Students find grounding through zine-making

The Women of Color Action team hosted an intimate and interactive workshop titled “Grounding Through Zines: You Don’t Have to Do it All on Your Own” on April 21. The free event was held at the Women’s Resource Center as part of the many Sexual Assault Awareness Month workshops offered to students on campus.

The purpose of the workshop was for participants to find ways to relieve stress, focus and tune into their bodies as they encounter issues of stress or trauma.

Sheena Ino, the volunteer coordinator for the WRC, co-hosted the event and led participants through different forms of grounding.

“Mind-based grounding is a process that works to connect our mind with our physical body by focusing on our senses and awareness to bring us into balance with the present moment,” Ino said.

Though this event coincided with other SAAM events, it was not exclusively for survivors of sexual assault. College students encounter stress triggers on a daily basis, oftentimes ignoring time needed for self-care or relaxation.

Emotional stress burnout is one of the largest contributing factors to anxiety and panic attacks, and it’s important to know ways to deal with that anxiety or stress before it becomes consuming.

The first stage of the workshop focused on mind and body grounding.

Ino led participants through a brief, albeit helpful, guided meditation and relaxation technique. This included focusing on breathing and paying attention to one’s body, and it ended with self-affirmations and body gratitude.

Some very useful tips for engaging in grounding include finding a quiet space, knowing your needs, and noticing what is happening with your body and emotions.

Each individual is different and has different needs for dealing with stress or anxiety, so it is important to tune into the ways you personally feel most comfortable.

Do your eyes remain open or shut? Do you need calming music or complete silence? Is it more helpful to be alone, or with other people who can support you?

Ino then encouraged participants to spend some time writing down a list of techniques for personal grounding and relaxation before transitioning into the zine-making portion of the workshop.

Zines are essentially small, self-published booklets, handmade with paper and scissors, and illustrated however the author chooses. Kesheena Doctor has been making zines for about three years and led the group through the zine-making process.

“Zines are a really great way to ground you because it is a very positive form of self-care,” Doctor said. “It has a final product, an end result in creatively and healthily expressing emotion.”

Many of the zine templates Doctor handed out as examples included tips for self-care, healing after an assault and understanding gender and sexual identities. Not all the examples were so serious, however. Other examples included zines about pickling, recipes and cats knocking things over.

“Zines can be about anything that you want them to be,” Doctor said. “It’s your time to do what you want with it; make it work for you. People like them because they are accessible and relatable.”