Cool Off: Ways To Relax For Midterms

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Cool Off: Ways To Relax For Midterms

Notes and books can pile up around midterm time, but remember to give yourself a break from the studying.

Notes and books can pile up around midterm time, but remember to give yourself a break from the studying.

photo via Wikimedia Commons under creative commons license

Notes and books can pile up around midterm time, but remember to give yourself a break from the studying.

photo via Wikimedia Commons under creative commons license

photo via Wikimedia Commons under creative commons license

Notes and books can pile up around midterm time, but remember to give yourself a break from the studying.

Julia Spano, World Views editor

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So you know all the midterm requirements, you’ve filled out all the little squares on your teacher’s study packets, and you even read Jack Renz’s excellent article for some study tips. The only problem is, if you’re anything like me, you’re still dealing with a crushing amount of stress.

You’re not alone, though– if the American Test Anxieties Association is anything to go by, about one in five students across America have severe test anxiety. But you don’t have to sit and wallow in your own worries. Here are five time-friendly, easy tactics you can use to hold back stress on test day.

BEFORE TEST DAY…

Take Study Breaks.

Studying for three-hour blocks may seem like a good idea, but spending too much time sitting down has a lot of downsides. The Australian government website Better Health says that sitting down for too long effects your circulation, joints, and even your mental health. It’s also terrible for your stress levels; do you really want to drill facts into your brain for long periods of time? Try taking a short break every hour or so to stretch your legs, walk around the house, or do anything besides sit and work. You’ll thank yourself later.

Sleep (Even If It Takes Out Of Study Time)

It’s important to finish your work, and if you still have three midterm packets to finish, it can be easy to lose track of time. But remember– all the studying in the world isn’t going to help you if you’re too tired. The NewScientist website says that those who got sleep before tests did better than those who spent the whole night studying. No matter how much you think you need to go over, get at least seven or eight hours of sleep before midterms. If nothing else, it will speed up your test-taking reflexes significantly.

ON TEST DAY…

Bring Water.

It’s easy to just slurp out of those hideous metallic water fountains on a normal school day, but you’re not going to get a decent drink out of them on test day. And since your brain is mostly water, not getting enough can lead to sluggishness and a lack of attention span, neither of which you want on test day. Even if you skimp on breakfast, bring a water bottle or juice for some quick energy.

Relax Your Muscles.

Relaxing or stretching each of your muscles, starting at your feet and systematically moving up, is an excellent way to force yourself to focus. Now, you probably only have a few minutes, so just stick to your core muscles– feet, legs, arms, hands, shoulders, head. Stretch and relax each muscle group four or five times, slowly moving upwards. Try not to get distracted by anything else; the point of this exercise is to focus on your muscles, not the screaming voices in your head. Once you’re done, take a couple deep breaths. Now you should feel a little more focused, and ready for the test.

Visualize!

No matter how much time (or how little– *cough* forty minute essays *cough*)  you have to take those midterms, you can still take a few minutes to vanish off to somewhere else. Imagine what you’d like to be doing right now– exploring some desert island, hanging out with your friends, even lounging on the couch. You might feel a little disappointed when you open your eyes and realize that you still have to take the test. But by taking your mind off the test, you can get some perspective on it… and maybe realize that, in the end, you can do this.

 

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