Exam season is without a doubt one of the most stressful times of the year. The stress of studying, keeping your grades up, final assignments, papers, and possibly job or co-op applications can catch up on you very quickly, so make sure to set some time aside to take care of yourself, relax, and de-stress. Here’s a few of my favourite easy, almost effortless ways to unwind and escape the stress of school!
Anyone who’s been in my room would say I’m a big supporter of candles. I light a candle first thing when I wake up in the morning, and almost every time I’m studying in my room. Candles mimic sunlight, which is proven to make you happier, and come in hundreds of different scents to set whatever mood you’d like.
Upgrade Your Bath
Baths are a great way to take some time to yourself and kick back. Epsom salts are great for sore muscles and release tension in your muscles and joints, which is great if you have bad posture when you study. Most drug stores well scented Epsom salts, or you can add essential oils to customize your bath. Peppermint oil is my favourite in the morning or when I’m really sore, and lavender oil is a blessing right before bed. Bath & Body Works sells a line of aromatherapy products which are also a great addition; their Eucalyptus Spearmint body wash is one of my most used products during exam season.
Fresh air has some huge benefits, especially if you’ve been cooped up at your desk or in the library all day/night/week. Get outside and go for a walk, jog, study at a picnic table, go to the park, or study at a café with a patio. If you don’t have as much time, even a 10 minute walk to get yourself coffee is sure to energize you and get you out of those study blues. If you have a window near your study space, open it up to let in a breeze while you work.
Take an Exercise Break
Now I’m not talking about a trek to the gym and an hour-long workout (unless that’s your thing). Do something you enjoy whether it’s yoga, running, biking, or even dancing to your favourite song in your room. Usually the AC offers limited, but free, group exercises during the exam period, so take advantage of those to make sure you stay active. If you don’t think you have time, find an exercise video online that you can do in your room! This summer, I really got into yoga by following Yoga with Adriene on Youtube; try one of her 5 minute quick stress fix videos!
This may not be very stress related, but it’s most certainly important! While coffee may be a necessity, it’s not as good as water or tea to keep you hydrated. Perhaps try flavoured water or fruit infused water to ensure you drink enough.
It’s easy to get caught up in your studies, and suddenly a week goes by and you realize the only social contact you’ve had is over text and bumping into your roommate on your way to the kitchen. It’s not actually normal or healthy to study for 16 hours a day, so try to take some time to visit some friends or hangout with your family when you can. Even studying with a friend or group is a better option than being alone all the time.
Sleep is key in maintaining your stress level and mental health. All-nighters are proven less effective than shorter study periods over a period of multiple days. You actually retain a lot of information while asleep after studying, so try to get your 8 hours of shut-eye. If you think you need a nap, TAKE ONE; it’s way better than pushing yourself to keep working when you aren’t focused and can’t give your full attention.
Remember, grades are important but they don’t define you. Always put your health first and make sure to take some time out of your day to relax, sleep, and have fun!