Ah, Thanksgiving break! A time for catching up with friends and family as the aromatic scents of turkey and stuffing fill the house! A time for taking a well-deserved break from the stressful midterms and papers that make up life at Rutgers University. It all seems great until your sobering realization on Sunday that there are only fifteen days until finals start. Fifteen! Suddenly, the four papers you have to write, the class blog posts you have to catch up on, and the three more books you have to read before final exams even actually start seem a lot more intimidating than they did last Wednesday. But fear not! There are so many ways to de-stress, and it just takes a little bit of exploring to discover what the best method for personal relaxation is for you.

1. Exercise


When I’ve been sitting at a computer, typing away at the same word document for hours and attempting to reach what still seems like an impossibly far off word limit, I stop everything, throw on some gym clothes, and get outside! The physical motion of my feet hitting the pavement over and over again clears my mind and helps me relax. However, just because running is my exercise and de-stressor of choice doesn’t mean it has to be everybody’s. It doesn’t matter if you take a break for swimming, yoga, weightlifting, or just to take a walk, as long as you get up and get moving!

2. Paint (Or write, or draw, or take pictures…. whatever!)

Another thing I love to do to take a break from whatever it is that is stressing me out is to create something! I love to paint and draw, and took a lot of art classes in high school, so sometimes taking a brush to paper is the only thing that will calm me. You can write a poem, take a photograph, bake a delicious treat, you choose! Whatever it is, if you let your creative juices flow, you will most likely feel less stressed and better in the long run!

3. Take a nap


Just because you have a never-ending to do list doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sleep! Sometimes if you’re overwhelmed, the best thing to do is to take a 20-30 minute nap. It’s hard to get things done, especially done well, if you don’t have a sufficient amount of sleep. A short power nap will leave you feeling refreshed, and significantly less stressed than before. In the end, your studying will be more efficient after the nap than if you had just used that time to attempt to study. Just be sure to set a loud alarm so that you actually get up and get your work done!

As finals approach, it is important to remember that your physical and mental well-being matters much more than the numbers that make up your GPA. It may not always feel like this is the case, but your personal health is more important than any paper or exam. If you are feeling overwhelmed to the point that simple suggestions such as these no longer relieve you of stress, make sure you have someone to talk to as you go through these last few weeks. But most of all, be sure to believe in yourself, your intelligence, and your ability to kick these last few weeks’ butt!


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