It’s that time of year again when the stress of finals has taken over lives and we couldn’t be happier to cross the finish line. During that last grueling week of studying and tests, it’s hard to find balance with all of our obligations. We hardly sleep; sometimes we forget to eat and just take time for ourselves.
This is why it’s so important to regain a sense of self, re-energize and learn to simply wind down after the exhausting battles of exams are over. On Dartmouth University’s student wellness website, they list stress as students’ top barrier to academic performance. Therefore, the site emphasizes the importance of learning to relax in effectively managing stress and anxiety.
Luckily, there are a number of ways you can unwind your mind and body to end the semester off on a positive note. An analysis of over 1500 students published in Medical Teacher found that the most common relaxation activity amongst students was meeting with friends. Finally, you can re-connect with people and it doesn’t have to be a study date!
Make that lunch date you’ve been meaning to make. Now is the time to go on that bike ride with a friend you’ve been talking about. Watch that movie you and your bestie haven’t had the time to see. Getting connected with loved ones is a great way to celebrate the end of finals and start winding down from the hectic life of being a student.
Another idea we love is getting outside and enjoying the outdoors. A large-scale study conducted by the University of Michigan revealed that group nature walks are linked with significantly lower depression, less perceived stress and enhanced mental health and well-being.
There is something about enjoying fresh air that just makes us happy inside. A picnic is always a fun idea, go on a leisurely stroll through the local park or get adventurous and find a natural waterhole to swim in. Whatever you decide to do – do it outside and surely it will melt away the memory of those fluorescent lights in the library.
Finally, the craze of coloring is an up and coming way to manage stress and relax. The University of Georgia’s health center website has links to mandalas, or intricate designs often used during meditating, for anyone to download and color.
The word mandala is Sanskrit for circle, polygon, community and connection – that just sounds revitalizing if you ask me. The idea behind the activity is to focus on coloring and how it feels to color. It helps us to be mindful and “in the moment” instead of worrying about all the pressures of modern life. Plus, you have a nice piece of artwork when you are done!
These are just a few suggestions from us, but find solace in whatever it is that you love to do and just haven’t had the time. A part of being a well-balanced person is making time to take care of yourself because ultimately it will lead to better outcomes in every part of your life. It can be easy to forget ourselves when juggling the demands of being a college student. Now is the time to reward our hard work and finally breathe!
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