Ways to Minimize Stress During Finals Week

At first I titled this article “how to have a stress-free finals week”. But after thinking about it, I realized that stress is pretty much inevitable during finals week: it’s very overwhelming to have to study for several tests that include information learned over the whole semester and count for a sizable portion of your grade! However, here are a few small but impactful ways to create a mental-state of less stress, and of more calm and focus. 

Set out a plan.

It’s a little weird to look at your schedule and instead of seeing classes, club meetings and social events, to only see “study”. And it’s overwhelming when you don’t have a plan and just expect yourself to study everything all the time. Before finals week starts, set out a clear, specific plan of how you’re going to tackle studying. Organize each day with breaks to help keep you focused and spending time on things that you need to work on. Instead of writing general things like “study chemistry,” plan out specific things you need to do, such as review power-points, make flashcards, take practice quizzes, go to the teacher’s review session, etc. Having a clear plan written out beforehand will help you feel less stressed and lost as you approach studying for many different subjects. 

Organize your room and schoolwork. 

I recently heard someone say  “a cluttered space is a cluttered mind” and I think it’s so true. When I’m feeling stressed and look around to see a messy, disorganized room, I become even more overwhelmed. Before you start studying, clean up your room (especially your desk), your backpack and all the folders and binders with your studying material. Even if you don’t study in your room, creating a neat and orderly space will help keep you feeling in control and calm.

Take care of yourself.

It is very easy to over-work yourself and stress yourself out to the point at which you feel insane- trust me, I’ve definitely been there. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself and responding to other parts of your life during exam week. Although studying should be your main focus, it shouldn’t be your only focus. Make sure to prioritize your mental and physical health by giving yourself breaks, remembering to eat, releasing stress at the gym/on a walk, and getting enough sleep. 

Find sources of encouragement. 

Even though finals weeks may just have you feeling negative, annoyed and yearning for Winter Break more than even, don’t become discouraged and definitely don’t give up. Encourage yourself by reminding yourself how hard you’ve worked this semester and how much you want to succeed. Tell yourself cheesy yet encouraging quotes like “dreams don’t work unless you do” and fully remind yourself that you can do it! Rather than letting stress take over your mind, fill yourself with optimism and inspiration. Soon enough, you will be able to relax at home, eating Christmas cookies and watching all the Netflix you want, so make this week week count!