How to De-Stress During Exam Time

Posted by York & U on March 7, 2019

Academic Success | Mental Health & Wellbeing | Student Life

Exam season is always a busy time of year, but it’s important to make sure that you’re well rested and ready to finish off the term strong! This often means taking a pause during your study periods and finding brief, but rewarding ways to relax. In today’s #YUBlog post, we’re here to share five student-tested and budget-friendly ways to relax before and during the exam period!

Note: You are always encouraged to visit York U Student Counselling and Development Services for professional support and guidance related to your mental health or Good2Talk, a 24/7 confidential helpline. In case of crisis, please visit Student Counselling and Development at N110 Bennett Centre or call 416-736-5297 on the Keele Campus. You can visit Glendon Hall E103 or call 416-487-6709 if you are on the Glendon Campus. If there are concerns about your immediate safety or the safety of others, please call 911 or York Security at 416-736-5333 ext. 33333.

A photo of a person reading on a tablet.
Studying is important, but don’t forget to take time for yourself during exam season!


Colouring is a great way to relax and free your mind from your studies. Even 10 to 15 minutes of colouring a day around exam season can really help take your mind off work. You can invest in a colouring book to use, download a colouring app from an app store or print off free colouring sheets online. The York U Bookstore is also a great place to drop by to get a colouring book, markers or any other supplies you may need!

Exam De-Stress Tip: You can de-stress even more by listening to your favourite tunes while you colour!

A photo of colouring pencils.
Colouring is a relaxing activity that can take your mind off your studies.

Movie Night

Movies and TV shows can take your mind off of the busy exam-season schedule ahead. There are tons of TV shows to binge watch for a movie night, from Rupaul’s Drag Race to Netflix’s You. If you’re not feeling up for some TV, Netflix also has hundreds of movies to choose from right in the comfort of your home! While you’re at it, grab yourself a snack.

Exam De-Stress Tip: Looking for some creative desserts to enjoy with your movie? Check out our previous #YUBlog post, “Holiday Baking on a Student Budget,” for delicious mug cake and hot chocolate recipes!

A photo of a person selecting a movie on Netflix, with a focus on the remote control.
It’s always relaxing to wind down with a good movie after a long day of studying.

Spa on a Budget

Our academic lives can sometimes get the best of us mentally, and we can easily get discouraged when we don’t feel physically relaxed and happy. So, planning a budget-friendly student spa day may be exactly what you need to treat yourself and de-stress!

Your DIY spa can be as simple as putting on a store-bought face-mask at the end of a long day. If you have more time on your hands, you can add in a bubble bath or a bath bomb. Why not add in a mani-pedi and make it an extravagant at-home spa day? You deserve it!

Exam De-Stress Tip: Check out the #YUBlog’s “On-Campus Neighbourhood Shopping Options” and “Off-Campus Neighbourhood Shopping Options” for places to shop and treat yourself during the exam season!

A photo of bath salts, candles, a flower, and a body brush.
Treat yourself to a DIY spa day at home!

Get Active

If snacking and napping aren’t your thing, then maybe a trip to Tait McKenzie is the perfect de-stressor for you! Exercising and burning off some steam is a healthy way for you to wind down and work off any stress you may be feeling!

Aside from Tait McKenzie’s treadmills and awesome gym, you’ll find a load of fun and free programs for York U students. Don’t hesitate to register and take advantage of these opportunities!

  • Group drop-in fitness classes: From Burn Boot Camp to Cardio Kick, York U Athletics & Recreation offers an awesome variety of drop-in fitness classes.
  • Speciality Classes: You’ll find a variety of speciality classes to enjoy, whether you’re interested in Yoga, Zumba, Metafit or Muay Thai!
  • Pool access: Swim your stress away with programs from leisure swimming to lane swimming and even a women’s only swim time! All registered York U students have access to the pool during the designated times.

If the gym isn’t your scene, take a walk for 10 – 20 minutes outside. Sometimes a breath of fresh air and some movement can make all the difference.

Exam De-Stress Tip: Looking for more #YUBlog mental health tips? Check out our previous post, “Take Charge of Your University Experience”!

A photo of blue running shoes leaning up against blue weights.
A little bit of physical activity is a great and healthy de-stressor during the exam season!

Unplug and Explore

As tough as it may seem, a break during the exam season and a pause away from your phone, exam notes and messy desk may be the very thing you need. Take a day (or even just a few hours!) to explore Toronto with a group of friends, whether it be a day at the mall or a fun event downtown.

Exam De-Stress Tip: Looking for some inspiration? Why not explore the beautiful Glendon Campus? You can also check out our previous #YUBlog posts, “Top 5 Indoor Activities in Toronto” and “All Aboard! A Student Guide for New Torontonians” for more great locations!

A photo of the Yonge and Queen intersection downtown.
Toronto is full of wonderful sights to explore!

Get Enough Sleep

Around exam season, we might pull some all-nighters trying to cram our brains with course content. This can lead to long and unwanted naps throughout the day that get in the way of productivity and leave you feeling sluggish. I know this can be really hard at first, but it’s very important to maintain good “sleep hygiene” by going to bed on time and getting your full eight hours of sleep. As simple as it sounds, you’ll definitely be feeling refreshed when you wake up and ready to tackle your day (and all of the studying it will include).

A photo of a book on a bed.
A good night’s sleep will leave you feeling refreshed the next day!

You now have five unique activities to enjoy during the exam season. It may seem odd to relax during such a busy time of the year, but trust me, your mind and your body will need to take a pause. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a race, so it’s important that you treat yourself well and take breaks. I wish you all the best for your exams, Lions!

How do you de-stress during the exam period? Let us know in the comments down below or tweet us at @YorkUStudents!

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