Colouring helps to relieve stress at exam time

By Dale Johnson Posted: April 18, 2016 3:00 p.m.

Students (l-r) Ana Lucía Herrasti, first year Religious Studies, Aurpa Nath, masters in Human Resources and Andrea Barrientos, fourth year of Business Administration.
Students (l-r) Ana Lucía Herrasti, first year Religious Studies, Aurpa Nath, masters in Human Resources and Andrea Barrientos, fourth year of Business Administration. Photo - U of R Photography.

April is traditionally a stressful at university, with final exams underway.

One of the ways the University of Regina is helping to relieve stress is by setting up a place to colour in the Archer Library – complete with coloured pencils and pages of artwork.

“Colouring has appeared recently as a way to help focus the mind and provide stress relief,” explains Gillian van der Ven, Liaison Librarian

“The Library wanted to provide some de-stressing activities to help students take a break during high stress periods,” she says.  Gillian is part of a group in the library – along with Jennifer Hall, Michael Shires, Daria Snow, Corina van den Berg and Susan Wilkinson - that come up with ideas to help reduce stress.

Ana Lucía Herrasti, who is finishing up her first year in Religious Studies, says “I love colouring – but it’s been awhile since I’ve coloured. I just focus on what I’m doing – and which colour am I going to use here – and not thinking about finals,”

Herrastiis colouring with Andrea Barrientos, a fourth-year Business Administration student, who says “I had never used colouring for stress relief, and now that I’m doing it, I’m really enjoying it. I’m just thinking about what I’m doing here – not what I’m doing next. I’m focussing on the present, and that’s really helpful.”
 
“I really enjoyed this, and it’s so much fun to be colouring after so many years - and I’m relieving my stress,” Says Aurpa Nath, who is working on her masters in Human Resources.

A lot of students feel the same way; the Library printed 500 colouring sheets and most have already been used. Some students complete part of a sheet, and then leave it for someone else to finish.

“We tried a couple different activities during the Winter 2015 exam period and found colouring to be by far the most popular with students,” Gillian says.

The colouring pages were designed by Jingyu Zhang, an art student at the U of R.

And colouring can be a great conversations starter, too.

“We’re sharing stories of our childhood memories,” Aurpa says.

“I just feel like I’m going to the past – to elementary school, when I coloured,” Andrea says.

“One of the students gave the staff a completed colour print with the text ‘Thank you for your services.’ Some students use the colouring as a social activity; and at other times just one student will sit at the table and use colouring as a study break,” says Corina van den Berg, a Library User Services Assistant.

“With colouring, the Archer Library wants to promote mindfulness, and hopefully give students a tool to cope with final exams stress,” says Gillian.