After a long semester of losing sleep and endless trips to Dunkin' for coffee, finals week is finally here. Spring finals are way worse than
While you may feel like time is in short supply and the only thing you have time to do is stress out about your next final, think again! On your next study break instead of grabbing your phone and scrolling through Twitter, try one (or all) of these ways to de-stress for mental clarity going into the busiest week of the year.
Meditation is the key to mental clarity and finding your inner calm. There are many types of meditation you can try in attempt to find one that works best for you! Mindfulness meditation is probably the most commonly thought of type of meditation. It stems from the Buddhist teachings and is the most popular form of meditation in the western world.
Mindfulness meditation consists of sitting comfortably and focusing on your breathing. Let your thoughts come naturally, observe and be aware of your thoughts. When your mind wanders, gradually return your focus back to your breathing. This practice can last you anywhere from five minutes to an hour, as long as feels right for you. Mindfulness meditation is an excellent way to check in with yourself and understand the reasons for anxious feelings.
Another form of meditation is movement meditation, a popular way to amp up your study break and de-stress. This could be anything from doing yoga to doing a lap around the library. This form of meditation is good for those who find peace in action and prefer to let their mind wander rather than focusing yourself. Personally, this is my favorite way to de-stress and break up my study time. Yoga is not only good for the mind, but also beneficial for your body and soul.
Focused meditation involves a very refined concentration on one of your five senses. You could choose to focus on the smell of someone cooking, the sound of the wind rustling the trees, or maybe the flicker of a candle flame. While this practice seems simple in theory, in practice it is difficult for beginners to refine your focus on just one sense and hold that concentration. This practice is an excellent way to take some time to clear your mind during a study break.
Another way to relax your mind, body, and soul is to try channeling your energy into a creative outlet! This can be anything from doodling, journaling, painting, or singing. The possibilities are endless when it comes to utilizing the left side of your brain as a stress reliever. I recently got into bullet journaling which is a great way to organize my chaotic life and get my study schedule in order while also having the freedom to express myself artistically. I also tried embroidery over winter break so I'm hoping to get back into that and to create some really cool art.
Scientists from seven prestigious universities studied the link between art and academic achievement and found that the cognitive neuroscientists who participated in the study found a tight correlation between exposure to the arts and improved skills in cognition and attention for learning.
Art has been highly impactful to students of all demographics and as we learn more about its impact, it's important to keep in mind and advocate for funding art programs in schools and making sure we don't lose that opportunity for children to be immersed in the arts. So when you're feeling frazzled by your exam that's worth an unfortunate 40% of your final grade, try picking up some markers and making something awesome no matter your artistic ability.
Having a smartphone is probably the worst thing
However, your smartphone could be the key to a good day of studying! Instead of mindlessly scrolling through your apps, try calling someone instead! This could be anyone from your parents to one of your friends or siblings! Love has a particularly important role in stress relief and loving relationships can help relieve stress and boost your overall health! So calling up your mom to hear about her day could actually be a huge part of you acing that 300 level final you've been dreading since January.
All in all, it's important to take care of yourself and check in with your mind and body during the most stressful times. Mental health is often stigmatized as a taboo topic to discuss which causes a really negative culture to be a part of.
People of all ages, genders, sexualities, and religion should be able to be apart of a community that puts mental health first and treats it the same way we treat physical health. Whether you're a college student or in high school or even those who are already established in their career and family life, finding ways to rid your life of stress and understand what your body needs is vastly important. You only get one body and one mind in your current life, so make sure you take care of yourself and better yourself each day! And to all of my college students out there reading this while procrastinating your study time, know that it's perfectly okay to take a break and that your hard work will pay off.
If you or anyone you know is going through a difficult time, I urge you to seek the help or your friends, family, or even that of a professional. The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255, available 24/7. They offer numerous resources on their website and even a live chat feature if you are unable to talk on the phone. Always remember to take care of yourself and never be ashamed of getting the help you need.