It's that time of year again. The season's changing, spring break is approaching, but wait-midterms are on their way! It's a dreaded time of year for many students, especially since a nice, weeklong break away from the books seems so close, yet so far away. Stress and anxiety about midterm exams and papers might overcome us, but there are sure ways in which we can take some of the strain off of our brains and find time to relax.
Since exams tend to bring on a great amount of emotions that sometimes might be released in forms of anger, nervousness or lack of motivation, a constructive way to release those negative feelings might be through exercise. Whatever may get you going, whether it is running off steam in the gym, heading to a Zumba class, doing yoga or even participating in your favorite intramural sport can turn your day around and rev up your motivation to stick to your studies. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise "increases your overall health and your sense of well-being" and "has some direct stress-busting benefits."
According to Amy Hoch, a licensed psychologist at the Rowan University Counseling Center, one of the best ways to take tension off during midterms is by practicing mindfulness. In her article, she states,"Mindfulness is choosing to do one thing at a time with focus and intention."
According to the Rowan University website, it is a skill that must be taught to oneself, but after time could prove to be very effective. The more practice and persistence you give to the idea of mindfulness, the more likely it is to work on a daily basis in your life. Practicing breathing exercises such as inhaling and exhaling up to the count of 10 and continuing intervals of 10 for five minutes could be a great way to re-focus if your brain feels overwhelmed and scattered.
There is also a site called donothingfor2minutes.com that promotes feelings of relaxation that may help relieve stress. When entering the site, a webpage pops up with the image of a sunset at the ocean, and all you are instructed to do is unwind and listen to the sound of the waves for two minutes without touching your mouse or keyboard.
"I always go to naturesoundsfor.me when I study. It's a website where you can play different nature sounds, like rain or birds chirping and it really helps me," sophomore Jillian Cener said. "I just play the sounds in the background when I study and it's really relaxing."
This may be very efficient for quick study breaks to reboot your brainpower and allow yourself time for the information you absorbed to sink in.
Sophomore Jessica Perez spoke about her unique take on a way she enjoys calming down during studying.
"When I'm really stressed I stop whatever I'm doing and take a half-hour to sing," Perez said. "Singing just provides such a relief from stress that I could never achieve any other way."
"Probably the best thing a student can do during midterms is to budget time," junior Lisa O'Keefe said. "Plan out a study and homework schedule a week or two before the test, and stick to it as best as you can. I feel like the worst habit college students have is to cram the night before."
Since learning how to control your uneasy feelings during midterms ultimately comes down to finding peace within yourself first, one of the most important ways to focus and relax is by avoiding self-sabotage and finding inner confidence. Don't take it to hard on yourself, and think about how relieved you will feel once you have handed in your work. You're the one in charge of how you do on that big test or paper, so believe that it is possible to conquer!