Surviving Finals Week: Stress Management Tips

With finals season approaching, it is not surprising that stress levels are rising. For a lot of us this is the most stressful time of year. From final exams to group projects and presentations, it seems like the work will never end.

I did some research to see what we can do to help reduce our stress levels and finish out this semester strong. Here are a few tips that I found:

1. Sleep. I know that sleeping when it seems like you have endless amounts of work to do seems like a bad idea. However, getting a good amount of sleep every night can actually help you feel less stressed during the day.

If you are someone who works better at night, schedule time for a nap during the day. Your body needs to rest. Getting sleep can help you feel more relaxed and allow you to focus on the schoolwork that you need to accomplish.

2. Make some time for fun. If you are spending all of your time in the library studying all day every day, you are eventually going to get burnt out. If you schedule a few hours in your week to just hang out with your roommates or watch some Netflix, you will start to feel less stressed.

While it may seem like a good idea to stay in and study all the time, your brain needs a break too. With the weather getting nicer, find a friend to just sit outside and talk with. This way your brain is getting a break from all of the educational stuff and you’re getting a chance to relax.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes you have that assignment that you just can’t figure out. Whether it’s coming up for a topic for your big paper, or just getting some pre-presentation jitters out. Your professors are there to help you. They have office hours for a reason. Go in and talk to them, chances are they’d be more than happy to work through your problem with you so that understand what you are doing.

Ask your friends for help. If you haven’t been there already, you probably will in your time here. Friends are there to help you practice your presentation and tell you that you are saying “um” too much. Plus, chances are they’re going to ask you to return the favor someday.

4. Remember to eat. From experience I can tell you that there’s nothing worse than spending all night studying and then remembering you didn’t eat. Is it worth it to eat right before bed, or do you just wait until the morning? The decision is never easy. Even if you are just snacking while you are reading your textbooks, or creating a presentation. That is better than nothing.

Your body needs food to function. If you forget to eat, then you will lose any momentum you had in studying and you will have to spend refueling yourself. Also make sure that you don’t just go on a diet of Toppers and McDonalds. Treat yourself to some nice fruits and veggies everyday so that you are making sure you stay healthy.

5. Manage your time. If you are like most college students, you will have more than one project to work on or more than one exam to study for. Make sure that you are spacing out your time wisely. If you know that one of your exams is going to be really difficult and you are going to need to put a lot of time into studying for it, start early. This way, instead of spending hours at a time studying for just that one exam, you can break it up over a few days and study other things along with it.

Doing this will help you not only not get bored with the topic you are studying for, but will give your brain a chance to retain the information. The breaks that you give yourself can be used to nap, sleep, or have some fun. This way both you and your brain are getting the breaks that you deserve.

While finals are a stressful time of year, it is not impossible to keep your stress levels down. These are also not the only ways that you can help calm your stress. Everyone handles stress differently, so figure out what works best for you and do that.

The Ultimate Guide to De-Stress

The end of the school year is coming up fast and we all know what that means: late night study sessions, hectic schedules, and high stress. But there are plenty of ways to take the edge off and relax before summer.

Get Some Shut-Eye

For many students, exam time means pulling all-nighters and loading up on tons of coffee and energy drinks. If you look back at my early college years, I did the same thing. But taking an exam or going to a meeting on little sleep and high amounts of caffeine is never a good idea.

Not only will your body feel awful, your mind will not be as sharp either. So make sure to get your 7-8 hours to feel fresh and more relaxed for what you need to accomplish the next day.

Take Some “You-Time”

This time of year can be hard to find time for yourself. Between studying for finals, job searching, and everything else on your hectic schedule, there is little time for relaxation. Make sure to take some breaks. Even if it is just setting your textbook down for a half hour and taking a walk, it will help!

Our minds and bodies can only take so much information and stress at a time. Find little things you can do throughout the day to keep yourself level-headed and relaxed.

Use Your Weekends

A rule of thumb I like to use to de-stress is to always to use my weekends to my advantage when possible. During the week I am jam-packed with internship duties, class, projects, and meetings. So as long as I don’t have something on the weekends that I HAVE to accomplish, I use it to enjoy myself and unwind.

If you are really stressed, I would not recommend participating in crazy, extravagant weekend plans. Do something to escape your week-day reality a little bit. Here are some things you can do to take the edge off without going overboard:

  • Go see a movie
  • Go to a local museum
  • Watch a local band
  • Have dinner with friends
  • Spend an afternoon at Barnes & Noble (reading is free!)
  • Go to a karaoke bar
  • Try a yoga class
  • Cook or bake
  • Perform an act of kindness
  • Take a social media break (yes, I said it.)
  • Enjoy the outdoors (if it warms up out there!)
  • Get a professional massage
  • Shop around local thrift shops for hidden treasures

Hit the Gym

Nothing says de-stress like a good workout! It goes without saying that working out does amazing things for your body and mind, and finals are the perfect time to get in the routine.

Don’t like working out in public? Here are some awesome workouts you can do in  your office, apartment, or home.

Don’t Procrastinate

We all procrastinate at times. But it does nothing but makes us more stressed and rushed. An easy way to keep from procrastinating is make a detailed schedule and checklist. There are many apps you can download to have a detailed schedule and to-do lists right at your fingertips. My favorites are the Cozi and Paperless apps.

Also make sure to keep close communication with your boss, professors, and others you need to work with to ensure everything is on schedule so that you are keeping on track.

Laugh Until Your Abs Hurt

According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter lightens your mental load and actually causes positive physical changes in your body. Here are some other benefits of laughter:

  • Promotes creativity
  • It’s contagious
  • Treats insomnia
  • Makes you more approachable
  • Boosts immune systems
  • Lightens the mood
  • Lowers blood sugar levels
  • Creates a more enjoyable work environment

Can’t seem to work up a good laugh? These might help:

Start implementing these tips into your hectic schedule and you will de-stress in no time!

If you want more tips on stress management or have questions about health and wellness, feel free to email me at MediaCLD@uww.edu and use “Health and Wellness with Heather” as the subject heading.

Sleep: Your New Favorite Hobby

Spring is finally here! Well, sort of. Warmer weather means going to baseball games, cooking out with friends, going to the beach, concerts, and late nights. But this doesn’t leave much time for sleep.

Getting enough sleep can not only reduce stress and improve memory, but it can also extend your lifespan! Here are some benefits and facts about sleep that you should be aware of.

Benefits of Sleep: Sleep Can…

  • Boost creativity
  • Reduce the risk of depression
  • Improve physical appearance
  • Sharpen your attention
  • Help with weight loss
  • Make you more alert
  • Help your body heal itself
  • Boost energy

The Facts

  • You should get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep each night
  • More than 70 million Americans live with over 85 types of sleeping disorders
  • Check out this awesome infographic: Sleep Facts
  • 77% of college students have trouble sleeping, according to the National Sleep Foundation

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Sleep Trouble: Ways to Fall Asleep Easier

  • Turn off all electronics
  • Do not exercise in the late evening or night
  • Listen to calming music (Pandora has relaxation and meditation stations)
  • Do not eat a couple hours before bedtime
  • Do not play games on your phone or electronic devices (it will stimulate your brain and keep you awake)
  • Make lists and take notes before bed of what you need to do the next day (otherwise you will be thinking about it when you’re trying to catch some ZZZ’s)
  • Keep the room at a comfortable temperature (research has shown that people fall asleep easier in cooler temperatures)
  • Keep your room clean (clutter causes stress)
  • Limit your caffeine intake

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So while making your spring and summer bucket lists, make sure to add sleep into your schedule. Happy snoozing, Warhawks!

If you want more tips on sleeping habits or have questions about health and wellness, feel free to email me at MediaCLD@uww.edu and use “Health and Wellness with Heather” as the subject heading.