Explore new tools to relax while studying for 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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A list Of 15 Inspiring Words That Mean So Much

A single word can mean a lot.
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Positivity is so important in life. A lot of times we always go to quotes for empowerment but I have realized that just one word can be just as powerful. Here is a list of inspiring words.

1. Worthy

Realizing your self-worth is important. Self-worth can really make or break a persons personality. Always know that you are worthy of respect. And also, never compare yourself to others.

2. Courage

Be courageous in life. Life has so many opportunities so do not be scared to grasp any opportunity that comes your way. You have the ability to do anything you have your heart and mind set to do, even the things that frighten you.

3. Enough

When you are feeling down and feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough, know that you are more than enough. And yes there is always room for improvement but when it comes to my self-worth I always have to remind myself that I am enough.

4. Blessed

Be thankful. A lot of times we forget how blessed we are. We focus so much on stress and the bad things that are going on in our lives that we tend to forget all of the beautiful things we have in life.

5. Focus

Focus on your goals, focus on positive things, and focus on the ones you love. Do not focus on things that will keep you from not reaching your goals and people that do not have good intentions for your life.

6. Laugh

Laughing is one of the best forms of medicine. Life is truly better with laughter.

7. Warrior

Through the good and the bad you are a warrior. Be strong, soldier.

8. Seek

Seek new things. Allow yourself to grow in life. Do not just be stuck.

9. Faith

During the bad times, no matter the circumstances, have faith that everything will be all right.

10. Live

Start living because life is honestly way too short. Live life the way you want to live. Do not let anyone try to control you.

11. Enjoy

Enjoy everything that life has to offer. Enjoy even the littlest of things because, as I said before, life is short. And plus, there is no time to live life with regrets.

12. Believe

Believe in yourself and never stop. Believing in yourself brings so many blessings and opportunities in your life.

13. Serendipity

A lot of times we look for things to fill an empty void that we have. Usually what we are looking for comes when we are not looking at all. Your serendipity will come.

14. Create

Share your ideas with the world. Creativity brings change to your life. However you chose to use your creativity do not be scared to show your intelligence, talent, and passion.

15. Love

The world is already full of so much hate, so love unconditionally with all your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Tanveer Naseer

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The Path To Self Love

It's a beautiful and hard journey but the reward is so worth it

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Like many of us, I tend to rely on other people and their opinions way more than my own. Stopping that? It's easier said than done but it's possible. You'll never fully be able to stop caring about what other people think but you can care a little less. How?

Building up your self-worth and confidence. That task is probably one of the hardest ones that I've ever had to tackle and am still figuring out.

Loving yourself can mean so many different things but at the end of the day it really means just being able to be your own happiness. So many people rely on others for happiness instead of themselves. That's just not it. We do this to ourselves but what happens when that person or group of people leave us? Then our happiness that was revolved around being with them is all gone. I've learned this life lesson the hard way and while it hurt like hell, I needed that. I had to learn that if I can't be happy by myself then I'll never fully be happy.

Sydney Mergler

Now, I know body positivity is becoming a thing right now but that doesn't change the fact that people still don't always feel one-hundred percent confident in their body. I personally have been struggling with my body image for years and finally have started to work on it for me. Not because I hate my body now, but because I want to get fit for me. It's been a struggle figuring this out and it's taken me years but I finally know what my end goal is and am working towards that. I know it's going to take me a while to reach it but at least I'm working towards a goal now and loving it at the same time. In fact, I feel so much more confident because of it.

Toxic friendships? Just break them. Do yourself a favor and don't dread on it, just drop them. You don't need the extra headache or drama. Life is hard enough as it is but having friends who are negative, disrespectful or just only look out for themselves makes it ten times harder. I'm not sorry for the friends I've dropped because if they really had wanted to keep the friendship, they would've treated me better.

Sydney Mergler

Over-apologizing? Just no. Let's not do that. For what? If you don't mean it, don't say it. There is no reason to apologize for something you either don't think needs to be apologized or you don't feel bad for. In the past, I used to apologize for every little thing and it drove me crazy.

On my path to self love, I've learned so much about myself already and I can't wait to learn more. I've learned I missed music, missed writing, enjoy yoga and other forms of exercise and so many other things. I've stopped holding on to things and people that aren't good for me and have started to let go of the past. Loving yourself can be a real challenge but at the end of the day it's the best thing you can do for yourself. You can't ever expect anyone to love you either in a romantic way or friend way without loving yourself. If you can't see the beauty in yourself how can you expect others to?

Sydney Mergler

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