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Ways to De-stress During Finals

We’re in the home stretch now, and it’s easy to forget self-care when you’re trying to cram in some last-minute studying for your exams. However, it’s important to make sure you don’t overwork yourself to prevent burnout – it’s important for both your mental and physical wellbeing to take breaks and de-stress, as this stress can take a toll on your body and mind, causing headaches and other issues. Here are some ways you can de-stress if tensions are high.  

1. Take a night off  

There are both advantages and disadvantages of studying at night. There tend to be fewer distractions at night than during the day, and some people retain information better by studying before they sleep. However, this isn’t true for everyone, and if you’re not getting enough sleep because you’re studying late at night, this hinders your memory more than it benefits it. Running on less sleep makes your brain run less efficiently, so if you’re giving up too much sleep to study, this can actually be counter-productive. If you have a night where you don’t have an exam the next day, take the opportunity to do something fun like watching a movie with your roommates to cool down from studying! 


2. Have some one-on-one time with a pet 

Animals can do wonders for your mental health. Pre-COVID, one of my favourite school events was the Take A Paws program, where you could spend some time with therapy dogs on campus. I definitely used to utilize this a lot during exams week! Unfortunately, this program is no longer running due to COVID, but I now have a housemate with a cat, so I give him some cuddles instead! I also know that some people are going home early for the holidays now that we need to write our exams at home, so if you have access to a furry friend, definitely hug them if you’re feeling stressed. It’ll cheer you up! 


3. Go for a walk   

Since we don’t need to leave the house to go to school (or really anywhere, aside from grocery shopping), it’s easy to spend up to days at a time without leaving the house. If you’re feeling stressed, bundle up and go for a walk – although the sunshine is minimal, some Vitamin D and fresh air is good for your physical and mental health.  


4. Do something creative  

If you have another creative outlet you enjoy, such as writing, drawing, playing music, etc., this is a great way to take a break and do something you enjoy in the midst of finals. This is especially important for me because I feel like I get block when I go too long without doing something creative. Put aside an hour or so to allow your creativity to flow.  

Exams are always stressful, and although grades may be important, it is also crucial to take care of yourself. It’s okay to take a break – you’re going to do great! 

Leah is a fourth year Marine Biology student at the University of Guelph and a writer and editor in chief for Her Campus. In her free time she can be found engaging in activities such as reading and writing, drinking iced coffee, playing video games and staring longingly at the dogs she’s not allowed to pet on campus.
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