The most dreaded season of all is upon us, and, no, I’m not talking about winter. Finals are approaching faster than Hallmark casting Vanessa Hudgens as a Christmas movie princess, and that means stress, stress, and STRESS. Don’t panic, though. Panicking will not help you pass Bio! Instead, put a reserved sign on your favorite study spot, and when you can’t stand to turn one more page of your textbook, try these 10 ways to de-stress, so you show up to finals well-read and well-rested.
Grab some friends or *gasp* go alone, but get thee to a movie theater. A movie is the perfect way to de-stress when you’re in full final prep mode. It’s basically two hours of forced relaxation, and will, hopefully, give you a little perspective. I mean, things could be worse, right? At least you’re not stuck in a murder house a lá Knives Out. Plus, the mandatory movie candy will give you a sugar rush so you’re ready to keep studying all night long.
If you’re pulling all-nighters, your skin is going to suffer, and whether you pass or fail, it’s better to look good doing it. There’s no substitute for sleep, but if a full eight hours isn’t an option, a hydrating face mask is the next best thing. Put on a sheet-mask and take a ten minute break, and if you use those ten-minutes to cry about how much you hate finals, well, no one will ever know.
Don’t roll your eyes thinking this is an activity for children and retirees with too much time. Of course it’s for kids and old people! But have you seen how happy and relaxed they are? If it works for them, it can work for you. Get one of those enchanted forest coloring books and some crayons and get to work. For twenty minutes, all you’ll have to think about is which color will look nice next to your cerulean blue tree trunk.
It’s time to channel your inner Izzy Stevens. The stress baking part, not the nervous-breakdown, falling in love with a patient, secret-baby, brain tumor part. Actually you know what? Grey’s Anatomy is crazy, maybe don’t channel Izzy Stevens, but DO pre-heat your oven. Taking an array of basic ingredients and turning it into something delicious will make you feel good about yourself. You may be trash at algorithms, but look at the beautiful cupcakes you made! And since it’s the Holidays, and ’tis the season for giving, take some to your professor as a gift; a little goodwill never hurts.
Sometimes when your head feels like it can’t absorb one more iota of information, the best way to de-stress is to physically distance yourself. I would never suggest running away from your problems, but, in this case, maybe walk briskly in the opposite direction. Take your airpods and queue up your go-to calming playlist. The music will help you think about something other than your impending finals, and the movement will wake up the leg that’s been asleep for the last two hours.
No matter what holiday you celebrate, Christmas movies are a gift to us all. They are all of them 100% bananas-crazy, and that is exactly what you need to help you de-stress. They’re the perfect reminder that if Melissa Joan-Hart can fully kidnap Mario Lopez, force him to be her fake-boyfriend, and STILL make him fall in love with her just by doing some not even very good ice-skating, you can absolutely pass you finals.
Pour yourself whatever drink you find most comforting whether it be boxed wine or green tea, then curl up on the sofa with a friend or roommate. Give yourselves each five minutes to complain about every single first-world problem you can think of. At the end of those five minutes remind yourself that your are (technically, kind of) a grown-up and go conjugate the hell out of those French verbs.
Taking a bubble bath (or a hot shower) will help keep the winter chill and the dread of finals at bay. If you’ve been holed up studying for a while, chances are you’ve spent that time hunched over a textbook or your laptop, and your shoulders now have more knots than the boyscouts. A massage would be best, but that can be hard to swing when you’ve got holiday gifts to buy. But if you’re lucky enough to have a bathtub, relaxation is still within reach. Run the water as hot as it will go, throw in some bath oil or a bubble bar, and forget that finals are right around the corner. Unless you’re auditioning for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, your shoulders will thank you.
Just not a textbook. Read something that is fun and in now way edifying, even if that means just working your way through a pile of back-issue celebrity gossip magazines. It’ll take your mind off of studying, but won’t make you feel as guilty as re-watching Friends for the millionth time. And if you feel like you’re going to go permanently cross-eyed if you read even one more word, try an audio book or a true-crime podcast instead. This will leave your hands free for a little lite stress-cleaning, which you won’t have to feel guilty about at all because even if you should really be studying, you’re still being productive.
This is obvious, but it cannot be overstated. You are better off spending those last eight hours before a final sleeping than cramming. At this point, you probably either know the material or you don’t, and there are no bonus points for having bags under your eyes. So get some sleep and rest assured, you’ve got this!
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