Exam time can be rough. We all try to do our very best to finish the semester off on a positive note, but we often forget that it’s also important to take care of ourselves. Here are a few methods that you can use to feel a bit more relaxed and stress-free during exam season:

Read: I know, I know, we already have enough readings to catch up on for the courses we’re taking. But sometimes, if you just take an hour to catch up on a new find or re-read your favourite novel, it can be a nice escape away from the reality of exams to immerse yourself in an interesting story. Often it helps to read something funny—laughing always helps with stress!

Meditate: There have been numerous studies indicating how helpful meditation is. Try laying down, putting on some relaxing music, closing your eyes for a few minutes, and focusing on your breathing pattern. You can do this for as long as you need to, but this trick also works if you only have 5 minutes. That way, if you can only afford to take a small break, meditation is the way to go!

Sleep: I get it, how in the world can you afford to sleep right now when papers are piling up and exams are looming? With so much work that still needs to get done, it can be easy to underestimate the power of sleep—but don’t! Sleeping might take away from your study time, but a well-rested student is always more focused and attentive when compared to one who hasn’t slept in days and is surviving solely on coffee. On top of that, caffeine also makes you anxious, so try to avoid coffee and maybe you’ll squeeze in that extra hour that you need!

Sing/Dance: Who cares if you can’t sing? Put on your rock and roll face and sing your heart out to that one song that always makes everything seem a bit brighter. Blast some music (or slip on some headphones if you find yourself in Robarts at 4 AM) and let loose by singing and dancing your troubles (and exams!) away.

Take a walk outside: There’s something about being out in the open that helps you calm down. Try putting all your books away—and your phones and laptop too—and just go wander outside in nature for a few minutes. Maybe you’ll discover a new part of campus that you’ve never seen before!

Netflix: Everyone’s favourite pastime. I would recommend avoiding this for the most part, because we all know you’ll end up bingeing Riverdale until 3 AM (how is it so bad, yet so good?!). But if you can, try limiting yourself to only one episode or movie. Get some hot chocolate, make yourself comfy, and let your body relax and enjoy the show while it lasts. But remember, only one episode.

Yoga: You don’t have to be a yoga master, just try some poses. It works out the muscles and calms the nerves as well. Remember, though: for maximum effectiveness, do this is in a quiet and peaceful environment!

Hit the gym: Believe it or not, even though working out sounds like it’s even more tiring, it can help calm your nerves and reduce anxiety. When you work out, all the unnecessary pent-up energy inside you is released, and taking a warm shower afterwards will help you feel refreshed.

Dessert: I mean, stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Studies show that chocolate decreased the amount of stress hormones that are released in your body (but who needs studies to encourage you anyway?).

Talk to someone: Sometimes it helps to just talk to someone. Share your worries and concerns with friends, family, loved ones, your pet, or anyone who you feel comfortable with. Spilling your thoughts definitely takes away some of the unhealthy energy that’s been building up since the semester ended. If possible, it’s always helpful when someone else feels the same way you do!

Exam time can be incredibly demanding on our energy, but always remember: you are doing well, you are studying at one of the best universities in the world, and all of your efforts will count in the end. Remember to stay warm during exam time to avoid getting sick, and know that we at the Innis Herald  believe in you and all of your efforts!

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