By Cady Inabinett, Editor in chief, Wesley Walter, Managing editor, Lucy Frost-Helms, Copy editor, Sarah Turner, Sports editor
In the midst of midterms, everyone is feeling a bit hectic, and the stress setting in for the long-haul to the end of the semester can feel difficult to navigate. Here are some tips from The Alabamian’s staff on how they like to destress when things feel tense.
Go plant mode:
Sometimes when things get majorly stressful, I find it helpful to think of myself as a little plant that needs to be carefully taken care of. Have I gotten some water? Have I eaten a little bit? Have I sat in direct sunlight? If the answers to these questions are no, then I make sure I take the time to do them soon.
In particular, I’ve found the sunlight component to be very helpful. Often, when I realize that I’m stressed out, part of the issue is that I’ve been living like a gremlin—in the dark, hunched over, antisocial. Getting outside for a little bit—or even just sitting by a sunny window—usually helps me feel a little bit more like a person and remember that life is beautiful even when my grades aren’t.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint:
Avoiding undue stress during midterms for me is entirely dependent on pacing myself. Trying to get ahead before exam week or before the majority of your workload crashes down on you is the best thing you can do. But when that doesn’t work or isn’t sufficient, it’s still important to remember that it’s a marathon and not a sprint.
While I won’t condone pulling all-nighters, if you do find it necessary to not sleep as much as your doctor says you should, finding the correct time to do so is crucial. Make sure you don’t have too many classes the next day and can find enough subsequent time to sleep. Most importantly, make sure you don’t go more than two days without enough rest. While you may not feel tired in your stimulant and stress induced delirium after not getting enough sleep all week, chances are you will crash afterwards and not go to your 9 a.m. class for the entirety of the next week.
Also, make sure you have good music choices if you can listen to music while working. I find it helpful depending on what kind of work I’m doing to either play something that can easily fall into the background or something so high-intensity it will turn my stress into energy and scare me into doing work.
Additionally, when you’re not working or sleeping make sure to find time to gorge yourself on food so you don’t pass out on the way to class.
On the go, on the run:
I’ve been an athlete for most of my life, so I’ve always found some type of workout, especially running, to be a fantastic way to destress. Turning on your favorite music and heading out for a quick jog around campus is a great way to boost your energy, take your mind off of the task at hand and improve your overall health.
Running has so many health benefits, including strengthening your bones and muscles, and also triggers the release of dopamine, which improves your mood. It can also be built into a habit over time, helping contribute to a lifestyle of healthy living.
There are also so many great spots to run both on and around campus, with interesting views and new sights to see. Some great options are the cross country course, located behind the baseball field and the track, the University Lake and Orr Park.
Just let it happen:
I’m going to be very real with you: I do not know how to manage stress.
I have never known a plan of my own making that has been completely followed through. With everything I do, I tend to leave space for mishaps, for mental breakdowns, for unexpectedly long lines at McDonald’s. This mindset is the same for schoolwork—specifically during the weeks of midterms and finals.
As we step into the thick of midterms, I find it best to not rely on my plans, even if those plans have time set aside for each assignment that will get them completed in exactly the time I will need to meet the deadline.
While my advice may not be the most sustainable or the most agreeable, I do find that it works. Well, for me, at least. Here’s how it goes: I try my best to stick to a plan, but prepare to sacrifice sleep and food as I know other opportunities will arise. If I am asked to go to El Agave, I say yes, for the memories. But, if I have a midterm due the next morning, I prepare to be up until 4 a.m. completing said midterm.
For me, specifically, someone who has a hard time saying no to things, this is the only way that I get things done. Is it healthy? Absolutely not. But, the feeling of getting assignments done while also knowing that I got to hang out with my friends or do something fun is worth it.
In weeks like this, I do not expect to be a fully functioning human being, but I know that next week I will be able to sleep a little more and worry a little less. I guess, in essence, what I am telling you to do is sacrifice your health in order to meet your deadlines while having fun simultaneously. Just let it happen. This may not be a healthy piece of advice, but for me, it works every single time.