It's post-Hoco, so we're back to business! After the excitement of Homecoming wraps up and midterms appear to be around the corner, its easy to feel stressed by the thought of your massive To-Do list, and all of the upcoming stuDYING! VCFS wants you to feel as easy, breezy, beautiful ;) and stress-free as possible during midterms this semester. Here are a few tips and tricks for staying relaxed during your week 6 blues!

1. Before you start studying, make yourself a study schedule

For each day of the week, start off by identifying when your mandatory commitments would normally take place. This could be anything from class to a group project meeting to extra curricular activities. Be sure to leave time for personal care like eating, exercising, and getting enough sleep! From there, the open time slots in your schedule can be filled with studying and exam prep! Remember to prioritize the courses and material that you are least comfortable with initially. It may also be helpful to make note of when each of your courses is offering office hours or exam review sessions, so that the information is readily available to you! 


2. Take naps...but maybe not for 3 hours at a time

If you're a fan of naps, then you'll be happy to hear that they come in pretty handy during exams! Studying is about QUALITY, not QUANTITY. If you are ever at the point where you have to reread a textbook passage 5 or 6 times before you understand the concepts being discussed, that's a sign that your brain needs a break! After you've had time to rest and recuperate, you will be able to work my efficiently and effectively! 


3. Eat healthy ( tempting as the late night junk food might be)

Snacking on junk food either because you don't want to waste precious study time or because you're too lazy to make a healthy meal is entirely counterproductive. Eating foods with real vitamins and nutrients will give you energy, and high-protein meals will keep your stomach feeling fuller for longer. This will increase your ability to concentrate, while junk food makes you feel lethargic and less motivated to do work! 


4. Indulge in a bubble bath

As students living in ghetto or res, a bubble bath might not be the most realistic solution to managing exam stress. That being said, a shower will do the trick! Hot water acts to relax muscles at the end of a long day of studying, so showering right before bed will make you feel less tense. Showering in the morning is equally as beneficial! Starting your day with a hot shower will wake you and your brain up so that you are productive and fully engaged in your studies.  


5. Leave yourself some time to get outside or workout!

Exercise is a very effective stress reliever because of the endorphins it releases into your body! You may know of endorphins as the "happy hormone". Endorphins are essentially your body's natural painkillers, which applies to both physical and emotion "pain" or stress. If you only have time for a short break or running just isn't your thing, then get outside and go for a walk! Either of these activities will clear your brain and allow you to come back to your work feeling refreshed!


6. Stay HYDRATED! 

Drinking water has 3 major benefits as it pertains to studying! 

1. Drinking water boosts your mood. It decreases your likelihood to feel sleepy, tired, or confused throughout the day! 

2. Staying hydrated increases your brainpower. Drinking water has the ability to improve cognitive performance. This is not only important for the studying phase of midterms, but for writing your exams as well! 

3. Drinking lots of water keeps your physical health intact! Being sick makes it so much more difficult to study, which is the last thing that anyone wants. Its imperative to stay hydrated in order to stay healthy and protect yourself from getting sick! 


7. Change up your study environment

Extensive studies have been conducted on the topic work environments. One in particular found that the brain tends to form associations between what is being studied and where. As a result, studying in multiple places throughout the day will train your brain to remember certain information regardless of the environment that it was in when you were studying initially. This will make it easier for you to recall information as needed in a test or exam setting!