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

This week on wellness: Snaps to midterm mayhem for recentering me like nothing else.

When a midterm exam is looming, I am the type of person to throw myself into academics. My well-being – fitness, diet, social engagements, and sleep – melt away. Par for the course, I find myself further sinking into a negative guilt-trip loop about missing out on these other obligations, inevitably adding to the stress already imposed by these exams.

All the while, I am struck with bouts of clarity on what truly matters to me in life – bringing me to my re-centering realization, mid-study-session. Lions, and tigers, and academic stress, oh my! Midterm season is chaotic.

How to harness the stress-clarity connection

Stress and clarity have a complicated connection for some. You may have noticed that when you are extremely worried about a task, you suddenly do not care as much about other aspects of your life that were previously front and center: the pants you have to order for your Halloween costume and the many social engagements you are signed up for seem superficial all of a sudden. You realize you need to tweak the vision of your wellness.

What Can I Control? What Can I Influence? What Can I Do Nothing About?

Although simple and maybe obvious, I have found that addressing these three questions and making lists brings both clarity and reassurance in times of stress. Whenever you have an intrusive thought, write it down. Thinking of that birthday gift you need to buy for your mom and the problem sets you have to complete after you finish studying? Write it down, and set the list aside. Vegetables you have to sauté before they go bad? Write it down – back to studying. You can review these list as soon as you are able to slip away from studying, and you will rest assured that you are not forgetting your other tasks or letting these thoughts distract you from working through the exam content.

However, be careful not to let your other priorities slip away entirely. Our wellbeing, typically an equilateral triangle, sometimes becomes a scalene during times of stress. If you have a workout class scheduled, go. Forty-five minutes will refresh your brain. Made plans with someone and feel bad canceling? See if you can turn that into a study date, coffee or roots to boot. Do not feel guilty fueling your body and mind as you study!

Let’s light a Fall candle, get our lists ready, and conquer these midterms.

Bettina is a second year at the University of Virginia. She loves painting, baking, and planning eclectic events! She hopes you enjoy her various takes on topics that inspire her.