By PLA Amy
When encapsulating midterm season in one word, my go-tos consist of: “overwhelming,” “confusing,” “stressful,” and “exhausting.” As someone who pushes myself non-stop during midterms, spending all of my time locked away in my room with my notes, I reflect back wondering how I made it through.
It’s so important to unwind during midterms. And as much as I would love to press pause on a test and whip out a bag of chips and a magazine, I’m talking about using the spaces between studying. Recently, I’ve realized the value in unwinding healthily. Some of my past ways to unwind during midterm season include: a bathroom break every six hours (not effective), driving to Wendy’s to get a fully-loaded baked potato (delicious, but not energizing at all), and staring into space (fun, right?). Believe it or not, there are some effective ways to unwind that will make a world of difference for your study process.
Below are my top 10 Dos and Don’ts of unwinding during midterm season. What are yours?
1. DO allow yourself more than one break. One break per hour of work is acceptable – taking a bunch of short breaks over the course of the day will help you reenergize and refocus, increasing the quality of your studying.
2. DON’T unwind in a way that will negatively impact your next study session. Excessive drinking or watching television until four in the morning will make waking up at seven to study the next day all the more difficult.
3. DO get outside. If you can’t remember what wind feels like or what season it is, it’s time to take a little walk. Fresh air and exercise can give you a new perspective that holing up in Stauffer with Friends re-runs cannot.
4. DON’T mix breaks with studying. A break is for unwinding, and study time is for studying. Don’t try to troll Facebook and read your Chemistry notes at the same time.
5. DO have a two-minute dance party. By yourself or with a housemate. Music can pump you up, and dance can be a great way to release all the tension pent up in your shoulders from spending hours at the computer.
6. DON’T unwind in the same place you work. Get up and get out.
7. DO try and avoid the Internet for breaks. I know this is hard, but the Internet can become a trap in which time flies by (newsflash, yes?). If you’re watching a video, make sure it’s a set amount of time you are watching it for.
8. DON’T have a junk food bonanza. Unwind with something with some nutritional value that will hold you through studying, not with a deep-fried Mars bar.
9. DO unwind with friends. Socializing can bring you back down to earth and improve your mood. Just make sure the friends you are unwinding with won’t tempt you into ditching studying for the night.
10. DON’T feel that you have to schedule all of your breaks. Frustrated, upset, or exhausted? Take a break. Walk around, close your eyes and breath, think about other things.