Winter break provides a much-needed opportunity to unwind from the stress of finals. And after a long, challenging semester, students and instructors both deserve it!

Share these de-stressing tips with your students before they head out for winter break or try them for yourself.

Yoga and other exercise

The beauty of yoga is that it can help your body and mind in many different ways. You can try a “yoga for relaxation” class or you can get your heart pumping with strength and cardio variations. Either or both may be just what you need to clear your mind and even warm you up this winter.

Dedicated runners will also tell you that getting out and going for a jog is a great way to clear your mind and provide stress-relieving endorphins. If visiting the gym is what works for you, be sure to keep your body and mind in check to prevent undue tension to either.


Meditation and breathing exercises work wonders for many people. If you haven’t tried it, you may be surprised how effective it can be. Find a quiet place and choose a comfortable position–laying flat on your back or sitting cross-legged on the floor may work well. If you’re stuck in a noisy place, try headphones or find some calming music or sounds.

Clear your mind and start by breathing in slowly for five seconds, then exhaling slowly for five seconds. See if you can comfortably begin to extend the breath durations. If you’d like a little guidance, there are a number of meditation smartphone apps that will walk you through the breaths and even provide ambient sounds.

Stress-free hobbies

Make sure the activities you do for fun aren’t the culprits making things worse. Fewer and fewer of us find ourselves with truly relaxing hobbies. Sometimes we inadvertently choose hobbies that actually elevate stress.

For example, playing video games can be a good way to get your mind off school, but be sure to stop before a difficult part gets you over-stressed. Similarly, baking and cooking can be very calming hobbies, but make sure you don’t stress yourself out over making everything perfect.

For advice on managing severe levels of stress that have set in, visit CengageBrain’s article, “Relaxation tips: Stress management techniques and ways to relieve stress for college students.”

How do you unwind and recover from the stress of finals? Share your thoughts below.