How To De-Stress Before Finals Week
We are on the cusp of what's quite possibly the most anxiety-ridden week of the year for college students.
For many students, finals week is a time of absolute frustration and dread.
Summer is just on the horizon, but there's still so much work to be done to wrap up the scholastic year.
Fortunately, there are some ways to help make finals week much less stressful.
Follow this finals week "stress survival guide" to keep yourself from pulling all your hair out or head-desking your way into oblivion:
1. Actually get organized.
Let's face it: Lots of college students don't exactly excel in the organization department. I know I didn't, especially my freshman year of college.
It may be advantageous to get reorganized by creating a whole new schedule prior to finals week.
This could involve setting up study groups with friends, or it may be as simple as studying from many different places.
For some students, a change of environment makes all the difference.
Just remember to factor in plenty of breaks; it can be easy to forget to step away for a few minutes throughout a study session.
Ironically enough, studying can become oddly addicting around finals. Be sure to take care of yourself and give your mind a break several times a day.
And try to keep your room, or at least workspace, tidy before finals week.
These small organizational hacks will keep a plethora of stressors at bay during this busy scholastic week.
2. Plan out your meals.
In addition to getting your study habits organized, pay special attention to your diet around this stressful time of year.
It's common for students to become more relaxed with their eating habits and opt for fast food and other quick fixes when cramming for finals.
But this is counterproductive.
Students need nutritionally sustainable food during peak studying times. Since food is our fuel, we have to make sure our brains aren't being powered by junk when they are working on overdrive.
Rather than finding quick fixes for meals over the course of finals week, plan or prep out all of your meals.
This may even be a time to try a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, since meat-free diets are frequently quite simple by nature.
Also, as hard as it may be, try drinking less coffee this finals week.
Reach for lightly caffeinated or herbal tea instead of that fifth cup of coffee. And remember to stay properly hydrated.
If I do drink coffee while studying, I always keep a glass of water next to me and match each cup of coffee consumed with a glass of good old H20.
3. Music is truly your best friend.
Music helps us get through some of life's most difficult moments. And finals week is definitely not an exception to this rule.
Listening to music helps establish a studying rhythm and heightens focus for most students.
Headphones block out the outside distractions and keep unwanted conversations from seeping into your studying mindset.
In addition to all of this, music is good for heart health.
Listening helps relieve stress and anxiety and lowers blood pressure.
So if you haven't already, keep the music flowing while you study by creating some playlists to help you survive finals.
This will keep you on track and may even trick your brain into enjoying studying a little bit more.
4. Exercise, and do it outside.
One of the best ways to defeat stress is to flood your body with endorphins. This happens naturally when we exercise, so don't keep yourself isolated to the library during final exams.
Since it's spring, get outside.
The fresh air will do wonders for your mind, and the endorphins and exercise will jumpstart your day and keep your clear headed and ready for those stressful test-taking moments.
Spending time outdoors lowers stress levels and helps reduce negative thoughts.
And why not study in the great outdoors? You may find that your favorite studying spot is on a beach or alongside a lake.
Most smartphones nowadays can easily tether data to laptops; you probably already have the tech to study wherever you'd like to.
5. Proper sleep is absolutely crucial.
We'd all love to get copious amounts of sleep during finals week, but for most college students, that is not exactly realistic.
Associated stress may even keep us awake at night. But make sure you get a minimum of six hours of sleep per night.
Sleep helps solidify studied materials and allows us to decompress. Getting enough shut-eye will help melt stress away.
There's also zero shame in scheduling time for naps during finals week. Just be sure not to oversleep when you nap: an ideal nap is around 20 minutes.
6. Clear your head however you can.
This last suggestion does not look the same for all college students, although it is an overarching concept.
Clearing your head through any form of meditation is revitalizing and may also spark motivation. This can be done through basic meditation or yoga.
If you can afford to, get a massage or another form of relaxation therapy such as acupuncture or hypnosis.
It may even be worth your time to experiment with sensory deprivation tanks in the months leading up to finals.
Surviving finals week is challenging, this much is certain.
Following these guidelines will help you power through this borderline chaotic week of college, and at the very least, it will generate ideas on how to get by with passing grades.
How else are you staying afloat?
What else works when preparing for finals week? And what do you avoid?