How to Reduce Stress Before, During and After Finals

Finals are just days away and let’s face it: we’re all stressed and most likely over-caffeinated. Below are the best ways to de-stress before, during and after finals.

Before:

1. Meal Prep

Meal prepping is a must to avoid using up study time to cook, as well as a great way to make sure you are eating healthy foods all the way through finals week. The best day to meal prep is the same day you buy all of your groceries. Maybe a Sunday or a Saturday (Sunday’s are usually best because that is when grocery stores restock). Wash and cut (if necessary) your produce and cook/create staple items, such as pasta or a big salad to eat throughout the week.

2. Plan Ahead

Break out your agenda or a calendar, try to not use your phone – writing things down will really help you remember them. Prioritize. Make a list of the top five things you “should” do in one day and prioritize the three you “need” to do, this way you will know that you have to get three activities done and if you get five done it will be an extra boost. Schedule your time. Make sure you will have time set aside to exercise, eat and SLEEP. It is so important that you still continue to live a healthy lifestyle even during finals. Just because you have to take a test doesn’t mean your body is cool with ramen for dinner five days in a row.

Courtesy: Mochi

3. Take Breaks

Let’s be honest – the average adult attention span is not as long as we think it is, so sitting and studying without stopping for four hours straight is not really that helpful. It is suggested that studying for about an hour and a half at a time and taking a ten minute break between sessions is the most beneficial. I mean, it makes sense, right? Most classes last around an hour and a half and everyone has at least a fifteen minute break between classes. Just pretend that studying is like a class – do it in sessions to retain the most information and avoid burnout.

During:

4. Meditate

Even if it is just for ten minutes every day, the benefits of meditating are exceptional. The practice will help clear your mind and get you ready to tackle whatever exam you have to take or paper you have to write. There are multiple apps and resources available to help you with your practice. The “Calm” app and the “Simply Being” app both provide the user with timed and untimed mediations, soothing music/sounds and guided body scans. Another resource available is the FSU Mediation Room located on the third floor of The Globe. The room is open during normal business hours so just pop in before or after an exam to unwind and find your Zen.

5. Hydrate

There are few things more important than staying hydrated, especially when stressed. In order to make sure that your body is getting the necessary fluid it needs try drinking more water and less coffee. I know, this sounds scary to everyone, but caffeine dehydrates you and you will end up feeling even more tired after your high wears off. Your best bet is to stop drinking anything caffeinated after 2:00 p.m. and start drinking water instead. When you are starting to feel a slump, drink a tall glass of very cold water. This will make you feel more alert and won’t lead to a crash later in the evening. A good trick to making sure that you are drinking enough water is to put a rubber band on your water bottle for every bottle of you should drink that day. Whenever you finish a bottle, take one rubber band off the bottle so you can track your fluid intake.

6. Do something with your hands

Make sure to have at least a half an hour everyday were you are doing something (besides studying) that works your body and forces you to use all your focus on that one task. Coloring/crafting, cooking and exercising are all great ways to get your mind out of study-mode. Make sure to keep it fun as well!

Courtesy: Coventry Library

After:

7. Make a playlist of music you can dance/sing to

Seriously, this is so helpful. When you are done with exam you will have a lot of pent up stress and tension that you have to release. Jam out to your favorite music in your car or throw a dance party in your room. Use songs that are nostalgic or are upbeat in the beginning and once you have danced out your stress turn it down and listen to something a bit smoother and more relaxed so you can unwind.

8. Have a fun activity planned

Having something fun planned for after finals will help you stay positive and motivated during exam week. Whenever you feel like you don’t want to study anymore just tell yourself that you only have a few more days until you can: go to the beach, take a big hike, binge watch that show you have been waiting for on Netflix (here’s looking at you: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt).

Courtesy: Model Healthy Choices

9. Be kind to your body

Take a yoga class. Stretch. Get a message (the Aveda Institute on Pensacola offers hour long messages starting at $35). Do what you need to do to take care of and be gentle with your body. Don’t overdo your workouts. Mental stress works its way into your muscles so you don’t want to stress out your body more with any hardcore routine.

10. And finally, please remember:

Courtesy: LifeHack.org