10 Stress-Reducing Tips for Finals (That You're Probably Reading Instead of Studying for Finals)

Who here has ever felt personally victimized by finals?

Great, we’re on the same page. Juggling last minute projects, papers, and studying can be pretty stressful. Okay, that’s an understatement. Did you know that a zebra being chased by a lion releases a similar amount of stress hormones as an average college student taking a test? The only difference is, zebras are hardwired to only release those chemicals in life-threatening situations and once the danger has passed, they return to homeostasis pretty quickly.

Meanwhile, us humans experience stress like this in all kinds of situations. While our higher propensity for stress might’ve done us a lot of good while we were still hunting and gathering in the wild, today it is often a curse rather than a blessing. Here we are, in the twenty-first century, frozen in terror because some ink squiggles on a dead tree are apparently supposed to define our self worth as humans. Well, I don’t buy that. You are a worthwhile person and that has nothing to do with your grades. That being said, I understand why, when someone asks you in the next couple weeks how you are doing, you might respond with “I’m literally dying.” Here are a few ways to remind your brain and body that, in fact, you are not literally dying.

1. Scream.

Why scream internally when you can scream externally? The only issue is where, because we’re not trying to wake up our entire dorm floor. There’s always the pillow option. If you choose to look for a place outside, I would suggest bringing a friend and choosing specific, nonaggressive things to yell so you don’t add to the stress of anyone around you. Try “Croissant!” or “Freaky Friday was the best movie of all time.”

2. Cry.

If you feel like doing it, just do it, son. It’s all good.

3. Laugh.

Take a break to watch a comedy special or share some memes with a friend. Or maybe try some laughing yoga! Laughing yoga is pretty much just sitting down with a friend, setting a minimum time (like five or ten minutes works), and fake laughing at each other until you are actually laughing at each other. It sounds crazy, but for real, laughing yoga is where stress goes to die.

4. DANCE PARTY!

Anyone? No? Just me then. That’s fine.

5. Swear.

It feels good.

6. Sleep, eat, rinse, repeat.

Okay, things get hectic, I get it. However, you are a human with a body, and a human body has certain needs that ought to be met. Sometimes an all-nighter is unavoidable, but making sure that you have enough fuel in your stomach and catching as many zzzs as possible will not only help your brain and body stay balanced and happy, but it will also probably raise your grades on tests. Your well-being matters, ma dudes!

7. Meditate.

If you find relaxing on command, being one with your breath, or maintaining a clear mind difficult (but enjoyed my earlier suggestion of swearing), try my favorite guided meditation.

8. BACK RUBS!

TRADE BACK RUBS WITH YOUR FRIENDS. A roommate or significant other works too. Five or ten minutes each and BOOM! You have an incredibly helpful, healing break from studying.

9. Give up.

Or let go—whatever you want to call it. Try your best before you do. Try your damndest on whatever test, project, or paper is stressing you out. And when you think you’ve done the best you can do, Let. It. Go.

10. Get inspired by this fisherman.

If you can’t give up yet, but still feel frozen by the mound of homework in front of you, don’t despair. This fisherman has some words of inspiration for you.