5 Tricks for Surviving the Pre-Break Push

This week has been stressful. Every single one of my major projects counting for twenty percent of my final grade are due all at once, and I have been burning both ends of the candle every night trying to make sure all of my work is completed and worthy of a decent grade. While this seems like a normal college life trope, it doesn't’t mean I don’t have to let it define how I treat myself, and I feel like everyone else should know that, too. Here are five of my favorite ways to relax myself in the midst of the chaos.

  1. Essential Oils

When I first started trying these, I was extremely skeptical, (how is rubbing peppermint oil onto the sole of my right foot going to accomplish anything but a fresh-smelling sock?) but after receiving a humidifier as a gift from my mom, I now swear by this stuff. Not only are they great for stress, but for illnesses and just for enhancing your relaxation. Two staples for me are lavender and eucalyptus—you can rub them into your feet, your wrists, your neck and breathe deeply to feel the results. I like to put mine in the humidifier while I study, so the smell permeates the room, creating a calmer atmosphere. Be aware of your dreams while you use these, because they may get a little wacky. The first time I used eucalyptus while I slept, I had a dream I grabbed a beer with Carrie Brownstein (I now refuse to sleep with anything else in the humidifier, obviously).

   2.  Create a space conducive to productivity.


Messy room? Clean it at least a little bit before you study. Or just make it feel better. I like to make sure my bed is made before I do my homework, and that everything is picked up off the floors. Light candles, if it makes you feel more at home. I never realized I did this until my freshman year roommate pointed it out, but I tend to turn the television on without sound while I do homework, so I don’t feel as if I am sitting in a completely stagnant, silent room (I also just really, really hate missing Wheel of Fortune). I also make sure my favorite coffee mug is clean, so I can use it if I want to make a cup. It’s all about knowing what you’ll want to get in the right frame of mind, and preparing for it.

   3. Stress Baking


While this may seem counterintuitive and I don't do it often, stress baking makes me feel like I have my life together. Taking breaks to check on what you’ve made will force you not to overwork yourself, AND it will give you a nice incentive to enjoy after you’re done working! It will also help you get into the mindset of reading and following directions, which will bring more focus to your studying. Maybe this is just me justifying making sweets, but if it works, it works—right? 

4. Change Your Surroundings

Admittedly, I’m a total introvert, but since going to college I feel the need to be around others when I study, whether or not I know them—I also have a knack for always finding things to do that are not my homework if I’m in my own space, because I’m surrounded by things I’d rather be doing. If you’re getting burnt out, consider going somewhere on campus or near it with Wi-Fi and see if your productivity level changes. If it doesn’t change, go back to where you started and try that again. Hitting your own reset button may help you get work done more efficiently.

5. Walk

I’ve been making it a point to try and walk multiple times a week. Make a schedule and a route, and stick to it. You’ll begin to know how long it will take you, and you can create your own routine for a perfect study break to get some fresh air and regenerate your brain. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself on the walk—buy a snack or a drink and enjoy it while you’re out, so you feel like you’ve earned it after your studying, and you feel rejuvenated enough to start back up once you’re back. 

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