Cleanse your mind, body and soul

Story and photo by Elizabeth Kessel

Stress is a balancing act and at times it might push you past your breaking point.

As college students, time is sucked up by homework, studying, mid-terms and finals. With the seasons changing, there’s no better time to take advantage and spring clean your mind, body and soul.

Stephanie Schaefer, a counselor at Clackamas Community College, said, “If you’re super stressed out, you don’t perform well.”

Have you ever smelled lavender before and became instantly relaxed? This is exactly what aromatherapy is meant to accomplish. Aromatherapy is using the extracted natural essence from plants to stimulate a healthy mind, body and spirit.

One of the most popular ways to start aromatherapy is by buying an essential oil diffuser and seeking out some essential oils you may like.

Traci Thompson, a Young Living distributor, suffered from anxiety until she was introduced to essential oils. She recommended trying oils including vetiver, valor, stress away, lavender and peppermint to help ward off stress.

Aromatherapy is simple; in most diffusers, all you need to do is add water and a few drops of a scent of your choice then press on.

Another way that helps combat stress, like headaches and migraines, is by being active with your body.

Erin Hancock, a yoga instructor at Clackamas said, “A way to get to the mind is through the body.”

People practice many different types of yoga across the globe, but the most common types of yoga are hatha and vinyasa.

You can find Hancock teaching her students vinyasa, which is a little faster paced and focuses on the transitioning of poses. Hatha is a more gentle kind of yoga, focusing on breathing, poses and calming the mind.

Hancock said that hatha is like an umbrella, which includes all sorts of styles of yoga and offers the perfect opportunity to find a shelter for rainy days.

If you are looking for something that is a little more vigorous with more cardio involved, then give Pilates a go. Pilates is strength training, just without the weights and primarily focuses on the core.

Signing up for a class is not necessary.

Keoni McHone, a Pilates instructor at CCC, said that you can find many YouTube videos on the subject. This is great for those who wish to work out but may not have the time or money to attend a class.

Pilates helps you have better selfesteem and handle stress better. McHone recommended working out five days a week for at least 30 minutes each day.

However, at the end of the day, jamming out to some good music could be all you need to let the stress out. Music has been shown to impact your emotions. Fast paced music can have you feeling more awake or alert. Slow or soothing music allows you to relax and empty your mind, leaving behind the stress.

Music is a great way to reduce stress mostly because it can be portable. Either listening to the radio on your way home or in between classes can help forget worries even if only for a few minutes.

Jeanné Niphanprasart, an Oregon City resident, has turned to aromatherapy, exercise, yoga and music to help her mind and body to become healthy and stay healthy.

“I tend to use music as a way to maintain calmness. Playing gentler music in the background throughout the day helps keep our energy calm in the household,” said Niphanprasart. “When it’s time for a dance party, we head for Michael Jackson and Beyonce.”


Student Katie Pacelsa practices yoga, a class offered in Randall Hall, taught by Erin Hancock.

Everyone experiences stress; it’s almost impossible to escape. So no matter what niche you find yourself in, there are always options for you to help yourself. Whether it be aromatherapy, yoga or music, your mind, body and soul are waiting to be cleansed.

Elizabeth Kessel