4 Ways To De-Stress Before Midterms

4 Ways To De-Stress Before Midterms

Discover effective tools to support your health and wellness while studying for exams.

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When we are weighed down by the stress of studying and exams, the last thing we might be thinking of is taking a break. Mounting pressures can feel paralyzing and make an already difficult and stressful week, even less manageable.

Taking an intentional break can make your studying more efficient and effective. When you allow yourself to relax, you increase your ability to self-regulate and manage stress in a healthy way, which makes spending large amounts of time studying and paper-writing much more sustainable and productive.

It's important to explore different resources for self-care that work for you, and bring enough self-awareness so you know when it's time to take a break before you burn-out. Remember to meet yourself with compassion during this time, and remind yourself that you are doing your best and it is more than okay to ask for help when you need it!

1. Spend time in nature

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Unplug from the stress of studying by walking around your neighborhood, going to the beach, or exploring a trail like Griffith Park or Temescal Canyon. The benefits of taking walks outdoors include a decrease in anxiety, an increasing ability to concentrate, receiving necessary Vitamin D, and more. Plus, if you've been hunched over at your desk all day, walking is great for your circulation and gives you a chance to stretch your body.

2. Rest more deeply

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The reality of midterms week might be that you aren't getting an ideal 8 hours of sleep, but there are tools you can use to rest more deeply in the limited time you might have.

Using a weighted blanket has benefits for individuals with ADHD, anxiety, stress, and more. Additionally, you can wear a sleep mask to block out extra light and earplugs to block out any noise.

If guided meditations are your thing, yoga nidra ("yogic sleep") can be key to relaxing deeply. Yoga nidra meditations slowly bring awareness to all parts of your body (each finger, each toe, etc.). While listening to yoga nidra is not a replacement for sleep, it is said that every 30 minutes of yoga nidra brings the effects of approximately two hours of sleep. There are endless options for yoga nidra videos on YouTube - give a few a try and see if any of them resonate with you.

3. Refresh with essential oils

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You can use essential oils by diffusing them in your room, putting a couple of drops on a cotton pad and inhaling deeply, or applying them directly to your skin with a carrier oil like coconut oil. You can apply them to the soles of your feet before bed or on your palms/wrists before studying. Essential oils can wake us up, calm us down, and everything in between. Energizing and uplifting oils to use before studying include peppermint, rosemary, and citrus oils like tangerine or lemon. Relaxing oils to use before bed include lavender, vetiver, and frankincense.

4. Journal without judgment 

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Writing during a study break, especially if you've been working on papers all day, might seem counter-intuitive. However, free-writing for even five or 10 minutes can relieve stress by putting pen to paper and getting out everything and anything on your mind. It is a writing exercise that doesn't need to be structured in any specific way, and won't be graded. Writing all of your anxieties and worries down can not only help you notice just how much you are carrying, but it can help take the power away from whatever is weighing you down. I highly encourage also doing this before bed if you find yourself with racing thoughts at the end of the night. It is a simple, yet impactful, exercise that can leave you feeling more prepared to tackle the rest of your week.

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12 Things Only Low-Maintenance Girls Understand

I promise we aren’t lazy, just easy going.
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Sometimes low-maintenance girls are looked at as lazy or sloppy. But in reality, I think low-maintenance girls are just so confident in who they are that putting in that extra effort isn't important to them.

Here are 12 things that only low-maintenance girls understand:

1. Leggings or sweat pants and a T-shirt is your normal everyday outfit

Why spend the day uncomfortable in some tight jeans or mini skirt when you can lounge around in some comfy clothes? We aren't here to impress anyone, we are just trying to sit back and chill.

2. Makeup is a special occasion

If you catch a low-maintenance girl with makeup on, take it as a compliment. We are trying to touch our face and rub our eyes as much as we'd like without makeup getting in the way. Not to mention, we wouldn't dare spend over $15 on some foundation.

3. We would rather stay in with a movie then go out for the evening

Something low-key and low stress always sounds better than spending the time, and the money, for a night out. I am perfectly content with taking advantage of my $7.99 monthly payment for Netflix.

4. You're always the first one ready

While your friends spend hours doing their hair, makeup and then finding the perfect outfit, you sit around and wait. Your 10 minutes thrown-together-look gives you time to nap while everyone else takes their sweet time.

5. When you say you "don't care what we do," you really don't care

Seriously, a date night off the McDonald's dollar menu is fine by me. I am not expecting you to wine and dine me on a big extravagant evening, I'm just trying to get a Big Mac in my mouth.

6. Your messy bun isn't a fashion statement, it's actually just your hairstyle

We aren't about to spend time curling or straightening our hair everyday. Every day is a good day to throw your hair up into a ponytail or bun.

7. The extent of your jewelry collection is one pair of earrings and maybe a necklace

Who needs more than one pair of earrings? Diamond studs match everything… right?

8. And your shoe collection is even smaller

Should I wear flip-flops or Converse?

9. Shopping isn't exactly your favorite thing to do

Who has patience for finding the perfect designer brands or finding the best fit? I am perfectly content with my T-shirts and leggings. One size fits all.

10. Your favorite gifts are the sentimental ones, not the expensive ones

A homemade card or a small gift that makes someone think of you is forever better and more meaningful than an expensive present. I don't want your money, I just want to know you thought of me.

11. You don't put in the effort to chase after a guy

I'm awesome and I know it. If a guy is worth it enough to be in my life, he can come after me. I am not down for any games or players. Just someone who embraces my low-maintenance qualities.

12. You are always the first person to help someone out

Giving your friends a ride or lending them two dollars isn't a huge deal. Just helping someone out gives you peace of mind. Everyone should have time to help a homie out.

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When You're With The Right Guy, He'll Take The Time To Learn About Your Mental Illness, Trust Me

If he wants to make it work and really loves you, he'll learn all of your ins and outs.

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My boyfriend and I have been dating for a little over a year. The journey we've been on to get to where we are now has been one of the scariest and most fun roller coasters I've ever been on.

My mental health has come in the way of a lot of relationships, both romantic and platonic. I've never quite been able to find a way to master explaining it to people. And I still haven't. Explaining what can happen in your head, when you can barely explain it to yourself is a very difficult and often heart wrenching task.

When I had started dating my boyfriend, I was scared to tell him about my mental health. While I have gained a lot of confidence and it isn't nearly as severe as it was years ago, I know how it can get when "one of those days" comes. I know how scary I can get when I fall into a panic attack. I know how hard it can be to look at someone you love while they have a tear stained face unable to tell you what's wrong.

In the past I've tried two different things. One being that I wouldn't tell them at all and I would try to go day by day like I didn't have this cloud above my head. Once they'd see what I can get like, they'd leave. They "couldn't handle the amount of work I needed" or they felt burdened by being with me. Some would even say they "love me too much to put themselves through seeing me like that."

The other option I tried was putting it all out on the table. I had tried that once. I had told my most recent ex boyfriend everything. I laid it all out on the line, hoping that it would be different. At first, it was. He was comforting and understanding. Until it got to a point where he was using what I told him against me.

He knew my weak points. He knew what would hit the hardest and he was good at what he was doing.

It wasn't until my current boyfriend that I realized that isn't how love should be.

He could tell from the beginning that there were missing puzzle pieces. There were walls that I had build around me that I wasn't about to let just anyone knock down. At first, I found his pestering quite rude. Until he proved his point. He had come to me one night and said he wanted me to tell him everything. No details left behind.

I kind of sat there with my mouth open. I actually tried to pretend as if I didn't know what he was talking about. Within minutes, I was spilling everything. Every crevice I could have touched base on, I did. While I thought he was going to look shocked, scared, or bored even.

He didn't.

He was looking deep into my eyes the whole time. He never broke eye contact with me. He was focused and didn't say anything, just nodded his head. After I was finished and the tears were falling, he held me in an embrace and the only words he could mutter was, "You are so beautiful and one of the strongest people I know. You will get stronger. I promise."

He's taken the time to learn everything. He's watched psychologist's lectures, he's read articles. He's done everything in his power to learn what I need on my dark times. He honestly has gotten to know me so well, I think he knows me better than I know myself.

Not only has it helped our relationship as a whole, but it's helped me learn about myself in a way that I couldn't quite do on my own. He's offered me a kind of love that I've never had before. One where I don't have to fear rejection or getting left behind.

Ladies, if he's the right guy, he'll do whatever it takes to make sure that you have exactly what you need. Not just physically but mentally as well. My guy knows the days where, I could just really use a good cry and being held for 20 minutes. He also knows when I need reassurance.

A guy that truly loves you will learn these things about you. He won't ignore you, he won't brush it off and say "you'll be fine."

Take my word on it, that's the guy you'll want to marry someday.

I know I do.

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