I honestly believe there is nothing as stressful in a college students life as the 2-3 week gap between Thanksgiving break & Christmas break that is comprised of nothing but stress over final exams & final grades. We work hard all semester to crush our classes but with how most finals are graded, one test can make or break our grade. We want to spend final moments with college friends before break, take advantage of nice weather, & prepare for the holiday season, but it is so hard to do anything but study constantly without feeling guilty. Self care is important & stress can cause physical & mental problems. Stress can also affect the way you study & learn, making it harder to ace those finals. I asked some students how they personally decompress during the finals season, here’s what they said (their suggestions are the headlines, my personal opinions are the content under each):
1. “ASMR Videos & essential oils!” – Chloe Dalton (@chloedaltonnn)
ASMR is defined as “Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is an experience characterized by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine.” This is a more recent relaxation & sensory stimulating YouTube trend that has appeared in recent years. Many people love these videos because they are relaxing & essentially a more connective version of white noise. If you think listening to relaxing sounds & people speaking is a good way for you to detach & relax, try watching some ASMR YouTube videos! You can try Itsblitzzz which is one of Daltons personal favorites. Most people now have at least heard of essential oils & their benefits. Not only do they smell amazing but they supposedly have health benefits both physically & mentally that differs between scents. Try lavender to “help promote calmness and wellness. It’s also said to help reduce stress, anxiety, and possibly even mild pain.” For another relaxing scent try Ylang Ylang which “People apply ylang ylang oil to the skin to promote relaxation, kill bacteria, lower high blood pressure, and increase sexual desire.” You can find oils at essentially any body shop store to smell in person & find the right scent for you. Be careful though, if you have pets, oils such as Tree Tea is very toxic to pets, so before you commit to a scent, do your research.
2. “Tea, listening to music, or going to a boxing class.” – Kiersten HeilBron (@kiersten___nicole____)
Tea is one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of relaxation. Tea is great alternative to coffee when it’s later in the evening & you don’t want to be up all night due to a caffeine buzz. Some relaxing teas to try are lavender & chamomile, green tea, peppermint, & black tea. Tea will have the same sort of effect as the essential oils, but with the added coziness of warm liquid & time to enjoy it. Listening to music is also a great way to relax. Take a minute to dance around your apartment & get your blood flowing, you’ll feel relaxed. Another way to get your blood flowing is to work out, like kick boxing. Kick boxing is a wonderful cardio exercise, allows you to get any tension out, & pleases endorphins which will make you feel better mentally, as well as getting stronger physically.
3. “Go on a nature walk, taking a power nap, & one away from the spot that is causing you stress.” – Nick Wahba (@nickwahba18).
These are all great stress relievers. Going on a nature walk is a great way to detach & get your thoughts in order. It will feel good to get out, connect with nature, & get some fresh air. Just make sure if you’re venturing out on your own, you let someone know where you are going & that you are aware of your surroundings. Power naps are also an effective stress reliever if done correctly. A power nap should only be about 20 minutes long to get the full effects of a recharge. If you sleep longer than that, you risk feeling ore tired than you did before you took a nap or sleeping too long. I suggest drinking a coffee about 15-20 minutes before you nap, napping for 20 minutes, so when you wake up you feel refreshed & energized. It is also a good idea to move away from the area that us giving you stress so that you can actually relax & not focus on the area that is making you feel anxious. It is also rule of thumb to not study in an area that is designated to relaxation, such as your bed. If you study in your bed you won’t be as productive because your mind recognizes that space as a space for sleep, also if you study too much in your bed the inverse might happen to where you won’t be able to sleep due to your mind associating that area with stress & work.
4. “Candles & Tea” – Laura Powers (@laurajaynepowers).
Candles are one of the most relaxing things on the planet in my opinion. Candles have the same affect as essential oils but have the added warmth of a flame which sets a relaxing ambiance. Using candles as you take a bath or read a non-school related book during a study break can help reduce stress. Tea is also great, as stated above in point 2. Some of my personal favorite candles are the Mahogany teakwood (intensified) from Bath & Body Works as well as Balsam Forest from Yankee candle. Get them here & here.
5. “Cleaning my apartment.” – Kay Y.
Cleaning can be relaxing when you don’t view it as a chore. If you sent the space with candles & music or a movie, you can create a lovely aura to complete cleaning. This will not only make you feel relaxed once your done, since your space is clean, but it is a super productive way to spend your study break. If you have no clue how to clean or you need inspiration, I suggest looking at & watching my personal favorite instagram cleaner, Sophie Hinchliffe, or better known as @mrshinchhome. She is so funny, charming, & a total wizard when it comes to cleaning the home.
6. “Movie break or go play with puppies at your local rescue.” – Sam Gutierrez (@sxmxnthxceg).
Taking a movie break might be a long study break, but it can help immensely. I suggest watching a movie that inspires you so that once you’re finished, you’re more willing to continue your work full force. Playing with puppies & animals in general is pretty much everyones dream. Taking time to got to your local animal shelter will help you feel more relaxed & will also benefit the animals as they have someone showing them love & taking care of them. Make sure you contact your local shelter to check for times & clearance before you go.
I hope you find a way to find some peace & relaxation in this time of constant stress & anxiety. Good luck on all of your finals, you’re going to kill it!