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Life Hacks to reduce student stress
February 14, 2018

Life Hacks to reduce student stress

Life Hacks to reduce student stress

Student Counseling & Wellness Services is combating student stress by hosting the second semester of Life Hacks, a five-week program from 1-2 p.m. on Thursdays Feb. 15-March 8 and March 22 in Modular Building C-101B at Texas A&M University–San Antonio.

The program will have a different life management workshop each week to help reduce student anxiety and stress.

Joanna Vela, a counselor at the office of student counseling and wellness services, is instructing one of the five sessions, “Talk That Talk” on March 1.

Vela explained that in the Life Hacks group, students will learn “general life management tips,” communication improvement and coping skills that manage stress and anxiety.

“A lot of what we see here in our office, some of the more mild issues that we see, typically are related to a lack of coping skills,” Vela said.

The sessions are:

  • Feb. 15: “Move Towards Your Happy Place,” which teaches how to use physical activity as stress relief.
  • Feb. 22: “24k Mindfulness,” where students learn how to practice meditation to help focus in their everyday lives.
  • March 1: “Talk That Talk,” which teaches effective communication.
  • March 8: “Bounce Back,” which explains how to deal with failure.
  • March 22: “Note to Self,” where students learn about journaling to help with self-compassion.

The counselors made the events “as non-threatening as possible,” Vela said.

“It’s not like traditional therapy groups where we are sitting in a circle and talking about our feelings,” Vela said. “It’s kind of more skills based.”

Vela also said the workshops will be “pretty laid-back.”

The office launched Life Hacks in Fall 2017. The name “makes it more relatable to students,” Vela said.

“We were trying to come up with a name that seems approachable and would draw intrigue but wouldn’t sound intimidating,” she said.

Each session last semester attracted between three and five students. Vela hopes attendance will increase this spring, but they have “realistic expectations.” Still, the information can be invaluable for students, she said.

“We feel if more students would engage in learning some of these basic coping skills that we teach in Life Hacks, that they would be able to better function overall,” Vela said. “We feel really confident about the material and how students benefit from it.”

The program is limited to students who attend A&M-San Antonio. There is no need to sign up, and everything that students need will be provided in the session.

“We’ve tried to make it pretty user friendly,” Vela said. “They don’t need to sign up in advance. They can just drop in so they don’t have to commit to all five weeks.”

If students are interested in the event, but won’t be able to attend between those dates, the counselors will be doing Life Hacks all over again for an additional five weeks starting March 29.

“We will run through the first cycle and then we will start back over again,” Vela said. “That way if students miss certain times, certain weeks, they can catch it the next time.”

Many students struggle with the independence that comes with attending a university, she said.

“College students are dealing with a lot of new responsibilities that they typically haven’t had before,” Vela said. “Things aren’t as structured and ‘set in stone’ as they were in high school, so students are left with having to figure out how to manage their time and how to prioritize. Anything that we can do to help, that is beneficial.”

If students have questions, they can visit Student Counseling and Wellness Services in room 212 of Patriots’ Casa. They can speak to any counselor for more information, call 210-784-1331 or email They can also visit the Mental Health Services tab on for more information.

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