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Weekend Recs: Mindfulness and Relaxation

Happy Friday, Wildcats! Falvey Library is delivering you another semester of Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Annie, a graduate assistant from the Communication department, scours the internet, peruses the news, and digs through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week.

In a few days, midterms will be upon us, which likely means that many of us are spending some time over the weekend studying. It’s a stressful time, especially after coming back from summer break, where it sometimes feels like your brain has done a factory reset. Being at least a little stressed or overwhelmed is somewhat inevitable.

One way to reduce some of that inevitable stress is mindfulness and meditation. It might seem boring or silly, but it actually can be a very effective self-care technique. So, this weekend’s recs will give you some mindfulness recs to help you relax in preparation for the week ahead.

If you have 30 seconds…and are feeling anxious, follow along with this deep breathing TikTok.

If you have 5 minutes and 15 seconds…and need to de-stress with a quick study break, follow along with this quick guided meditation.

Bonus: Need more time for mindfulness? Check out our Mindfulness Monday session on Oct. 2 from 1-1:30 p.m.

If you have 15 minutes…and want to learn about the positive effects mindfulness and meditation can have, read this article compiling some of the research on mindfulness. Although it’s not an entire cure-all, it has been shown to positively affect mental health and well being, which are certainly important during midterms.

If you have 27 minutes and 38 seconds…and don’t like meditation tapes, watch this (or any) episode of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. Although it’s not a guided meditation, Bob’s peaceful voice is still pretty effective at soothing any stress.

If you have 2 hours…and need some calming sounds to relax (or study) to, check out They have a free library of relaxing sounds and songs, from calming rain to white noise to soothing instrumentals. Plus, all of the sounds and songs have customizable sliders, so you can change the presets to isolate certain tracks or change the equalization. My personal favorite is the “Duduk Song,” which is hauntingly beautiful.

Bonus: if you need some more meditation songs, listen to Spotify’s “Peaceful Meditation” playlist.

If you have 4 hours…and are new to mindfulness, read this introductory guide for using mindfulness to ease stress, available online through Falvey.


Annie Stockmal is a second-year graduate student in the Communication Department and Graduate Assistant in Falvey Library.


‘Cat in the Stax: Don’t Stress Meowt

We may have survived midterms, but it seems as though the deadlines just keep coming, especially with a shortened semester and no fall break. It’s a lot easier said than done to close the computer and really take time away from studying and assignments. This past Saturday, Oct. 10, was Mental Health Awareness Day, a day recognized internationally to emphasize the importance of taking time for yourself and showing that everyone deals with stress in some capacity.

This week, I’m back with some more tips, this time about ways to stay relaxed and take care of yourself during a crazy semester in the middle of an even crazier year. 

#1 Do something active. It can be so easy to end up stuck inside all day on Zoom classes and Netflix, but getting outside and getting active can give you new energy and change up your day. Even a 10-minute core or leg workout can do wonders for changing the trajectory of your day.

Although many of us aren’t walking from class to class as much as we used to, take some time to get outside and go for a walk with a friend or two. Take some time to get outside and clear your head, especially with this gorgeous fall foliage and cool weather. 

#2 Read a book. I don’t know about everyone else, but even with my blue-light glasses and computer filters, my eyes are still tired of looking at screens when the end of the day rolls around. Try something different and pull a book off the shelf (or get it off the shelves of Falvey!) or listen to an audio book. Forget all the stressors of the “real world” by immersing yourself into a different time period or a completely fictional world.

Check out my book club, Read with the (other) Jenna, where you can read Angela’s Ashes along with me.

#3 Listen to a podcast. Podcasts are a great way to learn something new and random, while also working on mundane tasks that need to be done. I personally always listen to podcasts when I’m putting away laundry, making food or driving in the car. It helps me take a step back from all the thoughts swirling around in my head and learn something interesting.

One of my current favorites is the NPR podcast called How I Built This, which talks about how successful business owners, like the founder of Patagonia, got to where he is today. If you have any podcast recommendations, definitely share them below. 

#4 Take a nap. Remember how before I said it can be helpful to be active? Taking a nap is also a completely valid and important way of taking care of your mental health. It’s hard to shut off your brain when you have so many to-dos and sometimes the only way to stop thinking about those is to go to sleep. If you’re a napper, make sure they’re productive and don’t leave you feeling even more drowsy than when you laid down in the first place.

In the same vein, getting a full goodnight’s sleep is also super important for your stress levels. Don’t be afraid to call it a day, go to sleep early and start fresh in the morning.

#5 Attend Mindfulness Mondays. Every Monday this fall, Campus Ministry and Falvey invite the Villanova community to join them on Zoom from 12:30-1 p.m to stop and focus on the “here and now.” Mindfulness is proven to reduce stress, and I’m sure we could all use a stress reduction at this point in the semester. You can find more information and the Zoom link here:

Ultimately, taking time for your mental health is going to look differently for everyone, so you need to find what works best for you. What’s your go-to way to relax in the midst of a busy schedule? Let us know in the comment box below!

Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Sore from my last stress-reliever workout. 







Finals Stress Busting Events–Another Way Falvey Helps Students Relax and Achieve

Every fall and spring, students come face to face with finals. The finals countdown. The finals destination. For students, finals are the ultimate test. (Literally, since they often have the ultimate test of the semester.)

Everything is on the line academically. That’s why Falvey Memorial Library staff members give students the chance each semester to chill and chow in a more low stakes line, one that winds around bars filled with nachos, Tater Tots, and desserts. Because four out of five students know that the first step toward a well-fed mind is a well-fed body.

photo of dessert bar

Dessert Bar, spring 2019: Donuts, cupcakes, and cookies–oh my!


Tater Tot Bar, fall 2017: The grade students gave this event was “snacktacular!”


Cereal Bar, Spring 2018: Spoonfuls of relaxation.


Shawn ProctorShawn Proctor, MFA, is communications and marketing program manager at Falvey Memorial Library. His favorite cereal is Chocolate Chex, which he claims is “life.”



Last Modified: July 22, 2019

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