1. Your brain was once a superhero sitting inside your head, taking all the reading notes from the last however many months and hurling them into your long-term memory no problem. Now that brain of yours is like a drunken uncle telling you stories you never wanted to hear so you obviously dismiss him, maybe with a roll of the eyes. PLOT TWIST: Those stories are full of necessary information, aka they are the facts you gotta know. Your brain is playing stupid tricks on you. It’s time to treat yo’ self.

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2. Your friends just walked into your room because they were questioning whether or not you were alive. They open the door to see you in slouched in your seat, two empty coffee cups by your side, and a half-eaten bag of pistachios. Oh, and a textbook somewhere, probably. You’ve just zoned out for a good hour, and can’t even pretend you’re getting work done. It’s not worth your time to fake it anymore. It’s time to treat yo’ self.

3. There’s a checklist beside your notebook that is fully, head-to-toe dressed up in completion. You’ve knocked everything off that list, you champion, and yet you can’t tear your eyes away from the screen of PowerPoint slides in front of you. There comes a certain point when you need to trust in yourself that you’ve studied enough to do well, at the very least, and that you’ve given this test your all. It feels good! Take a break to veg out and laugh with some buddies and, most importantly, treatin’ yo self before heading back to it (if you want).

4. Your test is tomorrow at 3pm. As the beast you are, you studied for about six hours straight after you got home and it’s now 4am. Not that you feel like you’ll ace the test, but you feel pretty sure you won’t fail. Sadly, this is sometimes what cramming amounts to, and your week was crazy! Stop thinking of sleep as an unworthy surrender. Sleep helps you retain that information. So snuggle into bed for a short, but sweet sleep and wake up with a steamy coffee for the last long haul.

5. You haven’t necessarily been studying for hours on end, but your eyes are giving in on you. It’s like you suddenly need glasses, and not the cool, hip glasses but the 85 times prescription glasses that will make your eyes all bug-like. Focus on something far away for a couple minutes if you’re in dire need of studying more, or… treat yo’ self!


So after you have decided whether or not to treat yo’ self… how do you treat yo’ self? Do you even know what this beautiful sounding phrase means? 

Treating yo’ self involves doing something awesome that is totally tailored to your every desire and no one else’s. You deserve that pair of cashmere socks that somehow have enough demand to never go on sale. You also deserve a whole day at the spa after killing it during the exam period. But how do we condense these little treats of personal joy into fifteen-thirty minute study breaks? Here are some ideas that could spark your interest.

1. Stock up on your favourite variety of chips and sprinkle them over a big bowl of popcorn. Then proceed to knock on your roomie’s door and ask if she would like to get in on a miniature, super-speed girls’ night where you divulge any and all plans for the summer, even if that’s being whisked away to Rome by some guy you lock eyes with at the bar. Studying can make us delirious. Just go with it.

2. At the risk of sounding thirteen, sometimes a dance party in your pajamas works some serious magic on low spirits. The worn out university student can almost forget how to dance after slumping in a desk chair for hours on end. And that’s just unacceptable. Dance parties can be solo, with or without headphones depending on the time of day, and with or without a dear friend who doesn’t need a hint of dancing coordination either. Dance parties are just so flexible.

3. Try massaging the creative side of your brain on a treat yo’ self break. First, brew a massive cup of tea or blend a massive milkshake (ice + milk + cocoa powder + bananas + honey = nutritious delight), because we need some creative juices. Then, take a piece of paper and every single one of your coloured pens/pencils. Try making a visual list of what you hope to do this summer and, even more abstract, how you hope to feel. You don’t have to be Vincent Van Gogh to be pleased with the product. For example, you could plan a me, myself & I day and visualize it with all of your favourite activities.


Try making these super-quick, healthy brownies that will satisfy a sweet tooth and keep your brain fueled on its nutritious delights.


1 1/2 cups black beans (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well)

2 tbsp regular cocoa powder- feel no qualms in adding more

1/2 cup quick oats

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup pure maple syrup or honey or even agave nectar (if you fancy)

2 tbsp sugar (or just increase maple syrup to 1/2 cup)

1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips

optional: more chips, and some variety of berry because spring is here, folks!


Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all the ingredients (but the chocolate chips) in a food processor, and blend until completely smooth. A smoothie blender has worked for me, but I’ve heard they’re not quite as smooth or tasty (they’re still crazy yummy to me, so these may be some intense bakers’ opinions). Stir in the chips to the mixture, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Now sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top. Cook the black bean brownies 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut. Makes 9 – 10 brownies!