Post-Exams Recovery: 5 Steps to Getting Your Groove Back

As finals come to a close, we are able to reclaim the sleep and sanity we had before exams commenced. Unfortunately, the end of exams doesn’t necessarily mark the end of stress. Without personal boundaries, the holidays can become draining socially, emotionally, and financially (and physically, if you’re a pitiful ice skater like me). It’s important to be selfish when it comes to self-care and to regularly check in with your mind and body. The holidays are the perfect time to reset habits and focus on well-being. Here are some ways to unwind after exams and make the best of your time off:

Embrace Your Inner Couch Potato

After the hyper-focus that exams demand, give your brain a break. Determine a length of time you can afford to do nothing and just slug out. I’m talking about no chores, no commitments, and absolutely no movement from your parents’ living room sectional. Do some Netflix and chill with yourself and spark up a holiday movie marathon (The Holiday is one of my personal faves) or an old-school series binge (Gossip Girl, anyone?). Contributing to humanity is too much to ask of post-exam zombies, so give in to the glorious laziness of being a couch potato.

Find Serenity in Spa Vibes

During exams, we tend to neglect our well-being by making school our number one priority. The holiday break is a prime opportunity to light a Marshmallow Fireside candle, slap on a face mask (I like Origins “Out of Trouble"), and treat yo self. When I need to unwind, I give myself the spa atmosphere of my dreams. Simple things like throwing on a playlist of calm piano music and having a bath can calm the body and mind in a way that is essential after finals. If you still can’t seem to get your mind to turn off after creating a home spa, try meditating. Free apps like Calm and Simple Habit guide you through short five or ten minute meditations that can clear your head of exam woes and get you feeling energized for the holidays.

Food for Thought

If you’re like me and have had Dominos on speed dial the past few weeks, your diet was not the most nutritious during exams. But despite your regular exam junk food binges, don’t guilt yourself! Exams are stressful and time-consuming and it’s totally normal for food to become a low priority. Over the holidays, seek balance in your diet: try healthy new recipes but also enjoy hearty meals of turkey and stuffing. The holiday break should be filled with home-cooked meals and special dinners, so don’t limit yourself, but also respect when your body tells you that eleven Pillsbury Christmas cookies and a litre of hot chocolate is enough.

Getting Your Sh*t Together

For me, nothing can clear my head better than some good ol’ organizing. Exams can feel out of control and chaotic and chances are, your chores and plans fell by the wayside. Doing simple tasks like washing your exam groutfit (grey outfit/sweatsuit) and finally cleaning your KD-encrusted pot will help you feel like you’re taking action and getting your life together. In less physical terms, empower yourself by making a schedule for next semester or writing out New Year’s resolutions to keep you feeling focused and ready for whatever comes your way.

A Matter of Time

The holidays present students with a rare commodity during the semester: free time. Use this to your advantage! Spend time on activities and hobbies that there are usually little time for while school is in session. Reading for pleasure (and not for your “Current Issues in Canadian Politics” course) is a holiday luxury. Holiday events are aplenty, so see what is going on in your community and start a new tradition. With all this newfound spare time, invest in relationships that are important to you. Connect with old friends, family members, and even friendly strangers for a meaningful and fulfilling holiday break.

The lingering effects of exams are brutal but they can be conquered. As dreaded exam grades come flooding back into OWL, remind yourself that your grades don’t define you as a person and they won’t determine the course of your life. This holiday season, be adventurous, spread kindness, and love yourself because in the words of RuPaul, “if you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

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