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The “most wonderful time of the year” doesn’t start for college students until final papers, projects and exams have been tucked away for a long winter’s night.

Meanwhile, this can be the most stressful time of the year.

To help students cope and thrive, the Fredonia State Counseling Center developed “De-Stress for Success,” a series of events and workshops designed to help students gain the focus they need to succeed.

“One of our guiding inspirations was: ‘It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it,’  ” said Julie Bezek, of the Counseling Center staff.

Center counselors advise that students accept stress and decide how they will rise to the challenge. “In many cases they can make the situation worse by depriving students of hydration and sleep.”

“Our Stress Free Zone allows students to spend a few minutes engaging in activities like massage, coloring, games and crafts – right in Reed Library – and then get back to work,” Bezek said. “We also included physical activities like yoga and Zumba. Our most popular program is ‘Paws to Relax.’ Dr. Nancy Gee from our Department of Psychology, a researcher in the area of human/animal interaction who has certified therapy dogs, brings her dogs to the library.”

Bezek offered these other stress-reduction tips:

1. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water, and avoid loading up on sugary drinks and caffeine.

2. Take time to eat healthy meals and snacks: Avoid junk food and candy.

3. Take a walk: It will give you a change of scenery and can help clear your mind.

4. Avoid all-nighters: Go to bed early and get plenty of sleep.

5. Listen to music: Take a break and listen to a few of your favorite songs for quick pick me up.

6. Just breathe: When you start to feel overwhelmed, stop and take some deep breaths.

7. Pace yourself: If you have difficulty getting motivated, try tackling your work for just 10 minutes and see what happens.

8. Practice the 30/10 rule: Set a timer for 30 minutes, and then work like mad until the timer goes off. Set the timer for 10 minutes, and do something you really want to do.