MIT is a stressful place, as we all know and our survey shows. However, despite all the the p-sets, tests, essays, and weather, 85 percent of students still manage to graduate in four years. In order to keep your stress levels in check, try these tips:
Take a hot shower/bath. I’ve been so busy that it seemed like there wasn’t time to bathe. The 20 minutes you save isn’t worth the additional stress of having to worry whether you’re the one stinking up the Athena cluster. Plus, you can multitask by listening to music or singing while you scrub.
Enjoy the sun. Boston weather is mercurial, so soak up the Vitamin D quickly, before the sun disappears.
Drink some tea. There’s nothing like some soothing chamomile on a gray Boston day. According to a 2004 study by Wyatt in the journal Sleep, frequent, small doses of caffeine are more effective at keeping people awake and effective while preventing jitters. Drinking several cups of tea with 25 to 70 mg of caffeine will provide a steady supply of caffeine to your system.
Talk to a friend. After a couple of days without talking to people, I tend to get depressed. Talking to a friend is a great way to remind yourself that you’re normal, get some laughs in, and even brainstorm ways to solve your problems.
Masturbate. All the fun of a relationship, none of the drama!
Get a massage. You don’t have to shell out for expensive professionals. Ask your friends if they can help you, as it’s surprising how many people know how to give massages. Massages can relieve back tension brought by too many hours hunched over your laptop.
Take a nap. Even if you can’t spare eight hours of sleep, a 20-minute nap will help you feel refreshed.
Exercise. If you can get past the initial exhaustion, you can experience the rush of endorphins known as a “runner’s high.” Keeping fit will make running to classes late easier, and increase your stamina and concentration.
Don’t procrastinate. Pushing off that p-set to the last minute and then staying up all night to finish it will leave you tired, decreasing your willpower and making you more likely to procrastinate further. This vicious cycle is best nipped in the bud by what I like to call “anti-procrastinating,” or working on your assignments as soon as you get them.
Don’t worry about things you have no control over. Stressing out over a test you’re taking tomorrow is perfectly normal, and might even encourage you to study more. But once you take the test, there is nothing more you can do to help your score, and thinking about it won’t help.
Schedule time for fun. Working all the time might make you feel better, but humans are not robots (yet), and we need downtime. It’s important to remember to take time in your life, and if you work fun into your schedule, you can relax with the knowledge that you still have time to do your work later.
Have realistic expectations. Don’t overestimate the amount of work you can do in a period of time. Some people might be fine taking seven classes on only five hours of sleep, but if you can’t do that, don’t worry about it — your health is more important.
Keep the big picture in mind. That test might seem like a major event in your life, but in the context of the life of the universe, or even the rest of your lifetime, it’s not a big deal. Think about it. Do you even remember your tests from high school?