College, in general, can be stressful. But, when you add in the extra stress of final exams, life as a student can become overwhelming. This stress can manifest into very real physical and mental symptoms, which can impact daily life and student success. Here are six things to try that might help you manage stress before and during final exams.
1. Create a study schedule. Creating a schedule for when you study which subjects will help you feel more in control of what you need to do. It can prevent you from becoming overwhelmed when thinking of all the exams you need to study for at the same time. This will ensure that you manage your time efficiently and can help prevent procrastination. Making a detailed to-do list of each thing you want to study or complete can also help you stay organized. Sometimes crossing things off your to-do list can bring satisfaction and help motivate you to continue getting things done so you can cross them off!
2. Stay connected with your friends. During any time of stress, it’s always nice to have your support system close by. Make sure you still see your friends during this time, even if it’s a study date or grabbing a quick bite to eat. If you’re feeling up to it, sometimes talking about how you’re feeling with someone else dealing with exams can help you feel better.
3. Take care of your physical health. Getting enough sleep, exercise, and nutrition are all vital parts of overall wellbeing and can impact your mental health and stress levels. Sleep is critical for productivity and a lack of sleep can worsen mental health issues. Most young adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night to form memories of the information they have studied. Physical activity can also reduce stress, improve memory, and improve sleep. The most important thing to remember about physical activity is to pick an activity that you enjoy doing! And of course, nutrition is important too. Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains to strengthen your immune system and improve energy levels.
4. Try to relax. The keyword here is try! One way to do this is to schedule time for yourself when making your study schedule. That way, you won’t feel guilty about taking time away from studying. Plus, taking breaks has been shown to improve focus and productivity! A break can be anything you enjoy, such as a walk, listening to music, meditating, stretching, cooking, dancing, and so many other activities! You may also want to try some physical relaxation techniques during your break. Make sure to check out the events that your college hosts during finals, most colleges offer events to reduce stress like coloring, visiting with adoptable puppies, yoga, and more!
5. Practice positive self-talk. It’s important to remind yourself that you are prepared for your exams and can finish the week. If you go into the exam thinking you’re ready, that positive mindset will help carry you through. Remember, you just need to do your best! You never have to be “perfect” or get a perfect score. Perfectionism is actually the enemy of progress.
6. Remember what comes after finals: Vacation! Once you’ve made it to finals week, you are almost done! Try to remember that a break is coming (even if it’s a short one) and maybe even give yourself a reward for finishing! And always remember, life will go on and your final exams will not change that.
Want more tips? Check out these Ted Talks to help you manage stress.