a, Student Life

Healthy options for breaks during midterms

October’s various academic duties can seem pretty blindsiding after the hazy heat and carefree days of September. This season however, students can avoid stress by implementing a few wellness tricks. Below are some suggestions for fun and healthy diversions around McGill to ease minds of midterm woes—and won’t break the bank in the process.

Make a splash in free lane swimming

McGill students have free access to the McGill Athletics Facility Memorial Pool.  Recreational swims are offered daily at various morning, afternoon, and evening times. Swimming is a great way to relieve stress and burn off extra energy, as it offers a full body workout that increases muscle tone and flexibility. Swimming can also be a great meditative activity, and like any exercise, it releases the happy-feeling chemicals called endorphins. For those that still need convincing: Consider what a warm balmy pool will feel like in the midst of the first Montreal blizzard.

Calm minds with meditation

Meditation is an excellent way to alleviate stress and decrease anxiety. Benefits include stress management, increasing self-awareness, reducing negative emotions, and staying focused on the present. The McGill Office of Religion and Spiritual Life offers a non-denominational prayer and meditation space in the Brown Building as an option for on-campus stress reduction. For guided meditation, consider trying a free Zen Meditation session offered every Friday from 8:15 to 9:15 a.m in the Birks Building. This is perfect for calming down frazzled nerves.

Switch up the study routine with some caffeine

For those who need to study—but shudder at the thought of libraries—try some of the cafés near McGill that offer great ambiance and endless caffeine. Studying at cafés is a great way to shake up the routine, and allows students to experience Montreal culture. Recommended cafés close to McGill include Caffe Art Java, Cafe Chai, Pikolo, Arjuna, and Humble Lion, all of which have free wifi, coffee, and enticing pastries.

Try out a pay-as-you-go recreational fitness class

Shake out some stress and get the blood pumping at one of the diverse pay-as-you-go fitness classes offered by the McGill Athletics Facility. Rec Activities Cards are available for purchase in denominations of $10 or $30. One hour sessions only cost $2.61, and are guaranteed to work up a sweat and provide an energy boost. Class types include High Intensity  Interval Training (H.I.I.T.),  spin, power yoga, and zumba—fun and cheap activities which provide a body-boosting break.

Have a nature adventure on Mount Royal

Students are lucky to have a mountain gracing the side of McGill, with beautiful colours dotting the scenery. Bright hues of amber, crimson, and gold seem to be bursting from all directions. Immersing yourself in nature is a great way to relieve stress and increase well-being. There are plenty of trails to meander through, with a set of stairs that lead to a very rewarding view of Montreal.

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