After months of anticipation, the season is finally upon us: finals. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of the last few weeks of the semester, but remember that it’s still the holiday season. Even if you’re not celebrating, there are still ways to destress and make the most of the rampant holiday spirit.
As much as we wish it wasn’t so, studying can’t be avoided. It’s possible, however, to make even studying a little more festive. Press play on some mellow, lyricless versions of your favorite holiday songs. Not only will they get you into the spirit, they might improve your mood and provide motivation to help you focus. A special holiday drink might also help improve memory and focus. Don’t feel guilty about grabbing another peppermint mocha, as the mint in the drink improves performance through increased focus and alertness. If coffee isn’t your thing, grab a steaming cup of peppermint tea for an equally yummy and festive treat.
Studying for hours on end can leave you feeling fatigued and unmotivated. Try changing up the scenery a little by making a field trip to one of the many great coffee shops around campus, like Zotz or Mojo Cafe. Bonus points for walking there, as physical exercise does wonders when it comes to destressing. Look out for decorated houses on the way there!
When it’s time to go home, remember that your dorm or house is your home at Tulane, so make it a haven for post-final relaxation. Try to avoid studying in your bed, as it limits your focus and hurts sleep. Instead, let your bed remain a place for sleep — your GPA will thank you. When you are done studying, snuggle up with a cheesy Hallmark movie — I recommend “A Christmas Prince” on Netflix — or decorate your room for the holidays. When the days start to get gloomy, a little warm light inside can go a long way. Put up some string lights for a classic cozy vibe, or if you live off campus, light up a few scented candles. While you’re at it, grab a few house plants, too. It may be a little less green outdoors, but having a plant inside can boost your mood, reduce stress and even improve your air quality.
Finally, make sure to avoid burning out by taking breaks from studying. Get some shopping done at one of the many holiday markets around town, like Tulane’s own Newcomb Art Department Holiday Sale from Dec. 6-8, catch a holiday flick with friends at the Prytania Theatre and make sure to take advantage of the study breaks Tulane offers during exam weeks.