Each weekend manages to fade away as fast as your goal to earn a 4.0 this semester did. Once it hits, your life becomes a whirlwind of darties, pre games, bars and late night frat parties, leaving your body in a state that only the combination of Powerade, caffeine and Advil can cure. Think Mondays are the bane of your existence? Unfortunately, the week starts getting rough as early as Sunday. Ugh, is it Wednesday yet? Often referred to as hump day, Wednesday not only marks the middle of the week, but it also means the glorious return of the weekend lies just around the corner…if you can make it through, of course.
Here’s how to ensure your survival through hump day and make the first four days of the week less painful.
1. ORGANIZE: MAKE A TO-DO LIST ON SUNDAY
Plan ahead on Sunday. You’ll feel much better going into Monday knowing what the week holds. Make a list of upcoming assignments, meetings and necessary emails, knowing that each time you check an item off your list, the weekend creeps a tiny bit closer. Not much beats the satisfaction of watching your to-do list shrink before your eyes. Plus, doesn’t list-making let you procrastinate actually doing all that work for just a little longer?
2. GET SOME FRESH AIR: TAKE A WALK WITH A FRIEND
This activity serves as the perfect study break any day of the week, though I recommend it particularly on a Monday. Getting back into the school week groove takes some time, so ease back into it by strolling with a pal and talking about mindless things. Chat about literally anything, from The Bachelor to whether or not you should grab a #PSL or just plain coffee. Thinking about anything other than your workload or internship search stresses will give your brain a break. Not only will a walk with a friend help you reach your step goal for the day, but you’ll also get to scheme invites to all the date functions coming up that weekend. Enjoy the great outdoors, even if just for half an hour before it’s back to the books.
3. RELOCATE: CHANGE UP YOUR STUDY SPOT
Everyone has their favorite study spot or room in the library where they’ll throw a fit if someone else has grabbed it first. Sometimes, however, the monotony of working in the same place really starts getting to you, and you find yourself banging your head against the table with frustration. In order to make it through hump day, you need to switch up your study spot before the rumors that you sleep in the library start. Let a new study spot inspire your latest essay or help you complete your code. Try out that trendy coffee shop for an hour, and embrace the chill vibes. Weather permitting, post up in the shade under a big tree. Especially with fall right around the corner, you could get your reading done in a much more pleasant atmosphere than a stuffy library. New environments act as stimulants for the tired brain.
4. SLEEP: EVEN JUST FOR 20 MINUTES
When you catch yourself dozing off in class or as you try to read in the library, surrender and just go home. Contrary to what you might think, taking a nap won’t waste away your day, if you do it right. According to Dr. George Sengstack, M.D., the ideal nap falls somewhere between 11 and 30 minutes. “If you get into the deeper phases of sleep like you would if you were asleep for 45 minutes or an hour, you don’t recover as quickly. You can wake up from a 20 minute nap, and in just two or three minutes, your mind is cleared. You’re wide awake, and you’re ready to go,” Sengstack said. Crawling into your cozy bed lets you take a mini break while also clearing your mind of that inevitable 3 p.m. fog. A nap a day keeps you alive through hump day.
5. ENERGIZE: START YOUR MORNING OFF WITH A HEALTHY BREAKFAST
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day—don’t doubt the truth in this old cliché. As a person who runs five minutes late everywhere I go, breakfast oftentimes just doesn’t happen. However, I’ve made a conscious effort this year to scramble up some eggs to get the day going. “On a morning when I need some extra motivation, I always start with oatmeal. Complex carbohydrates like oatmeal take longer for your body to digest and sustain me throughout my day’s activities,” University of Virginia senior Emma Feinman said. “I like to pair my oatmeal with berries for antioxidants, and sometimes almonds or nut butter for extra sustenance.” Spare yourself the embarrassment of your stomach growling in your 9 a.m., and give your body the energy it needs.
6. HYDRATE: EMBRACE THE POWER OF FLUIDS
We give a lot of thought to our fluid intake when we wake up on Friday and Saturday mornings feeling like death, but what about during the school week? “As a physician, I typically think of dehydration as someone coming into the emergency room with an episode of vomiting, resulting from an inability to take in enough fluids,” said Sengstack. “But as I get older, I can feel in my own body the importance of every day hydration. Small degrees of dehydration do affect us daily and our ability to focus.” Dr. Sengstack recommends drinking a full glass of water and sitting still for two to three minutes after experiencing moments of fatigue or drowsiness. If you can’t make time for that quick 20 minute snooze, you can break for five and slug back a glass of water. We could all use that extra hydration, especially now that it’s tailgating season. Fill that Swell and drink up.
7. EXERCISE: ENDORPHINS ARE YOUR FRIENDS
I know, I know, you have three midterms this week, so you definitely don’t have time to go for that run. First you have to work out long enough to actually make it worth it, and then you have to go back home and shower, which ends up taking up a good chunk of time. I get it. I make these excuses all the time. However, don’t underestimate what working out can do for your focus and overall mental health. The endorphins you get fresh off the elliptical give you the clarity you need later in the library. They also just make you happier. Wake up an hour earlier than you normally do, and hit the gym or go on a jog at least once before hump day. Even if everything else in your life is in shambles, at least you can feel good about taking care of your body and prioritizing a healthy lifestyle.
8. CAFFEINATE: IT’S GOOD FOR YOU
Caffeine can remedy that awful feeling you get when your alarm jolts you awake far too early each morning. Whether a coffee or a tea person, you’ve come to understand the necessity of incorporating caffeine into your daily routine. “First thing in the morning, I typically go for a big cup of coffee. This prevents me from nodding off in my first class,” Michigan State sophomore Cece Taylor said. “I always hit a wall after dinner as well, but I usually switch to tea. Earl Gray goes well with nighttime study vibes.” Though you might develop a coffee addiction during your four years in college, at least you’re lowering your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. On Wednesday morning, sip your cup of Joe confidently (preferably out of an Anthropologie mug), knowing that the nectar of the gods will carry you through hump day.
9. DECOMPRESS: CALL A LOVED ONE OR FRIEND
Your parents will thank me for this one. If you need to vent about your annoying TA or about the fact that hump day can’t come any slower, call your mom or dad. They will let you go on and on until you’ve gotten it out of your system, because they just want to hear the sound of your voice. I called my grandmother during a particularly stressful time, and her sweet voice and grandmotherly affirmations almost made me cry. Actually, I think I did cry…a little. You can also take a break by catching up with a friend from another university. They could likely use the study break as well. Gossip about all your plans for the upcoming weekend, and remember that Wednesday will come before you know it.
10. TREAT YOURSELF
When Wednesday finally hits, breathe a sigh of relief. You’ve made it to hump day, and now you just have to get through it. At some point during hump day, make sure you reward yourself with your sugary drink of choice from Starbucks or with an episode of whatever Netflix show you’ve neglected lately. Stranger Things binge, anyone? You’ve worked hard the first four days of the week—you definitely deserve this. Surviving hump day means Thursday comes next, and we all know Thursday marks the unofficial start of the weekend. Pat yourself on the back for not letting the school week bog you down too much. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep on hump day, so you can enter into the weekend’s festivities full force.