Academic Success, Focus, Learning Styles, Productivity, Stress, Study Skills, Time Management, Zen

The Art of De-Stressing

December has officially arrived and final exam weeks are on the horizon. It’s no secret that December has a reputation as being a stressful month in a university student’s career. However, it’s how students combat the stress that helps build character. Here are some helpful de-stressing tips to help you get through the next few weeks. 

Plan Ahead

If you read my post last week, it was all about scheduling your time wisely to help you allocate enough time to study efficiently and to practice self-care. This is arguably the best de-stressing tip because planning ahead alleviates uncertainty, and it allows you to track your progress. By pre-planning your tasks, you don’t have to constantly worry about what to do because you already have a routine to follow. Good time management is the most important factor in managing academic priorities and it is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress during exam time.


Get Physically Active

It is recommended that you get 30 minutes of exercise every day. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to hit the gym. Depending on your personal preferences, you could take evening walks with friends, dance to music in your room, drop in for fitness classes at Hart House, or even follow Youtube workout videos in the comfort of your own bedroom; the possibilities are endless. Physical activity is especially helpful when de-stressing because exercising leads to the release of endorphins, which are chemicals that make you “feel good” due to their analgesic nature. So the next time you feel stressed, try to do an activity that increases your heart rate for 20-30 minutes, you’ll thank me later!


Get Enough Sleep

Most people need 8-9 hours of sleep every day to function at their best. If you haven’t slept well, drowsiness can greatly hinder your productivity (and memory recall on an exam!). If you find yourself stressed or tired, rejuvenate yourself by taking a 26 minute nap. These short naps are scientifically proven to increase your productivity.  If you want, drink some coffee before your nap. Caffeine takes 20 minutes to enter your bloodstream, so if you take coffee before your nap, you’ll wake up fresh and caffeinated, ready to study.


Take A Hot Shower/Bath

Hot water has calming properties because it relaxes your muscles. This is a very time-effective stress management tip because it combines stress relief with personal hygiene. I personally prefer to take bubble baths during the weekend to prepare me for the upcoming week.



Remember to drink at least 2L of water a day! Your body needs water to function, and dehydration can greatly disrupt your system. If you notice dry skin, yellow urine, dull and persistent headaches, and/or constant hunger … chances are, you just need a few glasses of water. Keeping a water bottle with you while you study and exercise is a good way to make sure you always have access to water, and a way to track how much you are consuming.


Go To Exam Jams

There’s an upcoming exam jam on December 8. I went to exam jams almost every semester to get free massages and play with therapy dogs! My favorite thing about exam jams, other than the therapy dogs, is the fact that you see so many students just like you trying to de-stress! After studying all day in isolation, I’m prone to forgetting that there are hundreds of students going through final exams just like me. Exam jams form a sense of community, and they reassure me that we can get through this! I highly recommend you go, if you have time, because it’s a unique experience and it really does help you de-stress!


Ask For Help

Sometimes, all it takes to de-stress is a little extra help. The Academic Success Center (ASC) is here to help you. Visit the ASC and talk to a learning strategist or look through the online resources to help you de-stress and prepare for exams!


With that said, I wish you all success in all of your exams. Good luck!


Slesha is an ASC blogger for the Life at UofT blog, you can read the originally posted story here: