Allen Street Flowers

Flowers bloom on Monday, April 19, 2021 in State College, Pa.

With all the stress finals week brings, many people neglect their wellbeing in the name of cramming for exams.

But it’s important to remember we should prioritize our mental health — no matter how many tests and projects we have.

A break for self-care doesn’t have to take long: Engaging in a positive activity for just 30 minutes during a study break can do wonders to improve your mood and reduce stress.

Here’s a few things that have worked for me during finals week — try them out and see if they work for you.

Take a walk — without a goal in mind

College students usually only walk for a purpose. Whether you’re shopping, rushing to class or trying to get 10,000 steps in every day, there’s a pretty good chance you have never slowed down to take in the view and enjoy some fresh air.

Walking is not just a mode of transportation: It’s an excellent way to clear your mind and take a break from your studies.

Step outside and take a stroll around campus or downtown State College and see where you end up. Don’t rush — enjoy the weather and your last week on campus for the semester.

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Read a book (not a textbook)

Be honest— what’s the last book you read? And no, it can’t be a textbook or any other required reading for a class. When was the last time you actually sat down and read for fun?

That’s what I thought.

Reading is a great hobby that can sharpen your mind, help you learn and allow you to get lost in different worlds.

After a stressful day, I love winding down with a cup of tea and a book.

Pick up an old childhood favorite and let the nostalgia flow in. Alternatively, you could get around to reading that book on your shelf you’ve been meaning to read for three years.

Call a loved one

For many students, studying for finals means holing yourself up in your room for an indefinite period of time with no contact to the outside world.

If this sounds like you, try reaching out to someone you love during your study break.

During stressful times like finals week, I find there’s nothing more motivating than talking to someone I care about.

Take a little while to call your mom and catch up, or reconnect with an old friend from back home.

Relax outside — any time of day

One of the benefits of being a Penn State student is we live on one of the most beautiful campuses in the country.

With countless outdoor spaces, it only makes sense to make the most of our time here by enjoying the spring weather and the budding trees.

Bring a blanket and some sunscreen and give yourself a well-deserved break from studying — think an afternoon nap in a shady spot or a picnic with friends.

Personally, I love getting a pint of ice cream from the Berkey Creamery and watching the sunset at the Arboretum.

Take time to care for yourself — school can wait, but your health can’t.

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