Everyone deserves a break, especially during dead week and finals week. Sure it can be difficult to allow yourself even a second to breathe, eat, or sleep during these last two weeks of the semester, but everyone desperately needs it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not promoting procrastination or avoiding your studying and cramming, I’m just saying we all deserve a study break every now and then and it can be achievable in a guilt-free manner.
It’s finals time, which means everybody is finishing (or barely starting) their last papers, assignments, projects, and presentations for the semester, as well as cramming as much information as humanly possible (for those of us without an amazing photographic memory) in order to end off the school year with some perfect final exam grades to boost the up their GPA. But, as I have previously learned in a Psychology course, the idea of studying nonstop to the point of not receiving sleep and neglecting food, will not help your chances of memorizing your course material, let alone even pass your exams.
Therefore, I’m going to provide some helpful ideas for you to occasionally get your mind away from anything academic-wise and allow yourself to get a break in-between assignments. I personally would recommend that you do any of the following activities between completing a certain amount of work, and before you switch from one subject to the next because your brain needs enough time to process what it just learned before it can move on to retain more knowledge.
1. Play a game with your friends
Ok, ok I know, this one sounds a bit ridiculous and child-like, especially for college students who are stressing over finals, but trust me I’ve personally done this during a stressful moment and it completely cheered me up! From my experience, I had loads and loads of work piling up, I’m talking a bunch of assignments suddenly due for each class and I was borderline going to have a meltdown over any little thing that happened to me that week. But, out of nowhere a good friend of mine found me struggling in the library and asked me if I wanted to play a game of tag across the entire campus with him and a couple other friends. At first, I scoffed at him and couldn’t believe that he had just asked me to play a game with him that I hadn’t played since elementary school, especially in the midst of a heavy workload and stress-filled moment, yet for some reason I agreed. All I can say: it was amazing and the most fun I have had in awhile!
After that moment, I was able to get back to work. I found that my head was much more clear compared to before when I was struggling to even get a sentence out because of how bad my writer’s block was. So even if I seemed like an irresponsible, annoying person for running around all over campus, I was confidently able to say that it helped me so much- in both getting me to feel as if I had no stress or responsibilities in the world, then ready to get back to the work when I was done.
2. Engage in some sort of physical activity
This one may not sound as fun for everyone, but it does work to get your mind off things and with the obvious benefit of being good for your body, so it’s worth a try! Whatever type of physical activity that you enjoy doing- going to the gym, doing some yoga, running, riding a bike, do it because you will not be able to fully disconnect and forget about your plenty of assignments if you are not doing something that genuinely intrigues you.
Or, if you truly feel as if you cannot squeeze in time for physical activity at all but still want to do something that doesn’t make you feel so blah while studying, try studying while on a treadmill. There are proven facts that your brain will be able to process and retain information much more effectively if you are doing something physical to go along with this. I can also attest to this because I’ve walked on the treadmill while trying to memorize a monologue that I had to present in one of my classes and it worked better than the times I simply just tried to memorize it. Maybe it was just me, but it’s worth a try! But of course, if you can completely ditch the studying to exercise for a couple minutes, please do it.
3. Go out for food, or coffee (or both!)
If you’re anything like me, or I guess the average college students since many of us fall victim to this, you study so hard and focus so much on what needs to get done that you forget to even eat full on actual meals throughout the day. We all know how unhealthy this can become, yet it still just happens even without us realizing. So, I’m begging you to remember that your health and your eating habits are a priority. Therefore, make a set schedule as to when you’re going to be able and go grab food. Make a hangout out of it and have some friends tag along with you because let’s be honest, we’re all struggling out here, so let’s help each other out and keep one another on check. Maybe find a cool, new place that you haven’t tried before in order to make an adventure out of it, that could definitely help get your mind off school work for a good hour, which you deserve!
Same with coffee, if you’re going to be pulling those all-nighters (which I’m also not condoning, but hey I get it, it happens from time to time), at least make sure you’re caffeinated and ready to slay those finals and assignments! Cute coffee shops are always near, so why not give them a try, or if you’re still a loyal Starbucks fan, that works too!
4. Be artsy and crafty
Now, for this one I understand that we’re not all talented in the art department, but who cares! Art is still one of the best stress-relievers, especially if it’s for fun. Put down the textbooks and laptops and grab some color pencils or paint and just let your mind free. Crafts as well, if you prefer putting stuff together and creating, that’s awesome too. Whatever you’re comfortable with and like to do, engage in it and just let loose, have a blast! I personally love anything art related and I wish I was more skilled in that arena, but I’m not and that is ok because as long as I still have fun doing it, the amount of talent I have (or lack thereof) for it, does not matter since it’s something that gets my mind off worrying and it truly makes me happy.
Your brain will work way better once you have taken the time to relax and de-stress. Just as any of your other organs, your brain needs a break as well, so don’t overdo it or put too much pressure on it, you must take care of yourself and remember that your grades will never be as important as your mental health. If you ever feel as if you’re on the verge of a breakdown because of finals week, it’s a sign to yourself to take it easy a bit, get your mind off academics, and get back to it once you’ve let your mind do something mindless for once. Trust me, you’ll feel way better, you’ll end up being more productive, and you’re most likely to get the grade you desire when you are not pushing it as hard. Always remember, eat, sleep, have fun, get work done, and breathe. You can and will do it! Good luck on all your finals and end of semester endeavors- remember, you’re almost done!
(all images via googleimages.com)