iPause… Do you?

Human+Health+Building

Human Health Building

By Kaylee Kean

“iPause… Do you?”

New health program being introduced to Oakland

The Graham Health Center and OU Counseling Center are teaming up to bring a new program, iPause, to Oakland University.

According to Julie Proctor, health and wellness coordinator at Graham Health Center, this program will focus on teaching students stress management techniques through hour-long workshops and an interactive website that is currently in development.

Proctor said that the main focus of iPause is to teach emotional awareness and mindfulness.

Mindfulness, as Proctor explained, is “paying attention to the present moment, and without judgement”.

“We’re coming at this from the perspective that we can’t help them (students) with their issues, but we can help them to manage those stressors,” said Proctor. “We want to teach students to be less reactive and to focus on the now.”

 

How iPause works

According to Proctor, these workshops will be split into three sessions. There will be 20 minutes on stress education, 20 minutes of “guided mindfulness”, and 20 minutes of shoulder and neck messages, with three-to-five minutes allotted to each student.

After the workshop students will be invited to visit iPause’s website, which Proctor said will have more in-depth information, resources, and exercises.

Also, instead of scheduling routine workshop sessions, Proctor said that iPause is inviting groups to request a workshop.

So far there have been requests made by the First Year Advising Center, Disabilities Services, academic classes and resident assistants.

The workshops will be held around campus depending on each group’s preference – potential locations include the OC, classrooms, and dorm lounges.

The first workshop is scheduled for September 19.

 

Students getting involved

Proctor said that students will be heavily involved on both sides of iPause.

Student Peer Ambassadors will be presenting the information to students and leading them in what Proctor called a “guided group conversation” as opposed to a lecture.

“Everybody feeds off of each other,” said Proctor. “They realize they’re not alone.”

Proctor said that iPause has also gotten a “really good response” for massage volunteers, who will be trained by Graham and used in the workshops.

Brittany Burroughs, intern and Peer Ambassador for exercise science, is one of the students volunteering for iPause.

Burroughs said she watched fellow Peer Ambassadors conduct a practice session with Graham faculty on Wednesday.

“It worked, simply put,” said Burroughs. “iPause is going to be phenomenal – it’s the best stress management thing at Oakland.”

Students of the School of Health Science will also be contributing to this program. According to Proctor, these students will help conduct studies of iPause to determine how much difference the program will make.

 

Paving a path

Proctor, who said she has always wanted to bring mindfulness to campus, was initially inspired by the book “Search Inside Yourself”, which discussed the Google Corporation’s science-based mindfulness program.

“When I read the book I thought, ‘I can bring this to campus,’” said Proctor. “With that science base, everyone can embrace it.”

Proctor brought her idea to David Schwartz, director of the OU Counseling Center. When the two saw the Retention’s call for proposals, they made the proposal and Retention accepted.

iPause does have goals for down the road, such as a four week program and drop-in massages and meditations.

For now, however, Proctor urges groups to start requesting workshops in order to understand and learn stress-management techniques to practice throughout the semester.