Welcome to exam season. It is easy to become overwhelmed, forcing one’s mental and physical health to dwindle down the totem pole. While performing well on your exams is important, and certainly should be a priority as a college student, ultimately learning to balance your sanity, physical health, along with a heavy workload is what college is all about. With a little over a year of college under my belt, I have recognized the importance of making time for yourself, especially during a stress ridden time- like exams. Although I wouldn’t consider myself anything close to an expert in time management and a perfectly balanced lifestyle, I have certainly gathered a few tips and tricks to create clarity during a hectic schedule. I encourage all readers to engage in one tip every day during their busiest week to create equilibrium.
1. Turn your phone on airplane mode and go for an hour long walk around the monuments- drink an entire bottle of water while doing so A simple walk can go a long way for clearing a cluttered mind. In addition to toning your legs, and boosting your immune system, study’s show that frequent walks can improve one’s creative thinking, self perception, self esteem, and decrease anxiety and fatigue. Detaching yourself from a screen during this time, and the toxicity of social media, can simply be an added bonus to the already present benefits.
Water! Water! Water! With a week most likely filled with intense consumption of iced coffee, it can be so easy to become dehydrated. Drinking the appropriate amount of water keeps our brain from having to fight against the effects of dehydration- which creates clearer thinking.
2. Get ice cream with your best friend with a social media blackout for at least an hour straight Surrounding yourself with people you love and feel comfortable ranting to can go a long way during a busy week. Enjoy a sweet treat and allow yourself to decompress- this will remind you that at the end of the day, a happy life consists of a lot more than an A on your advanced statistics exam.
3. Make yourself a feel good dinner- whatever that may be In addition to saving money, and being a generally healthier option, eating in can allow for one to focus on a specific and rewarding experience for a set period of time. Studies have shown that cooking and then consuming a meal is more satisfying and enjoyable. Take a break from studying and use the time to engage in the preparation of a nutritious meal. Delicious food can be an instant source of comfort.
4. Go to a workout class or the gym The mental and physical benefits of exercise are clear. However, often it can no longer become a priority when we think of it as a portion of time that isn’t being dedicated to work or studying. Remind yourself of how rewarding feeling your body move can be. After a quick sweat session and a hot shower you will feel rejuvenated, centered, and better retain information.
5. Rest day! Do a face mask and watch your go to “rom com” You have worked your ass off, take the time to pause for a second and get lost in a silly movie. Watch something that will make you laugh. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells. Sometimes an hour and a half to escape in a made up story with Jennifer Lopez is something we don’t realize we need but after it’s over recognize how badly we did.
6. Challenge yourself to finish all of your assignments early and be asleep with your phone off by 10 pm Sleep is crucial when it comes to maintaining a high level of focus and generally performing well on exams and beyond. It is easy to convince yourself that staying up for the extra hour to cram that last bit of info will have a larger benefit vs. the extra hour of sleep- but realistically that extra hour could seriously affect your performance on the rest of the exam when you are in the midst of it. You have had enough late nights. Turn off that toxic cell phone and hit the pillow with ease. It will lower your stress, improve your mood, and facilitate clearer thinking throughout the day
7. Your week is over! Celebrate with a pizza or a dinner out Who doesn’t love pizza? It is important to reward yourself for accomplishments- it will help maintain your motivation and aid in creating a “goal setting” habit. You are gonna crush it.