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5 Things To Do When You’re Overwhelmed During Finals Week

Ah, finals. The season is upon us and I think it’s safe to say everyone is feeling the pressure. I always have a hard time at this point in the semester, with so many due dates and tests. I start to ask myself “Is all this really worth it?” and “Do I really need this degree?”. So, to preserve my sanity during these trying times, I like to give myself mini mind vacations, in the form of quick and fun activities. Here are my five go-to’s:

Make Some Baked Goods

I love baking. It’s something I can usually do on a whim that gives me a sense of accomplishment. Sometimes, I’ll go all out and make homemade chocolate chip cookies or banana bread. But, even making a box mix of brownies is satisfying. The process of baking gives me just enough to do with my hands that I feel productive. Also, I end up with something delicious that I can share with my friends and family, which is always a plus.

Do A Face Mask

Face masks are truly luxurious. You don’t have to spend insane amounts of money on them to give yourself a little spa-break. One of my favorites is the Aztec Secret Clay Mask, which I mix with raw apple cider vinegar (as suggested by the label). It takes a while to set, so I can go about other activities or simply relax while waiting for it to do wonders to my face. It leaves my skin feeling clean and refreshed and gives me a little bit of energy to get back to work.


I am a firm believer that everyone has artistic ability. Abstract painting is one of my favorite de-stressing activities. Acrylic paints and canvas sets from the craft store are generally cheap; you don’t even need brushes when it comes to finger painting or paint-pouring. I like to pick out a few colors for my painting beforehand and just have fun with the process (if you aren’t sure what to do, a quick YouTube search should give you plenty of tutorials to follow along with). The nice thing about abstract art is that you don’t have to worry about it ending up looking like something specific, it can just be fun!

Listen To An Album From Start To Finish

Fantastic new music is released constantly, but I always find myself trying to listen while I’m doing other things and not actually paying attention to the music. On your next break, pick an album (new, old or whatever you like) and a quiet place to sit back and enjoy the music. Focus on parts of each song that you’ve never paid much attention to before. Notice the construction of the album and the order of the songs. My favorite thing to do is to identify minor instruments or sound effects. The overall experience is relaxing and you may just find a new favorite song in the process.

Clean Something

I usually hate cleaning but as I’ve grown older, I’ve also grown to understand the satisfaction that comes along with it. If you’re in a rut, pick the part of your home that you’ve been neglecting and get to work. Don’t try to tackle everything at once though; just focus on a small goal like a single bathroom, the dishes or your laundry. Once it’s done, you would have finished a chore while resting your mind in the process.

These activities usually give me enough time away from my work to organize my thoughts and find the motivation to get back to it. There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a break once in a while. Just remember, you’re so close and you’ve got this!


Lydia is an undergraduate student at UMKC, studying Film & Media and Anthropology. As a native of the KC Metro area, she enjoys frequenting the city's coffee shops, bookstores, and museums. She brings creativity into her everyday life through her interests in makeup and fashion.
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