Thursday, June 15, 2017

Unwinding in Ann Arbor

“Stress relief” is perhaps one of the most common terms I have heard while studying in University of Michigan. Indeed, learning to manage one’s stress is essential in maintaining your mental and physical health during your studies. Furthermore, the stress management skills you acquired will benefit you beyond graduation. Everyone may have different ways in managing stress but I am going to write about the few things I like to do in Ann Arbor to unwind.

Going to the movies is always a nice way to take your mind off things. Michigan Theatre on East Liberty Street is a good choice for viewing independent and artistic films. The theatre also hosts concerts and plays which are also good for a distraction from students’ stressful academic life. Rave Cinema in Ypsilanti shows a variety of films and it has larger movie halls than Michigan Theatre. They also have more show times, thus making it a popular choice among students.

One of the easiest methods to unwind is to have a workout at the gym. The university has two gyms opened throughout the semesters (NCRB will reopen in September 2018), and these gyms are well equipped for students to do cardio, strength and other types of workouts. Moreover, the CCRB has regular spinning, yoga and dance classes which students are welcome to participate for a fee. These classes are great for students to join with their friends and enjoy a nice workout to unwind from their studies. There are also other gyms and yoga studios in Ann Arbor that students can go for a workout session.

If working out is too physically demanding, one can always go out for a nice stroll. There are twenty parks in Ann Arbor where one can enjoy the natural scenery. The more popular options are Bandemer Park and Gallup Park. Both of these parks are next to the Huron River, and they have barbeque equipment and open areas for social gatherings. However, parks may not be ideal during the winter for a nice stroll, therefore one may go indoors for their stroll during winter, such as Kerrytown and Briarwood Mall. Kerrytown hosts farmers’ market every Sunday and has a variety of shops and restaurants. Briarwood mall, on the other hand, is more of a conventional mall.

Lastly, the wellness zone is often overlooked by students for some relaxing time. The wellness zone is provided by the university’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS); it has massage chairs, yoga and meditation tools, Xbox Kinect system, seasonal affective disorder light therapy and other wellness resources. These facilities are opened to students at no cost Monday to Thursday 8am – 7pm, and Friday 8am – 5pm. There is no reservation needed so students can drop in to use the facilities. If one is interested in playing games for unwinding, there is a gaming archive in Duderstadt. They have many gaming consoles, both old and new, and are free for students to use.

The variety of activities available in Ann Arbor and in the university are numerous and accessible to all students. So be sure to try them out when feeling stressed from studies!

Written by Stephanie Tong
International Center Summer Orientation Peer Advisor
Country of Origin: Canada
Master’s Student in Architecture

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