Finals fright – how to lessen the tension and relax

Houston McLauryOpinion Columnist

With the end of the year coming to a close at hand and finals just around the corner, the campus is abuzz with anxiety, stress, and tension. From ConVick to Beck Hall, the entire campus is alight with students setting their brains to the grindstone in preparation for this rough and final few days of classes. And while studying is important and assuring a good final grade in many classes is necessary, it’s much more important that one takes care of themselves and puts their mental well-being ahead as one sets forth with a pencil in hand for this final confrontation and proves that we’ve learned something. One must find ways to destress, detox, and simply let all the tension fall from their shoulders before they get back to the rigorous environment of studying and writing. Students can do many activities to relax such as taking ten minutes for any activity, playing a relaxing game, hanging out with friends, and scheduling a get-together to destress. This list will give some ideas on how to relax and rest before finals. 

To start, one of the easiest and best things to do during these stressful times is to allow yourself a few minutes to yourself, a good time frame being ten to twenty minutes. This time can be used in any number of ways: watching Youtube to distract yourself from what’s going on, a little scroll through TikTok, or one of the better options, going on a walk through the Arboretum. With May and the recent rain Gustavus has been washed and swept up in, the Arb is alive and glowing with flowers, stunning greenery, and air so refreshing a Victorian doctor would recommend their patient to visit because of its reviving aroma. A simple ten or twenty-minute walk around the Arb, taking in the sights, the sounds, the smells, everything about it can help ease the tension of finals. Not only that but swinging on a hammock with a book or phone in hand and enjoying the sun that’s been denied to the campus for months will do wonders for the mind as well.

For those that would rather stay in their rooms or have an allergy to pollen, there are still a multitude of options available to them to relax. An easy one to do is to either get on a computer or a Nintendo Switch and enjoy a relaxing video game. Some games that could suit this well are Minecraft and Animal Crossing. However, one of my favorite games to play when I need to relax is Stardew Valley, a farming game where you play as a farmer in an idyllic coastal town, trying to restore and rebuild your Grandpa’s farm. The game has wonderful art, blissful music, and it has a fifteen-minute day cycle. This means that, no matter what, after the fifteen minutes are up the in-game day is over, allowing for the person playing the game to take a break. Not only that but if other people own the game, there is a multiplayer option available. However, a warning must be given to any and all players. This game can keep you enthralled by its cute art style and whimsical nature for hours on end. One night, as I was trying to relax I started up the game and wanted to limit myself to only thirty minutes, but by the end of the night, I had spent two or three hours expanding my farm and tending to my chickens. For those looking for a way to relax this is a great option: but be aware of how much time you are actually spending. 

Finally, one of the best options one can take when they want to destress is to spend some quality time with their friends. This can range from any activity, from simply grabbing dinner in the Caf, or watching a movie in a dorm room, to just talking with each other, talking and enjoying another person’s company is one of the best things a person can do during these stressful times. Being able to talk about finals, share the troubles one is having with classes, or simply being able to distract from these troubles is enough to help many deal with and handle the trouble they’re dealing with. A friend is invaluable, and these experiences with them will not only calm a person down but create life-long memories for both people as well. 

Through this last week, as we all head into the depths of these finals, never forget to take care of yourself, and take care of your own well-being. Grades are important, sure, but do not risk your own well-being, mental or physical, for these finals. Remember to take breaks, relax with a good game, and enjoy the company of those around you. Take care of yourself as we head into these last few days of classes, and don’t forget to ease off and relax when tension and stress get too high.