Put your ‘me time’ before study time with these finals week de-stressors


Romita Das | Senior Staff Photographer

Numerous hands pet Ruby the therapy dog at a Therapy Dog Tuesday session in the Cathedral of Learning in 2020.

By Sarah Demchak, Staff Writer

Finals week is almost upon us and that means sleepovers at the library, unhealthy amounts of coffee and stressful cramming study sessions. It is easy to forget to take time away from textbooks and laptops for a break. After all, your mental health and well-being can only improve your exam scores.
Here are seven self-care activities you can use during finals week to destress and keep you motivated.

Visit Schenley Park

When it comes to self-care, many people suggest eating healthy, sleeping for eight hours and exercising. While all of those are beneficial, they can become mundane. Luckily, Schenley Park offers a plethora of exercise-based activities, and it is in the center of Oakland. 

Despite the cold weather, bundle up and take a hike on one of its many trails. While on the walk, check out Panther Hollow Lake and simply relax and enjoy nature. Schenley Park also offers ice skating, disc golf and various artworks to view throughout the park. The scenic stroll and fun activities will get your body moving and refresh your mind to continue the study grind.

Dance like it’s the ‘80s

For those looking for some exercise — but don’t dare to face the Pittsburgh cold — check out the 1988 Crystal Light National Aerobic Championship on YouTube. Try to keep up with all the high kicks, jumps and steps with the dancers in your room between study sessions. The dancers’ energy is contagious and will get you energized to write that 10 page paper.

Just watching the championship will brighten your mood, so watch as many times as you please — whether you join in on the dancing or not.

Pet some puppies

Looking for a more relaxing activity? Find a fluffy friend to take the exam stress away. Pitt offers Therapy Dog Tuesdays in the Cathedral of Learning every Tuesday at 7 p.m. The dogs are provided by the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society and are a part of the College Canine Program.

If you can not make it to the Cathedral at 7 p.m., don’t worry — the organization posts pictures of most of the puppies on their social media outlets. Take a break from teaching yourself how to code and admire some cute canines on Instagram for 15 minutes.

Binge-watch like it’s the ‘00s

Take a trip down memory lane and watch all the favorite TV shows growing up on Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Boomerang to bring some nostalgia into your stressful week. Hulu has “Drake & Josh,” Netflix has “Total Drama Island” and HBO Max has “Courage the Cowardly Dog.” Binge watch a few episodes in between textbook chapter readings to take a break and digest some easy information.

Buy flowers to feel alive

Hop onto the 75 bus and head to Trader Joe’s to pick out some flowers along with some organic groceries. They have a wide variety to choose from with decent prices. Pick out your favorite bouquet, starting at $3.99. While you’re out, head over to Goodwill to purchase a cheap, fun glass jar or vintage vase for the flowers. Put your bouquet on your desk to brighten your room and your mood. The flowers’ liveliness and vibrance may allow you to forget how you feel inside during this deathly week.

Manifest good grades 

If studying simply is not cutting it for you this week, try manifestation. People can utilize affirmations to manifest good things into their life. Check out @afffirmations on Instagram to discover some fun and fresh affirmations to read. Write them down and repeat to yourself to improve your mental state this week. The account also has some comedical affirmation posts to boost your morale as well.


It happens — we all cry. If all the work piles up and you begin to feel overwhelmed, don’t be ashamed to let those tears flow. Pitt offers counseling services as well for those looking to talk to a therapist. There are many other counseling services available online to use as well, like Talkspace, BetterHelp and Circles. After your much-deserved catharsis, get back into the work grind and remind yourself to just try your best this week. It’s only five days and you will survive.