As finals week is upon us, stress levels are rising higher than the vaccination rate (if you can, please schedule an appointment!). Even if that’s a hyperbolical statement, one can’t deny the various amounts of stressors that continue to pile on each other. From worrying about exams to remembering to keep up with one’s well being, trying to multitask won’t lead to a productive outcome. According to a 2011 study, multitasking can disrupt your short term memory. Since the activity involves interrupting one task to work on another, your brain will have a hard time focusing on what to remember. This leads to feeling stress during exams as you’re trying to recall the information you studied.
Planning out when and how to study can help reduce the amount of stress one feels prior to an exam. However, if you still find yourself feeling tension and nervousness, here are five ways you can reduce your stress levels.
Exercising is one of the best ways to ease stress and feel great about oneself. This can be as simple as going for a walk around the block or as challenging as lifting weights. While you’re concentrating on these activities, you enter a different state of mind that allows you to focus on your breathing. Don’t be discouraged to exercise if you’re worried about sweating! After the workout, you can take a relaxing shower, which will release the knots you endured. With a clear mind and clean body, you’ll feel motivated to study and confident that everything will go your way.
- Chew Gum
Chewing gum can reduce feelings of stress, according to a 2016 study that highlights the mental health benefits of munching on the candy. Researcher Andrew P. Smith writes, “Strikingly, in a clinical sample of mild-moderately depressed patients, depression was reduced to a greater extent when gum was administered with antidepressant medication, compared to medication alone.” The next time you’re studying or feeling overwhelmed with work, try chewing gum! With a variety of flavors available, you’re sure to find one that leaves you satisfied.
- Take a Nap
One of the most cost-effective ways to reduce stress is to take a nap! Napping has almost the same effects as exercising; you’ll enter a different state of mind, which will leave you feeling refreshed afterward! The main difference between napping and exercising is that one requires movement while the other does not. However, if you do decide to doze off, remember to set an effective alarm! The Sleep Foundation recommends “power naps” for adults, which can last from 10 to 20 minutes. With those time constraints in mind, grab your favorite pillow and find a comfortable surface to rest.
- Listen to Music
Nothing raises one’s endorphin levels more than a high BPM (beats per minute) music playlist filled with current favorites! According to Science Daily, a study in Frontiers in Psychology shows a link between listening to fast-paced music and being active. Conn Hastings, a writer for Science Daily, writes, “The researchers hope that these results will provide a simple way to improve levels of physical activity.” By getting up and taking a dance break, you’ll feel joy not just from moving around, but also from hearing your favorite tunes!
- Create Artwork
When you’re feeling stressed out, it can be a great time to unleash your creative side. If you haven’t had a chance to draw, paint, or mold anything since your elementary school days, test it out now! It’s never too late to pick up a new, artistic hobby. After all, many places do sell coloring books for adults. One study found that coloring helps reduce anxiety levels in undergraduate students. If you’re in need of a coloring book, here’s one from an indie bookstore!
Remember to take it easy this finals season! While stress is an ongoing issue everyone faces, we don’t have to succumb to its effects. Challenge yourself and try at least one of these activities. Perhaps, you’ll find a new hobby or enter a state of euphoria. You’ll never know if you don’t try. In the words of American Buddhist Pema Chödrön, “You are the sky. Everything else—it’s just the weather.”