De-Stress Fest gives students some needed R&R

Lifestyle Sports | Lifestyle
We can't guarantee any actual puppies will be around for Puppy Playtime, but this photo helps, doesn't it? Stock image via
We can’t guarantee any actual puppies will be around for Puppy Playtime, but this photo helps, doesn’t it? Stock image via

Ready to find some inner peace before the semester ends? De-Stress Fest runs from Tuesday, Nov. 22 to Friday, Nov. 25, and is full of events designed to help you kick back and relax before you dive right into finals season.

“Personally, I get very into my studies and I don’t take time for myself,” says Laressa Beckett, who heads the UVic Student Ambassador De-Stress Fest Committee this year. “And when you don’t take time for yourself, your studies actually suffer a lot more. You can’t remember things; you get more tired. By just taking really quick five, 10-minute breaks, you’re allowing your brain to kind of slow down and reset, which can actually be really helpful for your studies.”

De-Stress Fest begins on the Tuesday with love-letter writing beside Petch Fountain outside McPherson Library. Student ambassadors will provide postcards and stamps, and participants can write love letters for anyone dear to them. Hot chocolate will also be provided (while supplies last). At 3 p.m., Student Health Ambassadors and Peer Educators (SHAPE) will host a campus walk starting at Village Greens.

Wednesday brings 15-minute chair massages in the McPherson Library as well as Puppy Playtime, possibly the most highly anticipated event of De-Stress Fest, in the Michele Pujol Room in the SUB. Students will get to unleash their puppy love on therapy dogs trained to assist stressed individuals.

But don’t worry about stressing out the dogs: they will be accompanied by their handlers, who know exactly when they’ve had enough and need a break. Be sure to arrive early for this one—lines can usually be seen all the way out the door and down the sidewalk.

Thursday and Friday are all about the exercise. Early on Thursday from 8–9 a.m., you can catch a morning yoga class in the Gwynne Studio at CARSA. On Friday, Vikes Nation is hosting Words of Hope on the Quad. Students are invited to take a break from their busy day to write a positive message on pink basketballs, which will be displayed in the CARSA Performance Gym during the Shoot for the Cure basketball games hosted that night.

The Vikes men’s and women’s basketball teams will play UBC in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Attendees are encouraged to wear pink and bring donations of either toonies or empty recyclable bottles to help the cause.

The underlying themes of De-Stress Fest are a combination of relaxation and exercise. Love-letter writing provokes strong emotions and affection for others. Chair massages allow individuals to take a moment to indulge, and gentle exercise like yoga and walking have been shown to increase happiness and wellness. Hot chocolate is provided at a couple of the events as another small indulgence to make the day just that much better, and who doesn’t like puppies?

“Lots of people are managing work, or volunteer opportunities, as well as their studies,” says Beckett. “So everyone has a lot of things going on, from the sounds of it. Just taking these five minutes is just a great way to forget about it all.”

For more information including event dates and times, visit