While holiday season is in full swing and winter break seems just around the corner, final exams are the only thing standing between you and three weeks of Netflix-filled bliss. It’s all too easy to get overwhelmed as test dates pile up and caffeine-fueled study sessions seem endless. Whether you’re a long-term planner or free-wheeling procrastinator, maintaining a relaxed mindset is the most important tool to survive finals week. Read on for 12 ways to relax before finals, and get ready to kill it come test time!
- Make a detailed schedule. I know, facing your to-do list head on may be the last thing you want to do right now. Sit down and brain-dump every single task, then put together a (realistic) schedule of what you can accomplish each day. Make sure to prioritize important tasks, break down daunting assignments, and squeeze in time for relaxation!
- Stick to your workout routine. Studying can become oddly addicting during finals season, and it’s easy to feel guilty for stepping away. It can be tempting to put your workout routine aside when studying piles up. But it’s best to stay on track as exercise boosts focus and dissipates stress almost instantly. So whether it’s a jog around campus or a 10-minute yoga flow, getting active will only improve your study game.
- Eat healthy, and often. When you’re chained to a desk for hours, it’s easy to skip meals or settle on fast food for a quick fix. However, too much junk food can hinder memory and even trigger symptoms of depression. Fuel your brain right by taking time to meal prep, and keep your backpack stocked with healthy snacks.
- Clear the mental clutter with meditation. Meditation might seem intimidating, but countless how-tos and guided apps keep total zen just a few taps away. Aside from the calming mental benefits, meditation helps lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety. Meditating regularly throughout finals season keeps your mental health in check, improving your focus and discipline along the way.
- Give a loved one a quick phone call. Honestly, is there anything more comforting than a parent telling you everything is going to be okay? Whether it’s your mom, best friend, or significant other, hearing a loved one’s voice soothes the soul. Schedule a quick catch-up sesh, make plans to spend time together over winter break, and let the stress of exams melt away.
- Curate a feel-good playlist. Okay, Britney Spears might not be the best soundtrack to write that term paper, but she sure does make a great study break. Throw together a quick playlist of your all-time favorite bops (or follow one of ours) and give yourself three minutes of uninterrupted joy. Lip sync and air-guitar your heart out, then come back to your homework feeling refreshed.
- Jot down a gratitude list. Stress getting the best of you? Scribble a quick list of things you’re grateful for. Write down anything from nailing your dream internship to the coffee that’s powering you through this study session. Come back to the list whenever you need to smile, and remind yourself how much there is to be grateful for.
- Spend some time in fresh air. Every hour or so, give your sinuses a break from musty library air (which probably reeks of coffee and dusty textbooks at this point). Just a few minutes of fresh air can boost oxygen circulation, improve concentration, and reduce stress. If the weather isn’t exactly cooperating, opening a nearby window will do the trick.
- Treat. Yo’. Self. Celebrate accomplishing a big task, or take a full-fledged study break, by treating yourself to something you love. This could mean an overpriced latte, a Netflix episode, or a manicure—whatever it takes to celebrate your hard work. You deserve it, promise.
- Carve out time for creativity. When flashcards start making your eyes glaze over, take a mental breather and get some creative juices flowing. Fill an adult coloring book, make a playlist, sketch your surroundings, or plan your outfits for the week. Whatever your preferred creative outlet is, nurture it often to keep your brain from going autopilot.
- Change up your study scenery. As finals week approaches, the library starts looking more and more like an apocalypse film. When everyone around you hunkers down with sweatpants and eye bags for days on end, the energy gets seriously draining. Ditch your go-to study spot for a new coffee shop or unexplored corner of campus to refresh your senses.
- Indulge in self-care. Have you been in the library so long you can’t remember your last shower? Or your last drink besides coffee? Time to take a step back. Letting self care fall by the wayside can damage your confidence, resulting in even more stress you certainly don’t need. Hydrate, throw on a face mask while you review, or read a chapter of your favorite book. If penciling self-care into your schedule will help you follow through in taking care of yourself, do it.
How do you relax before finals? Leave your tips in the comments below or tag us on Instagram @cfashionista!
Featured photo by Kerri Bamsch