The Best Ways To Unwind While Writing Your First Academic Paper

Writing an academic paper can be an intense, stressful and incredibly rewarding experience. Our first academic papers are a cumulation of years of hard work in higher education. It is vital to get this first paper right, to cement yourself as a force to be reckoned with in academic spheres.  

Hard work is essential but not to the point that it becomes overwork. Overworking yourself can lead to burnout, putting a premature end or hiatus to your academic career. Therefore, it is crucial to practice good self-care to ensure that you remain inspired and productive for years to come.  

Practice Breathing Exercises 

Our breathing can have a significant impact on our state of mind and stress levels. Therefore, it may help to practice calming and relaxing breathing exercises to call on when you feel overwhelmed or stressed. In addition, you could consider trying out a guided meditation video online that will show you some of the most common ways of relaxing using your breath.


Read A Book (For Pleasure!) 

Once you’ve finished working on your paper for the day, it may help to settle down on the sofa or a comfy chair with a good book. It would be best to avoid any books related to your paper and instead curl up with a good novel or non-fiction book that can take your mind off your paper.  

Reading is a brilliant form of stress relief and can help transport you to another time or place. This can be very beneficial for those who find it difficult to switch off.  

Avoid Alcohol 

For many of us in the UK, unwinding can mean reaching for a glass of wine or beer. While this can be a good method to help relaxation occasionally, over time, alcohol use can lead to poor sleep, inability to concentrate and dehydration. Therefore, it may be best to avoid alcohol on any night you plan to work the next day to ensure that you will be on your ‘A game’ in the morning.  

Think About Your Workspace 

The best way to relax after a long day of writing is to ensure that the work you do is completed in a calm and relaxing environment. This can help you stay relaxed throughout the day and make unwinding after working on your paper even easier.  

Assess your workspace and consider if it is as relaxing and productive as possible. Avoid letting clutter build up as this can be a major cause of stress and reduce productivity. It may help to bring in some plants and flowers, which can encourage a soothing and stress-free environment.  

Start Playing A New Game 

Gaming can be an excellent way to relax after working on a paper. You could choose a well-loved game or something entirely new. What is important is that you get lost in the game and let it take your mind away from work.  

You could consider a casino-style game like online slots. These types of games require some knowledge of tactics and statistics, so they will use enough of your brainpower so that your thoughts don’t return to your paper. You can find a list of online slots options from Online Casinos to give you an idea of the range out there.  

Sleep Well 

A good night’s sleep can help you be productive all day long. Preparing for sleep can itself help you unwind at the end of the day. Consider making a pre-sleep routine that you stick to every night.


You could start a couple of hours before bedtime by putting away anything with a screen. The blue lights from screens can interrupt our circadian rhythm, making it harder to sleep at night.  

You could then have a long, relaxing bath complete with bubbles, scented oils or candles. You could read a book in the tub or practise your breathing techniques before getting into bed clean and relaxed.  

Eat Healthily 

Healthy eating can help you keep a clear mind. We’ve all experienced unpleasant breakouts and lethargy after indulging in a takeaway or junk food. It can be tempting when working to a deadline to save time by ordering in, but it is worth making an effort to cook instead. Not only will you save on unhealthy calories, but the act of cooking can also be wonderfully therapeutic.  

If you have no time to plan meals, it might help to invest in a meal delivery subscription box. This will enable you to make tasty, healthy meals without planning out each meal and your weekly shopping.  

Have A Massage 

We tend to carry stress in our bodies. Spending all day in front of a computer screen can also lead to aches and pains if we don’t sit correctly. Booking yourself in for a relaxing massage after a long session of work can help ease the tension you may be carrying and help you completely unwind.  

It may help to check out the local masseuse services to see if you can have a massage at home, or else find a highly recommended spa to treat yourself.  

Keep Exercising 

Exercise is a great stress-buster. While it can be a challenge to get yourself motivated to go out and hit the streets jogging or take an exercise class, this is one of the best ways to take your mind off your work and release some of the tension that can build up day to day.  

You could consider starting small if you haven’t worked out in a while. Try doing short 10-minute exercise classes two or three times a day. You could use an online video to guide you or go for a walk instead. Once this becomes easier, you can build up to more vigorous exercises.  

Pamper Yourself 

Treating yourself is an excellent form of self-care. If you haven’t already, you could start by forming a good skincare routine. Our skin takes a beating from the sun throughout our lives, so taking time to care for it can help stave off sun damage and signs of ageing. Having a morning and evening skincare routine can be a therapeutic way to start and end your days.  

Written by Austin Crane

Austin is the principle web director for Untamed Science and Stone Age Man. He is also the web-director of the series for the High School biology, Middle Grades Science and Elementary Science content. When Austin isn't making amazing content for the web, he's out on his mountain bike or in a canoe.

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