The end of 2016 is upon us and if you’re a student, that probably means one thing: finals! Several exams and/or term papers undoubtedly stand between you and a nice long holiday break celebrating with friends and family. For the majority of students, wrapping up the semester can be overwhelming and stressful, so it’s a good idea to take some time for yourself to build your confidence and stamina for this last academic push. Take a deep breath, exhale, and read on to learn how to get through it.
Fit in time to exercise. No excuses. I know what you’re thinking – yeah right! Who has time for exercise when you have four exams and two 20-page papers due in the next three weeks?! The trick is to schedule exercise in between all of the other commitments you have, including studying and maybe even a part-time job. And don’t think you need to go to a fancy gym or block out an hour of your day to work out – it can be as simple as taking the stairs or going for a walk to clear your head. It could also be the perfect time to try something new! If you’re a CDPHP® member, check out our list of free community wellness classes, which include yoga, barre, and other fun options.
Get rest and eat a well-balanced diet. When cramming for finals, your natural inclination may be to stay up all night to fit in as much study time as possible, but this can prove detrimental to your health and even your ability to retain what you’ve read. Getting enough rest will help you remember what you’ve studied, think clearer, and feel better. The same goes for making sure you’re eating the right foods. Bingeing on junk food or high-carb, sugary snacks will only make you feel worse in the long run. Choose fruits and veggies and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated instead.
Participate in your school’s finals week programs. Chances are your college offers stress-relieving activities during finals week to encourage you to take a break from your computer and socialize, even for a little while. When I was a student at Siena College, Sarazen Student Union offered students many activities, including access to therapy dogs and chair massages. This year, they’re hosting a grilled cheese-making event, providing fun and sustenance in one! Check your school’s events calendar and keep an eye on your email to find out when these events are taking place.
Get coloring! One of your favorite pastimes as a child has recently become an excellent way to relieve stress as an adult. Adult coloring involves using colored pencils or gel pens to fill intricate designs in coloring books sold at many craft and bookstores. This activity can sometimes take up to an hour or more, giving you a well-deserved break from your textbooks or computer during this stressful time. Find more information and download some coloring pages from our previous blog post, Adult Coloring for Stress Relief.
Practice meditation or yoga. One of the hardest things to do in the fast-paced world we live in today is to just be still. That’s why meditation and yoga have become such highly recommended forms of stress relief in recent years, as they force people to put aside their smartphones, turn off their televisions, and focus on the here and now. Try working meditation or yoga into your routine by getting up a half hour earlier than usual and starting your day with one of these calm, soothing techniques.
Take a hike! Again, I know it might feel like you can’t possibly break away from your studies at this point in time, but we are so fortunate to live in an area where there’s a wide variety of mountains and hiking trails available to us. Fresh air and nature can really do wonders if you’re feeling overwhelmed, and if you grab a pal to join you or bring along your furry companion, it could help you reset and get ready to hit the books again.
Stress is a natural part of life, but it shouldn’t consume your life. Focusing on yourself is just as important as studying, reading, writing, and taking final exams. Remain organized, get enough sleep, and try our tips listed above for a successful final exam season.