Five ways to unwind, practice self-care during midterms

Abi Wernsman

Midterms mean eating an entire bag of BBQ Lay’s chips and watching The Office — again — instead of writing papers. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Spread your work out, take breaks, do something relaxing, designate time to take care of yourself. Here are five ways to unwind during midterms, along with a self-care playlist to enjoy:

1. Take a bike ride

With the new B-Cycle program, even if you don’t own a bike, you can borrow one for free. If you’re starting to get writer’s block, or if you’ve read the same page of the textbook 5 times without it making any sense, clear your mind with a mini adventure. Hop on a bike and go get lost. Seriously! Go ride around Austin, and explore till you’ve ridden for half an hour, then use the maps app on your phone to find your way home. The exercise will help you focus on something other than school, and you’ll get a chance to see cool, new parts of the city. Here’s how to sign up for the bike program.

 2. Sunbathe at Zilker

Just across Lady Bird Lake from downtown is the best park in Austin, Zilker Park. The giant park is the perfect place to lay out a blanket, some snacks, and just relax. A lack of vitamin D from the long hours in the dark PCL can contribute to feelings of fatigue and depression. Being in the sunshine and fresh air will make you feel refreshed, just make sure to wear sunscreen!

 3. Go to Craft

Craft is a warehouse about 10 minutes from downtown filled to the rafters with everything you would ever need for some amazing crafts. At $10 an hour, Craft is the perfect place to do something productive while you unwind. Even if you haven’t made a craft since Girl Scouts, the super friendly staff can help you figure it out. You’ll leave feeling inspired, and covered in glitter. Here’s the link to their website.

4.  Make yourself a nice dinner

If you like to cook, or if you just like to eat, making dinner can be a way to do something productive with a rewarding payoff. Find a recipe online, something you’ve never made before, and get to work! Try to find something nutritious but yummy, give your stomach a break from chicken strips from Cane’s. Every part of making dinner can be calming, from the repetitive action of chopping vegetables, to the delicious smells that will fill your kitchen. You can even use the trip to the grocery store as a moment of quiet. Bring headphones and listen to a chill playlist (like the one in the links below) as you walk around. In the end, you’ll have a great meal that you worked hard on, and you’ll have the energy to get back to work.

 5. Have a slumber party

If you’re feeling stressed and exhausted, chances are your friends are too. Set aside a night for y’all to get together, find some of your favorite movies on Netflix, and forget about school for a little while. Eat some junk food, wear comfy pajamas, and play truth or dare, getting to be a kid again for the night will make you feel a lot less stressed when you hit the books again. Plus, you’ll get to spend some quality time with your favorite people, instead of just studying next to them.

Self-care is vital, especially during exams. Remember that your mental and physical health is more important than any class. Here's a link to my self-care playlist (on Spotify and iTunes), with all of the best chill songs for when you need a break.