Good things happen when we are at our jolly best.
If you have taken your finals recently, we take it that you have been through (or are still under) considerable stress. We are not quoting studies and research papers to infer that stress and happiness do not belong together.
Weeks (possibly months) of unrelenting preparation and highly unidirectional routines could easily take over the weeks following the finals. Irrespective of how intense the past weeks have been for you, you must find ways to reconnect with the happier you.
Here are 23 ways to beat examination stress and rediscover happiness.
1. Crack open an untold adventure
Go out for an adventure that is a bit beyond your comfort zone. If you are already an adventure junkie craving for the heightened adrenaline rush, do your research and reach something/someplace you haven’t ever been before. If you are new to it, just go for something you haven’t done before and blow good steam.
And it does not always have to be so costly that you have to trade limbs. A bit of research on the internet takes you places in no time and for negligible costs. If it’s still pricey, tag along with some friends and split bills.
Pro-life Tip: Always choose safety over thrill. Do not attempt anything that could be life-threatening.
2. Reconnect with your best buds
Whether or not they took the finals with you, find them and demand their time. Ask them out for a trip. Or invite them over to your place. Watch a new series on Netflix and fuel your “together time” with loads of snacks. Make gossip about anything and everything that make you roll on the floor laughing.
Share your moments of joy on Instagram show them how big you can smile. If you can, cook some food together and do a mini-competition of sorts. Retell old stories that make you laugh or cry together. And laugh and cry again.
Pro-life Tip: Do not do drugs!
3. Find a spa near you
If you are looking for low-cost rejuvenation, trust the spa. Spas are like massage-induced sleep sessions. You lay down there and let the therapist do their thing. When you rise up, you will be free of muscle tension, anxiety, and stress.
The long-term benefits of spas far overhaul the instant ones. Frequent spa sessions are directly related to fewer instances of muscle fatigue, scantier absenteeism from work, and reduced frequency of hospitalization. Moreover, there are tons of spa types from which you can choose. Find out the ones that work the best for you and don’t be afraid to try new things.
4. Get back into shape
In the weeks leading up to the finals, it is only natural that you spend the longest part of the day (and sometimes night) studying. Before you realize, you tend to overeat out of pure stress. If that’s been the case with you, make an effort to get back to shape.
The obvious choice for many is to hit the gym. But there are enough alternatives in case you prefer other forms of exercise. Some common stress-relieving activities include soccer, basketball, tennis, swimming, golf, and running. While all of these are good options to get back on track, you should start slow and switch gears as you move.
5. Try out a new hobby
You can, of course, resume one of your existing hobbies at any time you choose. But the time you get after the finals is perfect for exploring other sides in yourself. Look for additional hobbies that are either close to your personality or are at loggerheads with it.
For example, if you are introversive, you could try both prose writing and karaoke. One will help you express better and the other will help you rise beyond inhibitions and bring balance to your person. Here are some more ideas to get you thinking:
- Learn to play a new instrument
- Write your mind – simple thoughts, complex theories, non-rhyming rants!
- Learn to draw
- Try a new dance form
- Commentate on local politics
- Master a new language
- Brew wine at home
Pro Tip: It is easier to learn new disciplines when you call them hobbies and not skills.
6. Learn new software
Learning new software is not just productive channeling of energy. If you learn the right software, it will become an essential skill as you transition from studies to employment. Depending on your stream of study, learn an application that furthers your knowledge.
If you are an art student, do a quick course on a designing software. As you get the hang of it, you will start creating fab designs in no time. If you are into technology, learn a new language. Coders who excel in two or more languages eat the largest pieces of the IT cake.
7. Sit by a flowing stream
How many times have great people stumbled upon the simple truths of life in the company of nature?
The time after the finals is perfect to reestablish your connection with nature. So tour to the nearest stream and do not do a thing. Just watch it flow. Carry a drawing book or a notepad. Use them only when you feel like scribbling or sketching something.
If there’s no stream flowing near you, find an orchard. See if you can name every fruit. Or try and translate bird language.
8. Surprise your parents
Summer, winter, or rain – home is the place to be.
If you are not immediately committed to something right after the finals, head back home to your parents. Carry a gift that will please their souls. If your parents live in the place where you grew up, visit the park where you used to play.
If you have siblings, see if they can join you around the same time. Just do it all so suddenly that your parents are well and truly surprised.
In case you can’t visit home, have your parents visit you on campus. The intensity of the surprise could be alleviated, but the collective happiness will still be the same.
9. Pick up your favorite sport. Again.
There’s a fat chance you have a favorite sport. Gather peers who play the same sport and start training the day after the finals end. We can tell you there’s nothing that’s nearly as pleasing as playing your favorite sport.
You do not always need to be a pro to play a sport. All you need to do is give your best. Outdoor sport is also a great way to put your fitness game back on track.
Tip: It can be equally exciting if you pick up a new sport.
10. Give back with community services
Participating in community services gives students a great opportunity to become active and contributing members of the society. You learn new life skills and extend services to the ones who need it the most. While you can do it by yourself, we recommend you convince your university club/organization and do community services in a group.
Remember two important things before you get into community services. For starters, choose a cause that relates to your personality. Then, community service does not necessarily mean draining cash. It is great if you have the money to contribute but what really makes the difference your intent to give back to the society.
11. Eat some Belgian dark chocolate
Belgian milk chocolate is among the most heavenly delicacies there can be. If you haven’t tried it yet, you are missing out on some serious indulgence. However, you can couple the Belgian chocolate with manifold health benefits if you choose Belgian dark chocolate. A bite or two of Belgian chocolate every day can leave you happier with a healthier heart.
Belgian chocolate is no mean delicacy either. Made from plants, it brings to you the best of dark vegetables. The antioxidants in dark chocolate keep the body protected from free radicals. What’s more? A small bar of Belgian chocolate every day also helps lower your blood pressure.
12. Read underrated stuff
Say what the internet has to, books are still among the best infotainment media we have around us. The right book does more than biding time. It adds to your character and helps you evolve into a better person. Distressing after the finals can be easily achieved by building yourself a small library of books.
Right from the age of the classics to recent literary musings, our literature is full of novels that have not gotten as big a reception as they should have. Some of these were not branded as well and others just succumbed to their concurrence with other popular pieces of literature. Here is a small list of such books:
- The Old Devils by Kingsley Amis (1986)
- Clock without Hands by Carson McCullers (1961)
- This Sweet Sickness by Patricia Highsmith (1960)
- The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles by Giorgio Bassani (1958)
- Leave it to Psmith by PG Wodehouse (1924)
13. Watch documentaries
Documentaries like Man on Wire, The Act of Killing, and I am Not Your Negro are potentially life-changing. But when you have time, you should go beyond these and try out the full list of must-watch documentaries recommended by Esquire.
The best documentaries tell you stories that are brutally honest and often reveal truths that no one’s willing to talk about. Watching these documentaries is better than meaningless meandering on the web any old day of the week.
Tip: Interested in life in different geographies around the world? Check out VICE documentaries.
14. Do Yoga
When in doubt, do yoga.
Yoga does not require you to do a headstand on a wood stump of half-inch diameter on a full moon night. It’s often far simpler than that. There are quite a few types of yoga out there. Most yoga disciplines focus heavily on breathing and bodily relaxation.
Study after study has proven that yoga is beneficial in the following ways:
- Lowering cholesterol levels
- Relaxing the body to provide better sleep
- Balancing the immune system
- Improving memory and focus
You do not necessarily need to attend classes to start with yoga. YouTube is a great resource with plenty of visual classes by trained yoga instructors.
15. Watch kids play. And play with them
If you are too tired of being tired, navigate your way to a park and watch kids play. Observe how carefree they are. Figure out what makes them so happy. Maybe they are not as worried about global warming as you. If so, tell them about the perils of global warming.
For best results, try and become a part of the play. Now, this may take a while. You will first have to convince the children (and possibly even their parents) and show some serious intention before being let in. Do not be depressed if this does not work out as planned. Just go back to your watch mode. And convince them again later.
Pro Tip: Desserts and words together convince kids faster than words alone.
16. Sleep well
Just don’t oversleep.
The overwhelming tendency in most people is to oversleep right after they take an important examination. While you should and you must compensate for any lost sleep during (and before) the finals week, do not stretch this “oversleep period” to over two days.
The best sleeping habits involve sleeping for a fixed duration of time every day. It’s even better if you zero in on the clock positions for getting to and rising out of the bed. Within a week, your circulatory system will improve and you we will experience fresher days.
17. Create/revise the bucket list
The time after the finals is a great spot to sit back and re-emphasize on the things you want. No, we are not asking you to rush to the nearest career counselor. Concentrate on the things that you would like to do outside of your career – things that would make you happy.
Once you have a list of things, look at it more closely. Find out which of these you can do alone and where you would require support from friends.
For the start, identify one “with friends” item. Call the friends you feel will be the best people for the activity and create an instant messaging group. If things go well, you should be on your way to striking off one item from the list pretty soon.
18. Do nothing
Here are some common interpretations of doing nothing: lay down on the couch all day watching TV, eat loads of burgers and feel terrible about it, keep brooding over a broken relationship, or simply break your thumb scrolling Instagram all day.
But by doing nothing, we mean do nothing. Don’t even try to pick topics to brood over. Sit down under light instrumental music and close your eyes. Let thoughts come and go. Do not plan anything. Do not own anything for those few minutes. Step out of the nothingness whenever you feel comfortable. If you feel better, try a guided meditation on YouTube right after.
19. Cook and feed people
You can do it for your friends. Or, your friends and you can do it for the underprivileged. The important thing here is to make sure that you do the cooking yourself. There is a certain inexplicable joy in cooking food and feeding it to people.
It works great if you are already great with cooking. And it takes minutes to get started with your first dish if you are even slightly browsing and watching YouTube. You will be amazed at the pure love that can be cooked by simply following instructions.
20. Create some art
If you are an artist, we take it you are already doing your thing and you do not need any advice from us. If you are not really that person, get a paper and a pen(cil) and start doodling. For the start, take inspiration from another picture/painting.
You can even do digital art if you have a photo-editing tool like Photoshop. Many professional cartoonists who do their work on Photoshop. You can even use an online design site like Canva. Play with the colors you can find. You may or may not create good art. But you will definitely learn a thing or two.
21. Start a YouTube Channel
Use whatever art pieces you have created and use an online video making tool like Adobe Spark to arrange them as interactive videos. If you have knowledge of advanced video editing tools like Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro X, you should already own a YouTube channel by now (sigh!).
Chasing money is the worst mistake you can make while starting a new YouTube channel. If that is why you are doing it, drop the idea right now. YouTube works best for people who have interesting stories to share.
22. Renovate your room
You hardly care about how your room looks when you are about to collide head-on with the finals. But as soon as your finals are done, you should look back at your room. If it’s a dorm. work with a few mates along and get things in order.
You have a larger canvas to play with if you live with one or no roommates. Look up the web for room renovation ideas. Select the best three and run them over a feasibility test. Keep it minimalistic – both the look and the budget.
23. Earn money with small gigs
You may either go for an internship or find gigs near you. Since there’s enough time, you can sign up for work that lasts a month or two. Again, it is important that you choose something that you feel will benefit your overall personality development.
If you do not want weeks of commitment, you can find small gigs on your campus itself. Download the Onata Provider app and find gigs right on your campus. Choose from a number of available gigs, work for as long as you want and find get paid instantly.
Did we miss out on any destressing tips after finals? Let us know in the comments section below.