Take a Break to Get a Handle on Stress

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Melanie Perez
A computer generated graphic on a pink and white background with the words: ‘Fun Ways to Destress; When College Becomes a Bit Too Stressful’.

As a STEM major, I find it hard to find time to relax, especially during midterm and finals season. Sometimes it feels like too much, and I question why I chose such stressful classes. In the end, I always pat myself on the back for being able to get through the tough times, but there are a couple of actions I use to reduce stress and ensure that I don't drive myself into a wall when things get complicated.

1. Escaping with Video Games

I use video games as a means to escape reality. Sitting in front of my PC after a long day submitting assignments keeps me sane. I choose to play calm games that get me ready for bed, ones that won't add any unnecessary stress to the pile that I already have. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Unpacking: It is a chill game where you play a character that is going through different stages of her life, each represented by the new apartment she moves into. You spend time unpacking her boxes and organizing her belongings, and in doing that, you unpack her story as well.
  • Tiny Glade: It has yet to be released (upcoming in 2024), but in this cozy game all you do is spend time making a castle of your own. There is no money limit, no combat, just a freeform-building game where you can let your imagination run wild.
  • Stardew Valley: Although well known, I still have to give it credit for being such a fun game where you get to explore and uncover new secrets hidden in Pelican Town. You become a farmer after escaping a horrible work life, and your mission is to save your farm after your grandfather passes away. You can spend your time fishing, fighting monsters, or simply just farming. You get to decide your story, and it's a nice way to relax at the end of the day.
  • Secret Cat Forest: If you're not a fan of being on your computer or gaming console, this cute game about cats is on mobile. You feed cute little kitties in a forest by fishing food, and they return the favor by bringing you little presents!

2. Spending time with loved ones

Although finding time can be difficult, it is always important to fit your friends and family into your schedule. I promise it's okay to step outside of school life even during stressful events. Laughing and having fun will make you feel much better, so here are some fun ways you could hang out with your friends…

  • Picnic: Find a park near you and buy a couple of snacks. Enjoy the scenery and talk to your friends about anything! Bonus points if you bring your pets and let them play with each other.
  • Painting: It doesn't matter if you're not an artist, painting is a great way to explore your creativity, and use your brain in a way that won't stress you out. It is also relatively inexpensive, especially if you use dollar-store items. The quality doesn't matter if you're with people you love.
  • Coffee shop/bookstore: If you're like me, I love just browsing through books, but never really purchasing anything. I usually end up in the coffee shop inside the store, sitting and talking with my friends after we exhausted our energy by looking at every book in the store.
  • Sleepover/get-together: Another inexpensive activity is just to hang out in each other’s houses, go on walks and maybe catch a Netflix movie on the couch. Getting away from your room might help you escape from the pressures of school, even if it's just for a couple of hours.

The bottom line is that whether you find a way to take a break on your own or with family or friends, doing so will help you keep your stress level under control. Do not worry and enjoy every second of your college experience.

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