With finals week quickly approaching, we thought it was a good time to dole out some useful tips on how to stay stress free as the semester winds down. It’s wonderfully exciting to look forward to the classroom-free days of summer, but that can also make it hard to stay focused in school. Follow these 10 simple pieces of advice, and you’ll be skating smoothly through the last few months into the summer sun.
10. Eat Healthy Foods. When you eat healthy and nutritious foods, you feel better than when you load up on quick junk foods like chips, pizza and chocolate. You maintain energy longer and are more alert and focused. High-quality foods to munch on are deli sandwiches, carrots, celery and whole grain cereals.
9. Don’t Overload on Caffeine. We’ve all done it. You want to stay awake to squeeze in some last-minute studying, so you put on a pot of coffee or run to the convenience store to grab a Redbull. Taking in too much caffeine, however, can be detrimental both physically and mentally. It increases your heart rate and your blood pressure, putting strain on your heart. Additionally, the caffeine “high” that you obtain to help you stay awake often ends in a telltale “crash,” and you feel more exhausted than before.
8. Get Adequate Sleep. Even if you want to stay up late preparing for your finals, getting a good night’s rest may be much more helpful. When you’re well rested you feel better, stay more focused and remember information more readily. Also, you’re more likely to study again rather than do something else with your time – like take a catnap.
7. Study in Shifts. When you study, take short breaks every hour or two and give your mind a rest. You’ll have time to let the information sink in, and you won’t burn yourself out with a long marathon of studying. Eat a snack, listen to a song or take a quick walk around the block.
6. Pet a Cat. Yes, I may be that crazy college-aged cat lady, but I’m not kidding when I say pet a cat! The stress of school is enough to make you want to pull your hair out, and cats and other small animals are proven to help ease stress by reducing a person’s blood pressure and heart rate. This is not only healthy but can make you feel more relaxed and more energetic since your heart is not working as hard.
5. Focus on Your Goals. Sometimes when things get rough and stressful, you can lose sight of why you’re even going to school in the first place. You may second guess your choices or just feel like giving up. Just take a deep breath, close your eyes and remind yourself of your goal: being a teacher, being a doctor, helping others or whatever it may be. Just keep it there in the back of your mind. It will remind you that all of the stress you’re feeling at the time will pay off in the end.
4. Limit Your Distractions. For many students, procrastination is one of our biggest pitfalls. We know we have a lot to get done before the end of the semester, but we often put it off so we can hang out with our friends or see a new movie. Saying no to these distractions until you make progress is a good way to keep from falling behind. Once you complete (or make good progress on) your work or studying, then reward yourself with a break and go out with your friends.
3. Listen to Music. If you have some down time, just take a moment to relax and listen to music; maybe search a new upcoming band and listen to some of their tracks or just listen to an old favorite song. Music is something nearly everyone can relate to and just relaxing with a good tune is a great way to release some of that end-of-the-year stress.
2. Stay Connected with Friends. Whenever you feel like you’re going to go insane, who are the people you can turn to? Your friends and family. If you begin to feel anxious and overwhelmed, pick up the phone and dial a buddy. Just saying hello to someone you care about can be enough to lift your spirits. Don’t isolate yourself from people when you get busy. Keep them in the loop and you’ll find that the heavy burden you may have been feeling is lighter because they’re helping you carry it.
1. Stay Positive. One of the most important ways to stay sane as the end of the semester approaches is to stay positive. Even if you don’t know how you’re going to get everything done, just know that you will. Keep thinking about what needs to be done and that you will successfully complete it. It may sound cliché, but if you put your mind to it, nothing is impossible. Just believe in yourself!
If these stress-busting ways just don’t do it for you, try out another of Ryann’s suggestions: retail therapy.