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5th Annual Stress Free Oasis

By Samantha Latos
On December 7, 2018


The Stress Free Oasis is an opportunity for faculty, staff, and students of Plymouth State University to join together in relaxation. Calming music slows people down on an otherwise hectic afternoon as they spread glitter frosting over snowman-shaped sugar cookies and write their names and numbers down on raffle cards. The interactive activities and refreshments offer a brief break from the most stressful time of the semester.

Denise Normandin, Project Director of Healthy PSU, can’t believe it’s already been a five-year-long tradition. She recalls back when it started, hardly any students attended, and it was mostly faculty and staff. “It’s important to have a place where people can feel comfortable and connected to each other,” she said; “I enjoy hearing people tell me stories, especially about their friends and whoever else they’re grateful for. It makes me realize things that I can do for my family and friends.” The relaxing atmosphere helps people start conversations, which connects students and faculty together.

This year, the Stress Free Oasis took place all afternoon at the Frost House Commons on December 4th. There were tables each set up with different activities: sand art, writing thank-you cards, raffle prizes, drawing, cookie decorating, and massages. Normandin explained what these had to do with stress: “They put your mind at ease and let you create something. Working with your hands is a good way to release stress, like painting, drawing, and gardening.”

The raffle prizes were sponsored by Healthy PSU, and the healthy food served was provided by Chartwells. There were various food options, including an array of fruits and vegetables and different kinds of holiday cookies. Refreshments included fruit-infused water, coffee, and hot chocolate. People grabbed snacks and went from table to table.

Different groups of students stopped by during the day; more and more tend to come every year. “I remember it was quiet at first. There’s been more people coming together and communicating with each other over time,” said Joyce Bruce, Lamson Library Specialist. The goal is always to have more students attend. Hopefully they will get an even better turnout next year.


The thank-you cards were a wholesome feature of the Stress Free Oasis. People wrote out cards and wrote the person's name and mail stop. Later on, people at Healthy PSU put them into the campus mail. This was a chance for people to remember to show gratitude for their friends here at PSU. “It’s so fun to get mail and a handwritten note instead of an email,” Normandin said, “there isn't as many as there used to be, and it's just nice to get a handwritten card.” Writing out cards are a stress reliever in that they get thoughts off the mind, and make other people feel appreciated.

Healthy PSU has upcoming plans for Winterim and next semester, including a yoga series and group snowshoeing. These are more physical activities compared to the ones covered in the Stress Free Oasis. Normandin stated she’s considering adding some physical activities to future events like this. It’s crucial to cover all elements of wellness in order to help the students of PSU make healthier choices, both for their minds and bodies.

To keep up with Healthy PSU, and for more information on future events, visit


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