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3 Relaxation Techniques to Try During a Study Break
Monday, February 5, 2018

Students often find themselves so overwhelmed the night before a big test or major essay is due that they become paralyzed by the stress.  And there are those dreaded days, scattered throughout the school year, when two or even three hefty assessments (quizzes, tests, projects, papers, etc.) are all due at once.  Uggh!

But don’t collapse under all of the pressure.  Do your best--or enlist the help of a parent, guardian, or tutor--to map out your study time, complete with breaks for food, drink, and vital restorative activities.  In a previous blog post, we recommended trying out a few simple exercises as a pick-me-up if you’re feeling sluggish during a marathon study session.  But if you feel just the opposite, as if you can’t seem to relax enough to focus, then we suggest instead that you employ a simple relaxation technique that will help you find the peace and calm that you need to prepare effectively for the next day’s challenges.

So, with this in mind, here are three relaxation techniques to dry during a study break:

Meditation.  According to Robbie Hartman, PhD, a Chicago-based health and wellness coach, “Daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress” (quoted by WebMD).  Resilience to stress is exactly what you’ll need to power through that study session, so move from your desk chair to the floor and settle in for the next 10-15 minutes.  Then, sitting upright with your legs crossed, close your eyes and focus on the recitation (either aloud or mentally) of a mantra, such as “all is well” or “I’ll be fine.”  WebMD recommends placing one hand on your belly to sync the recitation of the mantra with your breaths, and to let any stressful thoughts “float by like clouds.”

Deep Breathing Exercises. Taking rhythmic deep breaths is a simple way to center yourself.  Deep breathing can counter the impact of stress by helping to slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure (source).  A simple deep breathing session will take only 5-10 minutes of your time, after which you can return to your busy study regimen with a greater sense of balance and calm.  And there isn’t just one right way to take deep breaths; this article from Time Magazine online, for instance, details six different techniques.   

Decompression. You may hear the verb “decompress” uttered casually from time to time.  But decompression in this sense refers to the specific steps recommended by WebMD as follows: first, place a heat wrap around your shoulders and neck for 10 minutes; next, close your eyes and relax your muscles; then, use a tennis ball to massage away points of tension. If you’re alone, try placing the tennis ball between your back and the wall and roll it around until it’s applied to the spots that need it the most.

These are three great relaxation techniques, but there are many more worth trying.  If the above don’t quite do the job for you, then take a look at this list for other suggestions, or try this.

Whatever method works for you, we hope it has you feeling calm, refreshed, and poised for more effective studying.  

Good luck!