Taking stress to the streets: chalk it out

When it comes to relieving stress some choose exercise, others choose cigarettes or alcohol. But for over-worked students outside of Gelman Library Thursday afternoon, there was only one way to relieve their tension: draw it out.

Last week the University Counseling Center sponsored their annual “chalk-in,” where students, faculty and staff are invited to relieve their stress by coloring the street with chalk. Some of the artwork included flowers, fish, political slogans, marketing ads and tic-tac-toe boards.

Chalk-in has been a tradition at GW for almost three decades. Whether it is the stress of finals, or just the desire to feel like a kid again, students sprawl out on the closed street to draw whatever their hearts desire.

Freshman Beryl Price sat covered in colorful chalk while she added to her already large, eye-catching flower.

“D.C. needs more art . they should shut down the streets more often,” she said.

Price said that her anxiety levels were on the rise with finals around the corner. She said she usually spends about four hours in the library.

“I won’t be leaving anytime soon.”

Stephanie Burns, a clinical psychologist in the Counseling Center said some ways to keep stress manageable is to find an enjoyable hobby, stay at a healthy weight, exercise and develop time management skills.

Freshman Eric Rosenfield sat with classmate Shayna Weinshel on H Street drawing a peace sign together.

“I’ve been living in the library,” said Rosenfield, who estimated that he has spent 30 hours in the library in the past five days because he finds it hard to concentrate in his residence hall room.

Sophomore Kelly Straub drew the solar system “just because.”

“It takes me back to childhood sort of things,” she said.

For Straub, drawing on the street with colorful chalk was a good stress reliever, especially because she has a lot of papers due. Straub said she usually goes to the library for 10- to 12-hour stretches.

Stress can take a toll on the body physically, emotionally, behaviorally and cognitively, according to information from the Counseling Center. Each person manages stress differently, but smoking or drinking alcoholic beverages often has the opposite effect.

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