After Thanksgiving Break, it seems like everyone is ready for Winter Break to roll around. But first, one last obstacle stands in our way: midterms. Studying for these tests makes life a lot more hectic, especially when dealing with extracurriculars, work and homework. It’s easy to feel burned out by all the added chaos that midterms and the holidays may add to our lives, but there’s some easy and quick ways to combat the inevitable stress that they bring. Here’s a list of five of my personal favorite ways to de-stress, especially during midterms and finals:
While some believe that aromatherapy techniques may not be legitimate, I’ll always turn to candles once it gets cold out. Aromatherapy, which includes oils, candles and other body care products, are a great way to combat stress. I firmly believe that a soothing atmosphere helps one relax more when they’re stressed. Light a candle that is scented with plants such and eucalyptus and peppermint, or use an essential oil containing these ingredients. For oil, apply a soothing scent onto your wrists for the best results. Scents such as Peppermint have been proven to help people focus more, so even your favorite minty gum can help you study for hours upon end (that is, with some breaks in between!).
When you’re undergoing a large amount of stress, it becomes especially important to treat both your body and mind right. One way to do so is through meditation or yoga. Meditation is a great way to ground yourself and feel more at ease. Some people see meditation as a waste of time. But, meditation can be done in as little as five minutes. If you’re not sure where to begin, look up some videos about meditation on Youtube. You can find tons of videos with soothing music and a narrator to help you become a meditating pro. If meditation doesn’t sound quite up your alley, consider yoga. While I’ve got an awful sense of balance, all my attempts at doing yoga have actually had great results. Yoga helps you release all the stress and tightness that may be built up in your body. And, after spending time bent over a book frantically studying, stretching feels like absolute bliss. Yoga and meditation are both great ways to take a break in between studying different subjects. You can do a little of both to help both your physical and mental stress wash away.
3. Deep Breathing
I used to think that deep breathing techniques were the silliest thing. I wondered how they could help so much when breathing is one of the most basic things a human being can do. However, that’s the beauty in trying deep breaths: it’s simple, fast, and popular because it’s effective. Breathing is something we often overlook in life. However, if you can conscientiously control your breathing, everything else you do seems so much easier. One of my favorite deep breathing techniques is both quick and easy to learn: start with your hand stretched out in front of you. Count to four in your head, and breath in with your nose, bringing your hand towards your mouth. Then, for four more counts, breath out using your mouth, like you’re pushing your hand away. Repeat this technique as many times as you’d like. If you feel yourself staring at your pile of study guides and books with dread, take some time to utilize this technique and get back to work with some renewed energy. The smallest, most overlooked things in life are sometimes the best and most helpful.4.
4. Go Outside!
Are you ever sitting in class and notice yourself longingly staring out the window? Most teens see hours spent on the couch watching Netflix as the perfect way to de-stress. But, time spent in the great outdoors is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Breathe in some fresh air, even for five minutes. Walk your dog, go on a bike ride or hike. You can’t go wrong, as long as you’re looking at something other than your phone screen or homework. Just enjoy all the beauty that’s around you and leave all your stress indoors.
5. Treat Yourself!
In the t.v show Parks and Recreation, characters Tom and Donna have an annual “Treat Yo’ Self” day full of pampering and shopping. One year, they decide to take along their workaholic friend, Ben, along. While at first Ben sees the ritual as silly, he eventually comes around, indulging his inner nerd by buying a Batman suit. In moderation, the Treat Yo’ Self theory works. If you’ve been dealing with a lot of stress in your life recently, treat yo’ self! Your hard work shouldn’t always go unnoticed. Buy yourself a pair of fuzzy socks, new book or whatever else your heart desires. I’d personally recommend some coffee flavored ice cream, but the choice is up to you. Find your own kind of Batman suit.