By DJ Ramirez |

It seems to be that as college students we must live life full steam ahead. As soon as a new semester begins there are already piles of homework waiting to be finished. It doesn’t get any easier once test season comes around and then you have two exams, a research paper outline, and several chapters to read for each of your classes.

It can be a lot.

But part of college and life is learning how to balance all of that work while still keeping your sanity, so here are 10 ways to fight the stress of test season.

Exercise

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There are countless studies out there that praise exercise for its ability to reduce stress. Honestly, I find most of them pretentious, but they do have a point. On days that feel particularly long and frustrating, I try to at least go on a run, hit the boxing ring or dance. It allows me to not think about anything else and focus solely on the moment. You don’t have to do a full on work out, but a little stress on the body can relieve a lot of stress on the mind.

Watch a funny movie or television show

I swear comedy solves everything. If I’m having a tough week, I’ll just pull up “The Office” or “Parks and Rec” and laugh until it hurts. Laughter is the best medicine.

Bake or cook

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My friend, Claire Costanza, is a stress baker. As a pre-med biology major with two (going on three) minors and officer positions in four clubs at Baylor University, she knows a thing or two about being busy. In her own words, she once baked 100 cookies and over two dozen cupcakes the night before her ACT. It’s a good thing she’s got friends like me who are stress eaters and have no shame in eating two dozen muffins in a day.

Take a nap

Even if you’re getting your suggested eight hours of sleep at night, which most of us don’t, taking a nap is not a terrible idea. Why do you think siestas are such a cultural staple in Spain? I know it’s not easy for everyone to fall asleep in the middle of the day, but even just closing your eyes for ten minutes can do wonders. (Special shoutout to those professors who let me take naps in their offices.)

Go for a walk

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There’s just something about a little fresh air that puts me in a good mood. Walking can relieve stress as a sort of meditation. It’s relaxing because it’s not goal oriented.

Read a book for fun

Reading has always been a way for me to escape reality. I devour stories. But ever since I got to college, all the reading I’ve done has been for class. Sometimes it’s okay to just set aside some time to read for fun and not for class.

Take a bath/shower

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I’m not normally a bath person, but I can’t deny that sometimes it works. Taking a warm bath or shower before bed is so relaxing. It’s like you’re literally washing away the stress. Add some lavender scented bubble bath and I might just fall asleep in the tub.

Have a cup of tea/coffee/hot cocoa

There’s just something so soothing about sitting by the window with a warm cup in your hands. Whether it’s early morning or late afternoon, taking the time to sip some coffee, tea or hot cocoa and just enjoy life helps.

Write

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I’m not just saying this because I decided to tell stories for a living, but the writing really helps. When it’s not about finishing that paper that’s due the next day or an article that’s due any minute, writing can be relaxing. It doesn’t have to be complicated. All you have to do is take everything that’s on your mind and put it down on paper. Make a list. Write a poem. It’s that simple.

Take a break

You might be thinking to yourself that all the things on this list take up too much time.

“If I spend all my time trying to relax, when will I study?”

It doesn’t have to be difficult. All you have to do is take a break. There’s only so much information your brain can absorb before you’re just staring at empty words on a page.

Taking 20 to 30-minute breaks in between studying can be the best thing you can do to alleviate stress. You can use that time to do some of the things on this list.

Remember, taking care of yourself is just as important as passing a test or writing a ten-page paper.