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Are you stressed about upcoming midterms? It is completely natural to be feeling a little anxious; according to the Canadian Mental Health Association, “Stress is the body’s response to a real or perceived threat.” For many of us university students, the very real threat of doing poorly can cause us stress, which can actually be a good thing. A little bit of stress during midterms motivates us to work hard and study. However, too much stress can be detrimental. Here are my 5 tips to combat midterm stress:

Get physical

I’m not a huge fan of the gym; lifting weights and running on a treadmill is not my idea of a fun time. However, even I recognize that exercise can do wonders for stress; it doesn’t matter whether it’s hitting the gym or just walking around the block. Simple movement will get your blood pumping and release endorphins, boosting your mood. Whenever I feel particularly stuck during my studying, I get up and move around, even if it’s just for five minutes. Taking this short break helps me get out of my head and refocus on my work.

Eat right

Midterm cravings can be a real problem. You spend all day studying and you can’t help but snack on anything and everything out of pure boredom. As tempting as it is to stuff your face with junk food during this time, try to remember that eating right is even more important during midterms. According to Healthline, stress and diet are closely connected. If you want to save yourself from added stress, avoid ordering out and prepare for your studying by going to the grocery store. Instead of filling your cart with candy, try to buy lots of fruits to counter your sweet tooth.

Listen to music

It’s easy to get worked up when studying, especially when you’re doing practice problems and nothing seems to make sense. Instead of raging at your work, take a minute to calm your mind. The best way to do this can be listening to music. Healthline recommends putting on calming tunes, because “playing calm music has a positive effect on the brain and body, can lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress.” They recommended classical music, but personally I prefer to de-stress with R&B.

 Sleep, and I mean the FULL 8 hours

I used to be the girl who only got 3 hours of sleep every night. I would stay up all night studying (or pretending to study but actually watching Netflix). Let me tell you, it was awful and totally not worth it. I have never benefited from staying up to study; I never retained any information from late-night cramming sessions. I have always been most successful when I study during set times and get a full night’s rest. I advise you all to do the same; when you feel rested, you feel less stressed.

 Make checklists

This is literally the best thing I have ever done to combat stress. Every week, I create a checklist of what I want to accomplish each day. As I check tasks off, it enables me to view my progress and I begin to feel prepared for anything that comes up. Plus, this way I know I am not going to forget any important tasks. However, keep in mind that checklists only work if they are reasonable. Don’t put ten items on one day if you don’t think you will actually be able to accomplish them; this will only cause you more stress because you will feel as if you are falling behind. I also don’t recommend assigning time frames either. You’ll produce higher quality work if you’re not rushing to finish something within a time frame.

Good luck on your midterms this season! Don’t forget: a little bit of stress is normal but too much is harmful.

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Lydia Kifle

Waterloo '23

Lydia Kifle (she/her) is a Business and Communication Studies student at the University of Waterloo. She is passionate about learning ways to combat social issues. In her free time she enjoys writing stories and engaging in all kinds of creative expression.
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