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Midterm Mindfulness: 10 Tips to Keep Balance During Midterms

Being a college student can be stressful. During midterms, stress levels and anxiety increase, making it difficult to stay focused and balance the demands of schoolwork with your personal life. We are here to offer ten tips to keep you balanced and help beat the stress that comes with midterms.

1. Make A Plan

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. One of the easiest ways to instantly take a little weight off your shoulders is to put a plan in place.

Write down a list of all assignments that need to be done, how much time you’d like to spend studying for each class, and any other commitments you may have outside of school. Be realistic and generous with the amount of time you think it will take to complete each task, or how long you will be spending on other commitments.

Then, add each of those things to a calendar or agenda. It can be the calendar in your phone, or an old-fashioned pen and paper. Time-block your calendar with all of your classes, commitments, assignments, tasks, or study time. Make sure to account for breaks and sleep.

By making this plan, you will never have to think about what you should be doing, and you can feel confident knowing that you have enough time to accomplish everything you need.

2. Find A Study Buddy

Homework and studying can be boring. With so much on your plate around midterms, it can be hard to make time for some much-needed socialization. Studying with a classmate, or a group of classmates, can help you stay focused on the task at hand while also having some fun. Sharing information, notes, and ideas with your study buddy has the added benefit of helping everyone understand the subject better, and score higher on your test.

3. Eat Healthy & Stay Hydrated

Eating healthy and staying hydrated are great ideas all year long, but they are particularly beneficial ideas to help eliminate stress and perform better during midterms.

Staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet, and steering clear of sugary, caffeinated foods and drinks will help you stay energized and alert. Sugar will make you feel sluggish and lead to sugar crashes, while caffeinated products like energy drinks and chocolate will affect your heart rate, potentially leading to higher anxiety levels, in addition to the caffeine crash.

Maintaining a balanced diet with foods, like eggs, nuts, yogurt, and oatmeal, will help you to stay more alert, focused, and sustain you for those long study sessions and exams.

4. Get Some Sunshine

As noted above, it’s important to allow yourself to take breaks during midterms, and even schedule them throughout your day. Going outside and getting sunshine during breaks helps increase both vitamin D and serotonin levels in the brain, which are correlated to mood-boosting, helping to stay calm and alert, and improving overall mental health. Take some time each day to get out and enjoy one of nature's best gifts.

5. Prioritize Your Sleep

Studies have shown that getting an adequate amount of sleep helps keep you healthy, both physically and mentally. It is recommended that adults need at least 7 hours of sleep, while that number can be as high as 10 hours for teenagers.

When all of the stress of assignments and upcoming tests piles on, sleep is often sacrificed to make room for more study time. However, prioritizing your sleep will help you become more efficient at completing everything you need to accomplish during the day, and help keep your immune system boosted so you can stay healthy.

6. Meditation & Breathing

Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat. These three simple steps can immediately calm the stress and anxiety that comes with midterms.

If you want to take it a step further, try meditating. If you already practice meditation & breathing exercises, then you’re already familiar with the benefits of simply taking time to breathe and allow your mind to take a break from the chaos of day to day life.

And if you’ve never tried meditation before, no need to fear; several free apps are available that will lead you through a variety of guided meditation and breathing exercises for beginners. Many of these exercises can be done in seconds, minutes, or longer if you’ve got the time to spare.

5. Be Creative

If breathing exercises aren’t for you, you’re in luck. Studies have shown that creative arts can help reduce stress levels in the same way as meditation. Creative arts like painting, drawing, and dancing can help lower cortisol levels that lead to higher stress, while simply listening to music can improve your mood, and even boost your immune system. So throw on your favorite song, and take a few minutes to sing like no one’s listening and dance like no one’s watching.

8. Call Your Family

Taking some time to connect with your loved ones is a great way to take a break from the stress of midterms. Chances are also good that your mom misses you! So pick up the phone and give your parents a call—you never know what tips and tricks your mom or dad may have from their college days.

9. Take A Break From Social Media

Have you ever picked up your phone with one purpose in mind, just to end up scrolling for ten, twenty, or even thirty minutes without realizing it? Social media apps like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram—among many others—are designed to pull you in and keep you scrolling. In preparation for midterms, disable as many notifications on your phone as possible, and try to resist the urge of getting pulled into the time warp.

10. Practice A Self Care Routine

Finally, develop a self care routine that you will look forward to each day. Self care can be as simple as brushing your teeth and washing your face every morning and night; or you can add to it to create a routine that’s as elaborate or as simple as you’d like. You deserve a reward for all of your hard work during midterms. It’s easy for homework, study sessions, and exams to pile up and consume a majority of your time, but setting aside time to take care of yourself is equally important when it comes to maintaining balance and staying mindful.

Here are some ideas you can incorporate into your self-care routine:

  • Write in a journal
  • Have one of your favorite (healthy) snacks
  • Light a candle
  • Give yourself a manicure or pedicure
  • Get some exercise
  • Read a book
  • Take a hot bubble bath

If you’re interested in more tips and advice on making it through college, Northpoint is here to help. Check out these tips every freshman needs to know.

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