Mason Nation Welcomes Winter Well-Being and Wellness With Destress and Enrichment

This story was originally posted on Dec. 1 on George Mason University News.

By Sudha Kamath

This month during DeStress Fest, tai chi and other forms of exercise are a great way to relax. Photo by Alexis Glenn.

From puppy love to free food and massages, yoga and workouts; from extended study lounge and library hours to hands-on lessons in Living the Mason Values, George Mason University is helping ease student, faculty and staff stress in the weeks leading up to final exams Dec. 10 to 17, and Winter Graduation on Dec. 18.

The Division of University Life’s Student Involvement’s DeStress Fest runs Dec. 1 to 7. It includes late-night study spaces; stress ball making; yoga and tai-chi for well-being; academic counseling drop-ins; learning services, memory strategies, sleep techniques and mindfulness workshops; student performances and open mic night; late night snack carts; sporting events at the Patriot Center; a farmer’s market; movies; games; and movies.

University Life on the Arlington Campus is hosting destress breaks with free snack stops throughout Founders Hall from Dec. 8 to 11, and in Hazel Hall from Dec. 8 to 12. Free massages also will be available in the Hazel Hall front atrium from 3 to 6 p.m. on Dec. 8 and Dec. 11. Free yoga classes continue on Tuesdays from noon to 1 p.m. on Dec. 2 and 16 in the Metropolitan Building, Room 5183; and on Dec. 9 in Founders Hall, Room 716.

University Life on the Prince William Campus is offering some four-legged destressing with a visit from Manassas Massage Therapy Dogs from 3 to 5 p.m. in Beacon Hall on Dec. 1 and 3, and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 2.

Free smoothies will be available from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 2 in the Bull Run Hall atrium. And free hot chocolate is being served from 10 to 11 a.m. on Dec. 3, and from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 5, also in the Bull Run Hall atrium.

University Life on the Loudoun Campus is serving free pizza and salad, and hosting five-minute sitting meditation workshops, from 4:20 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 3.

Who can resist this furry face? Puppy love is helping students de-stress on the Prince William Campus this month. Photo by Alexis Glenn

University Life’s Off-Campus Student Programs and Services is offering an on-campus, 24-hour Finals Study Lounge from noon on Dec. 10, to noon on Dec. 17 at Johnson Center’s George’s Restaurant.

University Libraries welcomes night owls to take advantage of Fenwick Library‘s extended hours during final exams: Fenwick will open Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. and will be open 24 hours a day until 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 12. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13. Fenwick reopens at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 14, and will be open 24 hours a day until midnight on Tuesday, Dec. 16.​

When Fenwick is open from midnight to 7:30 a.m., Mason security guards will be on duty in the library and only Mason students, faculty and staff will be allowed to enter Fenwick with a valid Mason ID. During late-night hours, regular library services will not be available.

Check out the Great Gateway Library Giveaway in the Johnson Center by entering a drawing, set for Friday, Dec. 5, for exclusive use of a deluxe study room from Dec. 7-16. Gateway also is hosting an Undergraduate Research Write-In from noon to 5 p.m. on Dec. 9 in Room 228, so students can get some help from library staff and Writing Center tutors while enjoying some refreshments.

The Arlington Campus Library will hold an Open Write-In Day on Dec. 2. The Mercer Library at the Prince William Campus is co-hosting a Destress Breakfast with University Life from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 2.

More well-being and wellness come into play with Faculty and Staff Enrichment Day, set for Dec. 2 on the Fairfax Campus. Register now for the event, set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Johnson Center Cinema.

The day begins with keynote addresses on Living the Mason Values from Mason history professor Wendi Manuel-Scott, director of Mason’s African and African American Studies Program, and on Companionate Love by management professor Mandy O’Neill, a senior scholar at Mason’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being.

Breakout sessions include:

  • Putting Students First: Tips from the Academic Advisor Network.
  • Everyday Bias: Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Everyday Lives by Herbertia Gilmore of Diversity and Ethics.
  • Feel Creative When You Don’t by Lori Ann Roth of Human Resources and Payroll.
  • Why What You Say and How You Say It Matters with Shernita Rochelle Parker of Human Resources and Payroll.
  • Safeguarding a Valuable Asset—Your Time: Creating Effective Meetings with Rick Holt of Human Resources and Payroll.
  • A Positive Model of Integrity by Gregory C. Unruh, Arison Chair in Values Leadership and New Century College professor.
  • Using Flexibility to Help You Thrive at Mason and Beyond with Wendi Carroll and Patrice Winter of Human Resources and Payroll.

The sessions will be followed by an expo with representatives from various Mason departments.

“Living the Mason Values provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase the values in a practical way,” says Linda Harber, vice president for Human Resources, Payroll and Faculty and Staff Life. “Each seminar highlights one of the values and the concluding expo provides an opportunity to interact with colleagues–-a wonderful, accessible way for faculty and staff to have an on-site conference, learning and networking experience.”

Write to Sudha Kamath at