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Beating The Burn-Out: Things To Do During Reading Week

Whether we want it to be or not, reading week is upon us.  With finals looming in the near future, it sometimes feels like the most natural thing to do is to go into panic mode.  Cramming from eight in the morning to eight at night in the library, eating whatever snacks are left at the C-store, and crashing into a poor night’s sleep become behavioral trends.  This routine, or something like it, repeated day after day over a week’s worth of studying will leave you feeling burnt out.  Walking into finals week fatigued and fizzled out is the last thing any of us want, especially after working so hard the week before.  To keep from losing momentum during reading week, it’s important to take breaks and go do something completely removed from your studying, if only for a few hours.  Read ahead for suggested activities to do in Evanston to relieve your reading week woes:

1. Pamper yourself:

Just because it’s reading week doesn’t mean that you have to let go of “me time.”  Reading week is also no reason to let yourself feel deprived.  Rewards are a great way through which to keep your momentum going, and if you reward yourself with something relaxing, you’ll boost both your momentum and your focus so that you can return to your work with a fresh mindset and attitude.  Of course, finding the balance between an activity that is cost-effective, relaxing, and time-efficient all at the same time is a challenge.  However, a simple manicure might just do the trick!  

Click here to read a review of Evanston nail salons (written by HC NU’s Liv Bahou) to get the ball rolling!  You’ll be able to walk out of your appointment feeling pampered and mentally refreshed, without having sacrificed too much time from your busy reading week study schedule!

2. Go on a coffee date:

We all have our favorite off-campus study spots.  Take one or two hours of your time and go visit your usual place, but, this time, leave the study supplies at home.  Bring a book to read for pleasure, or music to listen to, and have a coffee date with yourself.  Or bring a friend and have a quick lunch, making sure to keep grades, studying, and exams out of the conversation.  Some quality leisure time like this may feel unproductive in the moment but, in the long run, will let you return to your work with a much higher level of productivity.

3. Yoga:

If your body and mind are begging for some relaxtion, treat yourself to an hour-long yoga session.  Lululemon in downtown Evanston offers complementary yoga classes on a weekly basis – you can check out their event calendar here.  Taking an hour out of your day to focus on, well, focusing is definitely worth the time as you’ll be able to carry your zen attitude around with you all day, keeping at bay possible studying-induced panicky moments.

4. Go to a concert:

“In 1993, Dr. Gordon Shaw of the University of California-Irvine found a temporary spike in IQ in college students after they listened to Mozart” (Livestrong).  Studies upon studies have shown the beneficial effects of music on cognitive function.  Classical music, in particular, has been studied for its effects as both a calming agent and a cognitive-stimulant.  There is a constant stream of great music concerts going on on campus – tickets are fairly inexpensive and event listings can be found here on the Pick-Staiger website.  Even if classical music “isn’t really your style,” what better way is there to break your reading week rut than to do something you haven’t done before?  Investing in a two-hour concert on campus will have your brain thanking you all the way through writing that last research paper.

 

Whatever you do, make sure your reading week break activities are exactly that, breaks.  As tempting as it may be to revisit formulas or test your memorization of dates and names in your head while getting your nails painted or listening to Rachmaninoff, let yourself off the hook for an hour or two – it’ll be worth it.  As much of an effort you may be putting into your study guides, outlines, and practice-tests, remember to put just as much effort into treating yourself well throughout the week so that you can greet finals week with all the energy you need to show off all the hard work you’ve done.

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Meg Orita

Northwestern

Meg Orita is a junior at Northwestern University, majoring in Voice/Opera performance and probably something else, too.Meg is currently studying abroad in Paris, France (!!!) and loving every minute of it.
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