Tips for De-stressing your body during Finals Week!

It’s time for finals! Maybe this has been an easy semester and you don’t have anything to worry about. Maybe you only have one or two papers to write. Or, maybe, like me, you’re taking 18 credit hours and have papers and final exams for every single class. Either way, as the end of the year approaches, routines change, responsibilities pile up, and assignments can loom over our heads, causing what my friends refer to as “stress tornadoes.”

 

Nobody likes a stress tornado.

When I am stressed, I carry a lot of tension in my body. Sometimes I will feel mentally alert and ready to work, but physically i’ll just feel, well, crappy. When I became aware of the ways that my stress affects my body, I became a lot better at calming myself down physically, therefore clearing my body and mind of tension. When you feel good, you’ll be able to think more clearly and keep a better attitude! Here are some ways that stress can affect people’s bodies and what you can do to help yourself out if this is a problem for you.

 

Tense muscles

If you are experiencing pain in your back, neck, shoulders, or legs, it could be that you are holding tension in these areas. This could be a result of stress, or it could be because you’ve been sitting bent over a textbook or laptop for hours on end while studying. Try changing your posture every so often while you study. Stretching, doing cardio exercises, and giving yourself a massage can also be lifesavers! Here’s a weird trick of the mind—if, for example, your neck is tense, take deep breaths in and out. When you exhale, imagine that you are breathing out tension through your neck. If it helps, imagine air coming out of the area.

 

Tiredness

Finals week can really mess with a healthy sleep schedule! When possible, let yourself sleep! Even if that means taking a break from studying to take a thirty minute nap on the floor of the library (guilty), it will help you to feel better. If possible, plan out your work schedule ahead of time. Decide what you want to accomplish each day, and this will help you to maximize your efficiency and avoid staying up late staring at a screen without knowing what to focus on.

 

Digestive issues

This might be an awkward one, but it’s real problem! For a lot of people, stress can cause nausea or constipation. If you have a sensitive stomach, try to resist the temptation to snack on sugary junk food all night while you cram for that Chemistry exam! Eat foods that you know will be gentle on your stomach, and drink plenty of water. If you get constipation from stress, try drinking coffee. It will give you an energy boost and help you…ya know…

 

Breathing

Sometimes stress causes us to unconsciously restrict our breathing, especially when we’re trying really hard to focus. If you experience panic attacks or test anxiety, you might hyperventilate. Either way, our bodies need oxygen, and taking care of your breathing will help you to feel a lot better. Try closing your eyes and imagining that your lungs are a balloon. Fill the balloon up as much as you can without straining yourself. Hold the inhale for a second, then slowly and peacefully let it out. Feel better? Do this as many times as you need until you feel refreshed.

 

Acne 

Sometimes stress causes people to break out, and this will be especially true if you are on your period. If this happens to you, firstly remember that you are a beautiful human being and that nobody is judging your skin! But to help your skin to feel better, skip the makeup to avoid clogging your pores more, and remember to wash your face and apply moisturizer to beat that cold and drying December weather! You can also try using a face mask—this is a great way to relax, pamper yourself a little, and take care of your skin.

 

Our bodies and minds function together. If you are experiencing mental stress, taking care of your body can help tremendously! Good luck with finals, and you’ve got this!