Ballin’ on a budget

Taking a breather from schoolwork should be cheap and healthy

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Rebecca Mennecke

More stories from Rebecca Mennecke

Photo by Savannah Reeves

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It’s that time of year when projects, papers and exams start to weigh on the minds of exhausted college students. Homework seems to be the only thing worth spending time on. However, it’s really important for college students to get out and enjoy some homework-free, stress-free time. After all, it’s been proven that taking breaks actually helps with studying and the retention of information.

Here are some inexpensive and rejuvenating things to do during these stressful college times.

Visit a local shelter

I know I talked about this before, but visiting a local animal shelter is a wonderful thing to do. Not only are visitors giving some TLC to cute animals, but it relieves stress to be able to just pet a cat for a couple hours. (Yes, I said hours.) Plus, it’s free. Why not go?

DIY face mask

It’s super easy to Google homemade recipes. One that I particularly like includes mashed up bananas. It’s soothing (and it smells like banana)!

Go hiking

This costs no money whatsoever, and it can be really helpful to get some fresh air in those lungs after being stuck in Hibbard all day. Get in that outdoor time before it’s too cold!

Board game night with friends

This sounds silly, but spending time with friends is really much-needed. Friends are great for mental health, and spending time with others is a really great stress relief. Most people have a game or two on hand, even if it’s just a deck of cards. Or, make up a new game! Who knows? It could be fun.

Paint something

There’s a reason people say creating is stress-relieving. A craft night is a solid and easy way to take a break from school. All it takes is a ream of paper and $1.64 worth of paint to create some pretty awesome masterpieces.

Go rock climbing

The bouldering wall in Hilltop Recreation Center has free bouldering for students with a valid Blugold ID. Getting exercise is great stress relief and mental break. There are also some pretty awesome free exercise classes and sessions that students can attend just with a Blugold ID.

Visit the library

The L.E. Phillips Memorial Library in downtown Eau Claire is not too far of a walk from campus, and it’s a nifty place to visit. Even without a library card, there are art pieces on display to look at, and visitors can find a good book, curl up in one of its comfy seats and read for a while.

Chill at the Rest Nest

On the fifth floor of McIntyre Library, there’s a sick relaxation spot called the Rest Nest. They have coloring pages. It’s awesome.

See what upcoming events are going on in Eau Claire or on campus and attend one of them

The NOTA open read is coming up Nov. 8 in The Cabin, for example. It’s free to go and listen or read aloud an original piece. Also, the Woodland Theatre will be showing “The Boy in Striped Pajamas” for free this weekend.

Volume One always keeps a great list of things going on in the Eau Claire area, and lots of them are free. I’ve always found it beneficial to get off campus and just experience “real life” and the vibrant culture of Eau Claire when I’m really stressed out.

Have a movie marathon

Did someone say Freeform and Harry Potter? Because I’m all in.

These are only a few budget-friendly ideas for college kids looking to de-stress. No matter what students choose to do, they should make sure they take time for themselves. Self-care comes first.

Mennecke can be reached at [email protected].

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