Student Life’s Counseling and Consultation Service is delighted to showcase the benefits of mindful play. We love this time of year and the chance to spend time with students and remind everyone to take a break, play, and relax. Typically celebrated during periods of National and World Mental Health Awareness, the mission of RECESS is to join with others in our Buckeye community to offer activities aimed at education about mental health, stigma reduction and wellness.
Why play? And why play for adults? Play can create a positive state of mind and pleasant emotions, which can foster great things like creativity, innovation, mental flexibility, empathy, social connections, a sense of belonging, stress relief and resilience. Take time away and explore your play style. It’s still ok to have fun!
I Spy A Buckeye Challenge
This year, in addition to bringing an in-person RECESS back to campus on October 12, CCS created an exciting multi-day event for you! I Spy a Buckeye is a scavenger hunt packed with nature, wellness, play and safe social connection. You may also learn something new about yourself along the way.
How to Play
Throughout the month, take a break to explore a new place, or simply participate in a new wellness activity from home. Ideas for new ways to take a break, play and relax are shared below.
Follow CCS at @OSUCCS on Twitter and Facebook and tag them in photos as you enjoy any of the following activities or locations. Visit the CCS website to learn more about other ways to improve your mental health and wellness through play.
Buckeye Grove - 1900 College Rd N, Columbus, OH 43210
Activity - Journaling
A place known by many Buckeyes, Buckeye Grove can provide a peaceful place to start a journaling practice. Try visual journaling, or even jot down thoughts or feelings into your phone. Read more and get inspired by different ways to make journaling work for you.
Columbus Park of Roses - 3901 N High St, Columbus, OH 43214
Activity - Yoga
As the seasons change, the roses may not always be in bloom, but this outdoor space is still a great spot to try yoga. Integrating a yoga practice has been known to reduce stress hormone levels in the body, increase mental clarity and the mind-body-connection. Read more about the science behind yoga.
Glen Echo Park - 510 Cliffside Dr, Columbus, OH 43202
Activity – Create Art
Visit this hidden gem just north of campus and check out the mural under the Indianola bridge. If you’re inspired to make your own art, you’ll be actively engaging in self-care and reducing your stress levels, Read more about how art reduces stress.
Bicentennial Park/Scioto Mile - 233 S Civic Center Dr, Columbus, OH 43215
Activity – Collaging
Take in the views from the bridge, snap a picture at the landmark deer and, as you walk on the trail, gather some leaves to work into a collage. Trying something new, like collaging, can “connect us to parts of ourselves we haven’t connected to in a long time—or ever before.” Read more about collaging to practice self-care.
Clinton-Como Park – 301 W. Pacemont Rd. Columbus, OH 43202
Activity – Exercise and Movement
Just north of campus is a great location for outdoor exercise. Adding some sort of movement to your day can enhance energy and mood regulation and deepen relaxation. Read more about how to integrate exercise in your routine.
Chadwick Arboretum - 152 Howlett Hall 2021, Fyffe Rd, Columbus, OH 43210
Activity – Mindful Walking
Visit this favorite Ohio State spot and try some mindful walking to connect with the present moment at the labyrinth. Read more about how you can practice mindful walking anywhere.
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens – 1777 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43203
Activity - Mindfulness
Here you can practice a mindfulness grounding technique inspired by all the sights, sounds and textures that can be found at the park. Learn how to practice the coping skill “54321”.
Scioto Audubon Metro Park – 400 W Whittier St, Columbus, OH 43215
Activity – Play
Add some play to your day! Climb trees (or rock walls), work through an obstacle course, blow bubbles or play hopscotch. Look for ways to take a break, play and relax, both indoors and outdoors. Get inspired about different ways to play.
Topiary Park – 480 E Town St, Columbus, OH 43215
Activity – Care for a Plant
So, you may not be able to sculpt a topiary like the ones found at Topiary Park. However, tending to and taking care of indoor plants can reduce stress and anxiety levels; it can also be a great motivator for self-care. Read more about the mental (and physical) benefits of taking care and growing indoor houseplants.
Highbanks Metro Park – 9466 Columbus Pike, Lewis Center, OH
Activity - Hike
Northwest of Columbus, Highbanks is a place to visit if you need to get out of the city and connect to nature. Studies show that time spent in nature reduces symptoms of depression. Read more about how hiking can be a great emotion regulator.