Hot Topic: April Showers Bring May Flowers

In theory showers in April will yield beautiful flowers that have been dormant during the winter months, however given the areas that this great Region spans, the phrase could also be ‘April Snow Brings May Flowers’.  Hopefully the snow is clear for everyone and the temperatures are starting to feel a little bit more like spring if not summer.  With this transition in seasons comes the transition of the end of Spring semester to summer!  Or for some of you if you are on trimesters, you may already be on summer break!

Where ever you may be in your academic semester I would like to take the time in this month’s Hot Topic to give you some good tips and ideas for making that transition (surviving another round of finals).

For many finals is stressful due to the amount of material you are being tested on and time required to prepare yourself for an exhausting week of exams, final papers, and presentations.  Here are a few tips and ideas to help you get through all of the rain/snow showers and see the light beaming on the flowers.

Outdoor Ideas:

  • Playing with bubbles.  As mentioned in an earlier Technology Tuesday, there are even colored bubbles now!  There are a lot of things you can do with bubbles.  You can run up and down sidewalks to make them.  You can stand stationary and try to catch as many as you can on the wand or count to see how many you get with each dunk of the wand into the container.
  • Sidewalk Chalk.   Taking the time to create a cool dinosaur or patch of dinosaurs on the sidewalk or in a parking lot is another way to get outside, enjoy some sun, while taking your mind off of your studies for 20 minutes.  If you really have some time to devote to relaxing you could even make an entire town of sidewalk chalk and then break out the hot wheels and be like a kid again.  Although if you make a big scale one, maybe strapping a pair of roller blades on would be quicker on getting around your chalk town.
  • Frisbee. Croquet.  Frisbee Golf.  Tennis.  Get some of your friends together and get an outdoor game going.  Frisbee is popular to most students since a Frisbee does not take up much room space inside a dorm or apartment.  Toss a Frisbee around with friends will allow you and your friends a great study break and probably a few laughs or memories.
  • Even walking around town for twenty minutes can offer a great escape from studying.  You’ll get to get outside, get fresh air, a little bit of exercise, and simply be away from your desk, lab, or favorite spot in the library.

Stuck Inside?  Try these:

  • Breathe Deeply.  This activity doesn’t even require you to move from your comfy desk chair.  If you are feeling stressed out, you are more prone to being tense and have a shallow breathing pattern.  According to Joan Borysenko, PhD and director of Harvard’s Mind-Body Clinical Programs says to try this:

Let out a big sigh, dropping your chest, and exhaling though gently pursed lips.  Now imagine you low belly, or center as a deep, powerful place.  Feel your breath coming and going as your mind stays focused there.  Inhale, feeling your entire belly, sides, and lower back expand.  Exhale, sighing again as you drop your chest, and feeling your belly, sides, and back contract.  Repeat 10 times, relaxing more fully each time.

  • If you are at the computer trying listening to some soothing music.  I’m not talking about the latest beats on the play on the Top 20 countdown nor am I referring to the latest club hit.  I’m talking about something a little bit more classy, like a good classical tune.  Taking a short break to slow your mind down and align your heartbeat with the music is a great way to relax when in a time crunch.

Here is a classical tune to help you relax:  Johann Pachelbel – Canon in D Major

  • Make some comfort food.  With finals approaching is always nice to have a rewarding treat after coming back from an exam.  Being able to indulge in a cookies, cupcake, or muffin is one way to give yourself a pat on the back after an exam as well as give you some time to relax prior to the exam.  If you are worried about the time associated with making some treats, don’t forget that most treats require some baking time.  Setting up the study shop in the kitchen at the table will provide you more room to spread out as well as enjoy the smell of the goods in the oven.  And if you aren’t into sweets, you can also make some quick homemade meals to reheat for lunches and dinners throughout the week.  Here are a few recipes to get you going:

Those are just a few ideas to get you through the showers of April and perhaps early May.  Remember to stop and smell the roses.  Taking personal time is important in remaining healthy whether you have all the time in the world a few minutes to spare.  Taking you mind off of your ‘To Do List” will relieve stress, tension, and put you in an overall better state of mind.  So study up, but remember to take those breaks!  If you have some more ideas or tips on relaxing, please comment below to share with others.  Good luck with finals!

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