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5 Ways to Make Finals Week Less Stressful

The end of the semester is in sight, which means finals week is imminent. As the weather becomes warm and sunny, the only thing standing between us and summer is a week or so of intense stress, long days, and caffeine–fueled nights. With finals comes stress, and we often get caught up in telling ourselves that nothing is more important than acing that exam. 

During finals season, we sacrifice taking care of ourselves under the premise that self–care is a luxury we can't afford at such a stressful time. However, like highlighters and textbooks, self–care is essential to performing well on your exams. We can only do our best if we feel our best.

Here are just a few ways to take care of yourself during finals period to ensure you’re feeling at your best, confident, and focused.

Maintain your normal routine

Often during finals season, we skip out on simple tasks like washing our faces or doing our hair because we convince ourselves that these activities are a waste of time. However, those 15 minutes saved only hurt us in the long run. 

Although skipping your hour–long makeup routine can probably wait until after finals are over, ignoring the basics will only result in wasting time feeling gross and bad about yourself. Therefore, keep up your normal hygiene routines for yourself and those around you.

Eat healthy

Although finals season may seem like the perfect excuse to throw healthy eating out the window and binge on junk food, eating nutritious food is vital when it comes to doing well on your exams and projects. Eating well nourishes both the body and the mind. Getting the proper nutrients will help your brain function more effectively and will keep you fuller and more satisfied, which should stop you from getting distracted by a grumbling stomach while studying.

Get enough sleep

While sleep may seem like an unnecessary luxury during finals (and often during the regular school year as well!), it’s extremely important to get enough sleep during exam week, no matter how tempting an all–nighter may sound. 

Sometimes it feels like there’s a competition between students to see who can stay up the latest and study the longest, but that’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to your well–being. Seven to nine hours of sleep is the ideal amount in order to do your best on your finals. That may seem like time wasted not studying, but you will be much more productive if you get enough rest.

Get moving!

Whether you love going to the gym or the thought of exercising makes you cringe, it’s important to get moving during finals season. Exercising will release dopamine in your brain, help boost your mood, and increase concentration. If jogging and squats aren’t really your thing, even something as simple as a walk or a mini–dance party can help keep your mind focused. Just five minutes of exercise can help your performance and leave you feeling more relaxed and ready to ace your tests and essays. 

Remember to keep things in perspective

While acing your statistics final may seem like the most important thing in the world right now, in the grand scheme of things, your grades don’t define you or your value. Try your best on your exams, but don’t let the pressure of doing well consume you. If things don’t end up going the way you would’ve liked, take the time to reflect on your successes through the semester and remember that it isn’t the end of the world.

Finals season is a stressful time for everyone, but by adopting a few of these habits, you can make it easier on yourself. So, take a deep breath, enjoy the great outdoors, and believe in yourself and your abilities. Do whatever makes you feel the most refreshed—then go back and hit the books.

Aidah is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a planning on majoring in Biology.
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