Undergraduate Blog
Tips for Success

De-Stress During Mid-Terms

Get ideas on activities you can do for self-care during stressful times of the semester.

candle and book on a table


We all know that school, work, and life in general can be a lot to juggle. Whether it’s cramming for midterms, working on deliverables, or dealing with personal matters, it’s quite easy to get wrapped up in feelings of frustration and anxiety. Remember to set aside some time for self-care, especially during those challenging moments, and try one of these activities:

My Favorite Choices

  1. Breathing exercises. These can be as simple as taking long, deep inhales followed by a few seconds of holding and a gentle release. More complex exercises can be found very easily through a quick Google search.
  2. Light a candle and enjoy a hot beverage. I like to stick with a stress relief candle and peppermint tea, using some time to unwind from a difficult day.
  3. Listen to your favorite music. I have a specific playlist that I tend to use for relaxation, which has mostly calm, instrumental pieces. This pairs well with gentle physical activity.
  4. Take a walk. I enjoy taking long walks and paying very close attention to my surroundings, rather than thinking about school, using my phone, or the like.
  5. Yoga. If you have some experience with yoga you can follow your own routine, or you can watch YouTube videos that will guide you through some meditative practices.

More Options

  1. Do a face mask or try a new skincare routine.
  2. Take a bubble bath.
  3. Take a long, hot shower.
  4. Write (poetry, stories, journal, etc.).
  5. Go to the movies.
  6. Make a list of everything you are grateful for.
  7. Watch nostalgic YouTube videos.
  8. Play computer or videogames.
  9. Clean or rearrange your room.
  10. Spend time with your pets.
  11. Hang out with your friends or roommates.
  12. Organize that frustrating clutter you never get around to.
  13. Work on crossword puzzles.
  14. Sing and dance around your room.
  15. Bake your favorite dessert.
  16. Doodle, especially with color.
  17. Read for pleasure (for a change).
  18. Study the sky.
  19. Memorize a song or poem.
  20. Go online window shopping (you don’t even need to make a purchase).
  21. Write a letter (or more likely a text) to an old friend.
  22. Find your dream home online.
  23. Put a puzzle together.
  24. Smile at a few new people.
  25. Look up a new word and try to use it.
  26. Start a collection of some kind.
  27. Try to make as many words out of your full name as you can.
  28. Go for a drive.
  29. Play an instrument.
  30. Go sit in a public place (like Starbucks).
  31. Look at flowers, art, or something else to make you smile.
  32. Let yourself cry.
  33. Squeeze a fist or stress ball.
  34. Curl your toes tightly and then release them.
  35. Point or flex your feet and then let them relax.
  36. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and then let go.
  37. Make a list of goals for the week, month, or year.

Sometimes you may need more than a simple distraction to get you through a difficult time. If you are a UVA student, please remember that you have access to Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS). McIntire students can also find help through a more specific CAPS@COMM counselor.

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