This week has been a crazy one indeed. Between the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the next county over from me, the Super Tuesday madness and the midterms that have corroded every last one of my brain cells, I may be losing my marbles just a little bit.
That’s okay, though! A little stress is sometimes a good thing. I often can’t motivate myself to get mundane tasks done unless there’s a fire lit under me. Impending deadlines are usually the spark I need to chug some coffee and get moving. Yet in the chaos of midterm week, it’s so important to find time to just be. To find a hint of peace in the madness. (Yes, I know this is way easier said than done, but I’ll actually feel myself going delirious if I spend too much time studying. You know what they say, all work and no play makes Kristen a dull gal – and no fun to be around.)
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the typical de-stressing techniques. Take a bath with a glass of wine. That’s great and all, but I often don’t find the motivation to lay in lukewarm bathwater with some bottom-shelf red blend in hand when I’m already drowning (get it?) in work. My apartment also doesn’t have a bathtub – just a shower with a bench. NEXT.
Here is my list of realistic de-stressing techniques that have been helping me get through this tumultuous midterm week. Some of them only take a few minutes, so it’s easy to take a quick break during grind time.
- True crime: If you know me well or have ever logged into my Netflix account, Forensic Files stays at the front of my Keep Watching tab. I think following the high-stress situations involved in true crime cases helps alleviate me of my own stressors, even temporarily. Immersing myself in a conflict unconnected with what’s going on in my life can be a nice step away from my reality. Something about true crime manages to make me simultaneously intrigued and sad. I like a melancholy moment as much as the next Enneagram Type 4.
- Get the lo-fi hip hop study beats GOING. I’m listening to them as I write this post. A lot of people use music to study, but I get distracted in the lyrics and will start belting out the words. I also find that being around people is a huge distraction when I’m studying – I’ll start a random conversation or start laughing at nothing, and then it all goes downhill. What mitigates both of these issues? That’s right – lo-fi study beats. They mellow me out and help my blood pressure go down a bit when the stress piles high. Spotify and Apple Music both offer a great selection of playlists to help you mitigate the high-stress environment that studying can bring.
- Find a few minutes to caffeinate yourself. If I get writer’s block when writing papers, I find that taking a step away and trying some coffee or tea can help revitalize me. Here’s a real-world example: I’m going to Dunkin with my boyfriend in a few minutes before I start writing my second blog and researching for a midterm paper. My favorite way to treat myself during midterms week is by letting myself get all the coffee I need. Want some caffeine recommendations? I’ve got many in my next blog post.
When the going gets tough, treating yourself is of utmost importance. I know I’ll need to reread this blog over the next 36 hours when I’m frantically trying to finish the last of my midterm essays. I’ve been working hard over the past week to make all my academic ends meet, but there’s something validating about getting on your grind and turning in those papers and exams. In all reality, I’m privileged to be at a school that challenges me and pushes me past what I thought I was capable of. In reflecting on the semester at the halfway point, I’ve come to realize that writing these blogs is a nice break from the concrete and research-based assignments that I complete in other classes. It’s a time for me to just be.