Stress Relief Activities for Exam Time

Kidta loves snuggles. (Ashlyn Pearce/The Quill)

If you’re anything like me, exams are an even more stressful time of year than any other. Also, if you’re anything like me, you’ve left three research papers and a major presentation to the very last moment. This could induce panic in anyone. Fret not, dear friends: I have some activities that may help to calm yourself during this, the end time.

If you are a person who has a face and occasionally likes to make said face feel soft, there is the option of putting on a face mask. Not only will your skin feel nice at the end, the motion of washing your face and scrubbing off dry, dead skin cells is cathartic. For me, it helps my brain to decompress, because it is a task that does not require much (or any) thought. I usually start with washing my face with a nice cleanser (my current go-to cleansers are Clean & Clear Morning Burst Hydrating Facial Cleanser and Lush’s 9 to 5 cleanser). Because my face is suuuuper dry, the mask I apply next is almost always an exfoliating mask, loaded with oatmeal or coffee grounds to scrub my face away gently. I always come away from face masks feeling refreshed and ready to get back to whatever it was I was doing.

If you are a person who likes to do things with their hands, take up a hobby that is very hands-on. Yarn-based activities are good for keeping your hands — and brain — occupied. Knitting or crocheting will force you to keep count of your stitches whilst you craft mittens, hats, scarves, or, for the particularly ambitious, blankets. In the background, you can watch a movie or television, listen to music or an audio book, or just enjoy silence. An additional benefit to crafting is that you can get a jump start on your holiday gifts while you calm down. Who says no to mittens?

Along the same lines as yarn crafts is drawing or colouring. I personally have no artistic talent to speak of. That being said, many people do, and they may even find the act of drawing a nature scene, a beautiful still, or several anime characters relaxing. I admire you, artsy people. I may not be able to art good, but I can stay within the lines in a colouring book (for the most part). There are a lot of stores that carry adult colouring books, including Coles, Wal-Mart, and even Campus Books. These colouring books range in theme from popular television shows like Outlander and Doctor Who, to mandalas and nature prints. Grab your colouring utensil of choice (mine is good, old-fashioned crayons), a fun colouring book, and get cracking!

The final stress relieving activity I have is to offer to you is petting a soft animal. Cats, dogs, rodents, and even certain reptiles make for wonderful companions to those who are under a lot of stress. If you don’t have a pet, or don’t have a pet with you at university, there are a few pet stores in town that have foster cats that might enjoy a good snuggle. Make friends with people based solely on the pets they might have. Does that person in your psych class have a cute dog as their background on their laptop? Be their friend.

These activities are obviously not an exhaustive list of things you could do. I do highly recommend snuggling a cat though.