pressure goes down, your breath slows, and most people become happier when they release those endorphins!” said McCall.

The WREC Wellness Programs started the fall semester with Dogs & Donuts to promote their current schedule and the Zen Dens. It includes wellness classes that runs 6 days a week and various events throughout the semester

“It’s like going back to Kindergarten,” McCall says cheerfully. “We are excited to offer tools to cope with stress, anxiety, whatever students are feeling in different forms and facets and the ability to do is such a privilege and we hope that it is making an impact and we want to support our student body, that’s what we are here for.”

The WREC is always finding new ways to bring fun to us!  Separate from the Wellness Program, once a month the WREC also offers workshops outside the regular schedule, like belly dancing, Hawaiian dance, self-defense and Gloga (glow yoga).

For more current events, follow the WREC on Facebook @thewrec.