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13 Ways to Unwind During Finals Week

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Old Westbury chapter.

The birds are chirping, worms a-wiggling, the leaves are turning, and flowers blooming. It may sound like a Beatles song but you can’t deny it! Spring is in the air and we are all swapping our beanies and wooly mufflers for pretty scarves and sunglasses. However, sunny skies are overshadowed by a dark cloud called “Finals Week.” Finals week is approaching faster than we realize – it is time to buckle down and tear those textbooks a new one! It becomes stressful but with these ways of blowing off steam, it doesn’t have to be so dreadful.

Whether you have ten minutes to spare or an hour, here are 13 ways to take a break from an exhaustive schedule. They will leave you refreshed and ready to get back to work.

1. Find a bike or go for a run or a walk.

Exercise will help shut your brain off for an hour or two but will also induce a healthier lifestyle. Whether it is at a gym, a park, or even around the neighborhood, getting out of the house will definitely help refresh your mind and have you ready to tackle more work.


2. Watch something that will get your mind off school.

Some of my favorites include shows like Rick & Morty, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The West Wing, House of Cards, The Detour and good ole Bob’s Burgers. They can be addictive so don’t binge watch but give yourself a quick break in between cramming.


3. Meditate or just sit outside in the sun…. without any electronic devices!

Now that the weather has been warmer, and maybe summer classes are looming in your future, a temporary banishment of everything electronic/virtual will not only give your brain a rest but also your eyes. Meditation will alleviate anxiety and grounding yourself will help your thought process bloom.


4. Read a chapter from your favorite novel or start a new book (if you have the time!).

Books are our best friends, especially when you want to avoid television. An age-old form of entertainment, a good book can be a different and relaxing way for the mind to switch gears for a minute and enliven itself. This is a personal recommendation, for it is a joy to immerse an exhausted brain into an imaginary world and take part in a journey of discovery. This colorful realm would be sure to brighten up a clouded mind.


5. Listen to music.

“Relax, don’t do it, when you want to get to it…” More like relax, listen to it and then get to it! So, tune the world out and focus your ears as well as your energy to your headphones or speakers. Utilize that precious song or two to free yourself completely, and become open and rejuvenated. Dance all over the room, the couch, the bed, and sing along as loud as can be. 


6. Have a glass of wine or a beer if that’s your thing.

A cold beer in the sun or even a nice glass of wine under the stars definitely counts for an effective way to de-stress. After a late-night session, reward yourself with some sangria! This saucy affair won’t do any harm in moderation.


7. Go out for a drive.

Windows up or down, it doesn’t matter! Focus on the road and the views and maybe explore a new place! Driving can be a relaxing activity that allows for the brain to go into hibernation for a little bit, and recharge itself for all those impending papers, exams, projects and presentations.


8. Opt for a change in scenery – go to a library or take your work outside!

Libraries help you get in the zone and bang out some good quality material. Or go to a park, find a nice bench to sit on and work in peace while listening to some music or just the sounds around you. Freeing yourself from four walls will stimulate your mind.


9. Have a study sesh with a pal.

Don’t like your surroundings too silent? Go to your nearest café or Starbucks and enjoy doing work while sipping some caffeinated beverage. Encouragement from our friends nourishes productivity and you can share tips and bounce ideas off each other. “When you’re down and worried and you need a helping hand…You’ve got a friend!”


10. Paint, color, draw, or just get your hands dirty!

Let some color in to brighten up your day after all the mundane pages filled with black and white. This is sure to boost your capacity to cram and come up with original material in the case of writing papers.

11. Play video games

Channel some negative energy with a little hack-and-slash to renew the mindpower during this stressful time. The best thing about video games is that there is no limit to your imagination. You could shoot a thousand aliens, or grow a pair of fairy wings and fly from a tree-top to a mushroom-dome. Video games are always reliable for a short break in between the tedious pages of a textbook.


12. Spend some time with your significant other or call up someone special!

Get those endorphins churning and ready to be released because there is no shame in having needs! Finals can become incredibly taxing and leave us longing for some human connection.


13. Take a hot shower or bath.

Finally, if nothing else works out there is always the last resort – a shower or bath if that’s what your heart desires. A hot shower will relax your muscles and make you forget you ever possessed any worries. Let your mind loose, and lose yourself in the warm comfort, soaking up the aroma of a nice bubble bath. Let it wash away all your worries! 


Good luck and remember that your grades are not all that defines you!

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Deirdre Bardolf

Old Westbury

"With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?" Student, 22. Long Island