Project OCEAN presents the Self-CAREousel

As the fall semester comes to a close, students have no choice but to face the inevitable and upcoming stress caused by finals.

The On-Campus Emergency Assistance Network, also known as Project OCEAN, set up their first ever Self-CAREousel event to help students combat stress at Cal State Long Beach.

The event took place around the fountain outside of Brotman Hall and required efforts from the project, Counseling and Psychological Services, Active Minds Club and the Women’s and Gender Equity Center.

“We strategically planned this right before finals so that students could take home these stress management techniques,” said Janette Iniguez, the development coordinator and peer advocate for Project OCEAN. “We want to remind students that self-care is always important, and to not forget that they still need to focus on themselves and not just exams.”

The campus organizations set up booths that circled around the fountain and included coloring and writing activities to help with body positivity, as well as making stress balls and a lounge area with blow-up chairs and lively music.

“We were just walking past, and I saw the [counseling and psychological services] booth and we were actually just talking about it because I didn’t know what it was, so I think it was put here for us,” said Ky Duvenary, a freshman pre-English major. “I’m hoping these activities can help me gain more self-confidence and reevaluate what I think about myself.”

Free granola bars and water that came with recipes and tips for adding fruits and vegetables into students’ diets were provided to those attending. According to Danny Alderete, a peer advocate for the project, this was to encourage the student body to take advantage of resources such as the Basic Needs Program, which helps students get access to free food.

“Coming from research, one of the main things we know is that there are high anxiety levels and suicide rates on college campuses,” said Alderete, a senior human development major. “The main reason we started this event was so that we could help students right before finals, so they have some tools, like breathing techniques, that they can use during those stressful times.”

Alderete emphasized the importance of self-care for college students as they juggle many aspects such as school, work, family-time and social relationships.

“When we do not practice self-care, then we can start to burn out and feel overwhelmed and we are not able to concentrate and it can affect our studies and life quality in general,” Alderete said. “We want students to know that it is ok to not be ok and that making time for yourself is necessary for one’s well-being.”

The program is funded through Student Affairs and its activities are “designed to strengthen and fill gaps in existing services to ‘expand the safety net’ for students vulnerable to mental health crises,” according to the website.

“I think it’s really important because I know some ethnicities don’t bring up mental illnesses, especially in certain generations,” Alex Clara, a senior fashion merchandising student said. “It’s also good for people to be able to reach out to [counseling and psychological services] because it’s a place that people can go on their own to get counseling, and to see that it is okay.”

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