Your college assignments offer you the training and experience you need to hit the ball out of the park when you start your new career or position. That may offer little comfort when you feel like you’re drowning in schoolwork. Forty-five percent of college students say they’re stressed, while 61 percent report anxiety and 49 percent experience depression.
Striking the right balance between the demands of college life and family or other obligations can be challenging. As you work toward a brighter tomorrow, don’t forget that today matters too. Enjoy more time with your kids. Blow off some steam. Get moving. Not only will self-care make the challenges of school feel less overwhelming, but fun activities may also improve your health and prevent burnout. These great activities will restore peace of mind so you can sharpen your focus and excel in your classes.
Go for a Stroll Outside
You don’t have to shell out tons of cash or invest a lot of energy into alleviating the burden of stress. Spending time in the great outdoors is one of the best things you can do for your health. Simply being outside may improve memory to help you study better, lower the risk of depression, reduce blood pressure, and even help with pain and inflammation.
Oklahoma’s temperate climate means you can enjoy outdoor activities almost any time of year. Take the kids along or go by yourself for some much-needed calm. Here are some exceptional places across the state to enjoy nature:
- Enjoy the rose garden, water sculptures, and playground at Will Rogers Park.
- Head to Myriad Botanical Gardens for year-round family events, peaceful walking trails, and ever-changing seasonal landscapes.
- Wander the forest at Martin Park Nature Center. If you’re taking the kids, help them build a fort.
- Observe a breathtaking sunset and a picturesque lighthouse at Hefner Lake and Park.
- Enjoy the many offerings of Garrett Park. This family-friendly site boasts an impressive playground, plenty of trails, and a wide range of special outdoor events.
- Visit the beloved Dean Weigant Park. Its merry-go-round, slide, and play area are great for kids, and there’s a special play area for under two.
- Multi-task at Kid’s Space Park. The flawlessly designed playground is fully fenced, which means you might be able to fit in some homework or phone calls while your children play.
During the hot summer months, a quick dip in the pool can help burn off your kids’ energy while giving you a break from the stress of class assignments. Swimming is also a great option for getting in some aerobic exercise without putting too much stress on your joints. This makes it an ideal choice for people with joint pain and those just embarking on a new fitness plan.
Earlywine Park is a great spot for a dip in the pool with a side of adventure. Head down the waterslide or chase your children around the playground. Craving a little more excitement? Check out White Water Bay for wave pools, thrilling slides, and lots of family water rides. There are a wide range of special events during the summer, including live music performances.
Sometimes a little perspective on your own stress makes it feel more manageable. That’s exactly what Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum offers. This immersive experience ensures the memories of those killed in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building live on.
This museum is more than just a tribute to the 168 people who perished on that tragic day. It’s also a powerful call to action that inspires visitors to end all forms of violence. Parents who are interested in supporting the museum’s mission should consider learning more about the Hope Trunk program, which is building a new generation of anti-violence activists.
Take Up Gardening
Audrey Hepburn once quipped, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” When you grow a garden, you’re investing in future beauty as seeds sprout, buds open, and tiny shrubs grow into voluminous landscaping. You’ll get to enjoy the fruits of your labor for weeks or months—and sometimes much longer—if you sow the right seeds or invest in perennials.
Gardening isn’t just fun. It’s great for your mental and physical health. Planting encourages you to cultivate mindfulness and may improve your attention span. It also offers immense stress relief and may even reduce the risk of anxiety, depression, and other mental health woes.
As a subtropical hardiness zone, Oklahoma City offers plenty of year-round gardening opportunities.
Try these seasonal picks:
- Late spring and summer: tomatoes, peppers, okra, squash, watermelon
- Early spring and fall: broccoli, arugula, most lettuces, squash, pumpkin
- Winter: broccoli, beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage
Many succulents will thrive year-round. They’re gorgeous in pots and in creative planters, such as toy trucks. Sempervivum species, sometimes called hen and chicks, will survive even frigid winter nights.
Campfires and s’mores don’t have to be the stuff of childhood. Grown-ups can enjoy camping too. If you have kids, backyard camping is a low-key option and a great introduction to spending the night in the great outdoors. Just pitch a tent, throw a sleeping bag or two in the mix, and break out your best spooky tales.
Graduates of backyard camping can enjoy dozens of campsites across the state. Here are some of the best:
- Dance Barn Farm Camp offers primitive camping for people who love nature.
- The Dollhouse boasts a “glamping” experience in a tiny cottage for people who want to be outside but don’t want to sleep on the ground.
- Working Rescue Camp is a must-see on the bucket list of every horse-loving nature aficionado. Sleep in the pasture with mini horses or in the barn with pygmy goats.
- Johnson County’s campgrounds are well-maintained and family-friendly. Camp in a ready-to-go pod at Big Bull Creek, or enjoy the lake at Shawnee Mission Park.
- Orr Family Farm pays homage to the pioneer spirit of the Old West. Camp in fully climate-controlled covered wagons.
- Firefly Campground is a traditional campsite with a fire ring. They’re currently adding four cottages, which means you’ll soon be able to camp in a slightly more comfortable environment.
Grab your cowboy boots and bucket hat to celebrate the adventurous spirit that helped found Oklahoma. The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum celebrates all things Wild West. From exhibits featuring improbable belt buckles to breathtaking Native American clay pieces, this museum offers a bit of everything. Check the events calendar to see upcoming cowboy matinees. For aspiring artists, there are plenty of exceptional classes that teach basic painting, drawing, and other skills.
Skydiving is a huge adrenaline rush that may temporarily take your mind off of just about everything. Yet for many people, the thought of jumping out of a plane is too intimidating, not to mention time-consuming and expensive. Get the skydiving experience without the risk at iFly. The safe wind tunnels perfectly mimic the sensations of skydiving, but you’re not actually falling. Even kids can join in the fun.
Sooner or later, everyone gets so stressed that they just want to hit something. Turn that desire into a fun, athletic experience at Bad Axe Throwing. Throwing an axe is a challenging workout that builds strength and stamina. It also offers the perfect outlet for the frustration and stress of balancing academic demands with the rest of your life. Don’t worry; you’ll learn from experts, and the controlled environment ensures that tossing an axe is safe even for novices.
Plan a Family Movie Night
Sometimes the stress of college means you just can’t face the thought of getting dressed and heading out of your house. That doesn’t mean you have to sit around doing nothing. Plan a family movie night. Everyone gets to suggest a movie or two, and then each family member takes turns picking a movie out of a hat. Cozy up on the couch or recliner with popcorn, or make some frosted cookies for a sweet cinematic treat.
Want a family outing instead? The Warren Theatre is the perfect pick for movie buffs, featuring classic movie memorabilia with food and bar service, as well as discounts for kids and seniors. The AMC at Quail Springs Mall is an ideal choice for families who just can’t decide which flick to see. With cozy seats, 24 theaters, an IMAX theatre, and virtually endless food options, there’s something here to please everyone.
Making something with your hands can give you a sense of mastery that makes stress feel more manageable. Check out one of these great options for putting your creative spirit to work:
- Take a class at Artsy Rose Academy, which offers courses for artists of every age and experience level.
- Schedule some time at Tulsa Time Paint & Sip, which offers private lessons, group activities, kids’ parties, and more to bring out the artist within.
- Cultivate your child’s artistic side at Be Wild for Art, which offers numerous classes, as well as camps.
- Learn to paint just about anything at Paint Your Art Out.
- Check out Stitches of Tulsa, which is part crafting hub, part sewing store, and a great place to host events for anyone who loves making things with needle and thread.
- If you love papercrafts, check out Paper and More, which provides a myriad of supplies, as well as numerous special events and courses.
- Channel your inner painter at Paint’n Station. They even host parties.
Get Involved at School
At SNU, we believe you’re more than just a student’ you’re a whole person with unique needs, goals, and feelings. We hope to nurture who you are and who you are becoming, so we offer a rich variety of student activities. Check out our School of Music events calendar for live, year-round concerts. Or visit the Office of Student Life to learn about one of our many clubs and even start your own. The Center for Student Success serves as a one stop shop at our Bethany location for students who want to get more involved in campus life. And as part of our ongoing commitment to a deeper spiritual life, our chaplain is always available to students in Bethany, Tulsa, and online.
We want you to be part of a generation of leaders to invest in their world. That begins with investing in your own education. To learn more about what we offer, contact us today.