Midterm Season Stress
Feeling stressed during midterm season? Are you swamped with all of your labs and can’t find the time to study? You should know that this is something that everyone experiences. Especially in a chemistry program, a tight and stressful schedule is somewhat inevitable. This stress may be initially intimidating however it is not necessarily a bad thing. If you know how to deal with it, stress can actually be motivating! Here area a few ideas that I like to use when I feel stressed.
1. Get Active! Even if it is only for 30 minutes, it can make a huge difference. If you want chemical proof just look at the endorphins that are released in your brain when you exercise. It may feel like you don’t have the time to exercise but when you take a productive break you will be able to come back to work relaxed, rejuvenated, and ready to go.
2. Eat Well! When crunch time comes for exams we often feel that we can live off of only caffeine. This however is not smart. We need healthy food to keep us energized and sharp while we are studying. If you are the type of person that likes to have something to snack/sip on you should try tea and fresh veggies!
3. Have some down time! If you don’t give your brain some time to rest in between studying it can be hard to concentrate and memorize. If you take short mindful breaks this can really enhance your cognitive function and help you to de-stress. Some things that I like to do are listen to music, meditate,and have a hot shower. Give them a try!
4. Socialize! This one might sound a little bit crazy. You may ask “how do I have time to socialize when I need to study?” This is a valid question. When I say socialize I don’t mean spend the entire night out on the town with your friends. What I mean is have others around you on your breaks or even while you are studying. When you are alone for too long stress can intensify. If you have someone to help get yourself laughing and smiling this will reduce your anxiety and give you more motivation to get back to work.
5. Sleep! I know that this one is tough. When you have an exam the next day and want to cram as much as possible, you aren’t exactly thinking about sleep. However, It is important to remember that if you don’t sleep, when you are writing your exam the next day you will have a hard time thinking on your feet and understanding the questions. As well, sleep is necessary to consolidate a memory which allows for recollection the next day. All of that studying might have been for nothing if you don’t sleep to let it “soak in”.
I hope that you give some of these ideas a try and see if they work for you. It is important to remember that they may or may not work for you personally. My best advice is to find out what does. Everyone is different and needs to find their own best way to de-stress. As an example, I have one friend that can only study if they have a slurpee. My other friend needs to study in a room with windows facing due west so that they can watch the sun set. These ideas may seem a bit odd but the important idea is that they were able to find what works for them. Its your turn to find out what works for you and wishing you the best of luck on all of your future exams!