The last few weeks of the semester is arguably the most stressful time for college students. As classes start to wind down we find ourselves buried under a pile of essays, projects, and tests. The stress that builds up most likely has you feeling like this:
And it is probably making it hard for you to concentrate and actually get all that work done! While there are many meditation related ways to handle stress, I have found that sometimes the best thing to do is find another activity to occupy your attention for a little while. Here’s a list of 20 things you can do to relax a little when you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious about your assignments.
1. Color. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend investing in a coloring book or downloading a coloring book app, such as Colorfy or Recolor, on your phone. Taking a break and completing a full picture will make you feel accomplished and ready to push through the rest of your schoolwork.
2. Watch ONE episode of a funny show on Netflix. Take a 20 minute break and unwind with a little laughter. Some recommendations are New Girl, 30 Rock, Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Parks & Rec, The Office, and Scrubs.
3. Listen to your favorite playlist. Everyone has a playlist of songs that makes them feel calm and happy- if you don’t then do some browsing in the “Moods” section on Spotify for something mellow and relaxing. My go-to playlist is “Revision Ballads” by Spotify UK.
4. Change studying locations. While you may have one spot that you are the most productive in, the best strategy is changing up where you do your work. If you spend hours and hours in the same spot in the library you’re more likely to get distracted or bored. Get up and switch tables or head back to your room for a change of scenery.
5. Clean. I find it incredibly difficult to concentrate when my room is messy so I use my study breaks to tidy up different areas of the room. Just make sure you don’t choose too big of an area and get carried away. Little tasks like re-organizing your desk or color-coding your drawers/closet will take 20-30 minutes, which is the perfect break length.
6. Eat a snack. Preferably something healthy like fruit, but if you’re craving junk food go for it! You can even use it as an incentive to finish an assignment. I tend to reward myself with oreo’s or popcorn.
7. Take a 20-minute nap. This busy time of year typically means a lot of late nights so you may not be getting the full 8 hours that your brain needs to function properly. Allowing a little rest to break up your studying will help you feel refreshed- just make sure you set an alarm so you don’t end up waking up four hours later dazed and totally behind schedule!
8. Play a game on your phone. Sometimes a quick round of 2048 or Candy Crush is all you need to get your mind re-energized to finish up your essay or project.
9. Watch a funny video. As they say, "laughing is, and always will be, the best form of laughter.” I recommend Jimmy Fallon’s recent lip sync video with Melissa McCarthy, “Toddler Workouts “with James Cordon or Jimmy Kimmel’s “Mean Tweets.” However, be careful to limit yourself to just one or two videos because it's easy to get carried away and end up like this...
10. Paint your nails. Turn on some music or your favorite show and pamper yourself with a nice manicure or pedicure! This will only take you 30-45 minutes and is a great way to relax.
11. Do a little online shopping. Browse the websites of some of your favorite stores to see if there’s anything you like. You don’t necessarily have to buy something, sometimes its fun to fill your shopping cart with crazy expensive items and pretend that you can actually afford them.
12. Go outside. Sometimes a little fresh air is all you need!
13. Workout. Getting some exercise by either going to the gym or going on a run will help you release some of the tension that you may have due to the stress of finals.
14. Have a 30
second dance party. Channel your inner Meredith and Cristina!
15. Take a shower. Although it may sound weird to use a shower as a study break, the warm water will relax you so you can go back to your work feeling clean and refreshed!
16. Chat with a friend. Whenever I’m feeling stressed it usually helps me to either talk about a plan of attack or talk about something completely different in order to get my mind off the assignments piling up on my desk.
17. Turn your phone off. It’s always a good idea to disconnect from the rest of the world for a bit and have some alone time. I find that when I’m really distracted, the best way to snap out of it is to turn my phone off and leave it on the other side of my room so I’m not tempted to scroll through social media instead of doing my work.
18. Make a list. The best way to deal with the mountain of work you have is to make a list of all the things you have to get done and then make another list in order of importance and deadlines so that you can stay on top of it all.
19. Read one of the Snapchat Stories on the Discover Tab. Reading about current events on CNN or the latest pop culture happenings on People and Cosmo are great ways to take your mind off all those exams.
20. Call a family member. A quick chat with my mom always makes me feel better because she’s good at helping me calm down and prioritize my responsibilities.
Keep in mind that just because these methods have worked for me doesn’t mean that they will work for everyone! Remember to “just take a deep breath, go with the flow, do your best and show what you know” on your finals and before you know it, it will be SUMMER!!!