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How to De-stress for Midterms

The dreaded week is upon us, and with spring break looming close by, this round of exams seems even harder to get through. To avoid downing sixteen cups of coffee and procrastinating, use these tips to cool your head, put pen to paper and set your sights for a well-earned rest afterwards!

1.)   Listen to video game/movie music

Listening to music is a common, if not the most common technique students use to hunker down and concentrate on their studies. While listening to your favorite songs may be working fine for you, look into the soundtracks of movies, games and TV shows (the Youtube keywords being “calm”, “peaceful” and even “atmospheric). These songs are specifically designed to be background music that isn’t too intrusive to the main action on the screen, or to help you focus on your task while playing a game. There are hundreds of playlists and hour long videos on YouTube available, so you don’t even have to concern yourself with searching through multiple songs every time one ends. Give it a try!

2.)   Put pressure on your pressure points

Lots of people swear by applying gentle pressure to specific points all over the body to relieve tension, calm the mind, and even soothe pain. Lots of people do this to prevent migraines and focus better, so it’s worth trying to get in the mood for studying. Here’s a helpful diagram:

Do this before you study or during breaks!

3.)   Make some art

The process of making even little creations, like doodles on the indents of your notes, centers your focus and calms you. This goes for any type of art—origami, doodling, drawing, painting, mixing a song, writing, choreographing a dance—whatever helps you take a break and do something that isn’t chemistry or a five page paper. Just make sure your art project doesn’t get so long and complicated that it interferes with your actual studying!

4.)   Get some decent sleep

It’s preferable to have a full, uninterrupted 8-9 hours of sleep every night, but that’s pretty unrealistic in regular college life, let alone midterms week. The website sleepyti.me lets you either calculate what time you should set your morning alarm so that you wake up between sleep cycles, and not during one, or gives you a list of times you should go to sleep in the first place for the same results. It’s also great for calculating how long you should nap. If you wake up between sleep cycles, you feel much less groggy and irritable, so this website is indispensable for busy, overworked students (make sure you get 8 hours in as much as possible, though.)

5.)   Write everything down

Make a schedule for your studies. Write down where, what, and how long you plan to study, and for when you’ll have breaks (fifteen minutes for every hour of study is a good rule of thumb.) Use sticky notes to label specific chapters in books you need to reread or analyze. Make an outline of your essays. If you give yourself incremental ways of getting all your work done, it doesn’t seem so overwhelming. Take it on in small chunks, and you’ll find yourself getting a whole lot more done.



Nicole is a junior Film/TV major at Boston University. She's an Argentinean first generation student who made the leap from Miami to Boston for college. She has chosen writing as a career for reasons no one can explain, except maybe with theories of her masochistic tendencies. She dreams of being on a writing team for a sitcom and someday becoming a showrunner of her own original show.
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