Duck Nest gives students a place to rest

Duck Nest Wellness Center located in the EMU, ground floor room 041. (Theresa Wanner/Emerald)

As spring term begins, the stress of classes follows close behind. Many students juggle classes, extracurricular activities and jobs, and on top of all that, the pandemic continues to change society. Here are a few ways to manage stress this term.

Duck Nest

One way to manage stress is to hop on a virtual event hosted by the University of Oregon’s Duck Nest. These events include meditation, yoga, cooking classes, body love and so much more. 

Georgia Greenblum, a junior at the University of Oregon and peer wellness staff member at the Duck Nest, recommends positive affirmations as a form of stress relief. One of her favorites comes from a Vine featuring a little kid.

“I am smart, I am blessed, I can do anything,” Greenblum said. “Your mind is the most powerful thing and if you’re telling yourself negative emotions or feeding yourself with negativity, that is all you are going to keep repeating and spitting out. And it is not going to help.”

The Duck Nest is built on the need for self-care. The center emphasizes eight different pillars of health and wellness: physical, spiritual, financial, social, emotional, intellectual, environmental and occupational. 

While most events at the Duck Nest are currently being offered over Zoom, there are still a few in-person opportunities. Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. the center partners with the Black Cultural Center to lead a walk. General walks are also hosted every Friday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. 

The other in-person opportunity is the peer wellness chit-chat. The Duck Nest is open Monday through Friday, and students can drop in or schedule an appointment, wear a mask and have an “informal therapy” session with a peer wellness staff member. 

For the most up-to-date information on Duck Nest events, visit the center's Instagram page. 

Movement and Meditation Workshop 

“The element of spring is wood. The wood within asks us to bring a sense of growth, purpose and hope to the body, mind and spirit,” wrote Mary Ann Peterson, an acupuncturist at the University of Oregon Health Center, in a blog post she shared with her Movement and Meditation workshop. 

Every Tuesday at noon, Peterson teaches a movement and meditation workshop over Zoom. For the first 25 minutes, she guides the participants in a series of simple movements. The movements drew inspiration from qi gong. 

One movement, “grass in the breeze,” starts with your hands overhead. From there, Peterson guides the participants in a small movement of arching forward and back, mimicking the image of grass blowing in the wind. 

For the last few minutes of class, Peterson transitions to meditation. She instructs participants to sit in silence for a few minutes and then she guides some intention setting. 

The class is open to all community members, every Tuesday. 

EMU Craft Center

Finding time to be creative can provide a helpful outlet to manage stress. 

“Find time to focus on something that is enjoyable, that is relaxing, that is, for me, I think of it as meditative,” said David Wagner, assistant program director at the UO Craft Center. “I will always recommend the craft kits as a great way to destress.”

“Make your mark” is one of the most popular classes currently offered at the EMU Craft Center. According to Wagner, the workshop provides an overview of creativity and design. It teaches students drawing basics, sculpture making using items typically found around the house and the ability to practice the creative process.

The Craft Center offers a variety of class options, some taught over Zoom. Craft kits with basic instructions are available for students not interested in spending more time on Zoom. For experienced students, studio reservations are available as well. 

The online classes and craft kits will most likely continue even after things open back up. They offer different ways of engagement for students. 

For more information about Craft Center workshops and activities, Instagram is the best resource. 

Nika is a writer at the Arts & Culture desk. Send her an email if you know of any local artists or events that should be featured!