Its finals week and lets face it, your stressed to the max! Will you get the grade you need, how hard will the test be, are my parents going to be pissed? This is a time of crazy schedules and stress; but relax, summer is right around the corner and there are plenty of things you can do to make the week much, much easier.
Preparation is Key
Before you pull your hair out, create a roadmap of what your finals week and the week preceding it will look like. Make sure to allow plenty of time to unwind and lose stress. Don’t set unrealistic goals like studying for eight hours straight or learning an entire textbook in a matter of days. Instead, create a rough schedule with at least two hours per day of “me” time.
This could include talking / hanging out with friends, doing some physical fitness, watching TV, or playing on social media. You are not a machine; don’t try to act like one.
A common misconception is that if you pull an “all nighter” you will learn all of the material. The body requires sleep to repair and heal; human brains can’t work for extended periods of time without any rest. Students need between 7-9 hours of sleep to function at peak performance. Sleep deprivation can cause irritability and tension, thus hurting retention. Aim for a consistent sleep schedule, in the long run you will have a clearer mind and be more open to knowledge.
Every person has their own strategies for reducing stress and tension. Things as simple as candles and essential oils can help put the mind at peace and give that little extra edge. Oils have been statistically proven to access different centers of the brain (depending on the smell). Choose oils that you enjoy and want to surround yourself with. Candles also can lighten your mood causing good thoughts and more focus; thus reducing your stress because you are learning more efficiently.
Get the Blood Pumping
My all time favorite way to calm down and maintain a better state of mind is physical fitness. The circulation of blood through activity helps efficiently deliver nutrients and oxygen to the rest of your body. By moving around, especially when causing physical demand on your body, endorphins are released. Once endorphins are released, the body becomes calm and multiple chemical reactions occur.
They cause a sense of calming, happiness, and energy. The affects can last up to hours and physical activity is just plain healthy.
Did I Just Get A Friend Request?
While utilizing social media and ones phone is typically distracting, taking breaks is very beneficial. The body cannot focus for large blocks of time and small breaks are needed.
Taking a break at least once every hour for at least a few minutes will keep your sanity and let your brain reboot for a second. Interacting with friends on social media or performing any activity besides studying causes a great deal of stress relief; distraction is critical (unless you’re only distracted and hardly focusing). Take at least five minutes to do something you truly enjoy, don’t take this time to get your chores done (unless it give you peace of mind).
Nom, Nom, Nom
Don’t forget to eat. While not eating isn’t a direct cause of stress, it’s definitely a huge factor. Not eating is a progression for future problems; its like the snowball affect. If you don’t put nutrients into your body, preferably healthier ones, you can’t perform at peak performance. When you aren’t performing well or remembering as much as you should be, stress sets in.
Negative self talk is sure to ensue and from then on you are digging yourself into a deeper hole. Staying fueled helps create a clear canvas for learning and lessens distraction. Simply eating causes more retention and makes you feel better about yourself.
All in all, don’t stress too hard about finals week. Start off by mapping out what you want to accomplish and set realistic goals. Don’t change up your patterns completely because you think it will help you get the grade. Sleeping and eating will always be essential parts and by doing so, your body will run better. If your body is fueled you learn better causing happy feelings and a greater desire to continue and finish your work.
This article was written by Josh McCarthy. Josh is your typical college student trying to balance school, work, and fun. When he isn’t hitting the books, you can find him in the gym or playing a pick up game of soccer to blow some steam. He is also a professional writer for 21Drops. To get more tips on life, stress and school, check out his Google+.