How to Avoid Post-Exam Sickness

Without fail, every single semester I will turn in my last final, ready to celebrate, only to wake up the next morning with a raging cold or flu-like sickness. This year, I was lucky enough to finish up my last essay before finals week even started (yay for English majors!) and had everything turned in by the last day of classes. I went to bed Thursday night excited to wake up and spend my Friday doing whatever I pleased to celebrate-- but I forgot about the dreaded post-stress sickness that always hits when I finally let down my guard. Friday morning greeted me with a massive headache, cough, sore throat, and funky stomach. Thanks for sticking it out through the worst of it, immune system. No thanks for keeping me bed-ridden for the days following. 

So whether you're like me and stress keeps you too busy to get sick until after you're finally able to relax, or finals week is the time your body always decides to throw the flu at you, here are some tips to avoid the post-exam sickness and to keep you healthy when your stress levels are saying otherwise. 

1. Don't get caught up in the finals week hype. Just because your best friend waited until the last minute to start her final project or that guys who sits next to you in class has three other finals he hasn't started studying for, doesn't mean their stress has to stress you out, too. It's easy to get caught up in the "I-should-be-stressed-because-everyone-else-is" hype, but think of your finals week as just another regular week in the semester. Sometimes you have stressful weeks, but you've gotten through them all thus far, and finals week is no different. If it helps, distance yourself for a day or two from those whose stress levels are totally out-of-control, and you'll find yourself much more relaxed. Maybe wear or carry around an energy-protecting crystal so you don't end up soaking in all those stressed-out energies. Try darker-colored crystals like black tourmaline, smoky quartz, and amethyst, which help to absorb negative energies, or just trusting your old clear quartz crystal can do wonders on it's own.

2. Start mega-dosing on immune-supporting nutrients. Now I'm not saying to take an unhealthy amount of vitamins, and you should always consult your doctor before taking any new supplement, but adding on an extra pill of vitamin C and zinc everyday can really make a difference. If pills aren't your go-to, pick up a few packets of Emergen-C that you can mix in with water to get all your vitamins and help strengthen your immune system at the same time! It's also super important leading up to and during finals week to eat as healthily as possible. Yeah, you may be chugging coffee like it's nobody's business, but make sure your diet is in tip-top shape to keep things balanced. 

3. Drink Water. Yeah, you've heard it 5,000 times already, but actually try staying hydrated for once this week. Not only will it help flush out nasty toxins from your system, but it'll help balanced all that dehydrating caffeine you'll be consuming. Dehydration can weaken your immune system and make you much more susceptible to sickness. So seriously, DRINK UP. 

4. Study somewhere that's isn't the library. Everyone is going to be packed into the library this week, throwing their stressful energies around along with their weird colds and gross germs-- it's a recipe for a weakened immune system. Opt for a coffee shop outside of campus or clean your desk off and actually sit down there for once. With less germs flying around you, the less likely it is you'll catch something. 

5. Sleep. Try to manage your time wisely during finals so that you aren't staying up until 3 am cramming for one exam just to go home and crash for the rest of the day and repeat the same thing the next night. Wake up earlier, study for a few hours, take your exam, then go home and take a small break before starting to study for your next exam. That way, you get the daylight hours to work hard and the nighttime hours to relax before bed and getting to sleep in reasonable time. 

Remember, the more you relax and take care of yourself now, the more you'll be thanking yourself later on when it comes to celebrating the end of the semester!

[Photo Courtesy to Hibiscus Moon, Country Living, Brick & Mortar Coffee, and The Odyssey