8 Ways to Relieve Your Finals Stress

“Pain is temporary; GPA is forever,” seems to become every collegiette’s motto the closer it gets to finals week. Grades may be important, but they’re not worth sacrificing your health over, and this way of thinking may actually cause you to do worse in school. Managing your stress is important, and finals week will be here before we know it. Here are eight ways to manage finals stress!

1. Exercise

Those who exercise are less likely to experience anxiety than those who don’t! This is because it lowers your body’s amount of stress hormones and releases endorphins (“...endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don’t kill their husbands.” How could I resist quoting Elle Woods there?). It also improves your sleep quality. Yoga is especially good for relieving the stress of finals.

2. Reduce your caffeine intake

It sounds insane when you run on coffee like I do. Especially on a campus that offers multiple different sources to get your morning latte. But, unfortunately, caffeine is a stimulant, and in large doses, it can actually increase anxiety. Instead, drink water! Staying hydrated reduces your cortisol levels - a hormone that leads to stress.

3. Spend time with friends, family or pets!

Being with friends and family gives you social support to help you through these stressful times. Friend networks can also give people a sense of self-worth and belonging. These interactions, as well as those with pets, help release the chemical oxytocin in the brain, which leads to a positive mood. Studies find that those with less social interaction are more prone to depression and anxiety, so even during a busy week of studying, make time to see friends, call your family members for a chat, or stop by the Safe Harbor Humane Society!

4. Chew some gum

Yep, that quick and easy. Studies have shown that people who chew gum experience less stress and a greater sense of well-being (there are a few theories floating around about why that is).

5. Breathe

Stress can put your body into flight-or-fight mode, meaning you experience physical symptoms like a fast heartbeat, constricted blood vessels and rapid breathing. Taking the time to do some deep breathing exercises will help you breathe more slowly and help slow your heart rate.

Click here for a useful gif to help get you started with deep breathing.

6. Light a candle

Not possible if you live in a dorm, but it’s been proven that the use of essential oils and scented candles reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. This is a form of aromatherapy, which lowers stress and improves sleep. Scents that are especially helpful in this area include roman chamomile, lavender, sandalwood, orange and rose.

7. Laugh

Laughing relaxes your muscles by relieving tension as well as bringing more oxygen into your body. Something as simple as watching a funny YouTube video can help with stress relief. However, limit yourself to one video, or set a timer for when you should get back to work, otherwise, you can end up in a dreaded YouTube binge session.

8. Listen to music

Slow-paced music helps lower your heart rate and blood pressure, leading to relaxation. Classical, Celtic, Native American and music you simply enjoy are best for this, as well as nature sounds.

Rep and body image courtesy of Pexels