Get a handle on stress

by Alyssa Pena | staff writer

If one day in the week before finals week you were to walk into Johnson and look around you, odds are you’re bound to see the walking dead. Yes, that’s right, the walking dead; the horde of students who moan, hiss, and mope through the school with an empty gaze in their eyes because of the unbearable stress of studying for finals. Welcome to dead week.

Finals are the kryptonite of students who are so ready to go on winter break. Whether you pass or fail determines your fate for final transcripts for college, your graduation status, semester averages, and whether or not you’re grounded over the winter break. And as students study, or attempt to study, for these fateful end of course exams, their lives, both academic and personal, begin to gang up on them and pile stress on their shoulders.

Finals week
photo by Caitlin Blackmon
Students are under so much stress this week, so a few helpful steps are essential to help them unwind.

If you feel like putting your head through a wall, follow these steps to ease the stress of finals:

  1. Breathe: Sometimes when you’re studying and cramming information into your head it can be extremely overwhelming. You’ll calculate in your head that you have more work to do than you actually have, which causes your brain to go into maximum overdrive. Your body shuts down and your emotional state shifts from reasonable to irreconcilable. When this happens, you just need to remember to take deep breaths. Count to ten. By doing so, you’ll allow yourself to calm down, take a look at the progress you’ve made, inspire yourself, and then continue on.
  2. Walk away: When you’re up to your eyeballs in study material, the last thing you want to do is waste more time than you have already by procrastinating until the last minute. But sometimes you just have to distance yourself from the source of all your stress. My advice: get up and walk away. Do something else like physical exercise or take a nap to help your mind relax so that when you come back to work, you’ll feel refreshed to take a chance at studying again.
  3. Listen to music: But not just any music. Listen to classical music to keep your mind at peace in the midst of all the chaos that you have to study with. If Beethoven or Dvorak aren’t in your musical tastes, then listen to calm meditative music or even peaceful sounds of rain or the ocean. Music that is more complicated sounding might make you more tense.
  4. Have some snacks: Odds are you’re starving because you’ve neglected the most important thing that gives you energy. Nourish your brain with some healthy snacks to keep your brain active and churning out information. Don’t eat sugary snacks, though. That’s bad for you and your brain.
  5. Talk: I promise no one will think you’re crazy for talking to yourself. Tell yourself “I can do this” to motivate yourself into studying. Hopefully you’ll inspire yourself that yes you can do this, you’ll pass this test, you’ll get everything done on time, and then you’ll feel tremendously better. Also, don’t be afraid to talk to a family member or friend. They’ll understand your need for contact and reassurance
  6. Cry: Sometimes having a good cry is what you need. Crying will make you feel better regardless.

Once you conquer winter exams with these simple steps, there’s nothing stopping you from conquering spring exams in May next year. Good luck Jags, and happy studying.

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