Midterms are examinations of how well you can regurgitate info while (hopefully) functioning under the stress. Exams are ways to quantify everyone and everything. Unlike finals, when you’re done with midterms, the stress doesn’t just melt off of your face like in Raiders of the Lost Ark. All of that time, money, and effort put into learning something just so it can be temporarily stored in your short term memory. You are stressed, but there are ways to assuage the collywobbles.
You can sleep a teensy bit better knowing that everyone else has to go through this horrible process, too. It’s so nice to see everyone else ready to throw up on test day. You see performance-enhancing drugs being passed around and people worrying about whether or not they’ll be able to pay for next semester.
Talking to people about how you’re feeling will give you the chance to whiteboard your thoughts off of others. When you throw all of your thoughts and feelings out into the ether, you’re able to better analyze them.
If you have a TA for part of your class, communicate with them. Let them know that you’re worried about midterms, and ask them questions that you have about the material. If it’s just an overwhelming amount of material or a high-level STEM class, talk to your classmates.
Come to the realization that this stress is all a factor of post-industrialized society and that it doesn’t really exist. Since it’s part of a social construct, you can reason as to why you shouldn’t be stressed.
You ground yourself with stimuli to bring your mind back into the reality that nothing is physically wrong with the situation. Imagine being on a beach and sticking your feet in the sand.
4. Pet Some Animals
Pets are like fury feel-good pills. Your campus may have pet-therapy dogs that occasionally come in. You could also go to an animal shelter and pet some traumatized animals. They need more help than you do.
5. Take A Quick Break
You’ve been cramming for 4 straight hours now. You need to get up, stretch, eat something real, drink some fluids, etc. Don’t touch your phone, you silly Sam.
Music is a great relaxation device. It can lower your blood pressure and heart rate. Music is a great resource for waking up to. It’s like a cup of coffee.
Some people cannot study with music on (even if they have orchestral music playing). Others can soak up material while standing next to a jackhammer. Find out what works for you. Some good music genres to study to are trip-hop, orchestral music, and soundtracks from movies.
Anything without lyrics is a good bet.
7. Avoid Social Media
It’s not good to get on social media while you’re studying. You promise you’re just going to be on there for a few minutes and then nine hours later, you’re on Amazon, looking to buy back your soul from corporate America.
8. Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is the reason that smokers get a sense of relaxation from cigarettes. Deep breathing—and this cannot be stressed enough—does help. You just have to take it seriously.
9. On Using Substances
Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and sugar are the biggest culprits. Sure, there are others, but altogether, these take up most of the pie chart. Watch your intake of these substances. The others would include (performance-enhancing) amphetamines, sleep medicines, and psychedelics.
Go for a walk. Go jogging. Lift some weights. Get those endorphins pumping. Burn off some energy so you can fall asleep at a decent time.
Exercise helps to give you those feels-goods that you desperately need. The anxiety of your situation can be brought to manageable levels with more exercise. Not only will you sleep better and not have to rely on artificial forms of rest, but you will also get better quality sleep.
Exercising is great because you can always bring along a friend. Your campus most likely has a gym. Go use it. You’re still paying for every resource that you don’t use.
11. Stream Some Shows and Movies
Don’t binge, but just relax and maintain a close aesthetic distance to whatever you’re watching. The more you get into it, the less time you spend worrying about things that you might not even have control over.
12. Take A Shower
Even standing under the shower can help to reduce stress. The constant stream of warm water on your tired muscles mitigates the anxiousness and releases the tension that’s been built up by hunching over a book or computer.
The white noise will give you shower thoughts. But, if your thoughts keep turning toward worries, throw on some music.
Naps are a wonderful thing. They’ll recharge you for when you don’t have enough time to get at least one full sleep cycle in. Sleeping is said to help memory retention. Taking too long of naps can leave you feeling groggy when you awaken, so just be mindful of setting alarms.
14. Eat Something
Something healthy. Don’t go consume your daily limit of sugar in one bite. Eat something that’s hearty, will give you energy, and won’t leave you feeling lethargic in the end.
15. Yell At A Telemarketer
As silly as this sounds—if and only if you’re on the Do Not Call List—every telemarketer calling you is fair game. If you’re on that magic list, then everyone calling you (to sell you stuff) is doing so illegally. Feel free to say anything to them. Anything. You can feel completely justified in taking your semester out on them.
You will feel a million times better knowing that you helped more than just yourself. You just protected someone’s grandma. Had you not cussed out that scammer, she might have lost her retirement funds. Process your childhood at this person. Go wild.
Again…anything. Every terrible word in your head, every name in the book, physical threats toward them and their family, etc. Maybe don’t threaten them.
This is all projected onto someone who is trying to steal your livelihood. It’s like shooting a burglar. Like a verbal The Purge. You will feel a trillion times better, overall.