Stressed from midterms? Here are 5 easy ways to relax


(Graphic Illustration by Trin Bonner | The Collegian)

Ivy Secrest, Arts and Culture Reporter

Midterms can create nearly unmanageable stress. With the speed of the spring semester, it can feel like papers and tests creep up and attack. Learning to manage that stress is a pivotal part of college. Here are a few tips and tricks to manage midterm stress.

1. Use the stoplight system

One of the best study systems is the stoplight system: Write down the topics you need to study, then highlight the topics you know in green (good to go), the topics you sort of know in yellow (a little slow) and the topics you don’t know at all in red (need to know). This way, you can focus your mental energy on the red and yellow topics and not waste time reviewing concepts you’re already familiar with.


Whether you prioritize this way or another, taking the time to decide where to focus your study time can cut back on the amount of time often spent stressing over what to study. 

2. Take time to actually unwind

In the midst of studying, it is easy to overdo it and become completely fried. Taking some scheduled time to really relax and step away from the mental stress of midterms is a good way to reset and not let the studying get ahead of you. Studying for too long consecutively can make it more difficult to retain information. Taking the time to really relax could make studying easier.

3. Get a proper amount of quality sleep 

Pushing yourself to stay up until the wee hours of the morning is a misguided norm during finals week. Exhausting yourself for the sake of remembering that final equation or potential extra credit answer simply isn’t worth it and can damage your ability to retain what it is you are studying. Go to bed, and if you must, play your recorded notes in your sleep so you can retain them in that manner. 

4. Go outside 

Do not fall victim to the cycle of wake up, stare at screen, fall asleep and repeat. Take some time to go outside — bike or walk to the coffee shop you plan on studying in; take your roommate’s dog for a walk; if the weather’s nice, study outside. Changing the scenery could be the key to keeping yourself sane. Remind yourself that the world is much bigger than midterms and there’s a whole beautiful world outside of the library or your room. 

5. Treat yourself 

Between deciding how to study, where to study and when to eat, sleep, breathe and exist in general, there’s a lot at stake. Treat yourself: Go get the Frappuccino you love, invest in a face mask or take a bubble bath. Doing that little (albeit basic) self-care act can completely change the tone of the week.

If taking the time to change your schedule or study habits seems completely out of the question, take the most simplistic self-care advice and listen to your body. Need some retail therapy? Set a budget. Need a hot shower and to get your nails done? Indulge. Need an hour to decompress playing video games? Take the time. 

Midterms can put students into seemingly inescapable spirals of stress, and the best thing that can be done to combat it is to remember to take care of yourself. Everyone destresses in a different fashion, and simply taking the time to allow yourself to do that will make a world of difference in your midterm experience. 

Reach Ivy Secrest at or on Twitter @IvySecrest.