“Procrasti-baking” and other tips for reducing stress

Finals are rapidly approaching. Although stress is inevitable, there are many ways to successfully push through these tough times and make it to Winter break salvation. In anticipation of exam period, the Tribune set out to discover how some of our fellow students relax during the hectic finals season.

For many students, staying organized is key to keeping stress down. Even when classes end, it’s useful to stick to a routine because it helps staying productive and allows you to take a little me-time. As a U3 biology and international development studies student, Peyton Oosterman has a packed finals schedule, but over her years at McGill she has discovered the best way to handle stress is to outline when you will study.

“[Make] sure to plan in time for breaks; that way, you have some wiggle room,” she says.

Stepping back from your studying every once in a while is also important to give your eyes a break from staring at that computer screen or those piles of papers.

These breaks can be pretty much anything you want them to be, but if you’re looking to boost your productivity, try getting active. Physical activity is a common and effective way of managing stress. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it can actually reinvigorate your study efforts and provide you with more energy due to the endorphins that pump through your body.

Lamia Elias, U2 biology, takes 10-minute breaks to get up and stretch after sitting for extended periods. Although you may feel that these breaks will derail or take away precious time from studying, they can be incredibly beneficial.

“Studies have shown that taking a 20-minute walk increases brain activity, which boosts academic performance,” Cynthia Travaglinin, U2 industrial relations, said. “I get some physical activity out of it, so it’s a win-win situation.”

Besides staying active, it is important to never forget about the activities you normally like to do. For example, if you find cooking relaxing, take the time to make a nice dish for dinner. Brittany Davis, U2 English literature, said her love of food helps her get through exams.

“I always include a little time to do enjoyable activities to de-stress, like baking, because working for hours on end can be very stressful,” Davis says.

Similarly, Aimée Wattiaux, U2 biology, likes to “procrasti-bake” as she puts it, and blasts Christmas music to lighten the mood while studying.

Tiffany Burger, U2 biology, loves her study spot for convenient Tim Horton’s runs. She emphasized the value of remembering to stay well-fed and hydrated.

“Don’t just get [so] overwhelmed with studying that you even forget to eat,” Elias says.

Lastly, having support during finals—whether it is your parents, friends, or roommates—is important. For Burger, it is her library support system.

“There’s a group of kids who always study in Schulich on the sixth floor, and the moral support really helps,” she says.

Everyone has his or her own ways of reducing stress. Finding out what works best for you is key to remaining positive, entering your exams with confidence, and believing that everything will work out in the end.

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