Brace yourselves collegiettes, Midterms are coming. Whether you’ve got multiple-choice exams, five-page essays, or a group project, midterms are stressful. Fear not! We’ve got some tips on how you can make this week less stressful and more productive.
1. Create a sleep space
According to the APA, sleep is immensely important for memory consolidation, focus and lowering stress levels. Midterms tend to mean we get even less sleep than usual, so it’s important to make sure that the sleep we are getting is quality. Light is one thing that prevents deep sleep and confuses our internal clocks. To fix this, invest in blackout curtains for daytime naps and sleeping in. Another way to improve sleep is to avoid studying in your bed. If you save your bed for sleeping only, your mind and body will recognize that and you’ll fall asleep quicker.
2. Use technology
Whipping out your phone or opening the laptop for a study break doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Watch a viral cat video or two, because laughter is inarguably destressing. Just don’t let yourself get sucked into the ‘what to watch next’ YouTube vortex. Another way to destress with technology is an app called Trivia Crack, it offers competitive fun and you’re still technically learning. There’s even a Canvas app to stay connected to your classes on the go.
3. Write it down
Don’t rely on your mind to remember everything on your to-do list. Use sticky notes, or a good planner. Writing it down will clear your mind for studying and you’ll feel more productive when you get to cross things off. Check out this planner that went viral on Kickstarter, it allows you to plan your day by the hour and has space to create daily/weekly/monthly/yearly goals.
4. Get outdoors
Even just a 10 minute walk outside will clear your head and increase endorphins. Try going for a walk, a run, or just sitting outside. Some great places for this are Boulevard Park, Lake Padden Park, the Waterfront, Downtown Bellingham, Fairhaven Park, or even on campus. Make sure to disconnect from technology while doing this.
5. Dark chocolate
Proven to be a destressing snack, dark chocolate lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. As a bonus, it curbs cravings so you won’t be as tempted to stress eat while studying. You can find a wide selection of dark chocolate flavors at Trader Joe’s on James St.
6. Productively procrastinate
Distraction and procrastination are inevitable. How you do these things, however, can be positive. Clean, read a book for fun, go grocery shopping, or try a DIY. Even if your productivity isn’t school related, you’ll still feel more relaxed and accomplished than if you had wasted time watching TV or refreshing on social media. Start with your study space; a clean room is a clear mind.
7. Switch up study locations
It’s hard to stay focused and productive if you’re studying in one spot for hours on end. Switching study locations will help you focus on schoolwork without being overwhelmed and hyperaware of time. Try the Wilson Library’s ‘Harry Potter room’ for short, quiet, focused time. Downtown Woods Coffee, Underground Coffee House, or Zoe’s Bagelry offer a more social atmosphere. Study outside in Red Square (if it’s not raining), for possible puppy interaction, a great stress reliever.