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Midterm Madness: Stress Relievers

Maddie Daly | Thursday, February 28, 2013


As I sit at my three-by-three cubicle in the library trying to crank out that eight page paper worth almost half of my grade, getting ideas from the love proclamations and scribbled out curse words engraved on the four-decade-old desk, I refuse to look around me because of how depressing the sight will be.  There will be an engineer to my left, pulling out his or her hair over a programming assignment, a political science major slaving over a 50-page reading assignment and the guaranteed table of business majors arguing over a group project and cramming for a 6 p.m. exam.  Basically, the two weeks before spring break are completely occupied with endless tests and papers, leaving everyone stressed and miserable. 

                  In case you are not yet of age to relieve your stress with an oversized glass of wine, you are probably looking for an alternative way to clear your mind.  Lucky for you, I have compiled a list of some of the best stress relievers out there, perfect for anyone looking to take their mind off the daunting to-do list during midterms week.

1.     The catnap: What better way to rid your stress that to catch up on some much-needed sleep for 30 minutes in between classes.  As long as you aren’t one of those people who need 17 alarms, a screaming roommate and a bucket of cold water poured on your face to wake you up on time, you will be able to nap and wake up rejuvenated and ready to study without needing gallons of coffee.

2.     Old-fashioned Nintendo 64: Trade in the Xbox 360 for your five-pound game console from 1996, untangle the chords to your multi-colored rumble-pack-equipped controllers and take your pick from the array of Mario-themed games with horrible graphics and obnoxious music.  A quick lap around Moo Moo Farm in Mario Kart is the perfect five-minute study break, so start your engines, on your mark, get set, go. 

3.     Yoga: Even if you have never done a single downward dog in your life, there is no better way to get rid of that hunched-over back ache than to do some physical activity.  Yoga also involves a lot of lying down and closing your eyes, which is very similar to No. 1 on this list, but can still be categorized as exercise.  In case you don’t happened to live in McGlinn Hall like I do and have a yoga teacher coming to instruct a group lesson this Saturday, you will have to look elsewhere for some guidelines.  Roll out your mat and YouTube a 20-minute yoga video to straighten out your slouched posture.  You will feel relaxed and stress-free, at least until you dive back into your studying.  

4.     Netflix: Warning: to participate in this stress reliever you must have an enormous amount of self-control, because starting a new series on Netflix can be fatal during midterms week due to its addictive nature.  However, picking one of the instant watch movies from the somewhat-slim collection provides the perfect hour-and-a-half break during an intense study session.  Save the series for your free time over spring break when it’s completely acceptable to devote an entire day to the watching the complete second season of “Friday Night Lights” for the fourth time.

5.     Spa treatment: Ok ladies, this one might be skewed toward us, but hey, guys can get massages too.  If you missed the free manicures, pedicures and massages in LaFortune on Thursday, that doesn’t mean you can’t still take advantage of these excellent stress relievers.  Even though it requires some cash, Eddy Street Commons has a nail salon that will take away your stress, at least during the 30-minute mani/pedi. 

6.     Food: Nothing says “I have been hopelessly studying for hours” like some greasy Domino’s pizza or a heap of Golden Dragon fried rice with an egg roll on the side.  Don’t feel guilty about spending the extra money on a meal out or eating that extra slice of pepperoni, you deserve it.  Top it off with a trip to Let’s Spoon – if you’re lucky enough you will have the name of the day and get free fro-yo.


Instead of wasting your study breaks on Facebook and Twitter, reading complaint after complaint in statuses and tweets about how stressed everyone is, try some of these fun and relaxing stress relievers to take your mind away from your work, even if just for a few minutes.  Go Irish, Beat Midterms!